My Pardus Story

Many thanks to Yasin Aydın for translating this blog entry to English.

For me, everything started with a chain of coincidences..

First Meeting and Internship Application (January 2007 – April 2007)

At first I decided to go abroad for Erasmus Exchange Programme. After that, I forced my school to make an agreement with the school I want to go. In January 2007, I went to Grenoble city of France. I started my lessons and saw that everyone is using Linux, even in the classes and the laboratories. I got back home, installed Pardus 2007 to my laptop. For 6 months, I used Pardus 2007 for all everything except the times I needed Skype.

One night, when I was thinking in bed before the sleep, I thought “I wish I had a chance to have an internship in Pardus Project”. In a few days after that night, I learned that Pardus was looking for interns for the first time ever. I was excited, indeed. One one hand I wanted it so much, but on the other hand I was thinking that I won’t have a chance to be accepted because I didn’t have enough Linux experience at the moment. So far, my only experience was about reporting a few bugs, that’s all.

In the end, without losing any more time, I applied for the position with my CV and a cover letter (March 29, 2007):

Dear Pardus Team,

First, let me tell you about myself. I am a 3rd grade student in Galatasaray University, studying Computer Engineering. As a result of my Erasmus Exchange application I did last year, I am studying in Grenoble, France since January 2007. I will come back to Istanbul in June 2007, after this exchange program ends and I will have my internship period for 2 months.

Since I was born, I was always in a relationship with computers and I am happy with that and I still have the excitement I had first day. With this agitation, I decided to have my undergraduate degree on computers. I am interested in every subject about computers and electronics. But I have more interest in electronical design of the computer, processor organization, operating system design and signal processing areas. I agree that I cannot say I have incredible knowledge on these subjects but these are the topics I am having an extreme joy.

I have been using Linux since 2004. In the first year in the university, I started following the lectures given by GSULinux and by the end of the year I was accepted to the Staff group. This is the way I got into the UNIX world I was wondering about since my high-school years, in a laid-back but curious manner. I can say that I have gained a lot of hands-on experience with my attempts to install Gentoo operating system. Other than that, I am somewhat using C programming language since 2003 and I am proud of this.

Long story short, I want to pass my internship period in Pardus team, because for I would be so happy if I can be of any help for the operating system which is on my laptop for 2 months. I feel that this operating system which I am proud even when I am using will be a pride of my country in the future. I had my last year internship in the optoelectronics lab in TUBITAK/UEKAE, so I am familiar with around. Unfortunately, I don’t have any experience with Python at all. I only had a quick look last year but because I didn’t practice it since then, I don’t remember anything at all. I never developed a GUI using QT. I don’t think learning this will take a lot of time, and I am thinking about working and testing it if I can find some time. Below I am writing the projects I choosed amongst internship projects. Amongst all of them, without the concern of their difficulties and required knowledge levels, the ones which interest me are:

- Migration tool
- Proxy settings interface
- Package building tool
- Support for adding other Linux distros to the GRUB menu
- Graphical configuration interface

My CV is attached. The official length of my internship is 2 months (40 work days) and I can do it in any timeline between July and September 2007. Yours sincerely. Have a nice day.

A personal reply (Turkish screenshot) from Koray Löker arrived on 24 April 2007:

(The detailed Turkish blog entry by A.Murat Eren is also worth reading.)

Intership (July 2007 – August 2007)

After I started my internship the thing I realized is the presence of interns who know about Pardus and Linux more than me and who already met with the Pardus Team. I worked on developing a XMLRPC-based communication layer to the buildfarm. Most of the time we were working with Ekin Meroğlu and S.Çağlar Onur, I was going to their desks, asking some questions, taking notes for the answers, getting back to the internship office and trying to do some work.

The internship period was fast, I learned many things, I have visited the tomb of Anibal, met many precious people, had fun.. And, on September 11 2007, Çağlar asked me “Do you want to work with us part-time?”. It was also interesting that this offer was on my birthday. I accepted it.

Part-time Contribution (October 2007 – August 2008)

Between October 2007 and June 2008 I supported the project part-time. I was working in automatic printer discovery infrastructure in my spare times. We first added this feature in Pardus 2008 which helped users a lot. With me, Gökçen Eraslan started working full-time, while Fatih Aşıcı started part-time.

When my part-time work was overlapping with my last year in my university, I couldn’t have enough time for Pardus. When I came back to the office after completing my thesis and graduating in June 2008, I had a conversation with Erkan Tekman, about “I want to do something academic, I’m planning to study in a graduate programme, and because I was spending most of my time about my thesis, the relation between Pardus and me grown apart.”, but he convinced me to stay in the project and also told me that I can have my graduate studies within my 1-day academic permission. So in August 2008, I started working in the project full-time.

