Seven software companies in China, backed up by Intel and a pair of government agencies, each plan to set up support and service centers for Linux users and developers in China, an Intel representative said yesterday.
The centers are being set up as part of an initiative launched by the China Computer Software Association and approved by the Ministry of Information Industry.
Intel, working from its China headquarters in Beijing, will help the companies optimise their applications for the IA32 and IA64 architectures, according to Intel representative Evia Shum.
The software companies, which include China Computer Software and Technology Service, believe they can benefit from using the free, open-source operating system and taking advantage of open, Internet-based development. Some of the companies have already opened their Linux support centres, Shum said.
The Chinese government has encouraged use of Linux, partly out of strategic and economic concerns about relying on foreign-developed operating systems such as Windows.
Reports earlier this year of a ban on the use of Windows 2000 by government ministries have been refuted by the government and by Microsoft.
Intel will continue to help software companies optimise their Windows applications for Intel platforms, company representative Shum added.
Linux has been built up a strong following in China and other developing Asian countries because of its low cost and open source code. Several versions of Linux, including local brand Red Flag Linux and a Chinese version of TurboLinux, are sold in China.
However, only with high-quality support available will Chinese widely adopt Linux, said Chen Chong, deputy director of electronics and information products at MII, according to an article on the Web site of the official People's Daily newspaper.