It's official: Microsoft is banned from China's government offices by the end of the year. With the Linux World China taking place this week in Beijing, the news could not have come at a better time for geeks in and outside China.

With low-priced Linux on the rise in Thailand's consumer market, component and device manufacturers now definitely need to make Linux-ready devices for Asian consumers. Currently finding support for devices like camcorders, printers,and mobile devices that interface with laptops and desktops running Linux is few and far-between, but on the rise. With China's government relying on non-Microsoft operating systems, the drive to modernize the add-on devices from companies like Panasonic, Sony, and Canon is now mandatory. Can this be a new profit center for some companies?

Linux has been in use throughout China for many years. And like other parts of the world, it is primarily an operating system used by technologists, or if it's utilized by a regular user it is normally invisible to them as a web or file server. But with changes in operating systems, the government must now retool its users to operate an entirely new software platform. Though much of the Linux software offerings are fairly similar to Windows-related software, it will still take time to train all the users. Will this be a boon to training companies?

There are lots of questions still unanswered. Will all Microsoft legacy databases need to be Linuxized? With IBM's Linux options, will they continue to be a large supplier for hardware to government offices, or will they be ignored for domestic companies who provide infinitely better customer service? Is the government swaying towards only doing business with domestic companies for both hardware and software? At this point there are many uncertainties and we'll need to keep a careful watch over events during the next year.

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