Red Flag Desktop Linux is the leading distribution in China and surrounding regions. Its goal is to provide the most professional desktop product available. It has more than an 80% desktop share in the Chinese linux market, and over one million copies are shipped each year with KDE as its only desktop environment. Huang JianZhong, a Senior Manager in the Desktop Product R&D Department of Red Flag, speaks below about the history of Red Flag Linux and their relationship with KDE. In 2006, Red Flag Linux has been visible by joining the Open Source Development Labs and their
ongoing work with
Can you tell us about the history of your distribution? (How/when/why)
Why did you choose KDE and which version of KDE did you first implement?
At that time, KDE was more stable than GNOME. The KDE version was 1.1.1.
How did you find initial support for a new distro?
We got some support from DEC China and Founder China. Of course, the
biggest support was from Institute of Software,
What could KDE have done better to help new distros use KDE?
More flexible modular packages and performance improvements. Also, a
reduction of memory footprint.
What were your first impressions about KDE's documentation and community?
Great and complete, but no Chinese version.
How closely do your releases depend on KDE releases?
Historically, we wanted to keep the API of our release as stable as possible,
So typically we kept the version of KDE unchanged for long periods of time. We
would then backport some APIs and features from the newest KDE release.
Now, we have decided to follow the official release because we find that the
newest version of KDE is stable enough and fixes more bugs than our work.
Also, it always provides many new features desired by our customers.
Do you have a clear target audience for your distro?
All Chinese users who want to use Linux and KDE.
Do you have any user feedback mechanism? If so, what feedback do they have about KDE?
Yes, a powerful service network, bugzilla and forums.
In general, the feedback from customers is good: they have a
comfortable desktop environment. More feedback focuses on
hardware drivers and compatibility. But, if we can make KDE faster, that
In what ways do you customise the version of KDE that ships with your distro?
We never change the APIs and Core Libraries for compatibility reasons. Most work
focuses on "ease of use" and bugfixes. Also, we make an effort to work on GUI
improvements and application enhancements.
What are the biggest strengths of KDE for your distro?
The interface is similar to (forgive me) Windows, so the commercial
users have no need to change their situation. As for computer fans, they
can customize the desktop as what they want; KDE provides a great configuration system.
What are the biggest weaknesses?
Applications such as a Firefox KDE version (see below).
What KDE applications are the most popular among your users?
Kontact, Kopete, Amarok, K3b, Kaffeine and Konqueror as a file
manager (everybody use it).
Do you feel that you have a good relationship with the KDE community?
I am not sure, but we are trying to contribute more to the KDE community.
What feature would you as a distro maintainer like to see in KDE?
Integration between Konqueror and Gecko engine. Better KOffice ODF support and
interoperability with OO.o. However, we hope for a pure KDE environment.
Is the extended 4.0 release cycle an issue for your distro?
Umm...well, we have plans to adopt KDE 4 in our next release; so we are
waiting for it.
What are you most looking forward to about the 4.0 release?
A completely new and exciting user experience.
Do you plan any involvement in the beta/RC releases of the 4.0 release?
We hope so. We will do more bugfixes for KDE 4.
Any other plans for your distro in the future?
We have plans to implement some new features for the KDE 4.0 series, so we have some new ideas.