Archive for November, 2012

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. 

I would like to kick-off my campaign with the following: 

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. 
Professional live
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). 
openSUSE work
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. 

My view
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

The last week it was a little hectic around the Chromium webbrowser. Initially I announced that the Chromium webbrowser would move from the openSUSE OBS to Packman due to dependencies on ffmpeg. Shortly after my announcement I was contacted by Ludwig Nussel from SUSE with the question what exactly the issue was and if it was not possible to find another solution in order to keep it part of the openSUSE Distribution. 

After my indications Ludwig talked to some SUSE colleagues and the indication was that Chromium had indeed a chance to come back to the Distribution if we just build the opensource ffmpeg codecs. These are the ones that are activated with a standard Chromium browser.  In the past we had this particular library build on Packman, with both the Chromium and Chrome supported codecs. 
The new version of Chromium passed legal review and I am glad to see that Chromium is building and publishing in his old repositories (network:chromium). Due to the changes a new sub packages (chromium-ffmpegsumo) was added that contains the required multimedia library. However to support also the full range of codecs, we still have the chromium-ffmpeg package building on Packman. When you install the chromium-ffmpeg package, the chromium-ffmpegsumo will be deinstalled. 
I know that people might have switched repositories based on my first announcement and that they have to switch back again. But at least this would guarantee updates through the standard maintenance track of the openSUSE Distribution.

Running for the openSUSE Board

Maybe some people already expected this to happen, but for me it is still a surprise that I actually did it. I put myself up as a candidate for the openSUSE Board. 

I started working with Linux since the early days (Kernel v0.12) and have been using openSUSE since 2003.  I joined the openSUSE project about 4 years ago when I submitted my first KDE package. From that moment things went very fast and I am currently the main maintainer for the KDE repositories and maintaining Chromium and the Plymouth bootsplash. One of the next things I want to tackle (package wise) is Dracut 
as an alternative initrd builder. 
My current “day job” is Application Portfolio Manager for a well-known bottling company that focus on the Central and Eastern Europe market. If you look closely at my IRC nick, then you could guess which company it is  In this job I am responsible for setting out the strategy of all Applications used within the company. This ranges from our main Enterprise System (SAP) to desktop tools like collaboration, email, etc. The strategy should e.g. enable Business opportunities to exploit the main Enterprise system further.
If I am elected to the board, then my day job and past IT experience would be a good use. I would like to see the board to set out a new strategy for the openSUSE distribution which makes it possible to enhance our strengths and values. In the past SuSE has established a name for itself and it created some 
great tools, which even now are unmatched. 
Nowadays everything is about Usability and Accessibility. How usable is the software, how accessible is the information, how can I use this program, etc. I would like to extend this principles to the openSUSE project,  
On one hand we need to strengthen the relationship and the communication between the openSUSE community, including people working for SUSE. Only together we can accomplish great things. 
On the other hand we should value our end-users. These users are giving valuable feedback about how they see openSUSE with regards to Usability and Accessibility and their feedback should be incorporate into the final product. This drives the success of a distribution. Too many things out there are already being decided by a handful of people without listening to others. 
It is my opinion that the board should play a big role in both areas and to enable openSUSE to grow. 
My promise to you is that I will do my best to establish the above, If I would be elected.