China is one of the countries that have suffered the most when Microsoft decided to pull the plug on Windows XP. The Chinese government is now looking towards Linux to fill that gap, and it intends to use its resources to make that happen.
China has been struggling for years to make its own Linux operating system, but it had little success. At one point it had something called the Red Flag Linux distribution, but the project never really got off the ground and lost all support from the Chinese government.
Microsoft's decision to stop issuing security updates for Windows XP has determined the Chinese authorities to start looking for answers, and it seems that Linux might be the solution. Windows XP still occupies a large portion of the market, with a little over 50%, so it's understandable why they might consider that it's time for a change.
According to a report made by news.xinhuanet.com, the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology is looking to provide the needed support for an operating system that is ready to replace Windows XP.
“The ministry will beef up support for the development of such an OS.The shutdown will bring risks directly to China's basic telecommunication networks and threaten its overall security,” said Zhang Feng, the chief engineer of the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology.
There are numerous other Linux distributions that would gladly take the opportunity to expand into such a large market, including Red Hat, which is a commercial enterprise. The best positioned operating system right now that could do the job is Ubuntu Kylin, a new Ubuntu flavor that was first released a little over a year ago.
It may be an official Ubuntu flavor, but the Ubuntu developers are not involved in the project. It's being built by Chinese programmers and focuses on that particular culture, with its own apps and governing principles.
What's even more interesting is that the developers of Ubuntu Kylin are already working with China's National University of Defense Technology and The China Software and Integrated Chip Promotions Center, which means that they are definitely on the Chinese government's radar.
It remains to be seen if Linux or Ubuntu Kylin will manage to make an impact in China. You can imagine that Microsoft will not sit idle and will most likely make some very hard to resist offers.