Windows XP continues to be one of the most used operating systems in China, but the local government is working to replace the retired operating system with an alternative platform.According to a report published by news agency Xinhua, this alternative platform could be Linux, as the country is even considering building its very own open-source operating system.
Windows XP is said to be installed on nearly 200 million computers in China and while the most obvious choice would be an upgrade to Windows 8 or 8.1, local authorities claim that Microsoft's modern operating system is too expensive. At the same time, Chinese officials said that they have only recently purchased genuine copies of Windows XP, so investing in another operating system is not an option right now.
“Windows 8 is fairly expensive and will increase government procurement costs,” National Copyright Administration deputy director Yan Xiaohong was quoted as saying by Xinhua.
This is how the idea of switching to Linux was actually born. While Chinese authorities initially said that staying with Windows XP for a while could be a solution with the help of local security vendors, they're now looking into the open source world as well.
“Security problems could arise because of a lack of technical support after Microsoft stopped providing services, making computers with XP vulnerable to hackers. The government is conducting appraisal of related security products and will promote use of such products to safeguard users' information security,” Xiaohong continued.
Not much is known about the Chinese version of Linux, but Zhang Feng, chief engineer of the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology, claims that the ministry could grant the budget for the development of such an operating system if everything goes as planned.
China is the only country that has specifically asked Microsoft to extend Windows XP support for local computers, explaining that it has invested millions of dollars to purchase legitimate copies of the operating system, so it wouldn't make much sense to spend taxpayers' money on new upgrades right now.
Microsoft, on the other hand, has refused to do so and explained that just like all the other markets out there, China needs to upgrade its computers to a newer OS version. Of course, Redmond was also open to talks regarding custom support for Windows XP, but at the time of writing this article, no agreement has been reached, so all local computers could become vulnerable to attacks if someone finds an unpatched vulnerability in the operating system.