China's Bet on Linux
s China prepares to become a full member of the World Trade Organization, the Beijing government is trying to prove to the West that it is serious about reducing software piracy. And so government agencies and businesses are turning to Linux as their desktop operating system of choice, a trend with potential to influence how the world uses the open-source software.
Recently Linux has become increasingly popular as a server operating system but has been slower to catch on at the desktop due to the difficulties IT departments have finding or developing enterprise-quality Linux desktop applications.
Linux appeals to users in because it’s free, it can be deployed without running afoul of international copyright agreements and it is easily customised to fit local needs. Because China has 1.3 billion citizens who are potential end users, the country’s widespread adoption of desktop Linux will push Linux developers to create better desktop software, says Dan Kusnetzky, VP of system software research with IDC (a sister company to CIO’s publisher).