Khoong Hock Yun, Assistant Chief Executive, Infocomm Development, IDA Singapore - Keynote Address Singapore Linux Conference/Linux World, Suntec Singapore

Khoong Hock Yun, Assistant Chief Executive, Infocomm Development, IDA Singapore - Keynote Address
Singapore Linux Conference/Linux World, Suntec Singapore
Singapore, 22 March 2001

1 First I would like to thank IDG and the Linux Users Group for inviting me to be here today. Linux has come a long way from being a non-mainstream Operating system to a technology that is gaining global recognition.

2 According to a recent report by IDC, the boom in the Internet Infrastructure and e-commerce will propel the market for Linux servers to grow about 57% a year from now till 2004. This translates to about US$470 million for the Asia Pacific region (excluding Japan). As Faulkner Information Services puts it, some of the leaders in server operating system market include Linux, UNIX, Novell Netware and Microsoft Windows NT and 2000. This report has put Linux as one of the fastest growing server operating systems. One might ask - What are some of the reasons that have propelled the growth of Linux from an operating system that was initially created as a hobby by Linus Torvalds, a young university student in Finland.

3 I think, there are basically two key reasons for the rapid development of LINUX in the software industry. The first being that Linux was developed under the GNU General Public License which means that its source code is freely distributed and made available to the general public. This Open Source movement and standards according to a report by Forrester Research, will completely reshape the software industry by 2004. Forrester forecasts that by then all traditional software vendors will need to change their proprietary business models to open-source ones or drastically lower the price of enterprise application licenses. Well, I will not go as far to predict that it will happen in this manner, but open-source development will certainly be a significant feature for future software development.

4 Some of the benefits of open-source software development include:

a. The Customer being in control - Having the source code will enable customers to choose to maintain the software themselves or hire someone who can help them effectively and meet their needs. This would not have been possible in the traditional proprietary software development model.
b. Transparency - The Source code is crucial for debugging and understanding how the product works. This enables users to find and fix bugs and security holes quickly.
c. Scalability - Developers and users are able to expand on the existing framework and develop additional or a variety of applications or products to cater to their customers or own needs.
d. Costs - Lower costs of development and adoption as an open- source software or technology can be easily reused or readapted. This can substantially reduce the cost, time and effort for further installations.

5 The other key reason for the rapid development of Linux was the strong industry drive and efforts to make it happen. The support shown by developers as well as users in the industry has contributed greatly to its rapid adoption. The voices from the industry have spoken up for the need of transparent and Open Source development. This has created a revolution and an era where Open Source will become the standard practice in software development. For Singapore, this movement has also started to pick up momentum and we certainly hope to see our industry players take the lead in promoting as well as developing product and services with Linux and other open source software platforms.

6 According to IDC, Singapore's shipment for Linux based computers accounted for about 2% of the total shipment of 12,000 in the first half of 2000 for Asia Pacific (excluding Japan) and that number will increase to 100,000 in 2004. Not a terribly impressive figure as compared to that of Australia and South Korea but it is a start. Some of our ITEs, Polytechnics and Universities have included Linux in their curriculum and Temasek Polytechnic even has a Linux Lab. Other schools that have used Linux for their Operating System include Chinese High and Raffles Institution. Other success stories in Singapore include products and services that have been developed using Linux, for example, Wap gateway being developed on Linux, SOHO devices, smart bridges, Donovans solution, etc.

7 One of the more interesting developments for Linux in the area of Internet development would be that of mobile Internet and Web-enabled devices. Singapore has recently announced its auction of 3G licenses and the Wired With Wireless programme which will herald in the next phase of development in our Wired City.

8 The Internet today has freed us of the constraints of fixed or pre-established links and allowed us to communicate with other devices on the web. However, we are all still expected "to work the Web" in order to meet our individual needs. What we have today is a whole barrage of information being pushed to us whether we want it or not. The next phase of the Internet revolution will focus on how we can make the Web work for us - How the Web can be leveraged to deliver appropriate content and services to us through appropriate web-enabled information devices and appliances Anytime, Anywhere and on Any Device. These web-enabled information devices and appliances will be simple, personalised and pervasive.

9 Imagine a scenario where if I were required to make a presentation at a remote location away from my office or home. I could go to the meeting carrying only a mobile device like a cellular phone or a PDA. I could point such a device at the presentation projector, send the address of my presentation and my personal authentication information to the bluetooth and web-enabled projector. This projector which sits at the edge of the Internet cloud would verify my identity and allow me to gain access to my presentation and stream or cache the appropriate data for my presentation through the projector. Was that a scene out of Mission Impossible 3? Unfortunately not, but it is a possible future as the need for mobility and for being 'always connected' will drive the development of such applications and devices.

10 On March 1 this year, Ericsson made an annoucement of it's new Bluetooth Local Infotainment Point (BLIP) technology which moves "the Internet onto the street". The technology provides local wireless access points for Bluetooth-enabled Net devices such as handhelds and Net-ready phones. Based on Linux, BLIP will also support WAP. Ericsson had said that it would develop both the hardware and applications for BLIP and it will launch the technology later this year.

11 Linux has the potential to be a platform for web-enabled mobile devices. So, the question is how can we integrate these developments in Singapore today? Singapore has built an excellent broadband infrastructure and together with our initiatives in the broadband and wireless arena, it will work towards creating a conducive location for the development and test bedding of web-enabled devices and appliances, content and services for the Internet. We hope that the community here today will grasp the opportunities available and take part in these developments in Singapore.

12 This Linux conference is a good platform and place to start for developers and businesses to share new ideas, technology developments and opportunities in the industry. The drive for more open source and Linux developments will continue from such gatherings and I hope that you will have a fruitful session for the next few days.

13 Thank you.

Last updated on: 13 Mar 2023