South Korean Government To Give Windows The Boot In Favor Of Linux

Goodbye Windows, hello Linux! The South Korean government recently announced that they will be switching the operating systems of all of their computers from Windows to Linux. The South Korean government has relied on Windows 7 for several years and does not plan to transition to Windows 10.

Unfortunately for many users, Microsoft announced they will be ending support for Windows 7 on January 14th, 2020. Many companies and government institutions have held onto Windows 7 because of its stability, performance, and compatibility with older apps. Some businesses and organizations will be granted a slight extension, but many are moving on to other operating systems.

Windows 7 home premium

Why is the South Korean government not simply upgrading to Windows 10, especially since the transition will ring in at ₩780 billion KRW ($655 million USD)? South Korean Ministry of Interior and Safety Digital Chief Choi Jang-hyuk stated that the government is optimistic that the switch will ultimately reduce costs. Linux software is technically open-source and free to download. While the South Korean government may hire a company or others for support, the operating system will ultimately cost less than a Windows subscription. He also argued that the government hopes to reduce their current reliance on a single OS.

The government plans to test the compatibility of their current software and whether Linux can be run on their private network devices. They also want to run several security tests before encouraging adoption. The government is expected to fully adopt Linux before their Windows 7 support expires.

south korean national assembly building
South Korea National Assembly Building, Image from Alain Seguin, CC0 3.0

Although Linux has been available since the early 1990s, many individuals and institutions have been slow to adopt the desktop OS. According to Statcounter, Windows currently claims nearly 40% of the worldwide operating systems market share, while the Linux desktop OS barely boasts 0.8%. Linux has generally been considered a more secure OS, but many find that Windows is more convenient.

However, Linux has become increasingly more popular and available over the last few years. Microsoft recently announced that their next Windows 10 Insider Preview build will include a in-house custom-built Linux kernel. Dell also just unveiled a Ubuntu Linux-powered Precision 3540 workstation. The Precision 3540 workstation is being touted as a “budget-friendly” device for professionals. As Linux becomes more mainstream in the professional world, more institutions and companies will undoubtedly adopt it.