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 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.

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.

ubuntukylin-change-system-language

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:

ubuntukylin-login-screen

The desktop:

ubuntukylin-desktop

File window:

ubuntukylin-file-window

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

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.

ubuntukylin-chinese-input

2. a Chinese lunar calendar

A must have for many Chinese.

ubuntukylin-lunar-calendar

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.

ubuntukylin-weather-indicator

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.

ubuntukylin-chinese-music-lens

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).

UbuntuKylin

5 comments

  1. Does it have a full-fledged QQ client (IM *and* VoIP voice calls)?

    I ask because I’m trying to set it up my mum’s new laptop (Ubuntu 12.04 pre-installed). She really needs QQ *VoIP* (nt just IM) for her work, and I’ve tried (and failed with) pretty much everything short of installing Windows (either natively or in Virtual Box): native, Wine, web apps, even QQ for Android in Genymotion+ VirtualBox.

    If Kylin has QQ with VoIP, then I might just migrate her laptop to that and change the language settings to English (even if the QQ app is still in Chinese, it should be possible to work out how to use it anyway).

  2. I am planning to change my wife’s laptop from XP to Kylin.
    Main use is for online shopping, banking and social contacts, apart from browsing.
    So, apart from QQ, a few additional programs are needed:
    – WeChat (the Chinese Facebook)
    – banking and stock exchange trading programs
    – apps for online shopping (e.g., Taobao) and paying (e.g., Alipay)
    So far, I could not find these for Linux.

Comments are closed.

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