August 18, 2003

Open Asia: Variety of distros energize the continent

- by Frederick Noronha -, a site offering a lot of information on the varied
Linux distributions available, points out that while nearly a
quarter of all distributions were initiated in the US, with Canada coming a
close second, Asian countries are also making it to the big leagues in
terms of distro releases.

Latest developments in the Middle East

In the Middle East, GNU/Linux is reported to have caught on with
major universities in Jordan, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, and other
countries. Also in business, oil and gas companies in the Gulf,
some banks, and other companies are adopting it, according to reports by Zeid
Nasser. IBM recently finished Arabizing the major components required to run GNU/Linux on the
client side and is also working on Arabic support for Motif and X-term,
OpenOffice Writer, and Mozilla.

Among GNU/Linux fans there have also been Arabization efforts. A grass-roots
development group called Arabeyes has been developing Arabic support for KDE. Arabeyes is a meta project aimed at fully supporting the Arabic
language in the Unix/Linux environment. It is designed to be a central
location to standardize the Arabization process, and relies on
voluntary contributions by computer professionals and enthusiasts all over
the world.

Recently, Arabeyes announced the release of Katoob, a
small text editor for *NIX operating systems, based on the GTK+ library 2.0.

In all, some nine distros come from Japan, including Happy Mac, Holon, LASER5,
Media Lab, Miracle, Omoikane, Plamo, Turbolinux, and Vine. China has five --
Cosix, Dynasoft, Magic, Red Flag, and Xteam. Four came from
South Korea -- Hancom, MIZI, NuxOne and WOW. India has three -- Atomic, ELX, and Onebase. Hong Kong (Chinese 2000
and Thiz), Philippines (Bayanihan and Lorma), Taiwan (CLE and Linpus), Thailand (LinuxTLE and Phayoune), and Turkey (Gelecek and TrX) have two distros each.

Of the DistroWatch's 10 major distros, however, only four however have Asian
language support, and that support is limited to four languages
-- Chinese, Japanese, Taiwanese, and Korean.

Tip of the week: The State of Open Source (SOS) site is an attempt to
"document and hopefully leverage activist experience in support of free
software and open source issues around the world and especially in
developing countries". It has links to Asian countries like Cambodia, China, India, Korea, Malaysia,
Pakistan, Taiwan, Thailand, and Vietnam, along with others elsewhere in the world. Issues this site talks of include activism, education, gender,
hardware-recycling, health, public administration, science, software
localization, and Third World develoment, among others.


  • Open Source
Click Here!