Current Situation of Desktop OSS Promotion and Proposal in China

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Current Situation of Desktop OSS Promotion and Proposal in China Powered By Docstoc
					Current Situation of Desktop OSS
Promotion and Proposal in China


   Current Situation of Desktop OSS Promotion and
                          Proposal in China
1. The current situation of OSS in China

        Progress of OSS in China
     1.1 The current state of development
China has achieved great achievements in the desktop operation system. The
configuration management and interface customization related to desktop
operating system has made great progress.
   In recent years, the growth of demotic OSS development is higher than the
international average development level. According to the "CCID" statistics, in
2004 China's Linux sales growth was 45%, which is higher than the global
sales growth of 34% in the same period. China has five major Linux Enterprise
now, which have enterprising spirit. They have developed and launched a
number of perfect Linux products in past few years, and market share has
been increasing year and year. They beat their foreign counterparts in some
large orders.
   In 2004, China's Linux software market sales reached 96.444 million RMB,
up 44.8%. Linux industries gradually become more mature and Linux market
becomes more rational. The process of standardization is promoted by the
Linux industry alliance. The Linux operating system market share has grew
from 1.7% in 2003 to 2.2% in 2004. Its influence has been enhanced.
   With government support, Linux software achieves great breakthroughs.
Our government has continuously increased the supporting to OSS technology
research including Linux operating system and application software during
"tenth five years plans”.
   Through Electronic Information Industry Development Fund, The Ministry of
Information Industry support the research and development of key projects,
including server, desktop and embedded Linux operating system, office
software and application software based on e-government. Great
breakthroughs have been achieved in research and development and
industrialization of Linux software products. Lots of domestic enterprises have
achieved success, such as Red Flag Linux, NeoShine Linux, Co-create Linux,
Turbo Linux, Kingsoft WPS Office, Yongzhong Office, RedOffice and other
cross-platform office software. It has greatly enriched China's Linux software
products market. These products have been also popularized in e-government
and other important fields. Furthermore, domestic Linux manufacturers
cooperate with other IT vendors to constantly improve their own product line.
   Currently, independent innovation and the revitalization of the software
industry have been quite successful. Linux operating system based on OSS
has been adopted in the server field and been began to implement in desktop
field. Recently, National Defense University of Science and Technology has
launched "unicorn" server operating system which is compliant with Linux and
used for application of information security. It integrates private intellectual
property software with kinds of OSS licenses.
   China has carried out international OSS cooperation actively. On July 22,
2004, China OSS Promotion Union was formally established. Accordingly,
Japan and Korea also established the corresponding organizations. The
purpose of China OSS Promotion Union is to promote China OSS
development and implement, to promote the exchange and collaboration of
Northeast Asian OSS, to contribute to OSS community by concentration of
China OSS strength.

    1.2 The problems
        FOSS doesn’t mean free in charge
Free software is not free software and the successful development of OSS
needs business model to support.

         OSS and independent innovation
People often misunderstand the development of OSS. They think that all the
technologies are public only if all the source codes of every model are public.
The so-called innovation technology is open technology collaborated and
developed by volunteers all over the world. They are against private
technology and independent intellectual property and think that OSS is
collaborated and innovated in total open condition. According to these reason,
they think OSS doesn’t exist and doesn’t need independent innovation.
   In the past, some domestic enterprises have not shake off the mentality
misunderstanding in OSS. What they have done is freedom downloading or
imitating other public OSS from internet, and then making some modifications
or patches. For the success technology, they not only failed to grasp the core
technology, but also failed to make independent innovation, which result in
poor quality in their products.
   In fact, OSS technology is generally composed of two parts, open
technology and private engineering technology which is composed of system
optimization, configuration integration and engineering experiences. OSS
innovation is not only reflected in the open source code, but also in
engineering implement which is not related to open source. Thus, OSS
innovation model should combine completely open "collective development",
"collaborative innovation" with not open, “independent development”,
“independent innovation” with independent intellectual property. For OSS
independent innovation, the first purpose is design and development of new
software based on OSS, the second purpose is promotion of products’ stability
and optimization which mainly focus products’ stability, computational
efficiency and flexibility expandability.

