Major departments such as Ministry of Interior and Safety (MOIS), Ministry of National Defense (MND), and Korea Post announced one after another that they would introduce open-source software (SW) this year. As major departments that had been hesitant on adopting open-source SW are starting to introduce open-source SW, more public sectors are beginning to adopt open-source SW as well. Open-source SW draws spotlight from the fact that it reduces costs, avoids dependence on certain SW, and responds to Cloud environment. Stable support and actions are becoming more important as there are more examples of introduction of open-source SW in public sectors.
◊Why open-source software?
Introduction of open-source SW in public sectors is gaining momentum as Microsoft is planning to stop supporting Windows 7 starting from 2020. Public sectors are pushing for open-source OS (operating system) instead of Windows 10.
MOIS recently announced that it would gradually install open-source OS to PCs of administrative agencies. Most of administrative agencies and public agencies currently use Windows 7 OS. Microsoft is going to stop providing free technical support for Windows 7 starting from 2020. As a result, there are concerns for security as it will be difficult to take actions immediately when security flaws are found. MOIS is looking to introduce open-source operating systems such as HarmoniKR, Gooroom and Ubuntu instead of Windows OS.
According to ‘2018 market research report on open-source SW’ issued by NIPA (National IT Industry Promotion Agency), ‘independence from commercial license’ is the main reason why open-source SW is beginning to be preferred followed by ‘reduced cost’ and ‘possibility of application of open-source SW in new technologies’.
There will be more incidences of adopting open-source SW when setting up new systems as it is possible to reduce cost and avoid dependence on particular SW. Korea Post decided to introduce Linux and Tmax in addition to Windows as it was setting up its internet network separation system. MND is going to utilize both open-source OS and commercial OS to improve Cloud computing environment of Cyber Intelligence Information Room. MND already has an experience in installing HarmoniKR OS into few PCs of army, navy, and air force bases in 2016.
“Public sectors are inquiring about open-source software as an alternative to Windows OS.” said a representative for open-source consulting business. “If MOIS is active in adopting open-source SW, other major public agencies and local governments under MOIS will also be positive in adopting open-source SW.”

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◊Expansion of application of open-source software towards DBMS, OS, and Cloud
Some public sectors are already incorporating open-source SW. Public sectors are using open-source DBMS (Database Management System) to avoid dependence on Oracle DBMS. National Information Resources Service selected Cubrid’s open-source DBMS as ‘G Cloud’ standard and it has been using Cubrid’s DBMS since 2011. Cubrid’s DBMS is currently used by Korea Power Exchange, Korea Education Research Information Service, and NIPA. Open-source DBMS such as MySQL and MariaDB are also popular globally. According to a survey on ‘most popular database in 2018’ by a global developer community called Stack Overflow, MySQL (58.7%), PoostgreSQL (32.9%), and MariaDB (13.4%) all surpassed Oracle (11.1%).
HarmoniKR OS that was developed under the guidance of South Korean Government is already being used by major public sectors. MND (video visit), National Police Agency (traffic enforcement information processing working environment, Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry (Smart Work working environment) are currently using HarmoniKR. Local governments such as Eunpyeong-gu, Goesan-gun, and Seogwipo-si are also using open-source operating systems such as HarmoniKR.
It is expected that open-source software will be used more in Cloud field as public sectors have actively trying to introduce Cloud platform recently. MOIS is looking to introduce open-source SW as it prepares next-generation Cloud electronic government platform. It is currently looking into effects and safety of introducing open-source SW such as PaaS-TA (that was developed by Redhat and South Korean Government.
Open-source SW will be used more for Big Data, AI, and IoT (Internet of Things) that are going to be important technologies during the Fourth Industrial Revolution. It is expected that public sectors will also adopt open-source SW more as they focus on these new technologies or develop new services. According to NIPA’s survey, Big Data, Cloud, IoT, and AI have 44.3%, 42.3%, 33.0%, and 24.0% chances respectively of using open-source SW in the future.
“There needs to be systematic application starting with small tasks first and gradually expanding to more important tasks after examining stability and security.” said Professor Lee Min-seok of Kookmin University. “Stable management and security update are important after introducing open-source SW.” Professor Lee also added that open-source SW need to be operated properly through support from professional open-source service businesses or communities.
Staff Reporter Kim, Jiseon |