China Chooses KDE, KOffice for Desktop

NewsForge has
published what it bills as the "first-ever comprehensive English-language review
of Red Flag Linux". Most of you probably know that Red Flag Linux is the "official"
Chinese Linux distribution, and receives support - as well as contracts -
from the Chinese government. What you may not have known is that,
despite being based on Red Hat Linux, Red Flag Linux
has opted for KDE as its default desktop. Even more interesting, the
of their "Redflag Linux Desktop" product lists none other than
KOffice as the "desktop office
solution". Hats off to Red Flag Linux for
choosing the right product for the job. I'm not sure if the KDE
mailing lists are prepared for a billion more users, but it sure will
be nice to see how much KDE development is borne from
China's burgeoning info-tech industry!


by Anonymous (not verified)

I doubt that KOffice is really far enough as "desktop office solution". Obviously it was not enough advanced for Korean government. At least they will not be able to send spam letters because of missing serial letter functionality.

by Sage (not verified)

It's ready for those who have not foolishly locked themselves into arcane, proprietary and freedom-depriving file formats. KOffice does everything the vast majority of people need, is stable, fast, free, doesn't invade your privacy, does a fair job at importing other file formats and doesn't require you to sign a contract with a greedy, arrogant and law-breaking company.

As for Korea, you have no idea why they selected HancomOffice over KOffice or OpenOffice. Maybe it has something to do with the fact that Hancom Linux is a Korean company and they wanted to support it; maybe it has to do with the fact that they used Hancom products before and just decided to stay with it; or maybe you are right that KOffice and OpenOffice doesn't meet their particular needs. But since you don't know, your point is pure speculation, and there is nothing "obvious" about it.

by Me (not verified)

I think the main reason Korea decided to go with Hancom is politics. Mayby you've missed China and Korea isn't best friends..

by M (not verified)

"aren't" not "isn't".
maybe some grammar help would be useful in KOffice...

by Carlsen (not verified)

Please don't forget there is a lot of us talking another language than english. What we need is a lot more than grammar help from an office solution.

Men du kan jo prøve å korrigere dette. ( In norwegian )

by Andreas Joseph Krogh (not verified)

> Men du kan jo prøve å korrigere dette. ( In norwegian )
'norwegian' skrives med stor 'N' på engelsk -> Norwegian
.. korreksjon utført:-)

Andreas Joseph Krogh

by Leston Buell (not verified)

> (In norwegian)

Yeah, and since the material inside the parentheses doesn't end with a period (full stop), "In" probably shouldn't be capitalized, either. This looks like one of those "with many eyes, all bugs are shallow" thangs. If enough of us pitch in and submit patches, we just might be able to develop a completely error-free comment. Oh joy!

Mi tre sxatas tiel signifo-plenan, interkulturan, plurlingvan dialogon! (Cxu ankau en cxi tiu frazo oni trovos erarojn? Versxajne jes.)

by Brion VIBBER (not verified)

> (Cxu ankau en cxi tiu frazo oni trovos erarojn? Versxajne jes.)

Hmm, cxu ni bezonas gramatikokontrolilon por Esperanto en KWord? Tiu estus ankaux utila en la posxtilo ktp... Kaj certe en la novajxgrupilo!

by OhGod (not verified)

Non capisco perché vi ostiniate a non usare l'italiano... :-)

by julo (not verified)


by Freddy (not verified)

Also, ich finde es ja dreist, dass die Norweger jetzt Überhand gewinnen ;)
Wenigstens nicht in Olympia *g*

I think KOffice is a nice product and it should be *enough* for most people...

by i (not verified)

huy (in Russian).

by Brion VIBBER (not verified)

> Non capisco perché vi ostiniate a non usare l'italiano... :-)

Perché no siamo italiani, e no parliamolo? ;)

by Leston Buell (not verified)

> Perché no siamo italiani, e no parliamolo? ;)

Mia scipovo de la itala lingvo ne estas perfekta, sed mi kredas, ke oni devus diri:

Perché non siamo italiani e non lo parliamo.

Cxu ne?

by Brion VIBBER (not verified)

> Mia scipovo de la itala lingvo ne estas perfekta, sed mi kredas, ke oni devus
> diri: Perché non siamo italiani e non lo parliamo.

