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South Korea switching their 3.3 million PCs to Linux

South Korea switching their 3.3 million PCs to Linux

The reasoning behind the switch is two-fold.  South Korea was looking to reduce its reliance on Microsoft and Windows and cut down on software licensing costs. 

South Korean government has announced that it will switch the computers used in its central, local, and public institutions to Linux-based operating systems starting this year-end.

The announcement comes just one month after the end of “free” support for Microsoft Windows 7, the most prevalent operating system used by the South Korean government.

The reasoning behind the switch is two-fold.  South Korea was looking to reduce its reliance on Microsoft and Windows and cut down on software licensing costs.

“We will resolve our dependency on a single company while reducing the budget by introducing an open-source operating system.”

…said Choi Jang-hyuk, South Korea’s head of Ministry of Strategy and Finance,

Although most Linux distros are free, South Korean officials estimate that migrating their current fleet of approximately 3.3 million PCs from Windows 7 to Linux will cost about 780 billion won (approximately $655 million).  The price tag will cover the implementation, transition, and purchase of new PCs.

The ministry first plans to test the waters with a pilot test to explore and expose any potential compatibility and security issues.

Since many of South Korea’s government websites, network devices, and software are designed for compatibility with Windows-based operating systems, this is a wise move by the government.

Should the South Korean’s pilot Linux prove successful, with no major issues encountered, expect a broader roll-out to follow?  If successful, South Korea’s foray into the Linux world could incite and seduce other governments to follow suit.

South Korean officials have not yet indicated what Linux distro(s) they plan to switch to or if they plan to create their own like their communist cousins to the north, North Korea who use the Red Star OS.  However, the Ministry of National Defense and National Police Agency is using the Ubuntu-based Harmonica OS 3.0.

At the same time, the Korean Postal Service is migrating to TMaxOS, a Korean-based OS that uses its Chromium-based web browser, ToGate, and has its unique desktop interface.  Both the South Korean Defense and the Ministry of Public Administration and Security are also entering the Linux fray.  Each of these departments is now using the Debian-based GooRoom Cloud OS.  However, GooRoom Cloud is much like Chrome OS than it is with traditional Linux desktops because it’s cloud-based.

The South Korean government also plans to implement a Desktop as a Service (DaaS) that uses a virtual PC environment that runs on a cloud by the second half of 2020.  The South Korean ministry expects a 72% savings in cost with the DaaS move.  Security standards and DaaS models are currently in development, and pilot tests are scheduled to start in October of this year.


As a Linux-enthusiast, the news from South Korea is exciting.  I, and many FOSS Linux readers, have long advised Linux as a better OS when compared to Microsoft Windows.  Serious consideration by a government as a viable alternative to Windows validates the trust and faith we have in Linux.  Let’s hope they are successful.

FOSS Linux will stay abreast of any new or significant developments and relay to our readers.



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