People person, technology enthusiast and all-things-open evangelist. I have managed and marketed communities for over a decade, getting started in the KDE community, followed by working as openSUSE Community Manager at SUSE and now managing community matters at ownCloud. I'm busy growing the ownCloud community, speaking at and organizing conferences and writing about my passions ranging from psychology and people in communities to innovative technology. I take care of my dog together with my wife in beautiful Berlin and you can find me also on Twitter and Diaspora!
29 October, 2010
Just a quick note: I'm very proud of the very successful openSUSE conference and wanted to spread that word ;-)
Seriously, the "collaboration across borders" theme has worked out incredibly well. We even have a Red Hat developer with his own Build Service Project now. And I heard whispers about Mageia pondering the use of OBS as well. Awesome!
I know, I know, we didn't fork any big projects - well, actually, we had the first LibreOffice conference tracks there - it's becoming a real open source project, finally. Getting rid of pesky code attribution stuff has taken down a huge barrier. (meanwhile OpenOffice keeps crashing on my laptop. Which is OK, I used KPresenter for my presentation - too bad Beta 2 introduced the audience to ODF tags in the slides hehe)
26 October, 2010
I just released the Conference impression article on news.openSUSE.org - read it if you want a little taste of the conference. Personally, I can say it has added a second highlight to the conference year for me. I go to lots of things like LinuxTag, FOSDEM and many developer sprints. However, the yearly Akademy meeting has always been a lone wolf for me - in that it is so much better than anything else there is nothing comparable. Now there is. The atmosphere and energy of the openSUSE conference, while different, is certainly on the same level and I've heard the same from several other (KDE and GNOME and even other distribution) people. I already look forward to the next openSUSE conference - like I look forward to the next Desktop Summit...
In case you were wondering, yes, more articles are coming, and tomorrow I hope a nice overview of what was accomplished will go live. If you want to ensure we don't miss anything, send me or the marketing team your input please! Good bofs, people meeting people, new plans and ideas - it's all very welcome!
Three more things. First of all, Helen South has recently written an interesting and insightful article about cross-distribution and cross-community collaboration, find it here on linux.com. In my opinion Helen is an excellent writer and the thorough research she does is really amazing. Keep it up, Helen!
Meanwhile you all know the gnarly stuff going on in the area of Canonical (I wouldn't say Ubuntu is much involved, as that's the community and this decision was quite top-down, wasn't it?). I obviously share the feelings of many of you. Seeing the great collaboration at the openSUSE conference, reading about the announcement at UDS was like a cold shower. As Colin Guthrie wrote, "The first thing that struck me about this event is that it was quite inclusive". Yes, it was. openSUSE (and Novell) believe the Free Software community is an asset, not a liability.
Anyway. I support Dave Neary's proposal and hope Canonical comes to their senses and cooperates with the rest of the community, it's the right (and smart) thing to do.
Finally, something went wrong with the Wednesday-night-beer-discussion video I posted Monday. This link should work: click_me!
And I have another one here for you from the Green Party at Thursday night - including a dancing Bryen at the party :D
Now I need sleep. I feel like I'm having to catch up to all the work I couldn't do last week AND much conference stuff :D
23 October, 2010
Meanwhile I am trying to get more video's and articles out but NOW I need to get to the train to go home to NL...
Will blog and write more later ;-)
If you want some oSC video's NOW, check what Will has been recording, or the openSUSE channel.
22 October, 2010
Last night we had the party - which was very, very cool. Green lighting, red and green drinks and I've met many nice 'old toads' (the openSUSE branded beer). Which contributes to me really loving my thee right now.
According to some anonymous sources the conference is bigger, better organized and has better content than last year. I can't compare to last year but it's nice to hear. That same source loved the party - another anon told me he actually hasn't had such a cool conference party in a long while. As I recently have been to both GUADEC and AKADEMY I wouldn't say the same (although I must admit I was only at GUADEC during the famous "shit we've ran out of beer" party).
So at the party I met probably more people I wanted to meet than in the two days leading up to it - and I'm not alone in that regard. I saw some linux edu people get in contact with each other (too bad Knut* didn't make it), Andrew getting even more pats on the back and we were served food by Klaas, Will, Pavol and the other Boosters. They did look good in their outfit, I tell yah.
* the word Knut might refer to:
A. An Electric Boogie dancer
B. Someone from a phone company
C. A legendary creature
D. Linux Educational Distribution teamleader
E. All of the above
21 October, 2010
Having an awesome time here at the conference - esp last night with the Movie Night, the Movies were cool. As was the beer during and afterwards...
