Are there any alternative Chinese system environments to windows/or windows add-on's?

Generally speaking, you have two choices: one is Mac system, and the other is the booming linux system. Personally, I do not recommend the former, since Mac's Chinese language kit is never a good choice. Its input system is very very slow, and does not have the artificial intelligence capability as windows add-on's like Cstar and Richwin. It has limited choices of type case and therefore it is hard to accomplish any serious editing tasks.

The best linux system for Chinese at the moment of my writing is Turbolinux by Turbolinux. The current version for simplified Chinese is 6.1, and that for traditional Chinese is 4.0. It comes with a full range of Chinese environment, including Chinese xterms, text editors, web editing software, supporting GBK, Big5. Together with Apache web server, SMB, ftp server,and SS Ssh server it can be used as both a workstation and an intranet server. This system also provides its clients with a powerful software developing environment with its bundled CĄ˘ C++, Java, Perl, Tcl/Tk, Python, Fortran77 compilers, and integrated KDE and GNOME developing tools. Turbolinux, like other linux versions is a very stable system in comparison with both windows and Mac Os. That is, it does not crash! However, this system is not easy to install. One needs a lot hardware and software knowledge to make it work, especially to make the X-windows fully functional. Despite the installation difficulties, if one needs an inexpensive, but stable, and powerful alternative to MS windows, or Mac OS, turbolinux is definitely a good choice.

As for other Chinese linux systems, there are Happy Linux a Redhat clone by Legend, Redflag linux, a Redhat clone by Red flag Software Co. Ltd., Bluepoint Linux, an Open Linux clone by BlluePoint Linux Software Co., Ltd., and Xteam Linux by Xteam. Of these Os', Happy Linux is comparatively easy to use, though it still has some problems: netscape mail function does not work well, and many latest Xservers, such as ATI Rage128, etc, are not included. Redflag is very much a server oriented platform, which does not include many client side applications. Bluepoint includes the latest kernel and kde, but its installation is troublesome, even though the installation interface tries to be very friendly. Xteam linux is a good one but does not work well for duo boot systems since its current version 3.2 does not recognize Win32 or Dos partitions automatically.

Wenze Hu