‘Turkey deliberately ignoring open source’
Public administrations in Turkey are neglecting free and open source ICT solutions, says Hüseyin Tolu, a PHD student at the University of Bristol.
Causes include institutional inertia, vendor lock-in and corruption. Part of his thesis appeared as a case-study earlier this week in the International Free and Open Source Software Law Review.
Tolu writes that the country lacks ICT policies and the authorities do not attempt to strike a balance between open and closed source alternatives. However, the need for an approach on free software has come up multiple times, Tolu summarises. Between 2004 and 2006, two government action plans argue in favour of free and open source and the government carried out five evaluations. Turkey’s Parliament also weigh in with, between 2005 and 2012, over three hundred written parliamentary questions.
“All of these efforts have not achieved their initial and subsequent objectives, and resulted in failure. The general discourse is that although the use of free and open source in Turkey is nearly as advanced as in many leading nations, there are some crucial obstacles.”
One of these is that the country’s public institutions are not encouraging the use of free software. Next, the vast majority of software applications developed for the government are locked-in to proprietary technology. Third, Tolu writes, it is unclear which government organisation should carry the responsibility for introducing and implementing any ICT policy.
“These five evaluation reports repeatedly stated that performance measures are unclear and the plan does not yet exist. The last report (March, 2010) stated that ‘the Use of Open Source Software in Public Institutions Project’ is still in its start-up phase. After four years only 10 per cent was completed.”
Tolu says that the lack of policy and the government’s failure to capitalise on open source is resulting in public administration services that are not interoperable. It also leads to doubling of efforts and multiplication of ICT solutions. He writes that the government’s efforts to develop Pardus, an open source operating system, were a ruse, used as leverage in negotiating for proprietary licences.