Asian Linux distro is ahead of schedule

A standard Asian Linux distribution being developed by an alliance of Chinese, Japanese and Korean software vendors is now due for release in July

Asian software vendors are on track to release Asianux 2.0, an Asian Linux distribution, two months ahead of schedule.

The standard distribution is being developed by an alliance between China's Red Flag Software, Japan's Miracle Linux and Korean software company HaanSoft. Each of the vendors plans to package Asianux 2.0 and sell it under their individual brand names.

The standard was initially planned for September 2005, but will now be released in July 2005, a HaanSoft spokesperson told ZDNet UK on Monday.

According to The Korea Herald, HaanSoft has said that by this summer it will have produced a distribution that is comparable to those of SuSE and Red Hat Linux. The newspaper also reported that the date of release was put forward because the Korean government is due to adopt a large high-school population database in the second half of 2005. This could be a "huge opportunity" to introduce open source, according to HaanSoft.

The database, known as the National Education Information System (NEIS), will manage data about eight million Korean students, as well as their parents and teachers, according to Korean campaign charity BASE21, which has criticised the plans for the database, claiming it is a threat to privacy.

The upcoming release of Asianux may make it more difficult for non-Chinese Linux vendors, such as Red Hat, which recently opened its first office in China, to do business with government ministries in China. Government ministries are restricted to buying software which has been produced in China.

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