South Korea has been very friendly with Microsoft and its products, so it’s understandable why succeeding in that country with an open source product would be very difficult. Canonical is now trying to make a dent there with its Ubuntu operating system.

Canonical published some very interesting details about a South Korean company called Bukwang Pharmaceuticals, which ditched most of its Windows OSes for Ubuntu and saved a lot of money. On top of the obvious savings, it also got a lot of good press, and other businesses found out that it can be done.

“Bukwang Pharmaceuticals has been developing and manufacturing drugs and personal hygiene products in South Korea since 1960. Today, it has over 600 employees based at various sites across the country. Prior to its switch to Ubuntu, the company had 620 desktops, with 60% running Windows 7 and the remainder on Windows XP. When Microsoft’s support for Windows XP was terminated, Bukwang was faced with a new, more expensive Enterprise Assurance contract with Microsoft,” notes Canonical.

Bukwang Pharmaceuticals made the radical decision to completely replace all the Microsoft products with Ubuntu in a very short time. In just two weeks, 390 of their PCs already had Ubuntu installed, but they decided to keep some of the systems with Windows software.

The reason for this decision is pretty simple. Some of their applications are dependent on Microsoft’s Active-X software. The good news for the company is that Ubuntu and Windows systems can easily coexist in the same network.

“In the first phase of the project, Bukwang Pharmaceuticals switched around 400 PCs to Ubuntu. Even before the planned migration of all remaining machines, savings on annual licensing alone totaled $300,000. And the benefits didn’t stop there,” also notes Canonical.

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