The Chinese government’s replacement for Windows is called NeoKylin, and it looks very familiar based on a hands-on from Quartz–which reports today that the OS is already running on more than 40 per cent of commercial units sold in the country by Dell.
Quartz fired up the latest “community version” of NeoKylin 6.0, which isn’t necessarily the same as what Dell is shipping its computers out with. The OS looks just like Windows XP, but the similarity actually makes sense for China. XP still sees a lot of use there, as Quartz writer Nikhil Sonnad points out, and Windows discontinuing support for the older OS is part of the reason China’s been pushing for new software.
Similarities aren’t skin deep for NeoKylin 6.0 either. The user folders have the same labelling system (My Computer, Recycle Bin, Control Panel). Built-in games include a Linux alternative for Minesweeper. And there’s even an Office-like suite pre-installed with applications clearly meant to replace Word, Powerpoint and Excel. What’s definitely not Windows is the Unix terminal–NeoKylin is of the open-source Linux variety. Plus, there’s no Internet Explorer. Instead, the Windows-Looking OS comes with Firefox.
If China’s NeoKylin were being graded on originality it would fail. But for the purpose of recreating an OS that the majority of the country wants to stick with, it passes. Though of course, China’s users could still replace NeoKylin if the XP-lookalike just isn’t for them.