Nu, pri tio mi ne certas cxar mi ne parolas gxin! Jen la dilemo: kiel oni diru "mi ne parolas vian lingvon" por ke la fremdlingvulo komprenu vin, se vi ne parolas la lingvon...

by belochitski (not verified)

ãîðÿ÷èå íîðâåæñêèå ïàðíè :)

by Wolfgang (not verified)

A :-)) would have been nice.


by Leston Buell (not verified)

I think we *do* know why the Korean government chose Hancom Office:

1. It is a Korean product, and it is in the government's
interest to support a local company.

2. As a Korean product, its Korean language support
must be excellent.

3. It is my understanding that Hancom Office is
the de facto standard in Korea. So no problems
reading other people's documents and older documents.
Most existing government documents are probably in
Hancom Office format. (Even if KOffice had Hancom
import and export filters, they would not be perfect,
and they're always a hassle.)

4. The product is cross-platform. It runs natively on
Windows and Linux. There will be no problems stemming
from the fact that some employees will be using Linux
while others are using Windows. No need for
import/export filters.

5. From what i have read, it is a very good product
(at least the word processor component).

This makes Hancom Office sound like a no-brainer to me, considering the environment it which it will be used. I think that the only other product to come close to satisfying these criteria would be StarSuite (the Asian version of StarOffice), but with StarSuite users would need to use import/export filters to read older Hancom documents and to exchange files with Hancom users.

by Watermind (not verified)

Must say I agree.
I can't imagine anyone using KOffice seriously *yet*.
I even find it to unstable. I've had kspread crash on me way to many times.

by No One (not verified)

Whenever it crashes, I just open up another one. It even saves
documents for me. Just hope the Konqueror with the icon in it
doesn't crash.

Whereas, before I came to GNU/Linux, I would have entire OS crash
and the disks would have to be repaired... Finally I'd have to
go find the document's icon all over again.

by Neil Stevens (not verified)

"Hats off to Red Flag Linux for choosing the right product for the job."

Well said.

The details of this interest me. They mention "decades of games," so I wonder how many beyond kdegames they ship.

They mention a VCD player, so I Wonder if that's xine or what. If they can play VCDs with kaboodle I wish they'd tell me how they did it!

"Equipped with Netscape browser, pre-configured with 263/163/169/2911 dialup supporting environment." That's disappointing, though vague. They may center on Konq yet. Must get screenshots.

"Support up to 6.4 billion users and groups" heh.

by roger (not verified)

I don't know how they do it, but I read on about kio_vcd:

by Christian Schug... (not verified)

Yeah, there´s a Xine-Icon default on their KDE-Desktop.

I like Mplayer too.

Greetz from Germany

by DN (not verified)

The chinese government might have switched to Linux/KDE/KOffice. But Little did they know that after a couple of months, I bet that they are back with previous systems. This information gives the understanding that the whole entire China gov'ment sectors have adopted Linux, what is untrue. And among a population of 10 billion people, it is unlikely that the switch will it even 2% of it.

ip == Reality Check

by Aaron J. Seigo (not verified)

why will they be back with their previous solutions after a couple of months?

and no, this article doesn't give the impression that the all Chinese governmental concerns run Linux; although it should be alarming to those hoping Linux won't make inroads in the desktop operating system market.

p.s. china had a population of 1.273 billion in 2001, not 10 billion.

by chanio (not verified)

Having billions of users in Open Source systems are more significant that in other commercial projects, don't you think?
Imagine the speeds of future releases. Or just stepping by versions!
Would somebody imagine such a number of developers in any OS project?
Radical changes could appear in a very short time.

by Aaron J. Seigo (not verified)

i think having that many users would actually present new challenges to a Free software project. since they tend to encompass and encourage involvement by users and since the development process is very open and accessable to the public, one would have to wonder what sort of pressures would occur if the population of the "public" swelled to encompass hundreds of millions of people. it already gets fairly noisy as it is.

by rinse (not verified)

Hmm, I always thought that china has 1 biljon citizens :)
Furthermore, I don't really care if they all use Linux or what so ever. that the goverment is looking at Linux as a serious prospect is a big win for Linux..


by Hakenuk (not verified)

Guess how many computers are round there? The government has power. Education is very hierachical. So if the standard computer students books will mention KDE every Chinese it-student will learn this. That's it.

by Carg (not verified)

It's the Chinese government that is adopting Red Flag Linux, not the entire population. For the short term at least, people that run Windows will continue to do so.

It should also be noted that much less than 1.3 billion people have computers in China.

