Kylin (operating system)

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Kylin OS.png
Kylin Linux 4.0
Developer National University of Defense Technology
OS family Unix-like
Available in Chinese, Arabic, English, French, Spanish, and 50 others
Kernel type Monolithic (Linux kernel)
Official website

Kylin (Chinese: 麒麟; pinyin: Qílín; Wade–Giles: Ch'i-lin) is an operating system developed by academics at the National University of Defense Technology in the People's Republic of China since 2001. It is named after the mythical beast qilin. The first versions were based on FreeBSD and were intended for use by the Chinese military and other government organizations. With version 3.0 Kylin became Linux-based, and there is a version called NeoKylin which was announced in 2010.

In 2013, it was announced that a new Linux-based operating system with the same name would be released using Ubuntu. The first version, Ubuntu Kylin 13.04, was released on 25 April 2013.

FreeBSD version[edit]

Development of Kylin began in 2001, when the National University of Defense Technology was assigned the mission of developing an operating system under the 863 Program intended to make China independent of foreign technology.[1] The aim was "to support several kinds of server platforms, to achieve high performance, high availability and high security, as well as conforming to international standards of Unix and Linux operating systems."[1] It was created using a hierarchy model, including "the basic kernel layer which is similar to Mach, the system service layer which is similar to BSD and the desktop environment which is similar to Windows."[1] It was designed to comply with the UNIX standards and to be compatible with Linux applications.[1]

In February 2005, "China Military Online" (a website sponsored by PLA Daily of the Chinese People's Liberation Army) reported the "successful development of the Kylin server operating system", which it claimed was "the first 64-bit operating system with high security level (B2 class)" and "also the first operating system without Linux kernel that has obtained Linux global standard authentification [sic] by the international Free Standards Group".[2]

In 2006, it was claimed that the Kylin operating system was largely copied from FreeBSD 5.3. An anonymous Chinese student in Australia, who used the pseudonym "Dancefire", carried out a kernel similarity analysis and showed that the similarities between the two operating systems reached 99.45 percent.[3][4] One of Kylin's developers confirmed that Kylin was based on FreeBSD during a speech at the international conference EuroBSDCon 2006.[5]

In 2009, a report presented to the US-China Economic and Security Review Commission claimed that the purpose of Kylin is to make Chinese computers impenetrable to competing countries in the cyberwarfare arena. The Washington Post reported that:[6]

China has developed more secure operating software for its tens of millions of computers and is already installing it on government and military systems, hoping to make Beijing’s networks impenetrable to U.S. military and intelligence agencies.

The deployment of Kylin was said to have "hardened key Chinese servers".[6]

Kylin Linux[edit]

With the advent of version 3.0, Kylin has used the Linux kernel.[7]

In December 2010, it was announced that China Standard Software and the National University of Defense Technology had signed a strategic partnership to launch a version called NeoKylin.[8] China Standard Software is the maker of the "NeoShine Linux" desktop series. NeoKylin is intended for use by government offices, national defense, energy and other sectors of the Chinese economy.[8]

The operating system of the Tianhe-1 supercomputer is 64-bit Kylin Linux, which is oriented to high-performance parallel computing optimization, and supports power management and high-performance virtual computing zone.[9] The newer Tianhe-2 also uses Kylin Linux.[10]

Ubuntu Kylin[edit]

Main article: Ubuntu Kylin

In 2013, Canonical reached an agreement with the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology of the People's Republic of China to release an Ubuntu-based OS with features targeted at the Chinese market.[11]

Ubuntu Kylin has been described as "a loose continuation of China’s Kylin OS".[12] It is intended for desktop and laptop computers.[13] The first official release, Ubuntu Kylin 13.04, was on 25 April 2013.[14]


  1. ^ a b c d What is Kylin, Project Mission Statement, September 2004, at the Internet Archive
  2. ^ Kylin Operating System of superior performance developed, 14 February 2005, retrieved 12 June 2013
  3. ^ Gloomy prospects for domestic Linux industry, People's Daily Online, 17 June 2006, retrieved 13 May 2009
  4. ^ Kernel Similarity Analysis, Dancefire's Website, retrieved 12 June 2013
  5. ^ The Kylin Operating System, EuroBSDCon 2006, at the Internet Archive
  6. ^ a b China blocks U.S. from cyber warfare, The Washington Times, 12 May 2009, retrieved 12 June 2013
  7. ^ 麒麟Linux安全操作系统3.0版,, 18 May 2009, at the Internet Archive
  8. ^ a b China OS Makers Partner on New Operating System Brand,, 20 December 2010
  9. ^ Hardware, National Supercomputer Centre in Tianjin, retrieved 12 June 2013
  10. ^ Tianhe-2 supercomputer at 31 petaflops is title contender,, 10 June 2013, retrieved 12 June 2013
  11. ^ "Chinese government builds national OS around Ubuntu.", ZDNet, 22 March 2013
  12. ^ Chinese Linux Distro Seeks Place in Ubuntu Family,, 27 February 2013. Retrieved 29 April 2013
  13. ^ China to create home-grown operating system, BBC News, 22 March 2013
  14. ^ The Final Release of Ubuntu Kylin 13.04 Is Now Available for Download,, retrieved 26 April 2013

See also[edit]

External links[edit]