China’s challenges with Linux

March 29th, 2013 by

By Andy The

Here’s a follow up to yesterdays post on China’s decision to make Canonical Linux the national OS.

Despite the many efficiencies China could gain by having a single national OS, they will face a lot of challenges.

I like open software, but because it is open to any and all developers, you can actually have “too many cooks in the kitchen.”  In the Linux world there are large numbers of contributors making updates to the kernel.  Problems arise when there are too many updates to the kernel, as this forces releases new versions of the kernel.  Having too many version releases per year can cause considerable confusion and many software incompatibilities.  And in China’s case, with potentially a billion contributors, chaos and havoc could result regarding updates and various Linux versions.

Also, how hard and fast will China’s enforcement of a Canonical Linux standard be?  Will corporations and PC resellers be forced to use and sell only Canonical Linux? What will the penalties be for not using Canonical Linux. How will corporations react, especially US companies with China subsidiaries? It’s slso important to note that there will be huge IT costs to redeploy all new operating systems to existing corporate users.

It will be interesting to see how China implements this new national OS model.  Practically speaking, if China is to be successful they will have to put strict versioning restrictions to simplify adoption, and they will have to create a process to get corporations to convert without creating large financial burdens.

This will not be simple. An interesting and consequential initiative. Stay tuned.


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