          Two mechanisms of OSS development: community and
OSS is mainly promoted by community development in an early stage. But in
the commercial implement process, further maturity of OSS will be affected
without enterprise development mechanism introduced. In order to strengthen
the OSS development, complementary mechanism of community and
enterprise development should be constructed for the development
mechanism. Community development mechanism is to innovate, and
enterprise development mechanism is for the stability which is needed by
engineering and industrialization.
  According to Microsoft's statistics, in the bugs existed in some famous OSS,
75% are found and corrected by enterprises, and 25% by open source
community. According to international OSS community’s statistics, in the OSS
features, 70% are developed by communities and 30% by enterprises. These
statistics show that it is very important for communities and enterprises to
communicate, supporting and complement with each other.

         OSS is not only Linux, but also the complete industry chain
FOSS has almost 30 years’ development history, and has experienced 5
stages, that is open source games in early age, development tools and
compiling tools, operating system, middleware and database system and
application software. According to the OSS development history, OSS has
already constructed a complete chain of the software industry. So, to
participate and support OSS, beside operating system, there are lots of other

         Small businesses, or bigger, stronger and sustainable
With the rise of OSS movement, enterprises can quickly customize or develop
software based on OSS in the short term. There are two trends. One is that
OSS is directly downloaded, modified, customized, packaged and sell. It is the
small business that can benefit in the short term but not good for China
software industry. Another trend is that, based on OSS, study and digests
information, resources and technology taken by the source codes, and
develops OSS in deep level, so as to achieve technology breakthrough and
innovation and will make software enterprises bigger and stronger, eventually
realize the software industry continued development in China.

        Domestic and international cooperation
The most notable feature of OSS is “open”. From the perspective of
development, OSS can lead progress and breakthrough to maximize based on
the existing basis. Therefore, compared to OSS development trend, it is not
harmony that self-development in a closed environment, it is easy to result in
duplication work on low level. So the development of OSS needs to establish a
development model that domestic joint and international cooperation. It can
also promote the combination of OSS and China software industry.

        Current situation of OSS technology in China (Japan/Korea)
1) Lack of development work
2) Can’t been involved into international open-source project
3) Short of skillful developer

        Current situation of OSS application and main business

        models in China (Japan/Korea)
OSS has got great support by Chinese government after Linux entered China
in 1998. As a delegate of OSS, Linux brings a direct benefit that it has greatly
promoted Chinese software technology in short time. OSS can also help to
protect national security in key industries. So OSS has been written in national
software policy. But the industrialization of OSS needs to be completed by
manufacturer. Without a good business model, OSS could only remain at a
very preliminary stage.
   In recent years, China has tried and explores a lot in OSS business model.
Currently, profit is achieved mainly through service, hardware, integration and
segmentation version (divided into free version and charge version).
   OSS has achieved great success in outstanding enterprises and successful
cases abroad, while in China it is still very difficult. In foreign countries, the
scarcity of technical staff and the high cost make OSS extremely useful. On
the contrary, China's more technical staff and lower development cost reduce
the demand of OSS, which make China's OSS survival pressure increased.
Overall, China's OSS is still very fragile, the business model is still immature,
the goals still have a long way to realized.

