The mainland last night announced it was delaying the mandatory use of controversial pornography filtering software, only hours before the installation deadline it had given to computer companies. The announcement by the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology was reported by Xinhua at 8.10pm - just ahead of today's deadline it had given to PC firms to install Green Dam-Youth Escort software. Xinhua quoted the ministry as saying the installation plan was postponed as some computer producers said 'such massive installation demanded extra time'. The announcement came days after 22 chambers of commerce and trade groups representing the world's major technology suppliers sent an open letter to Premier Wen Jiabao urging the government to scrap the order. The ministry insisted last night that the software was aimed at protecting young people from pornography and had 'received a warm response from schools and internet bars'. It said 2.62 million terminals on campuses and 4.7 million terminals in internet bars had installed the software by May, and that 'both parents and teachers gave good comments about the software'. The ministry condemned the 'fabrications' of some overseas media outlets in saying the software was an attack on privacy and the free flow of information. 'The ministry will keep on soliciting opinions to perfect the pre-installation plan,' the Xinhua report said. In May, the ministry said all computers sold on the mainland would have to have the software installed, describing it as a pornography filter. Last night, some mainland bloggers hailed the delay as a 'victory for public opinion', but others called it a tactic. 'It's just a ... temporary action to prevent loss of face and reputation both at home and abroad,' high-profile blogger Bei Feng said. 'It's a victory for public opinion and all the other forces including international protests, industry challenge and a huge outcry on the internet.' It was too soon to start celebrating, he warned. 'The word 'delay' reminds us that they may attempt to install similar software, or try to draft other policies to monitor home computers,' he said. 'We will continue to challenge how the ministry spent more than 40 million yuan' (HK$45.4 million) on the scheme.