Thursday, January 31, 2008
Tuesday, January 22, 2008
- Merriam Webster online and most other dictionaries define wire as having a metallic component, like the copper phone wires that if counted or weighed would make the US the world's most "wired" country.
- Even if the newer fiber optic cables are counted as "wires" designation of the most wired nation in the world ignores the broad trend in recent years toward "cutting the cord," i.e. the introduction of mobile networks. South Korea is a world leader in mobile technology deployment and use.
- "most wired" is a vague term that makes a nice headline, but in fact is used by different sources in different ways to confuse matters. Anyone who doubts this should do a quick Google search on "most wired countries" (without the quotes). This will show that among the measures of being "wired" are: (1) the information society index, IDC's annual study which includes fifteen variables, (2) broadband users, use per capita, or hours of use per week, (3) polling data about use in the last month, (4) broadband access as in percentage of households connected, (5) the digital access index or digital opportunity index (DOI) and so forth.
Although the "wired" terminology has a comforting, anachronistic feel to it, we probably need to get beyond it to be clear about measures of broadband access or infrastructure versus usage. These two types of measures, along with others such as education, go into indices such as the Digital Opportunity Index. Such measures are going to be important to track various "digital divides" and progress in bridging them.
Sunday, January 20, 2008
- Windows is still dominant in the South Korean market, despite some recent announcements. When the Ministry of Information and Communication announced in early 2006 that it would designate a "Linux City" and a "Linux University" only 1 percent of the nation's computers were running Linux (lower than the global median of 3 percent). Near the end of 2006 Kwangju was designated as an open-source city, in a project running from 2006-2010, which will bear watching.
- North Korea, despite having few connections to the internet and virtually no modern mobile telecommunication networks, reportedly has made some progress in software development. The government in the North may well view joint software development, including Linux, as a non-controversial way to start cooperation with colleagues from the South.
- Especially in the Korean context, announcement of a project and actual implementation can be two very different things.
- Will the jointly developed Linux be solely for the use of Koreans with only the Korean market in view, or will the developers envisage Korea's role in the global information economy?
South Korea has unquestionably made progress in the development of Linux, developing its own version called Buyeo, for use in Seoul schools. Also, the project to make Kwangju an open source city is underway. These developments all merit attention, as do joint South-North efforts on Linux. More to come on this topic.