Canonical looking to tap Dell to promote Chinese version of Ubuntu OS

In March Canonical announced the Chinese version of its Ubuntu OS, with the support of Chinese government institutions

Ubuntu Kylin running on a desktop.

Ubuntu Kylin running on a desktop.

Canonical is in talks with Dell on making a version of Ubuntu supported by the Chinese government available as a pre-installed OS on the PC maker's upcoming products destined for the Chinese market.

Dell is a global partner for Canonical, and so the two companies are discussing using its Ubuntu Kylin OS in the future, said Leonard Tsai, Canonical's Asia Pacific president, on Wednesday.

"When domestic users purchase Dell notebooks or desktops, what they'll buy is already pre-installed with Ubuntu Kylin," he said on the sidelines of the Dell Solutions Summit in Beijing.

Pricing and possible launch dates for the product will be up to Dell to decide, Tsai said. But the device could be targeted at students and government or military groups, he added.

In March, Canonical announced that China had picked its Ubuntu software as the reference architecture to create a new standardized operating system in the country. Along with Canonical, the government-linked China Software and Integrated Chip Promotions Centre and the country's National University of Defense Technology are also contributing to the project.

By partnering with the two institutions, Canonical wants to incorporate more Chinese elements into its Ubuntu OS, Tsai said. "We hope it will become a reference version, and allow China to support its own more suitable operating system," he added.

In April, the first version of Ubuntu Kylin was released, and by July downloads for the software had reached over 70,000.

Dell declined to discuss its product roadmap. The company has previously worked with Canonical to deliver a notebook, the XPS 13, installed with Ubuntu that was meant for developers.

The next version of Ubuntu Kylin 13.10 will be released in October, and will feature more localized features aimed at Chinese users, including better messaging and personalization, Tsai said.

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