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Open-source group gets Chinese member

A Chinese software firm joins Linux industry group Open Source Development Labs, signaling growth in Linux activity in the land of the Dragon.

Open-source software development in China is likely to get a boost with a leading Chinese software firm deciding to join the Open Source Development Labs.

Announcing the new addition on Friday, the OSDL said Beijing Co-Create Open Source Software plans to focus on Linux kernel development and the promotion of the Linux desktop in China. It is the second addition to the OSDL from Asia this week, after Japan's NEC Soft.

Co-Create, launched by 10 local vendors in 2001, is the promoter of China's first open-source community, OpenDesktop.net, which focuses on the desktop use of Linux. It is working on development of commercial desktop Linux products, making Linux compatible with other operating systems and building network application systems.

OSDL expects more Chinese companies to join in the future, a representative said.

The use of open-source software in China is on the rise. Earlier this month, Red Hat said it is opening offices there and plans to forge an alliance with Beijing-based Red Flag Software. According to Red Hat's Alex Pinchev, since China is wary of using software that has inner workings it can't study, open-source products have a greater appeal there. Microsoft, responding to that desire, has set up a lab in China where the government may scrutinize source code of its operating system software.

Quoting estimates by the state-owned Beijing Software Industry Productivity Center, the OSDL said Linux sales in China are set to grow more than 40 percent every year, from $6.3 million in 2002 to $38.7 million in 2007.

"With the tremendous momentum for Linux in China, we're excited that Co-Create is joining OSDL as our first Chinese member," OSDL CEO Stuart Cohen said in a statement. "Global use of Linux is rapidly increasing, and we are committed to working with members around the world to accelerate the adoption of Linux in the enterprise."