Monday, February 14, 2005

China's Preference for Open Source Technologies

From Playing the China card
By Bill Roberts

“The Chinese government doesn’t want to get locked into a Microsoft or Windows monopoly and wants to be involved with something it has some control over,” says Bob O’Donnell, an analyst at International Data Corp. As a result, the Chinese government is sponsoring several initiatives based on open source technologies, including the Linux operating system and chip architectures with at least some technical details available in the public domain. ... The Chinese seek low-cost computing options for a billion-plus people and hope open source is the forward."

"Some Western semiconductor companies understand this and are banking their China strategies on open source initiatives. Two recent examples are PMC-Sierra, which announced a partnership with Tsinghua University in Beijing to develop thin-client network terminals based on open source, and STMicroelectronics, which announced a partnership with China’s Ministry of Science and Technology to develop Linux-based microprocessors for computing devices ranging from handhelds to supercomputers."

"As appealing as going open might be as an entrée to the market, Brownridge says, Western chip companies must be willing to do more than just play the open card. They must work with universities and government researchers to help the latter develop their own domestic technologies. Byron Wu, an iSuppli analyst based in China, agrees. As important as the open strategy might be, he says, companies must be willing to offer expertise transfer to Chinese universities and companies. “The Chinese are still waiting for greater design capability [here],” he says. “Western partners must be willing to teach the locals the latest technology.” Read more


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