Category Archives: china

WPS Office – A Faithful Microsoft Office Clone for Linux

wps-office-ribbon

When is Microsoft Office not Microsoft Office? When it’s actually a faithfully-crafted imitation, of course!

WPS Office, built by Chinese development group Kingsoft, claims to be the leading free office suite in China. And with such a familiar looking interface that’s not a difficult notion to swallow.

Three applications make up the suite:

  • Writer – Word processing application
  • Presentation – Slideshow presentation maker
  • Spreadsheets – Spreadsheet application

Each of the apps are incredibly familiar in look to their Microsoft counterparts.

Compared to other free offerings like LibreOffice, Google Docs, and Lotus Symphony, WPS has a distinct advantage: a lower learning curve for those already versed, trained, or used to the Windows apps.

Trivial sounding, sure. But for many the notion of having relearn what they already know fosters reluctance. WPS, with its marriage of free and familiar, has a good punt at solving this.

Features

The Qt suite apes the interface of Microsoft’s ‘Ribbon’ interface, and whilst I can’t tell you whether it’s 100% accurate in its replication (I haven’t used Microsoft Office long enough to tell), it’s certainly authentic looking.

For non-Ribbon fans WPS Office comes with the option of enabling the old, menu-based Office look

"Classic Look" Enabled in WPS Office

“Classic Look” Enabled in WPS Office.

WPS Office also adds a few handy features of its own, including an online pool of document templates and the ability to edit multiple documents in tabs.

Biggest drawbacks: the release is beta; it sucks at opening .ODT files. Oh, and the entire interface is in Chinese by default (though reader Mohammed Sayanvala has a fix for the latter on his blog).

Download WPS Office Beta for Ubuntu

The latest version of WPS Office, a beta, can be downloaded for Ubuntu 32bit by hitting the button below:

WPS Office for Linux

Once the suite has fully downloaded double-click on the .Deb file to install through the Ubuntu Software Center.

After installation completes you’ll be able to launch each of the three applications through the Unity Dash.

On first run you’ll be prompted to sign up to.. Well, I don’t know because my Chinese is non-existent. Suffice to say, you can slap any old rubbish into the required fields and it’ll disappear.

I Ain't Telling You Nothing...

I Ain’t Telling You Nothing…

Chinese Linux Distro Seeks Place in Ubuntu Family

IMG_2409

A  Chinese Linux distribution is looking to become an official sibling of Ubuntu.

Ubuntu Kylin, built using Ubuntu 13.04, is a loose continuation of China’s Kylin OS – one of the country’s most popular operating systems.

If approved Ubuntu Kylin would join Edubuntu, Xubuntu, Lubuntu, Kubuntu (and a few others) as ‘official Ubuntu flavours’.

Flavours benefit from engineering, server and other indirect support from Canonical.

But what is Kylin? And doesn’t Ubuntu already have a separate Chinese spin?

Let’s take a look at the details…

Ubuntu Kylin – More Than A Language Setting

“Our commitment is to ensure the integrity of the platform while at the same time facilitating local engagement.” – Mark Shuttleworth

Since 2010 Canonical has provided its own local-language spin of Ubuntu in Simplified Chinese called, unsurprisingly, Ubuntu Chinese Edition.

Alongside a different default language being set as default, the localised edition ships with some minor user-facing modifications, such as support for the Microblogging service Sina in Gwibber.

But Ubuntu Kylin, which Mark Shuttleworth describes as being ‘the successor’ to that work, aims to go further by ‘…providing a desktop user interface localised in Chinese and installing common software that Chinese users commonly use by default.’

For 13.04 the Kylin team will include:

  • Baidu Music Scope
  • Chinese Calendar
  • Weather Indicator (Using China meteorological administration data)
  • Easy installation of the WPS Office Suite

For 13.10, by which time they hope to have official spin status, the Kylin team will introduce further features, apps and services for the benefit of not only its own users but the wider community as well.

Significant Backing

Ubuntu Kylin is not typical of most community spins.

Kylin and its team boasts some serious backing behind it., including support from National Software and Integrated Circuit Public Service Platform (CISP); the National University of Defense Technology (NUDT), and indirect funding of contributors working on the OS from the Chinese government itself!

Furthermore Canonical will provide the team with ‘engineering support’ in a joint effort to build a better Ubuntu for Chinese users.

And this does make sense.

Ubuntu is fast picking up steam in China, with companies like Dell not only selling Ubuntu pre-installed on PCs but ensuring that Ubuntu has a noticeable retail presence.

And Ubuntu Kylin, if it gains backing from Canonical as an official spin, will be better positioned to offer Chinese consumers and device makers, an OS tailored better suited to them.

Summary

  • Kylin, a popular Chinese Linux OS, is switching to Ubuntu
  • Kylin has a significant presence in China, Chinese business and the Chinese government
  • Will integrate Chinese-specific services & websites into the Ubuntu desktop
  • Aiming to become an official Ubuntu ‘flavour’ by 13.10

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