South Korean government planning Linux migration as Windows 7 support ends

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The Interior Ministry is preparing a test deployment to determine compatibility with existing systems ahead of a potential broader deployment across the government.

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With just seven more months of support left for Windows 7, the South Korean government is planning to migrate to Linux, according to the Korea Herald, which notes that the Interior Ministry will begin “test-running Linux on its PCs, and if no security issues arise, Linux systems will be introduced more widely within the government.”

The Herald quotes the Interior Ministry as indicating that the transition to Linux, and the purchase of new PCs, would cost about 780 billion won ($655 million), but also anticipates long-term cost reductions with the adoption of Linux. The report doesn’t mention a specific distro, instead “hopes to avoid building reliance on a single operating system.”

“Before the government-wide adoption, the ministry said it would test if the system could be run on private networked devices without security risks and if compatibility could be achieved with existing websites and software which have been built to run on Windows,” the report stated.

SEE: Open source champion Munich heads back to Windows (free PDF) (TechRepublic)

Presumably, the South Korean government has a volume licensing agreement with Microsoft, which would make them eligible for an additional three years of paid security updates.

Globally, few organizations have completed their migrations. At TechRepublic’s sister site ZDNet, Mary Jo Foley notes in Microsoft’s Windows 7 has one year of free support left that “I’ve had several Windows 7 users ask me if Microsoft might end up extending Windows 7 support for everyone beyond January because a number of customers won’t be ready to move off it. I have not seen or heard any indications for such a move.”

A Gartner market forecast published in April predicts that only 75% of professional PCs will be running Windows 10 by 2021. Microsoft has faced difficulty cultivating enthusiasm around Windows 10 and has fallen far short of former Windows chief Terry Myerson’s declaration that Windows 10 would be installed on 1 billion devices within two to three years, a timeframe that was walked back just over a year later following the death of Windows 10 Mobile.

This is not the first time that a major government has announced a migration to Linux. The city government of Munich, Germany, announced in 2003 a migration to Linux, though the deployment—which relied on a custom Linux distribution built by a consultancy for the government—became a boondoggle, prompting the city to migrate to Windows 10 at a cost of 50 million euro.

For more, learn how to prepare your organization for the end of Windows 7 support, or check out “Windows 10 has 825M users, but over 700M still haven’t moved over” or “71% of medical devices still run on Windows 7, Windows 2008, and Windows mobile.”

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