The variety of information systems and software used to increase efficiency and meet needs in corporate structures is increasing day by day. Many parameters such as corporate business processes, users' habits, financial metrics, etc. are shaped around these systems and software. They even play a role in determining corporate strategies and taking actions. In this respect, they continue to become more important and indispensable for corporate structures day by day. So, how does customer behavior change when it comes to choosing these systems and software? Are truly effective systems and software preferred? Are conventional, reliable or popular products preferred? How does the cost issue affect preferences? What is the impact of cybersecurity-related expectations on product preferences? In this article, we will explore these questions and examine the transformation to open source systems and software in corporate structures.
Nowadays, almost every commercial product has an open source equivalent. Maybe we can say the opposite, because we know that many commercial products use open source software in their products. In this respect, we are at a point where open source products can meet the needs at the level of commercial products. We can say that in the past, open source systems and software lagged behind commercial products, both in terms of product diversity and productization. But at the point we have reached today, we can say that the powers are equal. The widespread use of open source products by various institutions proves this situation. Corporate structures are now transforming into open source by replacing commercial products with their open source counterparts. So why are they making this transformation?
Advantages of Open Source Software
Both public institutions and commercial enterprises are carrying out transformation studies to benefit from the many advantages of using open source systems and software. To summarize these advantages, the following 3 advantages stand out.
• Cyber security
The most visible and measurable advantage of open source systems is the cost advantage. Since the purpose of producing commercial products is to make a profit, serious licensing costs arise both during the initial sale and subsequent usage periods. From past to present, attempts have been made to create a perception that commercial products are better, more reliable and will not cause problems for the customer. In this way, customers can actually think that their needs will be met with a guarantee. However, today, open source systems and software have proven themselves to provide more advantages than commercial products claim to provide. So much so that the majority of commercial products use open source software and systems in their products. So why should institutions pay more for products that do similar work? Why don't we use the cost advantage? They ask questions frequently.
There are many points to talk about regarding information security regarding corporate systems and software. Situations such as the fact that the term information security is multidisciplinary, touches many different systems, and the diversity of attacks expand this subject further and further. If we summarize the cyber security issue in terms of open source system transformation, we can focus on two main headings.
First, we know that commercial products are produced by certain states to meet certain intelligence standards and that manufacturers have difficulty in this regard.(1)It is also a known situation that the sale of some commercial products is blocked at the state level. (2) It is known that many products, from information security devices to operating systems to corporate software, contain backdoors to be used for intelligence activities. One can find a lot of news about this reflected in the global press. In order to protect the software and systems used in public institutions from these intelligence studies, open source systems stand out because the majority of open source systems and Pardus do not have such back doors. Because we can see and analyze the source codes of open source systems.
Secondly, the systems targeted in the cyber world are the most used products due to the nature of cyber attacks. In other words, whatever products are most preferred by users, for example Windows as an operating system or the most used corporate firewalls, are targeted. If we talk about numbers, we can say that the number of malware detected for Windows at all times is close to 200 times the number of malware produced for all Linux versions.(3) The figures in the source that reference this statistic are blogYou can also see that it has increased over time after it was written. In this context, we can say that using Pardus and open source systems will make you much less affected by viruses and attacks. Beyond making inferences, we also witness decreases in cyber security incidents in institutions that have transformed.
The fact that the source codes of open source systems are visible provides flexibility in terms of intervening in these codes, as well as cyber security. Thanks to this flexibility, customer-specific features can be added or existing features can be changed. We can stretch open source systems to an unlimited level, as far as technical possibilities allow. At this point, the question of who will make the necessary developments on open source software comes to the fore. Since open source systems are produced by development communities, it is possible to receive support directly from these communities, from solution partners in our country who can develop software on the subject, or to do development by the institution's own staff. For example; As the TÜBİTAK ULAKBİM Pardus team, we can provide support at the source code level for Pardus and some open source systems. Of course, it is not possible for us, as TÜBİTAK, to provide code support to all open source systems. In such cases, we can work with our solution partners or directly with manufacturers. In the past, developments have been made at the source code level for many open source systems, from Pardus to video conferencing systems and office software, and they are still being made.
Major Institutions Converting Pardus and Open Source Code
As TÜBİTAK ULAKBİM, we contribute to the open source transformation efforts of many institutions. While we, as TÜBİTAK ULAKBİM, carried out some of the transformation works in these institutions, some of them were carried out by our solution partners, and some of them were carried out by the institutions themselves. As TÜBİTAK ULAKBİM, we contribute to a greater or lesser extent to almost all institutions working on Pardus and open source transformation.
Some of the public institutions that have converted to Pardus and open source systems:
• Milli Eğitim Bakanlığı It is one of the institutions with the largest Pardus usage in numerical terms. Pardus uses the Interactive Board version on around 150.000 devices.
• Ziraat Participation Bank While it uses Pardus in all its branches, it also uses many open source systems in its corporate information systems.
• Strategy and Budget Directorate Similarly, Pardus and various open source systems are used throughout the organization.
• Presidency of Religious Affairs One of our important institutions that implemented Pardus and open source transformation.
• AFAD Pardus and various open source software are used within the institution.
• Sağlık Bakanlığı It is at an important point especially in the transformation to open source systems. Additionally, studies on the use of Pardus are continuing.
• Bursa Public HospitalsPardus and open source software are used.
• TURKISH TELECOM Pardus work is carried out on the server side, and studies are also carried out on the use of open source software.
• MSB PRIMARY It uses Pardus in all its branches.
We can list the large-scale public institutions that engage in open source conversion as follows. Apart from the institutions we mentioned, there are many institutions that engage in open source conversion. As TÜBİTAK ULAKBİM; We continue to work with various institutions and organizations that want to switch to open source software and systems. If you, as an institution, are considering switching to open source software and systems, you can contact the TÜBİTAK ULAKBİM Pardus team.