Our interview guest, Neslihan TURAN, talked about the reasons for choosing open source and her support to the open source world.
In this section, we bring you our interviews, where people who have a say in the open source world share their experiences and opinions with us. In this part of our conversations, we hosted our friend Neslihan Turan, a member of the Free Software Association and a software developer at the Wikimedia Foundation:
Could you briefly introduce yourself?
Hello, I'm Neslihan Turan. I am a computer engineer living in Istanbul. I am currently one of the developers of a free software called Wikimedia Commons Android App. I work voluntarily in areas such as free software, free information, and feminism.
How did you meet Linux and free software? Why Linux?
My acquaintance with GNU/Linux is based on two speakers from Istanbul Hackerspace talking about free software at an event we organized during my university years. After this meeting, I learned and adopted the philosophy of free software as a result of being a Hackerspace member, participating in the Academic Informatics Winter Camp, and crossing my path with people who voluntarily took time and effort to share their knowledge in this field. I think that we owe all kinds of knowledge to the common knowledge of humanity, and therefore, we should share everything we create using this knowledge with everyone again. In addition to this ethical motivation, I also pragmatically believe that liberating knowledge as its nature demands is the way to progress. This information can be an academic article, software or vaccine formula. As a twentieth century person, my computer is the tool I use the most, as my profession requires. I am a GNU/Linux user because I choose the kernel and operating system to run on my computer, taking into account free information. I choose other software I use according to this criterion to the extent that I can succeed. As a developer, I prefer to develop free software.
What kind of contribution do you make to free software? How and when did you start contributing?
I can be considered as the first to contribute to free software by working in the Free Software Club at Marmara University and organizing events on this subject. My first code contribution thanks to the Outreachy Program Wikimedia FoundationI gave it to a project of . This was followed by my contributions to another project I was currently working on, of which I was only a volunteer at the time. Apart from the code contribution, I also contribute to the field with my work at the Free Software Association. These contributions mostly focus on content creation, Turkish translation, and building an equal and safe free software community.
What do you get in return for your contributions?
In my opinion, the main achievement in jobs that are based on an ideological motivation and involve voluntary labor is doing that job itself. Once you're convinced that this is the right thing to do anyway, it would be hard to stop yourself from doing it. It is no different when making intellectual, technical or community-building contributions to the free software field. The main gain is the peace of mind of doing what you believe you have to do for knowledge to be free as it should be. In addition to this basic gain, being in this field has brought me more practical benefits. Thanks to the code contributions I have made, there is a job offer I have received by admiring the quality of the code I have written, and I am currently working there. Being involved in this field also gives me the opportunity to be in a common environment with people who think like myself and touch the idea of freedom from one corner. Generating policy here is in itself an instructive and eye-opening process.
What are your recommendations to Pardus community contributor candidates?
I think it is important to remember that free software is only one of all freedom struggles. Software freedom is one piece of the puzzle in achieving a free society, and without it the picture is incomplete. On the other hand, it should not be forgotten that this piece alone is not enough to complete the picture. With a holistic view of freedom, my first suggestion would be to advance all freedom struggles arm in arm. My other humble suggestion would be to try to develop a perspective on the concept of discrimination while being a part of free software communities, and to prioritize the aim of making technical areas that contain deep discrimination (such as inequality of access to technology by class, inequalities of identity) more equal. Thus, we can contribute to the creation of an environment where everyone can participate, even by existing in the community and not allowing discrimination, and we can open a door for more people to defend, use and develop free software.
Which free software applications and components do you frequently use in your professional or daily life?
I think if we go deeper, we can't finish counting the free software we use in an hour, not a day. Whether we realize it or not, we all use many free software components. If I have to name the software Firefox, Thunderbird, Inkscape, LineageOS, Ubuntu, Twidere, Rawtherapee, Telegram and Signal are the programs I use the most on a daily basis.
How have you benefited from open source communities and their work so far?
The meaning of being a community for me is to create the necessary motivation to contribute to a field with a sense of belonging and to increase the sphere of influence, enabling social transformations, not individual ones. Therefore, I consider the existence of communities very necessary. Since most of the free software we use is their own community, I primarily benefited from these communities by using the software they produced. In addition, Marmara GNU community and Istanbul Hackerspace were like schools for me. In these areas, I had the chance to access equipment that I was not old enough or to see around me, and to listen to many eye-opening conversations. If our topic is to benefit, I can't help but say that I benefit from the productions of the Wikimedia community, of which I am a part, like almost everyone else.
In addition to the Wikipedia Project, dozens of other software projects are produced by the community, and these software are used as infrastructure to host free information created by the community. There is not a single person in the world who has used technology in one way or another who has not benefited in one way or another from the work of the free software communities. Knowing that I benefit from the work of these communities also motivates me to work as a part of free software communities and to give back what I have received from the communities.