26 January 2007

Behind the Great (Fire)Wall

Here's something I wish I knew more about:

Zhang Shiliang, who is in charge of the use of open source software in Beijing's Pinggu County government, spoke about the problems of Linux use in his organization. Chinese government is one of the biggest Linux buyers in the country. Since the Pinggu government began to push the use of open source software in 2004, 85% of their 4,680 computers have installed Linux or other open source software. But 53% of them still have to install Microsoft Windows as well, because their superior government uses Windows or other operating systems -- even other incompatible editions of Linux.

And some worrying figures at the end:

According to Lu Shouqun, China's sale of Linux was 175 million yuan ($21 million) in 2005, increasing 81% compared with the previous year. The sale of other open source software that year was 160 million yuan ($19 million). In the operating system market, the share of Linux increased from 4.2% to 9.8% between 2003 and 2005.

But Microsoft also won in that game. "In fact, China's increase of Linux users didn't impair the use of Windows," Lu says. According to his figures, Windows' share of the operating system market increased from 55.1% to 64.8% between 2003 and 2005. Linux mainly took users from Unix, whose share decreased from 30.9% to 19.8%.

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