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The Japanese government looks to go open source

The Japanese government wants to go open source, as a way to rely less on a single vendor IT software infrastructure. And plenty of vendors are lining up to help make this happen.

Oracle, NEC, IBM, HP, Hitachi and Dell are among 10 IT equipment and software vendors that are forming a consortium to develop and sell Linux-based servers and computers for the Japanese market. The move by the vendors to collaborate on Linux in Japan comes from a edict from the country's government to make Linux and open source a priority for all IT procurements, starting this July. The central government of Japan says it plans to spend around $1.25 trillion yen, or $10.4 billion, on IT over the next year. The government has said explicitly it wants to decrease its reliance on Microsoft as a server operating system platform.

The details are light in terms of what types of Linux systems Oracle, IBM, HP, et al will produce for the Japanese government. What is interesting about the initial news is the absence of any major Linux operating system distributor as part of the announcement. It will be interesting to see if the Linux "player to be named later" in the multivendor effort is a commercial Linux distribution - such as Novell or Red Hat - or system such as Ubuntu, Debian, or CentOS. Or could the lineup of IT companies be cooking up their own Linux version for the market in Japan?