I’m not a big Linux user, so I was surprised and impressed when I stumbled across StartOS today, the first Linux-based operating system from Chinese startup Ivali. StartOS is a Linux-based system that’s targeted at Chinese users and boasts simplicity and stability as its primary advantages.
The OS — available as a free download — can apparently be installed from a Windows machine with extreme ease and remarkable speed. From there, the experience is all about safety, stability, and simplicity. Obviously Linux machines are less vulnerable to infection in general than Windows ones, and StartOS claims its build is remarkably stable, though we haven’t actually gotten the chance to test that. Based on the screenshots, it looks fairly slick, and its most useful feature might be a built-in app-store-like interface that allows users to easily find and download Linux applications.
Previously part of another company that made the Ylmf OS, Ivali split off in June of this year (its website just launched yesterday) and began pushing StartOS 5.0, which is the spiritual successor to the Ylmf OS. Given that it has only been around a couple months, it’s a bit early to say whether Ivali will be successful, but it’s worth mentioning that Linux could be a tough sell in China, where the Windows operating system is such an assumption that it’s not possible to even do online banking without it. Will Chinese users embrace an OS full of open-source apps like LibreOffice when so much of the Chinese computing world is used to Windows XP, Microsoft Office, and Internet Explorer 6? Only time will tell.
Until then, though, you can check out StartOS for yourself if you’re interested in Chinese Linux distributions. If you do download it and take it for a spin, let us know what you think!