HP targets China's post-XP crowd with Ubuntu Kylin

HP targets China's post-XP crowd with Ubuntu Kylin

Summary: HP is the first manufacturer to agree to ship PCs running the Chinese-language Ubuntu Kylin OS.


HP will ship PCs running the Chinese-language version of Ubuntu, the first manufacturer to do so, in what may be a move to capitalise on millions of Chinese people looking for a successor to Windows XP.

Despite Microsoft ending support for the Windows XP operating system in April this year, about 40 percent of computer users in China still run the OS, according to figures from StatCounter, which tracks the OS used by visitors to websites worldwide.

The proportion of XP users in the country has fallen in recent years, down from just over 60 percent in November 2012. Meanwhile, adoption of Windows 8 remains just above three percent — about half the global rate, according to the same figures.

By selling PCs with Ubuntu Kylin preinstalled, HP may be looking for a way to cash in on those Chinese computer users wanting to shift from XP but reluctant to buy a Windows 8 machine.

Canonical — the company behind Ubuntu — says that computer users in China, as elsewhere in the world, prefer to get their OS pre-installed when they buy a device, so the deal with HP may be significant in growing Kylin's user base.

"The teams have been working hard developing fully tested and certified pre-installed images of Ubuntu Kylin for our PC hardware partners and are looking forward to working with them to bring a range of devices to the China market in the near future," a Canonical spokeswoman said in a statement.

Canonical reports the Kylin OS continues to grow in popularity, with more than three million downloads of Kylin since its release 12 months ago. One million of these downloads followed the end of support for XP, and the release of the latest 14.04 LTS version, in April.

Relative to the Chinese population the number of downloads for Ubuntu Kylin is still tiny, about 0.2 percent of the 1.36 billion-strong population.

Last year, China's National Copyright Administration asked Microsoft to extend support for Windows XP in China, and resume sales of "low-cost" versions of Windows 7 that were discontinued at the launch of Windows 8.

Yan Xiaohong, deputy director of the National Copyright Administration, warned that failing to do so could hamper the uptake of genuine software in the country. The proportion of China's personal computers with pirated software installed fell to 77 percent in 2011, a record low, according to the Business Software Alliance.

Kylin has been designed to suit the needs of Chinese users, with a full Chinese user interface, bespoke Chinese applications and integration with domestic services — such as music search from Baidu in the dash. It also includes Kingsoft WPS, one of China's most popular office suites.

Canonical worked with the China Software and Integrated Promotions Centre (CSIP), part of the Chinese Ministry of Industry and Information Technology, and the Chinese National University of Defense Technology, on developing Kylin.

Read more on Ubuntu

Topic: Operating Systems


Nick Heath is chief reporter for TechRepublic UK. He writes about the technology that IT-decision makers need to know about, and the latest happenings in the European tech scene.

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  • HP?

    Am surprised that this isn't Dell or Lenovo.

    P.S. My understanding is that most people running pirated Windows XP in China, whether pre-installed or otherwise, did not apply security updates from Microsoft (even though they were available for download). Why would the end of Windows XP security updates in April, 2014, matter to these people.
    Rabid Howler Monkey
  • Security updates

    Even if your copy of Windows isn't genuine you still receive critical security updates.

    Nick Heath
    • Yup

      But the dummies who use pirated Win XP in China don't know that...
  • another nail in M$ coffin

    FOSS rules!
    LlNUX Geek
    • Riiiiiight....

      Because Google's Android kernel spyware in Linux isn't the final nail in China's coffin already.

      Why aren't they using their own kernel without Google's interference?
      • Listen, LINUX Geek's not right, but what the heck are YOU talking about?

        Seriously, Kylin using a Google Android kernel with spyware?

        China adopted Kylin because they wanted control of their own kernel, and they get it by basing it on Ubuntu. Canonical is helping them make kernel customizations that are important to them, etc. So you could very much argue they ARE using their own kernel.
    • They would rather have free pirated Windows XP

      over free legal Linux.

      Not sure how many more nails Linux can take at this rate...
      • Re: another nail in M$ coffin....

        Typical knee jerk comment from an insecure FOSS Fanatic. Truth is there will not be a mass migration to Linux. Five years from know XP will still hold around a 10% market share given the sheer number of machines globally that cannot be upgraded.
        Furthermore some of those who do take the decision to migrate to Linux are likely to run XP in a virtual environment using the likes of VirtualBox or VMware. So even if XP is partially silenced it is highly unlikely to disappear entirely no matter how the FOSS Fanatics crave.
        • "...Five years from know XP will still hold around a 10% ..."

          you are probably right but that's just sad.
          • "...Five years from know XP will still hold around a 10% ..."

