Continuing my series of getting the openSUSE Community engaged in how better to improve itself, I thought I would look at Transparency and Communication. So what do I mean by these two?
If we look at the definitions of these two: Transparency - Lack of hidden agendas and conditions, accompanied by the availability of full information required for collaboration, cooperation, and collective decision making. Minimum degree of disclosure to which agreements, dealings, practices, and transactions are open to all for verification. Essential condition for a free and open exchange whereby the rules and reasons behind regulatory measures are fair and clear to all participants.
Communication - Two-way process of reaching mutual understanding, in which participants not only exchange (encode-decode) information but also create and share meaning.
Okay so nothing earth shattering, which is good in so much as it should be relatively easy to attain. No need for spiritual enlightenment. One question I have is, how well do you think openSUSE is at achieving both of these? Personally I think we have come leaps and bounds, but we can still improve (we can always improve ;-) ).
The building of the distribution is done in the open on the OBS, we get regular status updates from the chirpy and cheerful Coolo on where we are at and what is causing issues. The Board conducts its meeting in the open on irc in #opensuse-project. All the teams conduct their meetings in the open on irc for that matter, well those that have meetings – GNOME shall be resuming the regular meetings shortly.
We have multiple methods of communication available – Mailing lists, IRC, Forums & the booths at events.
So on the whole I think we are communicating well, but are we communicating the right information and is it all the information? That’s where I would like your input :-) My Only complaint I have is something that pretty much everyone who is passionate suffers from – we sometimes let our mouths run off and end up trying to flame someone. Being passionate is great, don’t ever loose the passion. We just need to harness it, don’t let it go too wild. Also we need to try and be more respectful to others, not just people but projects and distros. Whether you agree with them or not, there is no need to start throwing abuse or any form of nastiness. By all means disagree with them but do so in a calm and collected manner, you will be respected for it much more. If you do get carried away, then for goodness sake admit it and apologise! Everyone is guilty of this to an extent, myself included.
As for transparency, I think we are certainly on the right track. Almost everything is now done in the open, I’m not aware of anything done behind closed doors, again let me know if there is any. If there is we need to know what and crucially why. Yes I accept that there are occaisions where some things need to be done in relative secrecy but we need to try and keep those to a minimum and there needs to be a good reason for it – financial/legal/etc implications.
So please if you have any comments on either communication or transparency then let’s have them. Without them things will just tick along as they are, and possibly degrade (hopefully there will be none of the latter but….).
For those of you that are about to start shouting at me about iFolder. Yes it is an old issue that is much more complicated to resolve, there are layers of old school Novell involved and as such it makes things much more complicated. Also it isn’t part of the openSUSE Project it is a Novell project, which is also another reason I believe that things haven’t been resolved. Should it be covered by the Geeko’s fine umberella? What can be done to improve things? How can we communicate with those that are responsible? As Jono and Aq say – this is only the start of the conversation. It’s up to you to to keep it going and find the answers you are looking for!