Ubuntu Kylin: The Official Chinese Version of Ubuntu

Ubuntu has several official flavors and Kylin is one of them. In this article, you’ll learn about Ubuntu Kylin, what it is, why it was created and what features it offers.
Warp Terminal

Kylin was originally developed in 2001 by academicians at the National University of Defense Technology in the People’s Republic of China. The name is derived from Qilin, a beast from Chinese mythology.

The first versions of Kylin were based on FreeBSD and were intended for use by the Chinese military and other government organizations. Kylin 3.0 was purely based on the Linux kernel, and a version called NeoKylin which was announced in December 2010.

In 2013, Canonical (parent company of Ubuntu) reached an agreement with the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology of the People’s Republic of China to co-create and release an Ubuntu-based OS with features targeted at the Chinese market.

Ubuntu Kylin
Ubuntu Kylin

What is Ubuntu Kylin?

Following the 2013 agreement mentioned above, Ubuntu Kylin is now the official Chinese version of Ubuntu. It is much more than just language localization. In fact, it is determined to serve the Chinese market the same way as Ubuntu serves the global market.

The first version of Ubuntu Kylin came with Ubuntu 13.04. Like Ubuntu, Kylin too has LTS (long-term support) and non-LTS versions.

Currently, Ubuntu Kylin 19.04 LTS implements the UKUI desktop environment with a revised boot-up animation, log-in/screen-lock program and OS theme. To offer a more friendly experience for users, it has fixed bugs, has a file preview function, timer log out, the latest WPS office suite and Sogou put-in methods integrated within.

Kylin 4.0.2 is a community edition based on Ubuntu Kylin 16.04 LTS. It includes several third-party applications with long-term and stable support. It’s perfect for both server and desktop usage for daily office work and welcomed by the developers to download. The Kylin forums are actively available to provide feedback and also troubleshoot to find solutions.

UKUI: The desktop environment by Ubuntu Kylin

Ubuntu Kylin 19.04 Desktop
Ubuntu Kylin 19.04 with UKUI Desktop

UKUI is designed and developed by the Ubuntu Kylin team and has some great features and provisions:

  • Windows-like interactive functions to bring more friendly user experiences. The Setup Wizard is user-friendly so that users can get started with Ubuntu Kylin quickly.
  • Control Center has new settings for theme and window. Updated components such as Start Menu, taskbar, notification bar, file manager, window manager and others.
  • Available separately on both Ubuntu and Debian repositories to provide a new desktop environment for users of Debian/Ubuntu distributions and derivatives worldwide.
  • New login and lock programs, which is more stable and with many functions.
  • Includes a feedback program convenient for feedback and questions.

Kylin Software Center

Kylin Software Center
Kylin Software Center

Kylin has a software center similar to the Ubuntu software center and is called Ubuntu Kylin Software Center. It’s part of the Ubuntu Kylin Software Store that also includes the Ubuntu Kylin Developer Platform and Ubuntu Kylin Repository with a simple interface and powerful function. It supports both Ubuntu and Ubuntu Kylin Repositories and is especially convenient for quick installation of Chinese characteristic software developed by the Ubuntu Kylin team!

Youker: A series of tools

Ubuntu Kylin has also a series of tools named as Youker. Typing in “Youker” in the Kylin start menu will bring up the Kylin assistant. If you press the “Windows” key on the keyboard, you will get a response exactly like you would on Windows. It will fire up the Kylin start menu.

Kylin Assistant
Kylin Assistant

Other Kylin branded applications include Kylin Video (player), Kylin Burner, Youker Weather and Youker Fcitx which supports better office work and personal entertainment.

Kylin Video
Kylin Video

Special focus on Chinese characters

In cooperation with Kingsoft, Ubuntu Kylin developers also work on Sogou Pinyin for Linux, Kuaipan for Linux and Kingsoft WPS for Ubuntu Kylin, and also address issues with smart pinyin, cloud storage service and office applications. Pinyin is romanization system for Chinese characters. With this, user inputs with English keyboard but Chinese characters are displayed on the screen.

Fun Fact: Ubuntu Kylin runs on Chinese supercomputers

Tianhe 2
Tianhe-2 Supercomputer. Photo by O01326 – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=45399546

It’s already in public knowledge that the world’s top 500 fastest supercomputers run Linux. Chinese supercomputers Tianhe-1 and Tianhe-2 both use the 64-bit version of Kylin Linux, dedicated to high-performance parallel computing optimization, power management and high-performance virtual computing.


I hope you liked this introduction in the world of Ubuntu Kylin. You can get either of Ubuntu Kylin 19.04 or the community edition based on Ubuntu 16.04 from its official website.

About the author
Avimanyu Bandyopadhyay

Avimanyu Bandyopadhyay

Tech Nerd at It's FOSS | Doctoral Researcher on GPU-based Bioinformatics and author of <a href="https://www.packtpub.com/product/hands-on-gpu-computing-with-python/9781789341072">'Hands-On GPU Comput

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