The State of Linux: Substantial Growth in Asia-Pacific
by Mark Rais, senior editor reallylinux.com, for The State of Linux series, part 2.
Nearly every day we
read about another major migration, adoption, or engagement of Linux
in Asia-Pacific -- and with good reason. After visiting the region,
I find that most of the leading I.T. nations in
Asia-Pacific are experiencing substantive Linux growth.
As a result, far greater numbers of Linux installations and desktop integrations are taking place today than news reports or announcements often convey. Although this article is only a cursory review, hopefully it will testify to the significant growth of Linux in Asia-Pacific.
I saw definitive signs of strong growth in the leading I.T. nations including: Australia, China, India, and New Zealand. For these nations, Linux growth, although often unspoken and covert, is exponential and across sectors. In other nations of the region, most growth concentrates uniquely in one sector, usually the public sector where government funding is included.
GROWTH ACROSS SECTORS
All over India are signs of Linux use and integration applied across sectors. Sushil Mayengbam, GNU/LINUX technologist in New Delhi, India, and writer for e-pao.net, shared with me a few important insights regarding this sector growth:
Linux is going to play a major key role in the overall IT markets [in India] including the government sectors like educational institutes, R&D hubs, academics, banking, telecom etc.Raghavendra K, from the I.T. capital Bangalore, shares additional insights:
There are many intiatives going on in India to popularise Linux.Raghavendra validates what others have also been saying, that Linux popularity is greatly on the rise. He shares:
In my university we have Linux User Groups formed and run by students, which takes the intiative of organising seminars. A separate mailing list for the group, where people pool in their thoughts or queries and get instant replies by students out here, etc.
When I first bought a computer I asked the dealer to load the computer with Linux, but he said he had no idea about it and installed Windows 98.But the university setting is not the only one being infused with greater Linux use.
But things have changed. Now students are very particular that their system should be loaded with Linux at least as a dual boot.
In the government sector, it is not surprising that the humble President of India even endorsed the feasibility of free open-source software in this nation.There is a good summation of the President's view in a Times of India article. It is readily apparent that the leadership in India see Open Source as both an empowerment tool and a method of offsetting growing capital expenditure costs.
China's government promotes and supports desktop Linux very strongly. So the government hopes that Linux -- legal software such as Linux -- can replace all this piracy.But on the other hand, he honestly adds:
At present, no Chinese software company has open-sourced code, particularly in application software.As a result, although there is reasonable growth in Linux use in China, it lags substantially behind India.
IBM's comprehensive support for Linux has allowed us to move forward on a platform that we trust.However, overall sector growth in Singapore lags behind the other nations and needs to be contrasted to the driver nations who are successfully integrating Linux and dominating I.T. expansion in the region.
MIC revealed the scheme of building up the city and university, which will operate as test beds for the open-source programs... toward which end the ministry earmarked 4.1 billion won for this year alone.That is over $4 million US dollars per year for this one project alone. It is a signifier of how serious Open Source initiatives are being taken by the governance.
South Korea will likely accelerate its move toward adopting the Linux computer operating system to replace Microsoft's Windows 98 in the public sector.Why? The answer lies in the body of the excellent article:
Microsoft's decision to stop offering updated anti-virus patches will leave many South Korean users of the outdated Windows operating system vulnerable to threats of hacking and malicious codes. According to industry data, Windows 98 runs on around 13 percent of the total 27 million personal computers in South Korea, most of which are being used at government agencies.As odd as it may seem, Korea is seeing expansive public sector Linux growth as a result of Microsoft's product support failure. Although a bit ironic, this is apparently quite true. However, not all of the growth in Korea is so overt. Instead, each day through local seminars and LUG meetings, thousands of Koreans share the power and benefits of Linux related projects.
If securely deploying 10,000 wireless access points across 1,700 locations in five months to create what may be one of the largest enterprise Wi-Fi network sounds like a challenge, Victoria's Department of Education (DET) in Australia took it all in stride.In general, although numerically Linux adoption has plenty of room to grow down under, major strides are being made regarding the acceptance of Linux and Open Source, especially within the government sectors.
[New Zealand] has many small businesses, and naturally these small startups are very innovative, and try all the new ideas that are around. OSS saves them setup costs, and is very attractive to someone starting almost any kind of business. Once Novell endorses... government departments tend to take notice and think "hey, this Linux stuff is being done by Novell. It must be good.". IBM is also doing their bit, and naturally their name also helps make Linux more respected and helps push it to the mainstream. And names like Weta Digital are helping to make OSS a house-hold word.This seems to be an accurate depiction across the entire New Zealand, as Andrew Hill, president of Treshna Enterprises, in Christchurch New Zealand, verifies what he sees in his region:
The areas we are using Linux is in servers, the desktop, kiosks and more often now in embedded systems. If you visit a new client, you'll often find that they already are running Linux on their servers. It's reasonably common.Peter Harrison, head of The New Zealand Open Source Society, a nonprofit organization to protect, advocate, and advance OSS, provides a very useful glimpse into two factors. The first is an honest assessment of the work still to be done. The second, as he puts it well, has to do with understanding and appreciating what Linux has already done.
To be honest Linux and OSS have not cracked market share except in a few areas. You will probably find a Linux box of some kind in most server rooms. ISP's will almost all have significant installs. Telco companies and web hosting companies will also have large installed bases. However, this misses quite an important impact OSS has had on software worldwide. Linux proved that an operating system on Intel boxes could be reliable and secure. It wasn't until the popularity of Linux became apparent that people suddenly discovered that crashing wasn't a characteristic of the Intel machine.There is obviously work still to be done but overall Linux growth in this region is quite strong.
Linux originates from Finland [Europe]. Red Hat originates from US. Mandrake originates from France [Europe]. SuSe[Europe] originates from Germany. The only region left is Asia. I bet you, Asia will be the next hub of OSS/Linux.I strongly agree, having heard first hand accounts of Linux adoption in Asia-Pacific. I too believe that a number of the nations here are now poised to become the leaders in OpenSource's future.
Mark Rais serves as senior editor for
reallylinux.com, promotes Open Source to organizations and government leadership in USA, Asia and Africa, and has written a number of Linux books, including Linux for the Rest of Us.
Linux is a registered trademark of Linus Torvalds. IBM, PC-DOS, and OS/2 are the registered trademarks or trademarks of International Business Machines. Microsoft, Microsoft Vista, Microsoft Windows are all trademarks or registered trademarks of Microsoft Corporation both in the United States and Internationally. All other trademarks or registered trademarks in this opinion piece belong to their respective owners. FINAL RELEASE VERSION