Windows OS 'replaceable' by Chinese counterparts

Summary:The ban on Windows 8 by China's central government presents great opportunities for Chinese-originated operating systems, and the key issue now is to build up an ecosystem to feed the growth of these Chinese OSes, reports Xinhua the official news agency in China.

Chinese OS developers are thrilled at news of the ban on Windows 8 by the central government, as the decision presents an opportunity to seize market share in the future, Xinhua news said on Thursday.

"Domestic OSes are already an alternative to Windows in terms of security, and also easy to use", the agency continued.  This is a result of over a decade of investment in research and development by Chinese developers. A number of domestic OSes are currently available, and some can be downloaded free of charge. Usage of Chinese OSes will help reduce the costs for local computer manufacturers and end-users.

Xinhua cited a Linux-based Deepin OS developed by Wuhan Deepin Technology Co, claiming that testing by reporters shows Deepin's capability "is very close to that of Windows OS", and "it can serve as a substitute for the Windows OS to some extent".  

But the widespread implementation of these domestic OSes also requires the active involvement of software developers as surveys show consumers will not opt for a new OS unless it has a wide range of available software and is easy to use.

Liu Wenhuan, general manager of Wuhan Deepin Technology, told Xinhua that a breakthrough is likely to happen when market share of a domestic OS exceeds 3 percent, which will spur software developers to build applications for these platforms.

The central government's Windows 8 ban can help domestic OS builders gain time and market share and get to the required critical mass, said Liu.  Government policy can help build market potential, and increase the number of software businesses that launch applications and software for Chinese OSes.

Local reports show Windows XP and Windows 7 have a 60.7 percent and 33.4 percent market share respectively, representing 94 percent of the Chinese market.

Topics: Operating Systems, China, Microsoft, Software, Software Development, Windows, Windows 8

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Cyrus Lee, writing under a pen name, is a Hong Kong-based reporter in an English-language newspaper and a correspondent for a radio station.

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