openSUSE Board In The Flesh

I’m somewhat late in an openSUSE Board related task, sorry for that :-(.

I would like to say a HUGE THANK YOU to all in the openSUSE community for voting in the Board elections, and to those who voted for me! Thank you for having the confidence trust and hope that I can represent your and the wider openSUSE community’s interests. I am deeply honoured to be able to serve a second term as your representative on the Board.

As a Board we have regular meetings to discuss items that need our attention, these are normally fortnightly calls (the minutes are published for your perusal). Whilst these meetings are productive, there’s nothing like locking a people in a room for a couple of days to plan for the year ahead. We all know this and everyone on the Board has been involved with distributed teams for several years at least, and we appreciate the prisoner moments to really forge ahead without distractions. As such, the new Board had their first Face to Face meeting on the 7th & 8th of February 2014; SUSE sponsored the “jail” at their head office in Nuremberg, and as there’s lots of super secret open source stuff (an example of this, Go Team Slaby \o/) going on they also had a tight grip on the keys, so we had no choice but to get shit done :-)

This time round we didn’t just sit in a room for two days, we actually held an open forum on the preceding Friday for the openSUSE community members that happen to work at SUSE. This “Meet the Board” session was of exceptional use; in my personal opinion it helped those that happen to be employed by our corporate sponsor to actually air their complaints, issues, suggestions and in some cases praise, without the fear of flamewars, dragged out discussions, etc. and if they’re misunderstood to be able to articulate it much quicker and easily vocally rather than writing it down. After all English isn’t everyone’s strong point (yes, even us Brits struggle with our mother tongue at times ;-) ).

Meet the openSUSE Board

Many thanks to Andreas Färber for the photo.

When the “Meet the Board” idea was first brought up, I thought it would be a more social style chat over a coffee. Oh how I was wrong! Don’t get me wrong, it wasn’t a mob trying to lynch us; it was a large group of people that care about our project wanting to question and discuss things with their elected representatives. As much as I would have liked to shoot the breeze with many of those I consider friends, I was over the moon to see so many of our community openly show how passionate they are about openSUSE.

Some may be unaware but there had been some changes in recent times (going back about a year or so) which had led to many people in our community feeling somewhat disenfranchised. Many of those didn’t speak out, some had to focus on $DAYJOB and drifted away and when they tried to return things seemed to have changed drastically (and not necessarily for the better). So all in all things were a little dark to start off with. It was not only rank and file engineers present, but we did also have some of SUSE’s execs in the mix. Thankfully, they made it clear that they were not there as SUSE management but as members of the community (who happened to have a good understanding of the processes etc. that SUSE has ;-) ). To whet your whistle here is a brief summary of what we heard and understood:

  • A strong desire for the Board to take a more active leadership role.
  • The Board needs to be more direct when looking for help. Rather than open ended calls for help, be more specific in both topic and target.
  • Look at cleaning up the numerous “tools” that openSUSE has.
  • Help with transitioning responsibilites from one set of community members to another. We need to make sure there is no single point of failure.

The full minutes of the weekend are still being written up, sorry but we took a lot of notes and need to compile the source :-)

Remember that you, the openSUSE community, elected us. So if you feel that you are unhappy with how things are going or you would like to shower us with praise, tell us. As awesome as we all are, one thing that we all lack is the ability to read minds ;-).


If you would like to meet your Board, the next chance where pretty much all of us will be available under one roof is going to be at the openSUSE Conference in Dubrovnik. So make sure you register, and why not submit a talk (or two) ;-).