China will upgrade a “significant” number of PCs to Linux by 2020


China have announced a new time frame in which they will move to a new operating system. It will consist of 15% of government computers being switched to Linux per year. The report by Ni Guangnan outlining the transition won government approval and by 2020 the Chinese Government’s transition to Linux should be complete.

Earlier this year the Chinese Government decided that they would ban the use of Windows 8 and upwards on Government computers due to security concerns about the operating system, it was assumed that China would seek to move to a Linux distribution for government computers, this has been confirmed and they plan to make the complete switch by 2020.

An alternative OS has not yet been finalised although it is likely to be a home-grown Linux distribution a likely choice might be Ubuntu Kylin as the government in China have been promoting the distribution for those looking to move away from XP.

The timetable to replace the Microsoft product also extends to servers, chips and software. The China Banking Regulatory Commission has already informed banks to swap to domestic operating systems too.

Microsoft is not in a good position in China, they are currently being investigated for monopolistic behaviour similar to what happened in Europe which led to the browser ballot box being distributed in the OS a few years ago.

[Update]: The news originated from Chinese news sources and has been picked up by many western news sites such as Reuters and the Guardian and Forbes. One discrepancy that has been noted in the comments is the fact that the Chinese news sites who reported the news did not include a source for the report. Also the details regarding the distro that will be used are vague at this point, currently China has three prominent distribution of Linux which include Red Flag Linux, Kylin and Ubuntu Kylin. The latter seems the most well supported at the moment although nothing has been finalised. I’ve also changed the wording of the title from “China will upgrade all PCs to Linux by 2020″ to “China will upgrade a “significant” number of PCs to Linux by 2020″ to reflect the translation in Forbes’ article.

Source: Softpedia

Free and Open Source software advocate. I’ve been enthusiastic about new technology for over half a decade and now I’m just waiting for the technological singularity. Post-Snowden, I’ve developed a dislike for surveillance meaning I use FLOSS religiously over proprietary alternatives. Amateur Astronomy is also a hobby of mine!


  1. Even if none of those PCs are running a licensed version of Windows, that many PCs leaving the Microsoft ecosystem has got to be a huge loss for Microsoft. Especially if those government officials spread around how easy using Linux in the office is. I wonder if the fact that established Chinese software like Kingosoft/WPS Office is available on Linux helped.

    • They were all bootleg anyhow. But this will have repercussions all over the world. People are going to see Windows for the security threat it is.

      • That is a misconception. PCs run by govt agencies and businesses ( at least large ones) have licensed windows and other s/w on them; its mostly homeowners who use bootleg s/w. Same is true all of Asia.

        • I thought I recall a multitude of different surveys over the years that suggested an easy majority of Microsoft based software in China, whether government or home user, was indeed pirated.

          Of course I haven’t been to China to verify it for myself, but it still raised an eyebrow.

      • You link to Softpedia. Softpedia links to a Taiwanese site called Wantchinatimes.

        Wantchinatimes has no link. So there’s no confirmation.

        I suspect Wantchinatimes is basing its report on this – – Computerworld story that reports on this story – – from a Chinese outlet called

        The report reports on a People’s Post story. But doesn’t link to it.

        I can’t find the People’s post.

        So here we are with all these stories, and not a single link to the actual document. And no actual interview with the man who is allegedly driving the decision to take China entirely to Linux.

        I call bullshit.

          • Having read the article I can now say it simply does not support your headline: nowhere does it say that China has decided all PCs will be Linux by 2020.

            It reports that Ni has led the formation of an alliance to develop a national Linux. Of course China already has Red Star Linux.

            ironically, the story also says Ni hopes to have a desktop Linux ready in a year or two. Your headline may be wrong – by being too late with a prediction! And still no link to the supposed report making the move to Linux policy.

            As for the fact The Guardian and Reuters have reported something: that’s no guarantee it’s right. Or even well-sourced.

            My interest in this? I’m a journo. I do try to source things well in my writing.

          • The article title isn’t wrong. They may well want a distro ready before that but they still have to roll it out. I tried viewing Ni’s papers but the link I found only contained a portion of a different paper, I was after an email address to contact him directly.

          • Good on you Paul. Many would not undertake the updates you have already done. Thanks for doing so.

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