This afternoon the official start of the Campaign week for the openSUSE board was given. In total there are 8 candidates with all good credentials.
Introduction and Biography
Most of you will know me as tittiatcoke, but my real name is Raymond Wooninck, 47 years young, holding a Dutch nationality and since 2001 living with my wife and 2 children in Vienna, Austria.
I have been working since 1990 in the IT area. Started out as an Application Manager and climbed up to departmental manager to SAP Technical Consultant. In 2001 I moved to Austria to start working for the second largest Coca-Cola bottler in the world and to support them during the implement of the SAP system. Now 11 years and diverse positions later, I have been assigned to the function of Application Portfolio Manager within the Strategy & Architecture department. While shaping this new role, I found quite some interesting similarities with the role of the openSUSE board as I see it.
Unix and I
I had my experience with running Minix, SCO Unix and Linux (since kernel v0.12). Got into the distributions and played around with Red Hat, Mandrake and SuSE, but always came back to the SuSE distro. Shortly after that the openSUSE OBS opened (2009) the possibility to create your own packages, I started packaging a couple of KDE utilities and this brought me an invitation to push them to an official KDE repository and to start working together with the openSUSE KDE team (Many thanks to Dirk Mueller and Stephan Binner (Beineri) for that).
After my first experiences with the openSUSE OBS, I got more and more involved. Since end 2009 I took the maintainership for the Google opensource browser Chromium. Tried my luck with the integration of Plymouth (bootsplash) into the openSUSE Distro and got rewarded by having Plymouth as the default bootsplash in openSUSE 12.2. Due to reassignments within the official SuSE/openSUSE teams, I became one of the main maintainers of the KDE repositories and am currently maintaining these repo’s together with a great team. One of the last major activities was to ensure that both the Gnome and KDE desktops would function based on the new systemd-logind session manager and remove the ConsoleKit dependency. This work was done in cooperation with the Gnome team, which was another proof that within openSUSE both teams can work together and make great things happen.
In my view, there is need for improvement in the areas of user-friendliness (including not only use itself, but easiness of adoption, development, and so on) and access to information. Currently the strategy plan for the distribution is seen from outside as handled inly by developers or people working with the development version. Although this is not wrong, it ultimately leads to a lack of communication on why certain decisions were taken, or why defaults were changed, and so on. Of course the discussion appear in the open, like in mailing lists, but other forms of communication, like a wiki page describing the goals set for the next release, including the rationale for the changes, is missing. Ultimately this leads to confusions among end-users, and even among contributors, as endless discussions appear often on the mailing lists.
Role of the board
At the moment the board is hardly visible. Everybody knows that it is there, but we hear or see only very little of it. Also other candidates have already indicated this.
In my view, the board should become more active in a number of areas. The most profound one being to set the goals/strategy for the next openSUSE release. This is can be easily done by creating the wiki-pages outlines above where based on the openFATE requests, the feature plan is shown. If this is done early enough, our users would have the opportunity to react on it and to increase the usability of the next release.
Another area is the interaction with the community and to stimulate its members. With the changing role of the openSUSE boosters, some of the major projects (KDE, Gnome, etc) are now 100% depending on community members. This on itself is already a big change and to find enough community members to help out. Together with the new “rules” being setup regarding packaging, patching, etc, it becomes almost impossible to find new people as that people are volunteering for tasks, seeing what is involved and what rules to follow and they disappear. The openSUSE board should take here a more active role in promoting the active participation and rewarding the work that is being done by the community.
A third area is the involvement of the board in the discussions on the mailing-lists on topics that concerns part of the strategies or decisions around the openSUSE release/distro. Discussion why a certain item was changed or not changes is now done between users and the responsible maintainer. The maintainer currently defends his position and community members are jumping in on either side. I believe that with a different setup of defining the strategy for the next release, the number of these type of discussions should go down. But in the case they still occur the board should intervene and indicate what the agreed/aligned strategy was regarding the topic. This should move the discussion away from a technical point to a strategic discussion.
Why you should vote for me?
I believe that my strengths lies in my professional background where I am dealing with Application Strategies, Usability, Accessibility every day. Together with my willpower to bring things to an end, would be very beneficial for the board. I believe that I have proven my strengths in the past with my work on the openSUSE KDE desktop experience, the Chromium web browser as part of the standard openSUSE distribution and the integration of plymouth.
If elected to the board
* I will strive to define, align and implement a new strategy process for the openSUSE releases together with the other board members
* I will try to find ways in which the openSUSE board can establish a better communication with its community
Regarding the KDE team
* I will continue to support the team in the best way I can
* I will strive and drive the team to make the best openSUSE KDE desktop experience ever