China rallies support for Kylin Linux in war on Windows • The Register

China’s efforts to end its reliance on Microsoft Windows have been boosted by the launch of the openKylin project.

The initiative aims to accelerate the development of the country’s Kylin Linux distribution by opening the project to a wider community of developers, colleges and universities to contribute code.

Launched in 2001, Kylin was based on a FreeBSD kernel and was intended for use in government and military offices, where Chinese authorities have repeatedly attempted to eliminate foreign operating systems.

In 2010, the operating system switched to the Linux kernel, and in 2014 an Ubuntu-based version of the operating system was introduced after Canonical struck a deal with Chinese authorities to develop the software.

The openKylin project appears to be the latest phase of this project and focuses on release planning, platform development, and establishing a community charter. To date, the project has won the support of nearly two dozen Chinese enterprises and institutions, including the China Advanced Operating System Innovation Center.

These industry partners will contribute to several special interest groups to improve various aspects of the operating system over time. Examples include optimizations for the latest generation of Intel and AMD processors, where available; support for emerging RISC-V processors; development of an x86 to RISC-V translation layer; and Ubuntu Kylin User Interface (UKUI) window manager improvements for tablets and convertible devices.

China’s love-hate relationship with Microsoft

China’s efforts to get rid of Redmond are by no means new. As early as 2000, Chinese authorities ordered government offices to remove Windows in favor of Red Flag Linux.

However, in the case of Red Flag Linux, these efforts ultimately came to naught after the project failed. The organization was eventually disbanded and the team ended in 2014. Despite its collapse, the project appears to have been restartedwith an expected release later this year.

It’s a story that would repeat itself at a regular cadence, fueled by periodic feuds between Uncle Sam and software companies.

It’s safe to say that the Chinese government has a kind of love-hate relationship with Redmond. In 2013, Chinese authorities urged Microsoft to expand support for Windows XP, which the country still heavily relied on.

However, a year later, the Chinese government banned Windows 8 in much of the public sector, just months after Microsoft ended support for Windows XP.

Today, Microsoft controls about 85% of the desktop operating system market as of June 2022, according to Statistics counter.

This can partly be attributed to the launch of Windows 10 China Government Edition in 2017, which was developed in conjunction with the China Electronics Technology Group.

It doesn’t appear that those efforts have done much for Microsoft’s US partners in terms of goodwill, with Chinese authorities ordering government agencies to discard all foreign-made personal computers this spring. ®

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