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

Pia Smith pia at linux.org.au
Wed Dec 15 08:01:02 UTC 2004

Hi all,

just to follow up on this a bit, apologies for the lateness, I have had
meetings and connectivity problems.

> 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
> sets.

Red Flag is obviously related to Red Hat, and Cosix is a JDS based system.

> 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.

Thus they are looking for two things in Australia (apart from the advice
and such). They are looking for software developers, people who can work
on drivers, Linux and BSD kernels, software integration software and
others. They are also looking for integrators. People who can go to China
to assist with the big banking rollouts. I suggest we create a mailing
list purely for this purpose and anyone interested join the list, and
there we can have the technical discussions with the Chinese delegation to
determine where we can fit in. I certainly see a lot of opportunity here
for anyone interested, and the sad irony is that we have a lot of
unemployed developers. It is kind of awesome to know that they are
approaching us for resources :)

> 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
> both.

I would suggest that neither OSIA nor LA are at this point equipped to
deal with managing this, nor necessarily the most appropriate. I have been
advised that we should get DFAT or AusTrade involved. We could certainly
figure out a way to do it ourselves, but it'd be great to have this
opportunity also improve relationships between our two countries,
especially seeing the massive opportunities China presents in ICT in the
run up to the Beijing Olympics.

> 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
> people.

I had a great time meeting with them, as I had no idea who I was meeting
up with (sat night, prior to the meeting with Marc and co). We did
probably 1/4 of the conversation in Mandarin so that was fun :)


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