http://www.ciol.com/content/news/repts/102111608.asp Reuters Saturday, November 16, 2002 The Japanese government is contemplating to replace Microsoft Windows, used in much of its computer networks, with another operating system to bolster security. According to the local newspaper Asahi Shimbun, the planned move came in the wake of recent event of leakage of secure data from Japan's military network. Instead the government is looking the possibility of adopting open source programs like Linux. TOKYO -- The Japanese government will consider replacing Microsoft Corp's Windows, used in much of its computer networks, with another operating system to bolster security, a newspaper said on Saturday. The safety of computer networks is under scrutiny as Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi's administration presses on towards a long-held goal of "e-government", which would allow citizens to deal with government agencies via the Internet. Windows now serves at the operating system for the bulk of servers and personal computers that are used for the Japanese government's computer networks, the Asahi Shimbun said. But the government is interested in studying the possibility of adopting alternative operating systems, particularly open source programs such as Linux, the newspaper said. The advantage of open source programs is that unlike Microsoft's software products, they do not require licensing fees and can be modified because their source codes are made available for free. This makes it easier for system operators to cope with any problems that could arise, the paper said. The source, or blueprint, of a programs determines how it works. The Ministry of Public Management, Home Affairs, Posts and Telecommunications will set up a panel of experts to study how other countries are using open source operating systems as early as the next fiscal year that starts next April, the paper said. Public Management ministry officials were not immediately available for comment. The review will take place after the ruling Liberal Democratic Party's panel on promoting electronic government asked the government in August to develop or introduce an open-source programme for security reasons, the newspaper said. Concerns about computer security were stoked in August, when a leak of computer data for a computer network used by Japan's military came to light. The news of the data leak had come just a day after the introduction of a mandatory ID system that keeps track of personal data electronically, identifying every Japanese citizen with an 11-digit number. A number of municipalities have refused to implement the system, fearing misuse by hackers. Linux, essentially a free version of the proprietary Unix operating system, has been making strong inroads into the market for servers, the machines that manage networks of computers. This prompted Microsoft, which dominates the personal computer software market with its Windows operating system but is a relatively new entrant in the server market, to make an exhaustive study of the threats posed by open source. - ISN is currently hosted by Attrition.org To unsubscribe email majordomoat_private with 'unsubscribe isn' in the BODY of the mail.
This archive was generated by hypermail 2b30 : Mon Nov 18 2002 - 08:16:58 PST