June 21, 2005 10:48 AM PDT
Korea brings homegrown open source to schools
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The project, called the New Education Information System, is built on a Korean-developed version of Linux that already services 190 schools in the heart of capital city Seoul.
Jin Ko Hyun, president of the Korea IT Industry Promotion Agency, or KIPA, which is behind the project, said it has taken schools two years to test Buyeo, the Korean version of Linux.
"The information will be transferred from school to school when a student moves and when they enter university," Hyun said. "The next phase is to make that nationwide. The pilot project was built on Linux."
Hyun added the move was not a deliberate attempt to snub Microsoft but to help the country develop more of its own software: "There's no hostility towards Microsoft. We did this first because of security issues and budgetary concerns.
KIPA is pushing hard to make Linux more readily available to companies in Korea. By 2010 it wants 40 percent of servers to be run on the open-source operating system.
Hyun said Korea was working closely with the Chinese and the Japanese to create an Asian version of Linux that would read any program from the three countries: "The government has dispatched Linux as a preferred platform. The open-source movement is very strong here--we have a separate dedicated group working on it."
KIPA was founded during the Korean foreign exchange crisis in 1998.
Dan Ilett of Silicon.com reported from London.
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