During the day I followed talk by Lubos Lunak about the Build Service as I wanted to learn more about it. As I made notes I decided to share them :D
In the introduction Lubos shared that apparently you have to package each application by hand - however, automatic downloading of random tarballs from the internet and turning them into packages for all linux distributions on distrowatch.org is planned for OBS 3.0!
For developers, OBS offers a platform to test software for a variety of library and distribution vresions and on 32 and 64 bit platforms. Of course it's possible to run your own OBS and have even more platforms there like ARM, MIPS and POWER. Furthermore, OBS can help you easily create packages for your testers - it supports building a package directly from GIT, SVN and CVS, creating an updated packages with one click in the webinterface or one command from the Build Service commandline client (OSC).
OBS is build with cooperation in mind. Packagers can send merge requests when they did a bugfix for a package maintained by somone else, it's possible to assing commit rights etc etc.
But you need to do a lot of manual work for packaging; writing a 'spec' file with a huge number of boring details like build deps, a file list, etc etc etc. Lubos thought it should be possible to automate this process - so he wrote a proof-of-concept tool for this, initially called "KDE OBS Generator". This tool has now moved from a proof-of-concept changed into a reall app, capable of handling a pretty wide variety of packages. He demo-ed how it works - which is pretty easy. Put a tar-ball in a folder and run the tool. The tool then automatically detects most properties of the package and generates the needed build files for openSUSE, Fedora, Mandriva, Ubuntu and Debian. It will also tell you what information it could not create by itself, like a name of the maintainer and more.
There is work needed on the mapping of dependencies on libraries on different distributions - like KDElibs4 is called libkde4-devel on one distribution, kde4lib-devel on another etcetera. During the talk a discussion started on ways of either auto-generating these mappings or even solving the problem on another level - something which will be further discussed during the conference. At some point, it is planned to integrate the auto-generation tool into the Build Service which will make it possible to just point the buildservice to a tarball on the web and let it generate the files right there lowering the barrier to packaging software even more.
During the questions someone asked if OBS provides repositories; sure it does. So, does it build all of GNOME for all distributions? Well, that would be a bit ambitious - the differences for something as core as all the GNOME libs between distributions is a bit too big to allow building all of KDE for all linux distributions - for now. But there is nothing wrong with ambition...
Which is a good note to end this blog with ;-)
19 October, 2010
After a slightly-too-big dinner last night your strategy team spend all day working on the strategy docs. We've spend most of that time trying to shorten it without loosing the essential information in there - trying to make it more readable. I think we did reasonable well - the results are on co-ment again.
Meanwhile it's almost time for the conference to start - yay :D
16 October, 2010
A couple of days ago Chuck came up with a (brilliant) idea to bring our ambassadors a bit closer to the openSUSE conference, even if they can't physically be there: let's all record a greeting message!
So that idea is awesome, and Bruno just announced some space to put the video's.
So, if you're an openSUSE ambassador and you won't make it to the conference, record a video and put it live :D
The video(s) should be about 10 secs, any decent format will most likely work, and shooting with your mobile phone is just fine. Say your name and add something of your own (I'm a Geeko was a nice suggestion but if you prefer to paint yourself green or sing a song that's lovely too). An English and one in your native language would be nice but remember - better something than nothing - perfection is the enemy of good ;-)
And for everyone who won't be there: we will do what we can to make sure you'll see as much of the conference as you can! It won't be possible to record all talks unfortunately but for sure there will be blogs, tweets & dents, flickr foto's and hopefully a bunch of video's, interviews and articles for you!
15 October, 2010
The strategy discussion in openSUSE is a difficult one. I wrote in the latest announcement this:
So if you've held back, have not had a look at this yet - now or never! Provide your input on the draft on co-ment and help shape our description of what being a Geeko means to us all. Yes, this will hopefully describe ourselves - where we stand, but also add a bit of pepper and salt and show our ambitions. Our strategy document has to be inclusive - but not too long. It has to show some ambition - but must also be realistic.This is not easy. We're a hugely diversified community with all sorts of users and contributors. We do NOT aim to change that - we're openSUSE after all. But we also have to make choices and have a profile potential users and contributors can recognize themselves in. Take 'beginners'. What does that mean? Are we talking about people who haven't used computers before? openSUSE should be fine for them - if they are looking to learn, play with it a bit. Someone who only needs a computer to check mail will probably need help, however, to get it up and running. They are not interested in reading on a forum about how to install multimedia codecs. So we target the person who will help him or her installing it and setting it up! Which again doesn't exclude a community team working on a super-simple openSUSE with everything a beginner needs - our infrastructure supports them. But we have to pick our battles, and openSUSE is traditionally a distribution which is powerful and flexible - we don't want to sacrifice functionality in our default offering. We want a graphics professional to be able to have all the powertools at his or her fingertips; we want a sysadmin to have an easy-to-administer system; we want a teacher to have a wide choice of interesting learning tools; we want a pro-audio user to easily install a low-latency kernel. openSUSE should not be harder than it has to be - but you may notice the power under your fingertips.