What's interesting about this is that the Chinese government will improve all the software shipped with Red Flag Linux (and that includes KDE) to have better l10n/i18n support for Chinese, which will solve many problems the Chinese may have had in adopting GNU/Linux.

by jj (not verified)

> What's interesting about this is that the Chinese government will improve all the software shipped with Red Flag Linux (and that includes KDE) to have better l10n/i18n support for Chinese, which will solve many problems the Chinese may have had in adopting GNU/Linux

That would be very good news. Does anyone know if there are any contacts between the Red Flag Linux developers and the KDE developers?

by Hakenuk (not verified)

Note that the american government puts much pressure on china in order to regard software licences. ´Most computers run illegal copys of win, so China ist just served as a future market by microsoft. Chinas support would be great. They will become more independent from us software and lack of software based espionage. Remember the boing airplane?

by n/a (not verified)

Correct me if I'm wrong, but the source code for Red Flag Linux is not available.

by Carg (not verified)

You're wrong. The source code for Red Flag Linux 2.4 is available here[1].


by Cral (not verified)

That directory doesn't exist. Not now it doesn't, but there are directories where you can download source RPMs.
I downloaded their Desktop 3 iso and when I booted it up for the first time there was this screen with just a box which looked like it wanted a serial number typing in. Unfortunately, the Chinese at the top of the box was broken, as is sometimes is in Linux, so I couldn't be certain what it was about. A serial number for Linux? I looked through their forums for users on their homepage and there was this one Chinese guy asking for the serial number for desktop 3, but the message was not there a couple of hours later. I mean, what's all that about, and why do they let you download a disc image if you need a serial number of all things to install it?

Yes. As far as I know, ALL the desktop linux distributions in China choose KDE as their default desktop. And, they all highlight KOffice as their "desktop office suit sollution". And so far, the KDE they shipped is better translated than gnome.
Check these sites(if you can read Chinese :):
Red Flag:
Yangchunbaixue: (a Chinese KDE, not a linux distro, with small screen shots :))

Hope Chinese young guys can Konquer their language barrier as soon as possible and contribute to KDE and/or Gnome (they already do so, but limited, yet)

by Ed Rataj (not verified)

Team KDE deserves the Gold. Even if only 10% of the Chinese
population use and contribute to Linux/KDE, that is a
potential of 100 million users and developers.

I better sell my M$ stock...


by Anonymous (not verified)

> Even if only 10% of the Chinese population use and contribute to Linux/KDE

50 indian people paid by Sun will contribute to Gnome according to a Slashdot.

by Ian Reinhart Geiser (not verified)

and they will make a difference?

look how much they have pulled ahead with the current help. basicly what it translates to is 50 more developers who will be guideing GNOME in SUN's direction...

silly mokeys will be so pissed when they discover SUN will base GNOME 3 (or 4 or what ever it is today)on Java instead of .NET... if they last that long...

really the fact that IBM is using KHTML and dcop means more than SUN throwing 50 developers at something that is still very broken...

-ian reinhart geiser

by Carg (not verified)

I do (and you should too) believe they´ll make a difference. In free software, any help is appreciated. Be it from 50 people working for Sun, or you and me.

GNOME has gotten pretty far actually. I have installed GNOME 2.0 post beta (from CVS). It´s very nice, and has what Sun wanted in the first place: accessibility (keynav, etc) and a _lot_ of usability improvements. With regarding GNOME, what´s good for Sun is good for all the GNOME users. (I also have KDE 3 from CVS installed).

As far as adopting Java, get real. It ain´t gonna happen. Ever. GNOME is written in C with the goal of supporting as many languages as possible. This means the core of GNOME will always be in C. And that hopefully GNOME supports/will support Java, Mono, C++, Python, Perl, Ada, etc. Sun has no power or desire to make GNOME become a Java project (rewriting GNOME would be too expensive for Sun: it would take a long time and would break source code compatibility big time. That costs more than people realize for a company like Sun). See the comments by de Icaza about moving GNOME to Mono: the same arguments apply.

And your comment about IBM is, IMHO, naive. They use DCOP, KHTML, and they use Windows for some of their products. Go to and search for ¨IBM¨. It´s a very big company.

by Carg (not verified)

btw, you saying GNOME is very broken is plain wrong. There are many people using GNOME and GNOME-based apps out there, they wouldn´t if you were right.

