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Running for openSUSE Board #2: Questions and Answers

Already in the beginning of 2019 I have been a candidate for the board of openSUSE. Since there are now two places open again, I am again available for the task and run for election.

A general overview of my ideas and goals can be found here.

In the run-up to the election all candidates of the community are of course open for questions. I have answered a catalogue of 5 questions from Gerald Pfeifer, currently chairman of the board, and would like to make it available here.

1. What do you see as three, four strenghts of openSUSE that we should cultivate and build upon?

1) Variety of features
OpenSUSE is mostly recognized for the distributions Leap and Tumbleweed. The broad scale of different sub-projects and them fitting together is a big strength. We should find a way to get oS associated with the whole project bits like YaST, OBS, openQA etc.

2) “Heritage”
Linux distributions come and go, some stay for years, others vanish in the depths of the internet. OpenSUSE has been around for decades now and needs to plot twist that fact towards a recognition as reliable friend for running computers.

3) Permission-free community
The openSUSE community lives from people that just do things and try to convince others by results. That is not usual everywhere in FOSS. Some other communities try to streamline things into committees and head honchos.

2. What are the top three risks you see for openSUSE? (And maybe ideas how to tackle them?)

1) Getting forgotten
2) Staying unknown in some parts
3) Stewing in our own juice

There might be other risks as well but these three all fit into one major topic: communication – or more the lack of it.

My idea to tackle this is to revive (somehow) and to push the marketing team as a driving spot for everything going from openSUSE towards the rest of the world. There are already initiatives to write articles, talk to community people in interviews and to create new marketing material. This of course needs coordination and manpower, but is already taking off quite good.

The marketing team I have in mind is an initiative working in two directions: Besides doing things on our own I want to have it open for people dropping ideas, wishes and projects. Members can open tickets, non-Members can send emails or join chat rooms to explain what they want or need. Marketing people then either fulfill the request by themselves or try to find someone willing to do that, e.g. in artwork, l10n or any other appropriate team.

The main goal is to keep a constant stream of interesting content towards the rest of the community and to anyone outside openSUSE.

The answer to the following question extends this point a bit more.

3. What should the board do differently / more of?

Communicate. Though most people here (including me) don’t like the hierarchy thing it’s something that should not be left unused. In short: if the board says something, it is widely recognized as something important and official.
Being that only partly true and diametrically positioned against of what the board really is (a “servant” to the community), it sure is a way to gain attention for the whole project.

As a quick shot example: pick relevant stuff from the board meeting notes, make a monthly posting on news-o-o, add a nice “board news” badge.

4. If you had a blank voucher from the SUSE CEO for one wish, what would that be?

I’d go for easing up processes with Heroes and tech infrastructure. Though being not into the details anyhow I often hear about things going slowly and needing lots of poking. And I assume what’s visible public there is only the tip of the iceberg.

5. What is your take on the Foundation? What do you consider a realistic outcome of that endeavour? (And if different, what outcome would you like to see?)

Having SUSE involved with community stuff like legal and budget issues will most likely never been gone. And it would feel wrong to try to cut all connections there. But my guess and hope for the foundation is that it will make things more clear and separated.

Do you have further questions? Drop me a line!

(Source of these questions is here.)