Full Time Contribution (August 2008 – January 2012)

I have become a full-time developer in August 2008. At the same time, I started my graduate studies in Boğaziçi University Biomedical Engineering. But because of some personal and timetable issues, I realized that studies and work won’t go together at the same time, I left the university.

Gürer Özen, İsmail Dönmez and S.Çağlar Onur, the people that I couldn’t find enough time to develop together when I was working as an intern and a part-timer, left the project. After Çağlar’s departure, I found myself maintaining the kernel package. When I took the responsibility of the kernel package and kernel drivers, Pardus 2008 was being actively developed and we were using 2.6.25 series kernel.

In November 2008, I upgraded the kernel to 2.6.25.20 and with the patches I borrowed from SUSE, I added UDF support to the kernel. That was my first update to the kernel package.

Afterwards, we published Pardus 2009 with 2.6.31 series. With the Pardus Corporate 2, we first used 2.6.32 series, then we upgraded to 2.6.35 series. In Pardus 2011, we used kernels 2.6.36 and 2.6.37.

Besides the kernel and driver maintenance, I started moving the packages that were waiting in the devel repository to the 2008-stable repository. I learned what a patch really is, I fixed build errors, I upgraded packages, etc. This period educated me so well about package maintenance.

After a while, I’ve taken the printer packages from Onur Küçük. Other than that, I’ve also taken the responsibility for some basic libraries, scanner support, sound stack, Bluetooth stack, HAL, udev, wired/wireless network framework, etc.. Now it seems that I am the maintainer of 425 different packages in 2011 stable repository.

Meanwhile, I also am looking to our bug tracking system and see that I had 586 tickets assigned to me which are closed as FIXED. Of course it is an estimated value, there may also be the ones which are labeled as FIXED by mistake, and are assigned to me but resolved by someone else. However this number gives an estimate about how much I participated in this project.

Pardus Corporate 2

On the 10th of december 2009, as announced in developers mailing list by Project Manager Erkan Tekman, I became temporary release manager for Pardus Corporate 2. This release which was actually started with the managership of Ekin, was temporarily transferred to me because of Ekin’s short-term departure from the project for his military service. When Ekin came back from his military service and assigned as contractual projects manager, the release was given over me for real.

We have worked a lot for the Pardus Corporate 2 which was using KDE desktop environment’s not-taken-cared-anymore but stable and fast 3.5 series. I cannot say that there were no delays on the release schedule but all these delays were because to improve the final product in a better way. We tried to reflect the factors that should exist in a corporate edition as our power and skills were enough. And in the end, we published Pardus Corporate 2 in February 2011.

The interest for the product inside TUBITAK was also a lot. To improve AKIS, which was a smart-card operating system developed by TUBITAK, we worked together with the AKIS team and provided a very comprehensive AKIS support in Pardus Corporate 2 and we have presented it.

Again we tried to complete the requests from projects like EPDK and SKAAS. We worked together with these teams and we supported each other.

So, what happened then?

As specified in the issue (Turkish) on 28th of August 2011 in the local newspaper Milliyet, a new nomination operation occured with a decree law (which regulates reconstruction in the community institutions) and TUBITAK president Nükhet Yetiş is removed from the position. A few days later, Önder Yetiş, the president of BİLGEM quit.

Of course, I will not talk about politics in this last article of mine. The readers of this article will interpret this reconstruction process which started on August 2011, with their own perceptions and interpretations.

But,

This period of reconstruction which has been continuing for the past 5 months was a giant avalanche, destroying TUBITAK. There are many researchers, managers, projects and units which are affected by this avalanche, and there are also ones which are not affected at all.

Pardus Project was never honored as expected, in FATİH Project (It is a huge educational project funded by the government which consists of putting interactive whiteboards in the classes, giving special educational tablets to the students, etc.) The cabinet ministers of the government used funny and ignorant sentences like “There is an operating system called Pardus which TUBITAK developed.”

When there was no hope at all for the inclusion of Pardus in FATİH Project, in October 2011 Pardus Project was migrated from UEKAE to BTE and renamed as “Pardus for Fatih”. And we said: perhaps?

After a few days, a highly ranked manager had an unprofessional speech as “Microsoft decreased the license prices by 5TL/computer and the minister of transportation already told me that the project will be given to Microsoft”, in front of the institute employees.

Another day, we also heard that people were very thankful to Pardus because it was fighting hard against Microsoft, in Fatih Project!

Consequently, I realized that renaming Pardus into “Pardus for Fatih” is nothing but a distraction.

We also have witnessed that researchers who we know, respect, doing their job good were being demoted and assigned to lower-level tasks. Media and outer world was and could be never aware of what’s going on inside.

