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August 17, 2005

Novell strengthens Linux commitment to China

Novell Inc has demonstrated its commitment to growing its share of the Linux market in China with plans to set up a new R&D facility and local support center in the country, as well as the launch of a Chinese language site for its openSUSE project.

By CBR Staff Writer

The announcements came the day after Waltham, Massachusetts-based Novell inked a new joint development agreement with the China Standard Software Co Ltd, CS2C, to develop new server and desktop Linux offerings for the Chinese market and signals the company’s commitment to take a lead in the Chinese Linux market.

The new announcements see Novell establishing a R&D center in Beijing by the end of the year to focus on Linux desktop R&D, Linux internationalization and localization, and high-performance Linux capabilities, including carrier-grade capabilities.

The company is also planning to establish an authorized support center in Schenzgen to support its Chinese customer base, as well as an authorized training center in Beijing with CS2C, with which it struck a services and marketing agreement in April, and a joint development deal earlier this week.

Novell is also planning to set up new offices in Guangzhou and Shanghai to provide support services, specifically in the telecommunications, financial services, and government sectors, as the company looks to consolidate its position as the largest Linux server operating system in the country.

Recent figures from IDC gave Novell a 32.9% share of the Linux server market in China by revenue, and 30% by unit shipments in the first half of the year. It is also looking to grow its market share by partnering with more local suppliers, including systems integrators, distributors, and software vendors.

Growing grass-roots support for the company’s SUSE Linux products is also an aim, with Novell launching a dedicated Chinese language site for openSUSE, its recently launched community Linux development project.

The site will be supported by Novell’s new Chinese R&D center, while the site will be localized and hosted in the country, enabling the openSUSE distribution to benefit from Chinese and Asian open source developers, and Novell to build developer-level support for its Linux distribution.

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The market for Linux in China is predicted to grow rapidly as the country’s throws its weight behind the operating system to build a viable domestic software industry. Novell is competing with local firms including Red Flag Software Co Ltd, Sun Wah Linux Ltd, and Japanese firm Turbolinux Inc, as well as Western distributors such as Red Hat Inc and Mandriva SA.

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