China has kicked off a development programme intended to produce a home-grown operating system with equivalent functionality to Windows 98, and with compatibility with Office 2000 and Word, reports The People's Daily this morning.
The plan is to break the "monopoly of foreign office software," which we believe may be code for 'Microsoft,' and to this end the Beijing IT Industry Promotion Center announced two initiatives, "Yangfan" and "Qihang," intended to produce a Win98 level OS within a year. 18 companies and universities are worknig on them, and Yangfan 1.0 is already being deployed in government departments.
Win98 may seem like old news, but it's still useful for older, lower spec and cheaper machines. And if China did happen to produce an equivalent that had somewhat less bolloxed memory management, The Reg might even be up for a couple of licences.
The exact (or indeed even the approximate) nature of the software is however unclear. If the software is intended to be simply compatible with Word and Office 2000 file formats then the task isn't huge, but the development of an OS that would run these is a different can of worms altogether. And is it Linux-based, given that China's been quite keen on Linux in between taking money from Steve Ballmer? Or is it a Dos clone, or something else? We are intrigued, and would dearly love to hear from someone in the know. ®