A Review of UbuntuKylin: The Official Ubuntu Distro For The Chinese

There are different favour of Ubuntu that you can install depending on your preferences. Kubuntu, Lubuntu, Xubuntu are some of the few popular ones. But do you know that there is a Ubuntu distro specially for the Chinese?

Ubuntu Kylin is the official Chinese Ubuntu distro and it comes with features targeted at the Chinese market. China would probably be its biggest market, but any Chinese in the World will be able to use it, and love it too.

The History of Kylin

The Kylin OS was formerly developed by academics at the National University of Defense Technology in China. It was based on FreeBSD and was intended for use by the Chinese military and other government organizations. In 2013, the Chinese Government reached an agreement with Canonical for them to release a Chinese version of the popular Ubuntu distro and it will be used as a national OS.

For those who are not aware, the name “Kylin” was named after the mythical beast “Qi Lin”, a hybrid of a dragon head and tiger body which represents good omens, protection, prosperity, success, and longevity.

Testing out UbuntuKylin

UbuntuKylin is available for download at their homepage. The main differences between UbuntuKylin and the usual Ubuntu is that the default languages and user interface are in Chinese. The good thing is, if you are familiar with Ubuntu, you can get by the installatin without any issue, as all the steps are exactly the same.

Once installed, you can also switch the system language to English and use it like you normally do.


The theme used in UbuntuKylin is also different, and I think it is much more beautiful than the standard Ubuntu. (I always like Chinese distro, because they are always more beautiful and elegant. Deepin is one good example).

Here is the login screen:


The desktop:


File window:


For those who are interested in this theme, you can install the ubuntukylin-theme in Ubuntu 13.04.

sudo apt-get install ubuntukylin-theme

What’s new in UbuntuKylin

There are few things that are specially made for the Chinese market:

1. Chinese input

I have previously installed Chinese language input for Ubuntu and it is always a hit or miss. In UbuntuKylin, it is using “Fcitx” as the default Chinese input and I am glad that it worked much better than I expected. You can simply switch the the language input with Ctrl + Space and it includes Wubi, Wubi Pinyin, pen, Cangjie, breeze, Bingchan holographic, spelling as well as location coding table.


2. a Chinese lunar calendar

A must have for many Chinese.


3. a Chinese weather indicator

This is useful only if you are located in China as it doesn’t allow you to add location outside of China.


4. a Chinese music search scope

The good thing about this lens is that it provides a good and quick way to search for Chinese music from the Dash. The bad thing is that it doesn’t work outside of China.



For Chinese user, UbuntuKylin is really a useful distro with a strong and stable Ubuntu base and Chinese localization. I am always frustrated with the Chinese input in Ubuntu and the inability to search for Chinese music/video from the dash. Even the music store in Ubuntu doesn’t come with any Chinese music. With UbuntyKylin, these features are in place and they are pretty well done. Even if you are not proficient with the Chinese interface, you can change the system language to English, or whatever language you are comfortable with.

I am already planning to install this on my dad’s laptop (fyi, my dad is a 70 years old traditional Chinese man who just started learning computer recently, and he is currently using Lubuntu. No points for guessing who installed it for him).



Damien Oh started writing tech articles since 2007 and has over 10 years of experience in the tech industry. He is proficient in Windows, Linux, Mac, Android and iOS, and worked as a part time WordPress Developer. He is currently the owner and Editor-in-Chief of Make Tech Easier.

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