China chooses Ubuntu as state-endorsed operating system

Canonical, which runs Ubuntu, is working with the Chinese Ministry of Industry and Information Technology on the project.

Don Reisinger
Former CNET contributor Don Reisinger is a technology columnist who has covered everything from HDTVs to computers to Flowbee Haircut Systems. Besides his work with CNET, Don's work has been featured in a variety of other publications including PC World and a host of Ziff-Davis publications.
Don Reisinger
2 min read

Canonical, the organization behind popular Linux distribution Ubuntu, is working alongside the Chinese government to deliver a state-endorsed operating system.

According to Canonical, it's working alongside the Chinese Ministry of Industry and Information Technology to bring a suitable Ubuntu version to China. The operating system, which will be known as Ubuntu Kylin, is expected to be released in April.

Ubuntu Kylin is part of a broader strategy on China's part to increase the adoption of open-source initiatives in the country, according to Canonical. China's ministry was deciding between several different Linux distributions before ultimately choosing Ubuntu.

"This collaboration will bring local investment and participation to ensure that the platform is relevant for the Chinese market, and close coordination with the global Ubuntu project ensures that it is familiar to software and hardware vendors, and useful for export products made by Chinese companies as well," Canonical CEO Jane Silber said yesterday in a statement.

The Chinese government has not commented publicly on the software, but its true intentions have already been called into question. According to the BBC, which earlier reported on the Ubuntu decision, by endorsing the operating system, the Chinese government could be attempting to push consumers away from Western software, like Windows and OS X, to something state-controlled. In its first iteration, Ubuntu Kylin will not be hugely modified compared with standard forms of the operating system, but China's ministry plans to bundle endorsed services, such as search engine Baidu and shopping service Taobao, into the platform in subsequent versions.