A  Chinese Linux distribution is looking to become an official sibling of Ubuntu.

Ubuntu Kylin, built using Ubuntu 13.04, is a loose continuation of China’s Kylin OS – one of the country’s most popular operating systems.

If approved Ubuntu Kylin would join Edubuntu, Xubuntu, Lubuntu, Kubuntu (and a few others) as ‘official Ubuntu flavours’.

Flavours benefit from engineering, server and other indirect support from Canonical.

But what is Kylin? And doesn’t Ubuntu already have a separate Chinese spin?

Let’s take a look at the details…

Ubuntu Kylin – More Than A Language Setting

“Our commitment is to ensure the integrity of the platform while at the same time facilitating local engagement.” – Mark Shuttleworth

Since 2010 Canonical has provided its own local-language spin of Ubuntu in Simplified Chinese called, unsurprisingly, Ubuntu Chinese Edition.

Alongside a different default language being set as default, the localised edition ships with some minor user-facing modifications, such as support for the Microblogging service Sina in Gwibber.

But Ubuntu Kylin, which Mark Shuttleworth describes as being ‘the successor’ to that work, aims to go further by ‘…providing a desktop user interface localised in Chinese and installing common software that Chinese users commonly use by default.’

For 13.04 the Kylin team will include:

  • Baidu Music Scope
  • Chinese Calendar
  • Weather Indicator (Using China meteorological administration data)
  • Easy installation of the WPS Office Suite

For 13.10, by which time they hope to have official spin status, the Kylin team will introduce further features, apps and services for the benefit of not only its own users but the wider community as well.

Significant Backing

Ubuntu Kylin is not typical of most community spins.

Kylin and its team boasts some serious backing behind it., including support from National Software and Integrated Circuit Public Service Platform (CISP); the National University of Defense Technology (NUDT), and indirect funding of contributors working on the OS from the Chinese government itself!

Furthermore Canonical will provide the team with ‘engineering support’ in a joint effort to build a better Ubuntu for Chinese users.

And this does make sense.

Ubuntu is fast picking up steam in China, with companies like Dell not only selling Ubuntu pre-installed on PCs but ensuring that Ubuntu has a noticeable retail presence.

And Ubuntu Kylin, if it gains backing from Canonical as an official spin, will be better positioned to offer Chinese consumers and device makers, an OS tailored better suited to them.


  • Kylin, a popular Chinese Linux OS, is switching to Ubuntu
  • Kylin has a significant presence in China, Chinese business and the Chinese government
  • Will integrate Chinese-specific services & websites into the Ubuntu desktop
  • Aiming to become an official Ubuntu ‘flavour’ by 13.10
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