France and China form Linux alliance

The Chinese Ministry of Science and Technology and the French Atomic Energy Commission have signed an agreement to work together on an open-source software product

The French Atomic Energy Commission (CEA) announced on Monday that it will develop software based on the Linux operating system in cooperation with the Chinese Ministry of Science and Technology (MOST).

The government organisations will cooperate on the development of a Linux-based platform which will run on multiple environments including PCs, servers and PDAs. The system will support online services and communication applications.

The CEA, French technology company Bull and European semiconductor company STMicroelectronics -- which will work on the system with CEA and MOST -- were unable to provide more details of the system at the time of writing.

Alain Bugat, a senior CEA executive, and Xu Guanhua, the Chinese minister of science and technology, agreed on Saturday that they would work together on an IT system. They signed an agreement in the presence of French president Jacques Chirac and the president of the Republic of China, Hu Jintao.

The French government is showing considerable interest in Linux. It recently asked Unilog, a French consultancy firm, to product a feasibility study into the viability of installing Linux on 17,000 government PCs in the city of Paris.

A Unilog spokeswoman told ZDNet UK that she was unable to comment on the progress of the report, but a report in the International Herald Tribune claims that it will be submitted to the French government on Tuesday.

Some departments of the French government have already made the move to open-source systems -- including the French Inland Revenue, which chose JBoss application server to run its tax applications; and the French Ministry of Equipment, which replaced Windows NT servers with Linux.

Back in July, three French public agencies released details of a new software licence that they said was similar to the General Public License (GPL) but tailored for the market in France.