October 13, 2003

Open Asia: Open source in the Philippines, Saudi Arabia, South Korea, and Singapore

Author: Frederick Noronha

We continue our country-by-country survey of the availability of open source software across Asian countries with a look at developments in the Philippines, Saudi Arabia, South Korea, and Singapore.


The Philippines has a local distribution
of GNU/Linux called Bayanihan Linux. User group Bluepoint Linux Users Elite offers a Total Linux training program. Other user groups include Katipunan Avenue Linux Users Group in Quezon City and Philippine Linux Users' Group (PLUG) in Manila. The Philippines is also the home of campaigners like Roberto Verzola, a
long-time activist for extending people's participation on the Net.

University of the Philippines, Quezon City, President of the Board of Regents Dr. Francisco Nemenzo -- in an open letter -- advocated users "install the Linux operating system and use
OpenOffice or StarOffice for word processing, making ... presentations, spreadsheets, data bases, etc., sending emails, and accessing
the Internet."

Greenpeace Southeast Asia (Philippines) recently began a shift to Linux desktops.

Saudi Arabia

Dr. Khaled Al-Ghonaim, chairman of the Saudi Computer Society and one of the
Middle East's best-known computer security experts, has been speaking in the
region on the security advantages of FLOSS over closed
source software.

Moath Abdullah Alkhalaf recently announced the completion
of a research paper that he and Abdullah Al Shalan had written on Linux
Arabization at King Saud University in Riyadh, where they are students.

Linux user groups in Saudi Arabia include Saudi Linux User Group (SLUG) and Hassani LUG.

South Korea

LinuxPR last year posted a release saying HancomLinux would "supply the 120 copies of desktop Linux office packages in this year" to the Central Procurement Office of the Korean government. The change must have been satisfactory, because Silicon.com reported earlier this month that the South Korean government plans to replace proprietary software on a substantial number of its PCs and servers with open source alternatives by 2007.

South Korean company G.Mate's GNU/Linux-based Yopy PDA is now available in North America, France, Austria, and the UK. In November 2002, the Yopy was judged the third-best mobile hardware device by a jury of GNU/Linux gurus worldwide who were polled by Linux Magazine, based in Munich. This month it gets a full review.

South Korea hosts a number of Linux user groups.


IT AsiaOne reports on three Singapore businesses that are using Linux. SingaLinux is one of Singapore's premier FLOSS Web sites. User groups include Linux User Group Singapore (LUGS).


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