2. Status of OSS-based desktop application


        Problems in OSS desktop development and application in

        China (Japan/Korea)
    1) Compatibilities of application are inadequate
    2) Lack of hardware manufacturers’ support
    3) Users need training

         Negative effects of Linux operating system's multi-vendor,
         multi-standard and multi-version situation
The operating system is the basis of e-government system. But in view of the
multi-vendor and multi-version situation which is determined by the
characteristics of Linux, the development of application system providers has
become difficult and complicated, the operation of users has also become very
inconvenient. Problems derived from the operating system include:
     1) The disunity of APIs between Linux products increases the difficult of
application software development and reduces the portability of application
     2) In these operating systems, there are some problems in the Chinese
code, Chinese input method, and printouts and so on. These problems result
in obstacles when exchanging documents, less compatibility of input method
software and inconsistent font or no font when printing;
     3) The configuration, performance and technical standard of Linux
operating systems are inconsistent and poor available;
     4) Different user interface styles and inconsistent method of operation
increase the difficulty and cost of usage;
     5) Linux application software, particularly the office suite, is still on a small
scale. The scope of choice is small;
     6) Lack of device drivers which should been provided by hardware

         Domestic software and hardware products are difficult to
         coordinate with
In China, the e-government basic platform, entirely based on domestic
hardware and software products, is still in its early stage of development. It has
become a major obstacle of development of domestic e-government system
that there is no unified standard, no mature business model and less
compatibility between the domestic hardware and software products. The
projects need to coordinate with include:
     1) Adaptation between server hardware and the Linux operating system;
     2) Adaptation between server hardware and the Linux operating system;
     3) Interconnection between domestic middleware and database.

         Difficult to integrate with existing e-government systems
With the recent years’ development, many government units and some
industries have built some e-government systems. Because the technologies
and standards they used are mostly based on Windows system, which are not
as same as Linux platform, the integration with existing system will be difficult.
         Applicability analysis and research of OSS-based Solution in
             Cost of acceptance to OSS in China—benefit analysis
             Main potential risks of OSS for China
     ( 1)Linux applications have some hidden problems unresolved,
foundation of native e-government is not solid
With the technology application of Linux operating system and J2EE
technology framework increasingly mature, Linux is showing a good
momentum of development. It’s correct that "cross-platform", "native",
"industrialization" are regarded as the basic strategy of China's software
industry's development. However, we should pay close attention to the
limitations of the Linux platform and its applications. Otherwise, the foundation
of native e-government will be shaken.

          Linux security risks still exist
The implementation of e-government and e-business, the defense of country's
"electronic airspace", all these reliant on secure computing environments.
Generally, secure computing environment includes two aspects: One is
security of software and hardware; the other is whether the key products and
technologies possess independent intellectual property rights, which is
considered from the national security point of view. For China's computer
application in practical terms, both of these problems are related to the
open-source Linux system. Build secure computing environment with
independent intellectual property rights is an important goal of Linux industry
development in China, as well as opportunities.
   From the technology point of view, the secure computing environment firstly
needs secure operating system, so currently domestic research focused on
the development of the secure Linux operating system. The security issues
existed in the current GNU/Linux includes the following:
      1) Access control is not perfect, and the super user has excessive
In the existing GNU/Linux system, if the user ID is "0", he can implement many
system management operations, such as module loading/unloading, path
setting, firewall rules setting and so on. Therefore, if the intruder gets the super
user privileges, he could do whatever he wanted.
      2) File systems are not effectively protected
The Linux system has a lot of important documents, such as /bin/login. If
hackers access to the system, he can amend the login program and replace
the original /bin/login. When he logged in again, he would not need any
account number and password. This is known as a "Trojan horse".
      3) Lack of process protection
Process provides various services. For example, HTTPD is a Web server,
which provides web content services for remote client. So in a Web server
system, it's very important to protect the process from illegal interruption. But if
the intruder gets the super user privileges, we can do nothing to help.
  In addition, the insecurity factors existing in GNU/Linux include applications
with too many flaws and unreliable authentication system.

