Make that 120 thousand copies of Linux to replace MS on the government's desktops. As far as I know this is the first large scale national replacement of MS's OS by a government body.
In purely economic terms this makes sense for Korea in two ways: 1 The distribution company is Korean based, which will keep the government's capital within the country 2 The Linux distribution only costs 23% of the equivalent order from MS.
The company the Korean government has the contract with is Hancom Linux. They developed a Korean language and microsoft compatible office suit, HancomOffice which is a light (only 5 megs when loaded).
This is really a major breakthrough for the open source movement, though I am sure it won't be the last because it just makes fiscal sense.
Although maybe not on this scale, the use of linux on goverment computers is actually becoming pretty common. When you look at their track record, I think you would have to be foolish to put you national security in the hands of M$.
For reasons of national security and national pride, government officials in countries like China, France and Germany are increasingly adopting the free, open-source computer operating system known as Linux.
Looks like China is also increasingly using Linux. China's Red Flag Linux [redflag-linux.com] had been catching some attention [newsforge.com] as it is grabbing market share.
I'd imagine that China joining the WTO will actually push businesses to adapt open source solutions in the near future. Some of my friends who have been to China in the last couple of years say that pirated software is rampant on the streets right now. China will soon have a lot more pressure to crack down on copyright enforcement.
When that happens there will be a rush to open source as struggling Chinese businesses look to be legal and have a low software overhead.
I noted a conflicting report a couple of days ago on China. Though the government is preferring and encouraging ex-MS software, consumers have gotten used to Microsoft products through several years of using MS pirated software. MS unofficialy turned a blind eye to pirated copies - it was a deliberate strategy to build a dependence of end users on MS products at low or not cost, and then enforce strictly later when people couldn't go cold turkey. That strategy is also consistent with the form MS's strategy anywhere, along with many other companies.. Offer for ridiculously low prices at launch and when people develop a dependence, and you have market share - you can charge whatever you like!
Despite the power of the Chinese government, mass "people" sentiment has historically forced them to change. (think about it!)
It makes sense with Korea. They have always been suspicious of corporate America and American brands, many times to the extent of having to rebrand American products extensively to be accepted.