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Far Eastern Economic Review: China Joins Linux Bandwagon

Feb 17, 2000, 16:05 (1 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by G. Pierre Goad, Lorien Holland)

"At first glance, closed, uptight, communist China and open, free, libertarian Linux make a strange pair. But Linux computer-operating software is gaining favour in China and could ease the country's fears of foreign domination and what it sees as security risks--specifically with Microsoft Windows. In addition, the new kid on the software block could speed the entry of China's fledgling computer industry into the global software market...."

"Part of Linux's appeal for China is the chance to catch this wave early. "There's an opportunity for China to play a significant role in the Linux world," says Dan Kusnetzky, director of operating-system and server research at International Data Corp. "I think there's an opportunity for them to add significant value. That certainly could allow China to take its place on the world stage as a software-producing country."

"Several domestic Chinese versions of Linux, two of them backed by government agencies, are already on the market. Linux development was the only software project on a list of the government's top technology priorities published last year. Linux software is widely praised in the Chinese press while Microsoft is frequently criticized. "The Chinese have long been dissatisfied with Microsoft and its operating system, but have had to wait until a better alternative came along," the Shenzhen Special Zone Daily wrote in January. "With the dawn of a new century, an alternative is making its entrance in the form of Linux, and is making many Chinese optimistic about the future."

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