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[Linux-aus] Meeting with Chinese Government representatives re Linux.

At 8pm Sunday night, Bruce Badger, Brendan Scott, Conrad Parker and
myself met with a delegation from the Chinese Government interested in
learning about the open source industry in Australia.  The Chinese
delegation was in Australia to attend the Open Source Developers
Conference and who contacted Pia Smith to organise a meeting with local
representatives before they flew out today.

The delegation was lead by Mr Ji Zhi Yuan, Senior Engineer from the
High-Technology Research and Development Center part of the Ministry of
Science and Technology. Mr Ji was accompanied by Mr He Lian Yue, and Mr
Kim Bu Wu (spelling?) who is an Associate Professor at a University in
Southern China and who is providing advice to the Chinese Government
on issues of Open Source and Linux, and acted as translator during the

The Chinese Government have been investing heavily in the adoption of
Linux within China, and have two major Chinese Linux distributions Red
Flag and Cosix, mostly in the desktop market.  China has formed a
strategic relationship with Korea and Japan with regards to Linux and 
the development of standards for the handling of double-byte character

Recently, Linux has started being adopted for back-end systems, and a
particular example was the Construction Bank who have been relatively
successfully migrated their application to Linux, but who have faced
problems with support of older computer hardware, and the availability
of drivers for devices like card-scanners and printers.  

It appears that the delegation was interested in hearing about the Linux
development capabilities in Australia, and developing relationships that
would allow them to draw on Australian developers to assist with Kernel
and Driver development problems that they are facing.

Kim Bu Wu indicated that the purpose of their trip was about gather
information about individual and organisations in Australia, and to
gather ideas.  Much of the discussion centred around Licensing and IP
issues and who this may affect the Chinese Government's reputation, and
how it was dealt with in Australia. Another subject of much discussion
was how you make money from open-source, which touched on subjects
including dual-licensing, value added services, etc.

The main questions they asked were:
1) How do you make money from Linux?
2) Where has open source been used/implemented within Australia?
3) does the Australian government support open source desktops?
4) where is LotD implemented in Australian Government? 
5) what do we think of requiring software to be licensed under the GPL?
6) what do we think of OSRM?
7) what are the IP issues with Linux vs BSD?
8)  does the Australian Government use an Australian Linux Distribution?
9) Is there a common Australian Linux Distro?
10) Do we have many kernel or driver developers in Australia?

The delegation will now return to China and report their findings. The
next steps may involve them outlining open-source projects of specific
interest to them, and then approaching the Australian open source
community via Linux Australia and OSIA to identify how these projects
may be run, either as community projects or commercial projects or

The next trip to Australia will probably be to attend Linux.conf.au in

Personally, I found the meeting surreal. Conducting discussions with the
Chinese Government about their national Intellectual Property laws and
procurement policies was just plain  However, they seemed very
interested in the depth of skill and knowledge that Australia, and I
feel optimistic that this will lead to work for at least some local

If anyone has any questions about the meeting please feel free to
contact any of the attendees.

Marc Englaro 
Principal Consultant

Si2: System Integration Services International
Level 8, 33 Berry Street, North Sydney 2060
Ph: +61 2 9460 4533
Mb: 0418 763 945 
Web: http://www.si2.com.au