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LT'10: Interview with Erkan Tekman about Pardus

Mal untypisch für RadioTux: Ein Interview in Textform zwischen Uli Kleemann und Dr. Erkan Tekman (@ET_of_Pardus), mitverantwortlich für Türkischen Distribution Pardus.

Viel Spaß beim lesen!

Merhaba Erkan hos geldiniz and welcome at RadioTux

Pardus started in 2003 as a project of the Turkish National Institiute of Electronic and Cryptology. One of the main requirements was to guarantee an open and free modifiable source code that further

assures the system's security especially particularly with regard to it's field of operation among others intelligence and military.Another reason was simply spoken saving the money for more or less expensive licences. So far so good. Open and free modifiable code on on hand intelligence and military as field of operation on the other. Facing these facts isn't there a slightly bitter taste of surveillance and manipulation with it e.g. backdoors - even a new kind of digital rights management?

Open source (or, if you prefer the term free software) has its solutions to these type of problems, if you feel somewhat paranoid. You may recompile your system from scratch, go over the source code to see if there are any nasty things in it, and even change the source code for your security and privacy needs, to redistribute it if you wish to do so. This has no counterpart in proprietary world, even if they share the source code with you for examination. This is so since Open Source is not just open source, you have the freedoms attached.

For Pardus, our individual users do trust in us, I guess, since no such question has been came up so far. Yes, the team is employed by government, and yes the institute houses us has "cryptology" in its name; but we are open source developers after all, believing in open source values and our users now that. For corporate users we usually advise them to have their own local repositories, and they may even have their build farms if they wish and if they can handle it technically.

As I figured out from wikipedia the focus on PARDUS is stability and handling what rings the bell to me. Are we watching the birth of a turkisk Kubuntu?

In fact our original goals more around the term "ease of use" than stability.

Back when we started the existing distros had their problems with everyday non-geek uses. We have gone over them and designed and developed technologies to take care of: The packaging system PiSi, the configuration management framework COMAR, the management GUIs TASMA and LiDER, the installer YALI, the welcome application Kaptan, and such. We have placed special emphasis on the looks, and have our icon sets and such. At the end we have had a very usable and very well integrated KDE desktop. This has been stated by several reviewers around globe, including the upstream KDE developers.

To answer your question we aim to become the best distro using KDE. We are very close being there, but we lack the appropriate marketing touches.

Let me give a quote from your website "An operating system is required on which critical applications can work for the purpose of national defense, security..." can work for the purpose of national defense whatever that means. Don't you think reflecting the fact that the your innovative work one day will maybee misused for warfare purpose. AFAIK the turkish central recruiting authority ASAL still uses it?

The freedoms attached with open source have always this possibility for "misuse". It is true that our mother institute is doing lots of work for armed forces, and we are going to do that as well. But the underlying idea there is the technological independence, which is crucial in national defense. We are working on migrating the armed force offices from some proprietary and closed and imported technologies, to open source technologies with some local value- add. Which one would you prefer if your were in that position?

Regarding ASAL, it is the administrative offices of the Ministry of Defense, including the army recruiting offices. I do not see them any different than the other , non-defense government agencies.

For me, the important thing about the ASAL project is the technologies we have developed there, Pardus Terminal Server Project - PTSP being the foremost. We have lend the main idea from LTSP and made some changes, thanks to the freedoms. At its conception and even now PTSP is technologically superior to LTSP in several aspects, and keeps saving money to ASAl.

Looking forward what do you think future will bring to PARDUS within the next 12 months?

Recently we have started a project for the Energy Markets Regulatory Authority, EPDK in Turkey. The migration of the servers and clients (ca. 500 in number) is part of the project. But much more important is the development of a large stack of enterprise software on Pardus and open source. The components include document management, workflow management and business intelligence. Wen completed in 2011, EPDK will be a showcase for corporate use of Pardus and open source. we believe this will open doors for lots of other opportunities in corporate field.

To please our corporate users we're releasing Pardus Enterprise Linux 2 this year. Built on top of Pardus 2009 infrastructure, but using good old and trusted KDE 3.5 we believe PEL 2 will be one of our strongholds when going into corporate markets. We are in talks with several government agencies and some private sector companies right now. We hope to sign deals for migration of more than 200.000 seats in the coming 12 months.

We have just released 2009.2 Geronticus eremita last week, being named after the rare bald ibis. Our next release in the 2000-series will be Pardus 2011, which will be available in December 2010. We are planning to stick to annual major releases and quarterly update releases.

With more money coming from the government we are hiring new people. We plan to have more than 40 by the end of 2010 and at least 50 by the end of 2011. This is a sizable growth, considering we are 20 right now.


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