But my point is: GNOME doesn´t hurt you. KDE will not die because of GNOME. GNOME will never affect you in a negative way. And if having a lot of people running KDE is important to you, know this: it´s much easier to switch to KDE from GNOME than, say, Windows. So having a lot of GNOME users is good for you.

What I´d really like people to understand is that the people working on GNOME are ¨cool¨. They´re not losers. They believe in a lot of the same things that you do, and they´re not doing anything against anyone. They diserve respect, and having you saying something like ¨[GNOME is] something that is still very broken...¨, which is plain FUD, is not good for them, for KDE, for free software, for me, and, believe it or not, for you too.

You´re going to be a happier person if you love more than you hate. Give it a try.

by Thomas Piekenbrock (not verified)

Great Perspective when China moves towards Linux.

Asian (Japanese and Chinese) support has been a major headache for me as private Linux user. It is somewhat working nowadays, but support in applications is still something to be thankful for on individual basis rather than to be taken for granted. KDE supports it. Great improvement. Finding a font setting which looks good with both Asian and Roman characters is a challenge. Mozilla's Japanese version has 50% English menues. Why? Activation in applications differs between kde, gnome, and other x applications. Try copy and past between kde apps and Emacs. You won't enjoy it. The only way is: SAVE in emacs, reload with Kedit, then copy to KDE -- or the other way round. Koffice (I checked 6 months ago, maybe it is better now) messed totally up when I typed Chinese. Japanese was slightly better. I have high respect for the great work being done. But please do not underestimate the challenge of making a well working Japanese or Chinese environment, and -- printing. Asian truetypes must go all the way. Typing -- Preview -- Postscript -- Ghostscript -- Printer!

Staroffice 6.0 is still beta, so that is no option for the Koreans. I expect the official one to get some annoying bugs fixed. Koffice is for the future, but not yet as default. I downloaded the Japanese demo-version of Hancom. My first impression was *very* positive. I would seriously consider buying it, if I needed a good and reliable office SW on my home PC. Actually, it does not hurt the spreading of Linux, if there are a few good quality reasonably proced commercial packages available in addition to open SW.

China is the opportunity for Linux, including the desktop. But it is too early to boast about already achieved victories. It will be a loooong march!

by blashyrkh (not verified)

Thank you! Finally a wise person. I really hate to see the KDE crowd an the gnome crowd trying to rip each others guts out.
The developers of both camps (if that is the word even) respect each other.
And they deserve respect of both crowds too.
We're not animals are we? (uhm VietNam, W.W.II, Iraque, ...)
Just code, people, instead of fighting over this :)

by Anonymous (not verified)

> The developers of both camps (if that is the word even) respect each other.

Except for one, Geiseri. :-(

by dave (not verified)

I'd even go further and suggest that the continuation of gnome is in kde's interest, especially if it is used on other platforms (like solaris). Why, because it draws attention to linux on the desktop (if gnome's good enough for sun...) , so rather than dismissing linux on the desktop people might have a look and find themselves using gnome _or_ kde (or both).

by John Gustafsson (not verified)

It's a good thing that a lot of users (and a few developers as well, not many developers per capita in most countries after all) will be using KDE. It's (according to me) the only desktop that is any good at all that is available to the different Linux based OSes out there. So as far as that goes, it's definitly good.

I am on the other hand no beliver in Red Hat, and Red Flat apparently is based on it. Not so terrific as such maybe, and it's one more distro, which isn't that terribly good either. There is a limited amount of development happening in the world, duplication can both be good and counter productive. This falls in the latter category, again according to me.

China has a reputation of not caring about copyright (and as much as we hate the digital copyright developments, copyright is very good for us as citizens if you start to look at the whole picture. It's just that it's getting worse right now) and for wanting to make money. How will this hold up to the licenses and what will happen with code produced in China? It's a big subject, and I have no whatsoever answer up my sleave, I will let others debate it. So this could be horrible, or really great.

The Chinese state censors, it censors a lot, even more than the companies in the west does(which is yet another chapter to be dealt with). Is this a good thing? Well, no it's not of course. But what kind of implications will this have on the software? Again, touchy subject and no answers and a potential very big "not good".

About KOffice and grammatical checks (yes yes, there is another thread, but I am lazy, we all are;)): It's not easy to do, Chinese, Swedish, and Finnish (for example) are radically different and I would suggest that the KOffice/KDE people finds some computer interested linguists to help them and produce a spelling/gram check Komponent to be used within KDE.