Me?

In this reconstruction process, my faith for this period will work out good for Pardus was so low, and that little remaining faith was completely destroyed by some meetings I have attended and some new people I have met. So I decided to go on as much as I can and in the meantime, to take care of the remaining issues as I can. I published a stable update for Pardus Corporate 2, upgraded the kernel to 3.2 in my playground, fixed some of the reported bugs. Just in case for a new version plan, I prepared packages for new Linux technologies like systemd, dracut, kmod in my playground. At the same time I continued to take care of the projects and exams about my graduate education.

Reassignment

On 29th of December 2011, I learned that I was reassigned to Ankara for a month.

I was hired for Pardus Project in October 2007 and I was not a subcontracted worker who will work between institutions and projects. And also to think that the upper mananagement was aware of my finals and academic schedule, the goodwill of this reassignment was very questionable.

I said, this is it, and I resigned from this destroyed institution.

And now what?

Now 14 people are working in the project which 11 of them are developers. TUBITAK soon will organize a workshop about the future of Pardus Project. I, who never thought I would be even invited to this workshop, think that this workshop will be destructive more than constructive. I hope I will be wrong.

Is there another distribution project?

I am still using Pardus 2011 at home and believe that Pardus has many advantages against other distributions, is more user-friendly and PiSi package management is successful enough and practical. For this reason, I want to continue Pardus by myself or with other people’s helps, under a new name. I even have a copy of the some part of the Pardus 2011 source repository in a GIT repository I created on GitHub. I sometimes commit my changes I do but there is only a little bit of progression for now, not even close to be a product itself.

But wanting is not the only key to it. Even though I say I want it so much, my graduate study and a possible new work-life will considerably decrease my possible contribution to this new project. For this reason, I want to think more about this and talk about it afterwards.

Thanks

First, I would like to thank my awesome manager Erkan Tekman for everything he made an effort, defended and targeted,

And to my friends I could remember, who worked for Pardus Project under TUBITAK, in chronological order:

Gürer Özen, Barış Metin, A. Murat Eren, Barış Metin, Faik Uygur, Onur Küçük, Ekin Meroğlu, S. Çağlar Onur, İsmail Dönmez, Görkem Çetin, Umut Pulat, Koray Löker, Bahadır Kandemir, Gökmen Göksel, Gökçen Eraslan, Fatih Aşıcı, Pınar Yanardağ, Taner Taş, Serbülent Ünsal, Ali Ulvi Tunç, Işıl Poyraz, Semen Cirit, Renan Çakırerk, Serdar Dalgıç, İbrahim Güngör, Eren Türkay, Erdem Bayer, Akın Ömeroğlu, Mete Alpaslan, Fatih Arslan, Meltem Parmaksız, Metin Akdere, Mete Bilgin, Mehmet Emre Atasever, Yasemin Yiğit Kuru, Hakan Şimşek, Uğur Eke, Gökhan Özbulak, Nihan Katipoğlu, Beyza Ermiş, Çağlar Kilimci, Mehmet Özdemir, Bertan Gündoğdu, Kaan Özdinçer, Pamir Talazan,

and also, to the people who worked or are still working in TUBITAK for different projects; Seda Polat, Fehime Bıyıklıoğlu and Özmen Emre Demirkol,

to ÇOMÜ and Necdet Yücel for the 64-bit support,

to the people from Artistanbul team; Ali Işıngör, Seda Akay, Gizem Belen, İrem Çobanoğlu, Uğur Çetin and everyone else that I didn’t have the occasion the meet personally,

to the creators and managers of Özgürlükİçin,

to the all Pardus users and communities which always supported and helped us,

and finally, to Önder Yetiş and our old management, which now I could understand better that they always helped us to go further and supported us as they can.

Finally…

 ***

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Posted Cumartesi, Ocak 28th, 2012 under General, Open Source, Pardus.

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5 comments

  1. Ozan- We need your help. Can you please join us on the Pardus Worldforum, or on FB?

  2. awesome story with faith, struggling & honor.
    a lot of thanks for your time working/developing very special linux distribution.

    i wish you have good luck in feature & career.

    my appreciation

  3. Kranthi diyor ki:

    Thank you for sharing pics with us. *sniff…;(. All projects have a lifetime. No one knows which project ends when. Thank you for everything. Success does not mean whether you had won, but whether you had played at your heart’s content.

  4. Anoninato diyor ki:

    Wow. That’s what has happened with several regional linux distros developed in Spain (Linex, Guadalinex, Molinux…).

    Politics change, then projects that were supposed to be the future lose importance after MS coincidentially lowers license prices.

    Good luck.

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