            Whats sad is that in fave years MicroShaft will still hold around %10 of the market
      • Yep. The One Laptop Per Child (OLPC) project, launched several years ...

        ... ago, out of MIT, learned very quickly that foreign governments wanted Windows on their third-world hand-cranked PCs. Not to be outdone, commercial netbooks running Linux started appearing in the industrialized world but Linux was rejected in the industrialized world as well. Once Microsoft ported XP to netbooks, then Windows 7 (which ran pretty well on these little boxes), interest in Linux on netbooks vanished - almost overnight.
        M Wagner
        • RE: learned very quickly that foreign governments wanted Windows

          Where do you get your news, from Steve Ballmer?

          Here is a word about the newest devices they are distributing:

          OLPC is preparing for a customer an Android, Sugar and Gnome dual-boot system for the XO-4 Touch. This will allow children to switch between the operating systems by rebooting, so that educational content can be delivered in either format.

          So Linux and Linux Touch (in the form of Android) is what they are running not Windows.
      • I'm surprised you would take comfort in XP popularity

        Pirated XP is popular there because the majority of the users are non-technical, and sheep-like in doing what everyone else is doing (including the PC sellers there, who put pirated XP right on the box).

        It's always surprised me that MS proponents see some kind of vindication for MS products in the sheep-like behavior of the non-IT consumers. It doesn't vindicate MS products - only their corporate strategy (which was based on illegal behavior, and arguably still is [e.g. see patent thuggery]) that established the de facto consumer culture that includes the sheep-like behavior.
    • Awwww did mommy raise your rent

      for the basement again? or did she not put enough peanut butter on your PBJ at lunch time today.
    • Errr.

      Grow up.
  • I see android taking over the chinese market faster than ubuntu.

    tons of apps, tons of affordable hardware. desktops will be around in business and kylin might do ok there, but for the home market I don't see it doing any better than it's already doing (which actually isn't that much better than ubuntu does over here).
    • So? Ubuntu is a "real" operating system, like Windows or Mac OS X.

      Despite what you have been told, neither Android nor iOS can be compared as desktop operating system like Linux, Windows, or Mac OS X - or ever Windows RT 8.1. Ultimately, your point is irrelevant.
      M Wagner
  • This is a bold move by HP! Dell and ...

    ... especially Lenovo would be foolish not to follow suite. But this is not enough!

    Software vendors selling to the Chinese would also be wise to port their applications to Kylin and market those applications via an HP collaboration. These kinds of opportunities have come up before and no Linux vendor has been willing to take on the challenge. Where is Canonical in all this? Are they just sitting on the sidelines?

    With so many in China still running XP, this is simply too big an opportunity to pass up. Is Canonical up to it? HP cannot make it work without popular Chinese language software to run under Kylin.

    A success in China could help both Canonical and HP but without strong collaboration between HP, Canonical, and applications vendors, this will be just another lost opportunity.
    M Wagner
    • Be careful what you ask for...

      Or more importantly, do a bit of research before you write.

      Apps for Ubuntu Kylin are a big focus at Canonical and they are partnering with app builders in China

      "To create Ubuntu Kylin, Canonical partnered with China Software and Integrated Chip Promotions Centre (CSIP) and the National University of Defence Technology (NUDT) to produce a fully localised and customised version of Ubuntu.The team is working together with the open-source community to adapt the core features of Ubuntu to better suit Chinese users. Along with localised versions of the Ubuntu Software Centre, Ubuntu Kylin also features some of the most commonly used Chinese applications."

      There is even an app to help with Windows user migration to Ubuntu:

      "Youker Assistant
      Youker is a simple yet powerful tool built to help Windows users migrate to Ubuntu as quickly and as smoothly as possible. This integrated tool aids with routine system maintenance tasks such as detecting hardware and handling interface customisation. You don’t need to worry about learning the Ubuntu way with Youker as your assistant."

  • Indeed a bold move by HP and Canonical and more hybrid than foss.

    More hybrid than foss:
    'Chinese applications and integration with domestic services — such as music search from Baidu in the dash.' It also includes Kingsoft WPS, one of China's most popular office suites.

    I tried out Kingsoft and I think it will be a major contender in the office market.
    Looks, home market and this:http://www.kingsoftstore.com/index.html ( ...global ambitions)

    The integration with services (baidu and amazon in ubuntu "ubuntu"case) that Canonical offers, harms their relation with the open source community. But it gives them some kind of win/win advantage in that market.
    Baidu has serious cloud in that market and it makes the product more Chinese for the end users.