         Users lack the confidence for e-government applications running
         on the Linux OS platform
Although Windows systems are popular in all field, but the limitations of its
openness, security and share are being gradually exposed. As an open OS,
Linux is arising from the unique feature which is paid attention to people, and is
supported by so many users. A lot of applications based on the Linux have
been used deeply in many fields such as the desktop, servers, e-government
and other fields, which are developing toward openness, compatibility, security
   From another way, though Linux OS and related applications have gotten
support by the relevant government departments, but users is still insufficient
confidence to use applications (including e-government) running on these
Linux OS platform, so it affects the development of the relevant market and
hinders the development of the relevant industries of Linux. On the using level,
the major worry for users:
     1) Worry about the system features, effectiveness, stability, compatibility,
ease and so on arise from the above six issues;
     2) The applications are used difficultly with other products related, and
the small scope chosen;
     3) The issues of compatibility with the current system and equipment,
such as, the issue of exchanging the data between programs running on the
Linux with programs running on traditional Windows platform or other platform;
     4) Before the products (system) are putted into the markets without the
authority of the survey, it is difficult to ensure the quality of some products;
     5) The products are famous poorly, while there are lack of the similar
products to compare with it.

( 2) The irrational structure leads to the whole advantages to play
          The product structure is not reasonable and it can not meet with
          needs of diversification Selection for users
China is a large country, regional differences, economic level, investment
capacity, application demand appeared quite different. In view of
e-government applications environmental requirements and user different
requirements of e-government products, it should show reasonable structure
for different user needs with personalized selection.
  E-government should promote a fair competition and an open selection
mechanism. When the government builds e-government system, they should
consider not only the selection system products, but also make out along-term
plan to consider to replace, upgrade and maintenance costs in the future, as
possible as to chose a safe products with a fair competition environment.
   Therefore, when users make a product Selection, they hope from the
hardware, operating system, database software to the office, any one of which
vendors and products are readily available alternatives. If they chose the
Microsoft products which are not open, not compatible with other hardware or
software, unless all costs.
   But a long time, in kinds of industries and provinces the e-government
systems are almost based on the operating systems and systems integration
technology which belongs to the same vendor. These practices make
drawbacks obvious: Poor opening, more security issues, Weak Cross-platform
capability, the high cost of the procurement, implementation and maintenance,
also easy to form the isolated islands of information-information systems, and
affecting the normal development of e-government seriously. The construction
of E-government system quietly depends on a single product type chosen in a
narrow range, and the options available of products are limited for low-end
   Therefore, In China the construction of e-government must depend on the
government demand-driven, IT vendors are needed to make full preparations
in technology, and planning and other areas, and in time following the wave of
e-government construction, publishing multi-level products met with the needs
of users.

         Industrial layout is not clear, not reflecting the whole advantage
         of the e-government industries
In the process of the e-government industry development, there are many
problems; the nature of the problem is that the industry layout is clear; it will
certainly affect the overall e-government industries advantages to perform.
The unclear of E-government industrial layout leads to market disorder, and it
can not form a reasonable model of competition. The market of IT industry is
disordered, because of not forming good order.
  As the temptation of the huge market prospects of E-government, many
hardware vendors, software vendors and systems integrators vendors have
quickly packed up their e-government systems supporting products to try their
best to occupy the huge e-government market share.
  However, this competition is disorderly, a vicious, blind. The capacity of
many companies often is not enough to supply products and result in cutting
apart e-government building quietly. Vicious competition is not good to the
form of rational industrial layout (a pinnacle, but also pillar), the whole
advantages of e-government industry can not be played, and thereby the
entire industry's healthy development is been affected directly.
  Industrial layout is not clear because the e-government applications has
been promote by companies in China, many vendors is still very superficial to
the knowledge of e-government. The drawback of this passive promoting
mode is that it is difficult to form synergy and reasonable division of labor in
early stage of the market, because, for all vendors, each has their own system
products and technical standards.

