After being a largely Microsoft-dominated market, China has finally made a move to unfetter itself from Microsoft’s chains by opting to sign a deal with Canonical, the makers of Ubuntu. The event was widely reported, and it was speculated that China chose to go with this decision in favor of more home-grown IT alternatives rather than looking to the West. The decision was largely based around the fact that it strengthened and upheld the Chinese Government’s propaganda of introducing an open source software ecosystem in China.

Ubuntu Finds A Way Into China

Working in close collaboration with the Chinese government, Canonical is busy developing an operating system which will be based on Ubuntu, and will be renamed as Ubuntu Kylin. Marketed as the ‘Chinese version of Ubuntu’, the software is set to be released to the masses in April 2013, in conjunction with the regular release cycle followed for all Ubuntu products.

Canonical has also received a lot of support from other software development organizations and the development of the Ubuntu Kylin has been a joint venture of the CSIP (China Software Integrated Chip Promotions Centre), Canonical and the NUDT (National University of Defense Technology). So far, it can be seen that Canonical has received huge support and good will from the Chinese Government. The three organizations have collaborated extensively to formulate the CCN Open Source Innovation Joint Lab, located in Beijing, which hosts programmers and engineers from each of the collaborating organizations.

The software of Ubuntu Kylin is said to go above and beyond other desktop and cloud software in catering to the Chinese market by utilizing functions that can support Chinese input. Other Chinese data which is supported includes a Chinese weather indicator, a Chinese calendar and allowing users to search for popular Chinese music and other services from the Dash. Though these features are largely small and may add nothing new, the concept of having a China focused software is rather new.

Future features which have been predicted for the Ubuntu include the addition of the ability to integrate functions and features which enable access to Baidu Maps, shopping services from Taobao, ability to process payments and other procedures with Chinese banks and access to information regarding real time train and flight information. Not satisfied with just that, Ubuntu Kylin programmers are teaming up with WPS in order to develop a system management and photo editing tool that can hopefully also be incorporated with other versions of Ubuntu.

However, a large amount of speculation is going on with regards to the effect this move will have on Microsoft’s hold on the market. China has a software market which was largely dominated at a rate of 91.62 percent by Microsoft, with only 7.17 percent belonging to the OS X and a pitiful 1.21 percent belonging to Linux. It should be interesting to see how the Chinese market receives the new software and how strongly Linux will dominate the market. Luckily, there is an optimistic view about the market’s general reception of the Ubuntu Kylin software.

[Image via omgubuntu]