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France and China form Linux alliance

Plans call for a Linux-based platform that will be usable in multiple environments, including on PCs, servers and PDAs.

The French Atomic Energy Commission announced Monday that it plans to develop software based on the Linux operating system in cooperation with the Chinese Ministry of Science and Technology.

The government organizations will cooperate on the development of a Linux-based platform that can be used in multiple environments, including PCs, servers and PDAs. The system will support online services and communication applications.

The French atomic energy agency, also known as CEA, was unable to provide more details about the system at the time of this writing. Two companies that will work on the system--French technology company Bull and European semiconductor company STMicroelectronics--were also unable to provide more detail.

Alain Bugat, a senior CEA executive, and Xu Guanhua, the Chinese minister of science and technology, agreed Saturday that the groups would work together on an IT system. They signed an agreement in the presence of French President Jacques Chirac and Chinese President Hu Jintao.

The French government is showing considerable interest in Linux. It recently asked Unilog, a French consulting company, to produce a feasibility study on the viability of installing Linux on 17,000 government PCs in the city of Paris.

A Unilog representative said she was unable to comment on the progress of the report, but a report in the International Herald Tribune claims that it will be submitted to the French government on Tuesday.

Some departments of the French government have already made the move to open-source systems--including French Inland Revenue, which chose the JBoss application server to run its tax applications, and the French Ministry of Equipment, which replaced Windows NT servers with Linux.

Back in July, three French government agencies released details of a new software licence that they said was similar to the General Public License but tailored for the market in France.

Ingrid Marson of ZDNet UK reported from London.