Sun Selected to Power Desktops in China

Sun Microsystems has struck a deal with the People's Republic of China, granting it the right to establish its Java Desktop System as the nation's standard desktop software.

The agreement was reached with two government ministries and the China Standard Software Co., Ltd. (CSSC), a consortium of state run technology companies assigned with the task of bridging the digital divide among China's 1.3 billion residents - specifically between the eastern and western portions of the country.

The technology licensing agreement allows CSSC to brand its own products using Sun's Java Desktop System as the foundation of its desktop standards. By the end of 2003, the Chinese government plans to install approximately 500,000 to one million seats per year, with the ultimate goal being a massive roll out of 200 million machines.

Sun's desktop sports a similar look and feel to Windows. In addition, the software offers document and printing interoperability with Linux, Solaris and Microsoft Windows environments.

According to a report in eWeek, the Java Desktop Systems will be powered by a customized version of Linux supported by the Chinese government and its technology partners. In January 2000, China mandated use of its home grown Red Flag Linux distribution.

In previous releases, the Java Desktop System has been traditionally stacked on top of SuSE Linux. SuSE has since been purchased by Novell, which is now facing threats of legal action by SCO as a result of the acquisition.

Commenting on the deal, Sun's executive vice president of software, Jonathan Schwartz, said, "Open standards are at the very foundation of Sun Microsystems - enabling connectivity, communication and community. The alliance with CSSC, in concert with the Ministry of Science and Technology (MOST) and the Ministry of Information and Industry (MII), creates a vast opportunity to use the Linux and Java Desktop System standards to bring information technology to hundreds of millions of citizens across China."

According to Sun, the price for the Java Desktop System is $100 USD per desktop user or $50 USD per employee, priced annually. However, terms of Sun's deal with China remain closed and confidential.

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