         Small in size and less high-end products, product system is not
E-government industry covers many fields widely, from hardware to software,
from the system software to the application software, the large number of
products, great market demand. But in the view of the results from the survey
(see Annex 2), the high-level market was almost occupied by the large foreign
companies, and system software and software supporting most of the
"high-level software" products are monopolized by foreign vendors.
   Chinese enterprises are generally small ones, its only has a place in the
low-level market, the high-level market is lack of competitive, the product
system is not complete, and thereby complete industry chain is also difficult to

(3)The lack of an effective promoting and services mechanism, and the
capacity of the industrial chain formed is not enough

         Application support is weak; an effective e-government
         industrial chain has been not formed
E-government industrial chain is based on the Linux platform in China. The
entire Linux industry environment is composed of three parts: desktop Linux
industry chain and the industrial chain of Linux servers, embedded Linux
industry chain, and three industrial chains form the Linux industry environment.
Including the chip manufacturers, hardware manufacturers, Linux software
vendors, ISVs (solution partners), SI (system integrator), they all plays an
important role in the ecological environment.
   E-government system as an integrated system, it is impossible to develop
independently, and database companies, business application software
company, middleware vendors, end users and so on ,are needed to be
integrated together well and it needs the government, media, software and
hardware vendor to support. The industry chain is including computer
hardware and the Linux operating system, basic software and application
   Linux OS: as the core of industrial chain, the development of Linux is
impressive in the past 1-2 years. By years the development of the native Linux,
from the beginning focused on the surface to dealing with concrete matters
gradually. They constantly improve their products, while paying attentions to
making users accept Linux OS gradually through training etc, and through the
close cooperation with others on the same industrial chain to jointly promote
native e-government applications.
   Government support: As the Chief Information System, the government's
support is the most important. The development of Linux has gotten much
strong support from government in China. By the end of 2001, software
procurement of Beijing Municipal government purchase the Linux platform,
using the Linux firstly in government department. By the end of 2002, the
Ministry of Information Industry and Ministry of Science and Technology
co-sponsored the “the seminar of Linux software and applications". In
February 2003, the National Informatization Office held the meeting with nine
ministries in order to implement the “Action Outline of the Promoting software
industry" (47). Under the guidance of the outline, the relevant documents will
be gradually published, the government will fix the support to Linux in the
specific policies to implement and regularize gradually in China.
   Hardware support: Native e-government system is based on the hardware
environment, Development and growth of it certainly depends on the support
of hardware manufacturers strongly. IBM is one of the vendors which support
best the development of Linux, its complete line of software and hardware
products support Linux, which has also been actively cooperating with the
government and to promote the relevant applications. Major objectives of IBM
Linux Solutions Center established in China include: support Beijing
municipal government to promote open software products and application
solutions based on Linux; Support and help application development based on
Linux in e-government, and testing and transplanting and training in the field;
Researching the strategies and methods of Linux industry development in
   On May 1999, Intel, HP, SGI, VA Linux and IBM initiated a coalition plan for
Intel Titanium Processor family and Linux. The purpose of this project is to
establish a Linux interface for Titanium architecture that will provide Linux for
Titanium support and its performance optimizing. Presently, Redflag Linux Inc.
was granted the authentication by Intel, and became a supporting vendor of
Intel Titanium Processor 2 series. At the same time, it was granted by Intel as
one of Linux vendors supporting super thread technology. HP, Dawning, AMD
and many other companies have release their productions supporting Linux.
   Software support: Including middleware, database system, OA system and
EGOV system, which are provided by SI and ISV.
   According to a research report of Forrester, a research company, in the
listed reasons by reviewers, why they don’t deploy Linux yet, 46% of the
receivers think that the big problem is no good support. But, with more and
more support of Linux from enterprise software companies, the problem will be
   Some main database companies, such as Oracle, Sybase and IBM, are
transplanting their productions to Linux. Oracle also joints Redflag into
strategic partnership, the result of partnership is the most Chinese customers
can deploy Oracle’s Unbreakable Linux architecture on Redflag Linux platform.
It will also promote the partner venders on technology and finance, then
encourage the ISV’s application development on Oracle Linux Software
   CA is one of venders that support Linux. Not only it productions supporting
Linux, but it also seeks more partners to promote the development of Linux
industry. BEA declared it would fully support Linux on Oct, 2002. PeopleSoft
collaborating with IBM released its enterprise solution based on Linux this year.
Borland Inc. brought us its Kylix for Linux development … …
   The effective ways to decrease cost of industry chain is establishing,
improving and extension of industry chain and internal balanced development.
Currently, our native EGOV industry chain is not effectively formed yet. It is not
clear for all kinds of providers that what point in chain they can create value on
for them. They also don’t form a effective industry division. Application
supports are insufficient in the chain, and it is a critical point in the whole chain.
  Presently, ISV and SI supporting Linux are already lacking, their productions
based on Linux already haven’t been able to use widely. Due to ISV and SI link
customs directly, so they will have important influence in promotion of the
native EGOV. Of course, with more and more supports for Linux, more ISV and
SI will see the potential development of Linux and begin to seek cooperation
with Linux venders. They will provide customs better application system,
including EGOV system, at the same time, via Linux; they can decrease the
cost of their own.

