China's Red Flag Linux to focus on enterprise
The shift marks a change from its client and embedded Linux focus
IDG News Service - The company behind China's leading Linux client distribution, Red Flag Software Co., is shifting its main focus to its server operating system and enterprise customers and planning to expand sales overseas, the company's acting president said in an interview Friday.
"The industrial market is our major focus this year and next year," Chris Zhao, acting president of Red Flag Software, said in a telephone interview. "A lot of enterprise customers have been moving from Unix and Windows to Linux, so that's our major focus." The enterprise focus marks a change from Red Flag's client and embedded Linux focus of the past two years, he said.
Linux makes up a small but growing part of the Chinese operating system market, according to market-research company IDC. Revenues totaled just $8.1 million last year on shipments of 2.1 million units. Almost all of those shipments were client operating systems, and Red Flag dominated that market, shipping 1.3 million units, according to IDC's estimate.
Server operating system shipments came to just 24,000 units, accounting for $5.9 million in revenue, said IDC.
From the talk of several years ago about using Linux, government and private enterprises are now starting to act -- and Red Flag has already won some enterprise contracts, Zhao said. He said Red Flag Linux has penetrated the government sector, plus the education, energy, communications, telecommunications and financial services industries as well. "There is a lot of adoption of Red Flag Linux in Chinese industry," Zhao said.
In attacking the enterprise sector, the company will be going up against TurboLinux Inc. Despite leading TurboLinux by about four shipments to one in the client market, Red Flag trailed the Tokyo company in the server market in 2003, according to IDC. TurboLinux shipped 14,600 units of its server operating system in China in 2003, which was more than double that of Red Flag, said IDC.
Red Flag won't be fighting the battle alone. Earlier this year, the company joined with Japan's Miracle Linux Corp. and its majority shareholder, Oracle Corp., to develop a standard Linux distribution for enterprise customers in Asia. The first version of the software, called Asianux, was released in June, and a 64-bit version for Intel Corp.'s Itanium II processor is scheduled for release this month.
With Asianux as a base, Red Flag and Miracle will develop their own distributions for their respective markets. The Asianux software is being developed to support Chinese, Japanese, Korean and English languages, and a Korean partner is also about to sign on to the project, Zhao said. "We will announce a Korean
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