Sat, Jun 03, 2006 - Page 1 News List

Government says all new PCs must be Linux-friendly

By Jason Tan  /  STAFF REPORTER

The government-run Central Trust of China has mandated for the first time that all desktop computers purchased from now on must be Linux-compatible, demonstrating the government's desire to widen the nation's usage of open source software.

"It is a global trend that Linux is gaining wider adoption due to its lower costs and better adaptability," Mike Lin (林智清), a consultant at the Taipei Computer Association (TCA), told the Taipei Times yesterday.

Taipei-based Central Trust -- whose operations include banking, insurance, trade and warehousing -- is in charge of purchasing computers and other equipment for government agencies and schools.

Central Trust commissioned TCA to run compatibility tests on desktop PCs manufactured by bidding vendors to ensure their products are able to operate on the Linux system.

The new requirement is in effect as of the 11th tender, which began last month and runs through September, according to a report in the Chinese-language Economic Daily yesterday.

About 120,000 desktops will be procured during the 11th and 12th tenders, the report said.

"In the past, some of the procured computers did not support Linux, therefore this new mandate signifies the government's push to reduce reliance on the Windows operating system," Lin said.

Thirty-three desktop models from hardware vendors including Acer, Asustek, Lenovo and Hewlett-Packard Taiwan, were certified Linux-compatible, while four models each from Gigabyte Technology and Synnex Technology International were still under evaluation, according to the newspaper report.

In the legislative session held late last year, legislators reached an

additional consensus that there should be a 25 percent cut of procurement

budget on Microsoft's products across all government agencies, citing that

the solutions — which monopolize the market — are too expensive.

In response, Microsoft Taiwan Corp yesterday said that it respected the

government's decision for the Linux inclusion into desktops, as long as the

market is competing on a fair ground.

“Consumers are free to choose their preferred products, and will find ours

more user friendly,” said Vincent Shih (施立成), a legal director at

Microsoft Taiwan.

He added that prices of the company’s solutions here are not higher than

those selling in other countries.

“As a whole, the total deployment costs of open source do not necessarily

lower than Windows’. We will continue to negotiate the rulings with

legislators,” he added.

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