[Pardus-devel] What Happened to Pardus
bahadir at pardus.org.tr
Fri Jan 27 22:18:15 EET 2012
I've resigned from TUBITAK in June 2010 after finding myself not enjoying my
job any more. Developing two different distributions with different code
base, trying to plan every process and policy from scratch, and working with
state institutions was exhausting, so I quit after 5 years.
A few Pardus developers were tired like I was, so they quit as well in mid
summer. That was no big deal, since there were still many talented full time
developers working for the project. Then a game changing event happened,
government took over the TUBITAK  completely. TUBITAK was always under
pressure , but nothing effected projects under UEKAE (National Institute
of Electronics and Cryptography) like this one.
Before 2010 summer, TUBITAK was managed by Nuket Yetis and UEKAE was managed
by her husband, Onder Yetis. When TUBITAK took a decision to pull together
all smaller institutes under an umbrella, she assigned her husband as the
chairman of the BILGEM (the "umbrella") and after that, she was accused of
showing favor for her husband. He wasn't really a great manager, but he was
the best choice since was managing UEKAE since it was a small electronics lab
in 90s. Mrs. Yetis was not showing favor but people in the government were
not thinking so. Mr. Yetis resigned as the manager and retired, and
government replaced Mrs. Yetis immediately.
In Turkey, management changes effect whole institution in a very bad way.
Yetis couple were not great managers (OK Mrs. Yetis was one of the worst
TUBITAK chairman in the history), but new chairman and new board was even
worse. Government filled board with non-academic and non-talented people who
has nothing to do with science, research and development.
Firing someone is very expensive if you are working in a government
institue, but you can assign people to another project which is based on
another cities; they will eventually resign. Problem solved. Many department
managers had to resign or retire, or silently moved to other cities and
changed their lives to keep their jobs. The bad thing was, almost all retired
or resigned people were the only people that believe in Pardus project in the
whole institue. Many engineers and managers were hating Pardus, because they
were so happy with their crappy code bases, development processes and beloved
Windows desktops. Making project work on Linux? WTF?
In the end, Pardus project members were all alone, so they can be expended.
In a press dinner, new TUBITAK chairman was asked about the future of Pardus
and his response was "I don't know why people say that we are shutting down
Pardus, we have no such decision.", but developers were resigning one by one
every week. Just like Mrs. Yetis, he doesn't know what the heck is going on
in the institute.
I've heard stories from resigned developers about how other project managers
were visiting Pardus office and recruiting people for their projects as if
Pardus office was a recruitment pool. They were just transferring employees
to other "important" projects. Pardus had like 35 employees last year, not it
has like 5. They are not shutting down the project, they are killing it very
slowly. Maybe they are going to keep it alive with one or two developers,
just in case.
Last week new project manager, Ekin Meroglu, (who is a Pardus developer
since 2005) announced that rumors were not true, and TUBITAK was organizing a
workshop for the future of Pardus. This workshop won't change anything, I
tell you. TUBITAK won't hire new developers. They do this workshop to show
people that they are caring. They don't. Retired/resigned developers won't
work on Pardus remotely from their homes either, I'm sure of it. They are
extremely tired. Since it's almost impossible to find an open source related
job in Turkey, they are going to work for the dark side and won't find any
free time to contribute any open source project. Sad but true.
I know there are plans to fork Pardus, but without paid developers it's very
hard to keep a Linux distribution project alive. TUBITAK was the reason that
project not being successful as Ubuntu or Fedora, but also it was the reason
that an open source project lived more than 5 years in Turkey. Community made
TUBITAK to organize such a workshop, a congressman was contacted by the
community members to talk about Pardus in the congress; these were amazing
achievements, but I don't think that anyone can make TUBITAK to heal Pardus
even with a supporter in the congress.
Sorry for being so pessimistic, but that's what's going on.
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