There’s good news for open source and Linux enthusiast from South Korea. South Korea’s ministry of interior and safety released a statement saying that it will migrate to Linux based systems for its governmental purpose ditching the use of windows in favor of Linux.
As their statement said: migration from windows will lead to the lower operating cost and will also reduce the reliance on a single operating system. Regarding the current ongoing trade wars between China and USA, South Korea might be thinking about being self-reliant on software-based technologies as it’s already the powerhouse in hardware manufacturing.
Even though Windows 7 is still widely used in most of the business organizations worldwide, Microsoft is ending its free support in 2020. As Windows 10 still has a long way to go for most of the business users. It also has a bad reputation for spying and putting too many unnecessary bloatware with it. Although they have said that they’ll be migrating to Linux, it’s still unclear which OS they would be using. They might create a customized distro of their own, implementing most of the security measures and application they need in the government sector or they would tie up with some enterprise Linux distributions.
Although switching to the free and open source os might seem like a good and cost-effective choice in the first sight, it’s actually not easy as that. In many cases, it might even increase the cost because of various reasons. Linux is fully open source and frees to use for anyone but what about its support? As Linux is not so popular in the consumer market, many users feel not so comfortable using it as a daily distro. Furthermore, as most of the applications and devices are made to be compatible with Microsoft based systems, switching entirely to Linux might need all of these applications and devices to be made compatible with Linux too, which would add a significant hurdle in its successful implementation.
Changing the entire OS might also lead to the dysfunctionality of many systems. Although the trend of making cross-platform software is growing rapidly, Linux is still the small market for developers and many popular apps are still not available in Linux. Even the most essential office package such as Microsoft office, photoshop, etc are also not available for Linux. South Korea has estimated that it would cost over 655 million dollars to switch entirely from windows to Linux in its governmental sectors. The major cost comes from implementation, transition, and support for the new system.
They have said that they’ll not directly start the replacement. Initially, they’ll start the pilot phase and if they succeed in the pilot run they’ll start gradually implementing it in more and more places. For fully functional replacement, it might take over a year. One good thing is that South Korea’s decision to change to the free and open source OS might be a catalyst for other governments to follow the same practice.
Germany also made a similar kind of decision a few years ago, migrating entire computer systems in Munich to the Linux based OS. But they failed to implement it successfully for a long period. Because of software incompatibility, technical costs and mainly the unsatisfaction of employees they reverted back to windows again. They have also said that money is not just the concern: employees satisfaction and compatibility also plays an important role in the success of the migration.
As Microsoft’s latest software is considered to be spying on its users and its system requirement is also high compared to windows 7 many business and organizations upgrade to Windows 10 might be a costly decision. As Windows 7 support is ending, its still unclear which path does the businesses choose after the end of its support.
Conclusively, They’ll not act blindly just to repeat the same failures like that in Germany. They’ll test for all possible scenarios and would implement gradually. It would obviously be pricey in the initial run but after a few years of a successful run, they would save tons of money every year. Just from software licensing, billions of money that they have to pay to Microsoft could be saved.
What do you think of this decision of South Korea switching to Linux? Do you think your country should also plan for something like this or they should wait for more to see what result Korea sees?
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