Linuxlab prepares for mainland debut

Linuxlab, a specialist developer and integrator for the Linux operating system, is gearing up to enter the mainland market.

Linuxlab, a specialist developer and integrator for the Linux operating system, is gearing up to enter the mainland market.

SAN JOSE (SCMP.com) - The California-based company announced at last week's LinuxWorld conference and exhibition in San Jose it had recently established a subsidiary in Shenyang province, as well as forged an agreement with Beijing's Red Flag Software to develop and market Linux in the mainland.

According to Linuxlab chairman and chief technology officer Charles Liu, the company also aimed to be a "conduit" for Linux-focused companies in the United States to expand their businesses into the mainland and leverage the country's large pool of human resources.

"We would like to be a fast channel for US Linux companies who need a bridge to get into China," Liu said.

Linuxlab's new subsidiary in Shenyang will provide internal development and engineering support to both the US-based parent company and Red Flag.

Liu pointed out that Shenyang, with its new high-technology development zone, offers much in terms of human resources and inexpensive building space to help start-up information technology ventures.

He also noted the mainland's central government and the country's academic circles were eager to develop a domestic expertise in Linux.

Although the operating system was originally developed by Finnish software programmer Linus Torvalds, Linux has further developed thanks to the efforts of other programmers who collaborate on the Internet to improve its code.

With testing and development of the Linux code done regularly and openly by the Net-connected Linux community, the operating system is touted to have achieved a level of stability to rival that of commercial operating systems.

Liu said he believed the mainland government was committed to widespread adoption of Linux in the country for several reasons, including free access to the operating system's source code, concerns about the cost of commercial software, and security issues with Microsoft's Windows system.

He pointed out the agreement with Red Flag Software, which he said unfolded in a matter of weeks from the time Linuxlab approached Red Flag, was evidence that Linuxlab was ready to fulfil the role as a conduit for other US-based companies.

The mainland's State Natural Sciences Research Institute is leading the Red Flag Linux project, which is touted as committed to developing a true Chinese operating system that will compete with Windows. The agreement with Red Flag is designed to develop server-operating systems based on Linux as well as systems management software and so-called cross-platform interoperability middleware software.

Liu said the agreement with Red Flag will allow Linuxlab to become a major mainland Linux vendor and developer.

"The new agreement combines the strengths of our two companies: Linuxlab's creative software solutions and Red Flag's experience in the emerging Chinese software market," Liu said.

While the majority of computer users in the mainland use Windows, the adoption of Linux is expected to grow quickly.

"Everyone [in the mainland] wants to do Linux," Liu said.