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Oracle strengthens Linux ties in China

The database maker and Red Flag Software, China's Linux operating system developer, will ally to certify and support database management systems in the Asian country.

Oracle and China's Linux operating system developer, Red Flag Software, will work to certify and support database management systems in China.

The move is part of database software maker Oracle's effort to strengthen ties with Linux developers, but it will also help Oracle to gain access to China's government and military contracts, say industry observers.

Businesses in China will be able to introduce Oracle's unbreakable infrastructure on the Red Flag Linux operating system and receive full technical support, according to today's announcement.

"Linux is being adopted at a fast pace in China, and enterprise-class products are mature and ready. So it is a big milestone not only in the history of Red Flag and Oracle, but also in the history of Linux development in China," said Liu Bo, chief executive officer of Red Flag Software.

Previously, through a marketing plan called unbreakable Linux, Oracle has signed support agreements with top Linux seller Red Hat and with UnitedLinux, a Linux consortium that includes No. 2 seller SuSE.

The Oracle China Development Center and Red Flag have completed the certification of Oracle9i Database on the Red Flag Linux operating system, and are now working together on the certification of the remainder of Oracle's complete product line on the new Red Flag Data Center Linux operating system.

The other products include Oracle9i Application Server, Oracle Collaboration Suite and Oracle E-business Suite.

"Oracle and Red Flag have jointly identified government, transportation, utility and energy as some of the major sectors where Linux sales and marketing campaigns will be launched to encourage the adoption of Linux," said the statement.

Strategically, the collaboration should also deflect attention away from up-and-coming, open-source database software MySQL.

Andrew Hu, managing director of Oracle China, said that the "Chinese government is encouraging organizations and enterprises to adopt Linux because of its cost-effectiveness and superior performance."

The Chinese government considers Linux to be a desirable alternative to rival operating systems because officials can read and edit the source code to remove insidious back doors. There is also the matter of national pride in having a custom-made operating system, as well as having a perceived lower cost of operation.

CNETAsia's John Lui reported from China.