The Turkish Pardus Linux Distribution

Pardus is the first Linux distribution specifically targeted at Turkish GNU/Linux users. In December, 2005, a group of software developers, sponsored by the Turkish National Research Institute for Electronics and Cryptology (UEKAE), an affiliate of the Scientific and Technological Research Council of Turkey (TÃœB?TAK) got together to create and release the first stable version, Pardus 1.0. Since then the project hast made several releases, expanded its user-base, and steadily became popular with Linux users all over the world. Pardus is known for its simplified and fast boot process, its customized YALI installer and the PiSi package manager.

Policy Context

The two organizations which make Pardus possible are the Turkish National Research Institute of Electronics and Cryptology (UEKAE) and the Scientific and Technological Research Council of Turkey (TÃœB?TAK). UEKAE is the largest research institute of TÃœB?TAK and carries out scientific research and contracts technological development in cryptology and information security, business development efforts as direct "sales" to larger corporate and government sectors. UEKAE also develops programs fro large software systems. The company has as one of its aims, the development of corporate desktop and emphasizes the need for corporate management tools. TÃœB?TAK is both the funding agency for scientific and technological research in Turkey, and conducts scientific and technological research through its various departments. In September 2003, TÃœB?TAK and UEKAE conducted a preliminary assessment of Turkey's IT industry requirements, the results of which showed the need for an open source operating system to be used by national security agencies. UEKAE took the lead and started the Pardus project. A year later, in 2004, TÃœB?TAK/UEKAE jointly financed and supported the design and implementation of the Pardus project, with UEKAE having a major role on technical matters and determining the strategic directions of the project.

Description of target users and groups

The users are especially Turkish speaking people interested in the use of Linux, but the software is open to anyone and also used by broader community.

Description of the way to implement the initiative

In 2004 the development for Pardus GNU/Linux started, and in 2005 the first distribution was released as a live CD. The eventual deployment of Pardus to the general public goes further back in time, as the planning and developing started already more then a year before the first version was distributed. Shortly after its conception, the Pradus project opened its doors to external contributors, and the open source development nature of Pardus began earnest. By the time of the first release in February 2005, the project had had several external contributors. Despite the supervision by and the involvement of a government managed institution (TÃœB?TAK) and a company (UEKAE), the project does not have a board of directors or corporate structure around it. The decision making at the highest level is done by the Director of UEKAE, the Deputy Director for Technology, the Head of Business Development and the Pardus Project Manager. The presents of these main players however does not affect the Pardus project's efforts to talk to it growing community of users and developers. The project maintains an open and transparent decision-making process, and decisions are made largely with respect to the developers mailing-list.

Technology solution

In order to foster flexibility and ease of management, Pardus is subdivided into twelve sub-projects, each specializing on certain aspects of the Pardus distribution. These projects are: - Package Manager - Desktop - PiSi (Packages Installed Successfully, as Intended) - Comar (Configuration Manager) - Yali (Yet Another Linux Installer) - Packages - Translation - Feedback - Firewall - Turkish - Network Manager - User Manager Technology choice: Open source software

Main results, benefits and impacts

Pardus provides a very important public good to be used by the whole FLOSS community, in Turkey and abroad. The Pardus GNU/Linux operating system is being deployed and used in many government and other public services including the Turkish military and defense sector, in radio and telecommunication, health and education, as well as private vendors. The use of Pardus in all these sectors and institutions will save several millions of Euro in taxpayers' money.

Return on investment

Return on investment: Not applicable / Not available

Track record of sharing

Tracking the number of users of an open source product is generally a very hard task, as users in many cases are not official institutions or bodies. Official users of Pardus are: - the Ministry of Defense, with all its departments is deploying Pardus on more than 5000 workstations and more than 1000 servers. - the Radio and Television Regulatory Authority (RTÜK) of Turkey uses Pardus on over 100 workstations - the Manisa Province Health Directorate deploys more than 400 Pardus workstations, and the Bursa Pharamcies' Coop 150 workstations - the Petrol ?? Workers Union and Nezirogly Motors both run Pardus on around 100 workstations - the universities Ad?yaman University and Çanakkale 18 Mart University both run several of their workstations on Pardus (100 administrative PCs, and in student laboratories) - a special German Academic Remix will be distributed to the students on Cologne-Bonn University and in Macedonia in a number of Internet cafes

Lessons learnt

Lesson 1 - Patience: If you are developing open source software or building and distributing a distribution one needs to be patient. Good work takes time! This is true for technical know­ how building, product stabilization, process optimization, community involvement, and common awareness. If you rush things you usually end up worse than a more "relaxed” approach. Lesson 2 - Opening up. Your license, your development methodology, your decision making process, and anything having to do with the project... have to be open. Otherwise you will not attractoutsiders as developers, nor as users. Opening up does not guarantee a healthy community by itself, but is necessary. Lesson 3 - Branding: And you should not forget about brand building and protection. Using GNU GPL you are somewhat “giving away” your intellectual property, and your brand is the only that you have. In order to have a healthy quality perception, competitive business partners and growing ecosystem you have to have a strong brand and protect it. Scope: National
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