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Mandrake and LinuxOne Bring Open-Source To China

By Matthew Beale
Sep 3, 1999 12:00 AM PT

Linux vendor MandrakeSoft announced a strategic partnership with LinuxOne this week. They intend to develop Chinese language business and personal software solutions, advancing the cause of open-source in a potentially explosive Internet and computing market.

Mandrake and LinuxOne Bring Open-Source To China

Under terms of the partnership, MandrakeSoft and LinuxOne -- a newly formed Mountain View, California-based developer firm -- are set to launch an open-source development center in Beijing. The Linux distribution will focus on Chinese market specific features in an attempt to establish itself in a region not yet dominated by Microsoft-centric software solutions.

"It is very important for the entire Linux developer community to join forces to provide value and choice to the customer by producing an alternative to Microsoft Windows NT," commented Dr. Wun C. Chiou, president of LinuxOne. The startup has already developed workstation and server versions of Linux that emphasize ease-of-installation and use along with support for new network technologies.

MandrakeSoft, who has made significant inroads already in the US and European markets, recently made the new version of its OS package, Linux Mandrake 6.1pre, available for a beta test download. In an environment charged with a highly successful Red Hat IPO (initial public offering), the France-based company has scarcely been idle.

A Major Player Backs MandrakeSoft

AXA Placement Innovation, the investment fund of AXA, recently completed an equity investment in MandrakeSoft. Peter Bieliczky of the AXA Investment Managers Group, commented that his firm "believes that MandrakeSoft is poised to be a dominant player in the emerging but potentially huge Linux market."

"MandrakeSoft has evolved very quickly since its inception a few months ago and we are strong believers in the Linux-Mandrake strategy and team," added Bieliczky. AXA Placement Innovation specializes in backing up and coming high tech firms.

The Linux Mandrake OS package features are as follows: an enhanced version of the Red Hat distribution; an Apache Web server; the EMACS and XEMACS development tools; Corel's WordPerfect; The Gimp image retouching software; the KDE graphics environment; and the Mandrake Touch graphical interface.

Authors Predict the Entrance of Linux Into the Mainstream

Originally "a pet project of a handful of developers on the Internet," the "media blitz" surrounding Linux has taken some open-source developers by surprise, including Matthias Kalle Dalheimer and Matt Welsh, co-authors of the book "Running Linux." According to Dalheimer and Welsh, Linux will continue its rate of growth, particularly for the desktop and the server arena.

As Linux moves into the mainstream, according to Dalheimer, "it will be regarded as a consumer product that you get pre-installed on your computer. This will take some of the magic away, but it will also help getting even more software and more users, which in the end is good."

"Running Linux," currently in its third O'Reilly edition, includes an installation tutorial, guidelines for network and Web site administration, system maintenance tips and programming tools.

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