Community: Island Nation's ISP is All Open Source
Mar 13, 2003, 03:00 (5 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Franck Martin)
Desktop-as-a-Service Designed for Any Cloud ? Nutanix Frame
The government of Kiribati (Pacific Islands) has given the
technical management of the country-code Top Level Domain (ccTLD)
.ki to Telecom Services Kiribati Limited (TSKL), the sole ISP for
In turn, TSKL has chosen to run the ccTLD .ki registry using
only open-source systems.
The registry runs with PostgreSQL as a backend database, and is
accessible via the Web through Apache and an interface developed
All the DNS records are served with bind, and the whole system
is running on Mandrake Linux.
There are several reasons to run the .ki registry in Kiribati
with open source.
First, a few overseas companies have bid to run the registry and
try to market it as .ki(ds) or as ki (which means energy in
Chinese). However, the government has prefered to retain as much as
possible its ownership in the registry as well as to develop the
local IT industry (Kiribati is a nation of about 80,000 people
scattered over an area bigger than the US).
Also, running the registry locally will help retain a skilled
workforce in Kiribati, as well as to develop the local industry.
Kiribati relies heavily on fishing licenses and a seaman workforce,
so the diversity of industry is a positive move.
The government will be involved at all steps into the
development of the registry. Local technical staff will be able to
understand and develop the registry functions and perform their own
marketing. More importantly, all operations of the registry will be
totally under Kiribati law, ensuring that ultimately the people of
Kiribati will choose how the registry will be run.
Open source is an obvious choice for this software as it enables
TSKL to run services without worrying about software licenses. It
also allows the ISP to have an open system where the local people
can examine and modify the functionalities.
The system is, for the moment, tailored for start-up operations
but it is also set up to develop with the business--offering a
growth path for the local technical managers by building a system
tailored to their needs.
While the proceeds are not expected to be as important as if the
registry was run by a specialized foreign company, it is expected
that the non-quantifiable returns into the local economy will be of
much more value than hard cash.
With the proceeds from the registry, TSKL will be able to
develop the Internet in Kiribati under government supervision.
The ccTLD .ki registry can be found at www.ki