If there's one technological breakthrough China's government thinks it needs right this second, it's their own operating system. Or more control over the internet - but that's (perhaps) besides the point. Today the big news is the Chinese government signing a deal with Canonical, the creators of the OS Ubuntu, to create their own home-grown operating system to "wean its IT sector off Western software in favor of more home-grown alternatives."
According to the BBC, this collaboration will be the home of a brand new Ubuntu-based operating system by the name of Ubuntu Kylin, and it'll be released as soon as April. This is also the timeframe for the next regular version of Ubuntu, which leads us to believe that Canonical may be considering releasing more than one country-centric version of its operating in the future, should the need arise. This deal is also part of a 5-year plan China is inflicting in order to get more of its citizens to use open-source software (believe it or not).
The creation of this operating system will be done in a single laboratory in Beijing filled with engineers from both Canonical and a series of Chinese R&D agencies. There will be more than one version of Kylin, the second being one worked on by Canonical to work on servers for online shops, hosting firms, and webpages of all kinds can use the software both online and off.
The first wide release of Kylin will be pushed to both desktop and laptop computers, with additional devices in mind for the future. In the future, it's been noted (similar to the US), that Ubuntu Kylin will be released for tablets, smartphones, and everything in-between. This Kylin version of Ubuntu works with Chinese character sets natively and will, according to the BBC:
"Also do more to support the way Chinese people interact with computers as well as reflect China's date conventions." - BBC
In the future, Canonical and the Chinese government will be releasing versions of the operating system with connections to Baidu maps, Taobao shopping service, and new versions of image management tools and office apps created specifically for this market.
Have a peek at the timeline below to see other recent China homegrown news to see how odd we find it that the country will be pushing an open source operating system to its citizens, and let us know what you think!