A number of Chinese software companies have joined forces with overseas vendors such as IBM Corp., Hewlett-Packard Co., Intel Corp and Novell Inc. to form the China Open Source Software Promotion Alliance, China’s first open-source software organization, several Chinese media reported Wednesday.

China Economic Net said the alliance, which includes China’s leading Linux vendor Red Flag Software Co. Ltd., marked a new stage in the promotion of open-source software in China and across northeast Asia.

The aims of the alliance include cooperative Linux development, promotion of open-source development and application in China, driving exchanges and cooperation of open-source communities in northeast Asia, and making contributions to the international open-source community, China Economic Net said.

Red Flag is one of the driving forces behind Asianux, a version of Linux that has been developed as a standardized distribution for enterprise customers in Asia. A 64-bit version of Asianux designed for Intel Corp.’s Itanium II processor is scheduled to be released later this month.

An English-language version of Red Flag’s own Linux Desktop 4.1 is due to be released during the third quarter of this year.

The other Chinese firms involved in the alliance were named in the media as Beijing Co-Create Open Source, Zhongbiao Software, Wuxi Evermore Software, Kingsoft, Beijing Redflag Chinese 2000.