Victor Ivannikov: on the goals and organization of RASPO

    Governmental initiatives in the field of open source software lack a quality expert assessment. Free software market players are joining the Russian Free Software Association (RASPO) to jointly promote social work ideas in the country. Victor Ivannikov, president of RASPO, spoke about the roots of the situation and the goals of the association.
    Should the state participate in the development of free software?
    Victor Ivannikov: I believe that the state should actively participate in the development of society, invest tax revenues in science, education, including the development of free software. This is a very non-trivial task, because any worthlessness can be declared free software, but it will not cease to be worthless. And in our country there is a perfectly worked out mechanism for squandering budget money. Therefore, a very serious work of experts is needed here in order to understand what goals the state is facing at the moment, to guess what goals the government will face tomorrow.
    You must not live only this day. For example, now you need to automate ZhEKi and install free software there. But we must think about what will happen in 10 years. If it is just about using software, then this is one thing. If we must train specialists who will support and develop such things, we must look 10 years ahead. Because 10 years are needed in order to prepare the team, school, prepare top-level specialists who will work with this. The role of the expert community in planning is extremely important. Moreover, it is desirable that it should not be fastened to a particular ministry, but should live according to the laws of free software. It must be a public organization. The philosophy of free software is based on the social product of social labor. And the expert community should be built on the same ideas. This is the point of creating the Russian Free Software Association. One of the main functions of the association is analytical work, assessment of the situation and preparation of proposals, which now or in the future is a challenge that must be addressed with some kind of weight, risks.

    How can we evaluate the result of initiatives of the Russian government in the field of open source software?
    Victor Ivannikov : Any problem in this area is non-trivial, it should be carefully thought out. The program must be carefully thought out and a business plan drawn up. In the meantime, it turns out a game of chess in the halfway, without analyzing the response.
    Since the 90s, individualism began to dominate in Russia: each for itself and each to solve its own problems. And power is also part of our society, and everyone there sees what he will have from this, since our power is far from ideal. But if civil society develops, it will affect what our government will be like.
    RASPO will be a small piece of civil society. She will deal with things that the same ministries do not, prepare some kind of programs, how we need to move on. Of course, the authorities may not pay attention to this work. But it is very difficult not to pay attention when not one person speaks, but the opinion of the community is expressed. All the more so if it acquires at least a small weight with its work.
    Officials aim to solve a well-known problem, so they do not need to conduct in-depth analysis. Take the thing of installing Linux in schools. Of course, the work is not empty, but a lot of questions arise. Will it be used there? Who will accompany him, on what conditions? And all this should be preceded by an analysis: what do schoolchildren use, what do they really need from a school computer? Then, a lot of computer courses for different disciplines prepared for Windows, what will happen to them? And will teachers cope with Linux? Are training institutes ready to teach educators how to work in a new environment? And how can all this be developed without the active participation of pedagogical institutes and universities? Because in fact, the university is a cultural center, especially in the provinces. Students need to use Linux. This cannot be done forcibly. By force we retrain teachers, put Linux everywhere, and then what will happen? May he die there, just die.
    Even a trivial task, such as translating all schools to Linux, requires a complex, weighted solution. We need all these components - universities, continuing education courses, the creation of local communities in the regions. It is sad when you need to call the call center in Moscow by phone, ask something, and even in our conditions of communication. The teacher will trust the colleague, the teacher from another school, more than the RayONO methodologist, or, especially, the Varangian, who will be sent from Moscow. To prepare for the transition to free software in schools, you need to consider all this.
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