         Lack of effective mechanism for promoting service, no effective
In normal market environment, allocation of resources is spontaneous and
need cost. Industry chain is a procedure that is established naturally, each
point of the chain must depend on each other, same as the native EGOV. In
recent years, the development of our native EGOV is driven by market. But we
also realize market is not a only motivation on form and development of the
industry chain, it is a long procedure.
   From the condition of our native EGOV, we can see that it is not enough to
sustain the fast development of the industry chain if only depend on power of
market. From construction factors of the industry chain, government support is
very important, and has irreplaceable influence. The native EGOV industry
chain should be developed to have a core of applications; all points of chain
should cooperate with each other. So, from government’s promotion
mechanism, we must resolve these following problems, and improve integrity
of the industry chain:
   1) Lack of high level experience platform. It will impact the development of
high quality productions.
   In our country, most EGOV-related companies, especially some companies
who develop productions owning intellectual property right, have some
problems, such as smaller scale of business, low capability for research,
out-of-date for developing and testing platform. So it is difficult to improve their
research capability and develop high level and high quality productions that will
upgrade effectively their competition.
   So providing high level developing and testing platform will not only resolve
these companies’ problem, but also establish a technology and information
sharing service mechanism for related industry chain.
   2) Lack of advanced specialist, it is difficult to promote the level of
technology for these venders.
   Lack of advanced specialist is the main handicap for development of
venders. Due to finance strength, it is very difficult for most companies to
attract and retain those specialists. In spite of the large number of requirement
of specialist for native EGOV development, there is no training system for
application, management and marketing specialist on Linux industry.
   So we need establish a national training system through common service
mechanism, and establish a development platform for these specialists.
   3) Lack of effective intermediary service, requirement of a unimpeded
channel for production supply and demand
   Many companies have concentrate on native EGOV for a long time. They
have had some mature ones on basic production and platform production, and
that some productions have conspicuous advantages in price and
performance than foreign ones. But the acceptability, awareness and market
share of these productions is very low. Unimpeded channel of production
supply and demand is the biggest barrier.
   From the reality of our country and EGOV industry in these years, it is not
enough to only depend on these companies for establishing a chain of
production supply and demand. But our current cooperation allies and
promotion allies are very loose and ineffective. We need government to
promote establishing of intermediaries who will provide exhibition and trial
environment. At the same time it will promote the improvement of productions
and development of industry chain.

3. Desktop OSS Promotion Proposal

        Application proposal
1) Strengthen the building of OSS (particularly Linux) professional developers;
2) Promote OSS based applications in e-government and other industry;
3) Construct a non-profit platform for users and enterprises;
4) Normative related industries chain standards.

        Technology development proposal
1) Strengthen open source desktop operating system compatibility and
user-friendly development, and strive to improve the existing desktop
operating system's accessibility;
2) Increase the OSS based applications in network and server;
3) Increase the OSS based applications in embedded system.

        Business model proposal
1) Free Software + Charges hardware;
2) Free intellectual + Charges books (Training);
3) Free Software + Charges Implementation;
4) Community Version + Charges Version;
5) OSS + Commercial Software;
6) Free Software + Charges Services.

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