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Bristol PhD student: ‘Turkey deliberately ignoring open source’

Hüseyin Tolu, a PHD student at the University of Bristol, says that public sector organisations in Turkey are neglecting free and open source ICT solutions and its causes include institutional inertia, vendor lock-in and corruption according to a report today in Joinup, the EU’s public sector all things open source website.

Part of his thesis was published earlier this week as a case-study in the International Free and Open Source Software Law Review.

According to Tolu, Turkey lacks ICT policies and the authorities make no attempt to strike a balance between open and closed source alternatives, although the need for an approach on free software has come up several times. For instance, 2 government action plans favouring free and open source software were produced between 2004 and 2006, and 5 government evaluations have been carried out. Furthermore, the Turkish Parliament has not been lax on the matter, asking over 300 written questions between 2005 and 2012.

Tolu writes that Turkey has a de facto centralised approach to ICT policy, although it is not unlike some other countries in that the market shares for different operating systems break down as follows: Microsoft has 80.82%, Apple has 7.02% and others 3.16%. Moreover, Turkey’s public institutions are not encouraging the use of free software, in addition to which the vast majority of applications developed for the government are locked in to proprietary systems. Furthermore, it is unclear which government organisation should take responsibility for introducing and implementing any ICT policy.

The government’s failure to capitalise on open source is resulting in public sector services that are not interoperable, whilst at the same time leading to a duplication of effort and proliferation of ICT solutions, writes Tolu. He also states that the government’s efforts to develop the Pardus Linux distribution were a ruse used as a bargaining chip in negotiating proprietary licences: “Pardus made us salivate, but not eat!”