Anyway. Lots of talk, the resulting new paragraph in the description of our target users is dramatically shorter than the old one:
openSUSE users are looking for an easy and comfortable computing experience which does not limit their freedom of choice, offering sane defaults and easy configuration.
I think I like it, but the 'old' one (with updates) is also up on co-ment - let me know which one you like more. I even have a bunch of iterations in a piratepad here, feel free to look at the evolution. Altough this is only from today, yesterday I worked until 1 with Thomas Thym (thanks!). Today I had help from Klaas Freitag, Will stephenson and Henne Vogelsang for helping with this single sentence... I could not have done it alone! To paraphrase Thomas from last night: a team is more than the sum of the individuals.
13 October, 2010
Next week - conference :D
Looking forward to meeting many of you...
But I blog about something else - I've spend a significant proportion of Monday on making screenshots... I saw an email on the GNOME marketing list mentioning how impressed they were by a slideshow used by the KDE team at the Utah Open Source Conference. This turned my mind back to an earlier discussion about screenshots. KDE.org has nice screenshots on pages like this one, GNOME does not. So while creating screenshots for an openSUSE slideshow I made a few with the stock GNOME artwork and send them their way...
Questions and answers
Another thing I have worked on is our page with "Talking Points" for our ambassadors. The goal of these pages is to provide our ambassadors, who go to tradeshows and fairs to talk about openSUSE, with arguments and answers to questions. Of course I don't have the knowledge to answer all these questions, nor do I know what questions our ambassadors get asked.
Yesterday I have re-arranged all the questions that have been added over the last weeks into a few neath pages where they can be answered. I also worked on some answers - but I need your help! Go through it, see if you can (help) answer them, or of course if you know more good questions. The wiki page is here. Yes, some of these questions can be hard to answer but there are surely answers that are much simpler - so even if you think you don't know that much, go in, see if you can help our ambassadors out a bit!
08 October, 2010
I just published/send/submitted the last part of the openSUSE strategy stuff. Coming from KDE, this was a very interesting endeavor. It's not done yet, of course - I expect a huge amount of comments on this one (find it here) as it includes some notes on our 'competition' (coopetition?), what the results will be and how we'd like to be in a few years.
I know the KDE community is also looking at future directions - KDE 4 series is stabilizing, so where to go next? GNOME meanwhile is getting GNOME 3 out - but at the same time also had strategic discussions at the last GUADEMY. And of course Fedora has followed openSUSE in discussing directions. Guess it's contagious...
Not surprisingly, not everyone is happy with 'strategic discussions' within Free Software communities. In an earlier blog I spoke about the why of a strategy, so I won't go there again. I do feel, however, that tides seem to have turned. Either those sick of strategy have gone away, or those who think it's good to think about the future have convinced them. Or changed their ways of course, hehe...
Anyway. For a sec, let me move to the topic of helping... Not just openSUSE, but Free Software in general. I'm not sure how effective this is going to be, but I like the idea even though it's remarkably similar to linux counter :D
Ok, one more thing, because I can't help myself: the openSUSE marketing team is working on some flyers - KDE promo peeps might recognize something there, hehe. Find them here (for potential users) and here (for potential developers). Feel free to edit and improve ;-)
Oh and of course, because we're less than 2 weeks away now - go register!
06 October, 2010
Lots of good news today!.
First of all, the openSUSE community's Smeegol team has managed to get SmeeGol 1.0 out!.
And I'm proud of them, because:
- We are beating both Fedora and MeeGo itself in delivering the latest MeeGo software
- AND we do it while shipping newer software (Banshee etc)
- AND we have one-click-install for openSUSE users & SUSE Studio images ready to be cloned so anyone can make their own version!!!! I already made a clone with some multimedia additions for myself... Too bad testdrive doesn't work with Smeegol :(
- AND it's a true community effort, where volunteers from all sides of openSUSE have worked on!
So check it out, it's worth it :D
openSUSE users can install it quickly with this link:
The second piece of good news is that there is an official openSUSE Conference poster on the Conference Artwork page. So use it, print a few and hang em up at your local university IT department (University of Nuernberg!!) or in your local hacker space (I noticed C-BASE doesn't have anything yet so if you live in Berlin - go there and put up an openSUSE poster pls!).
And the third is that thankfully there is a little budget left for travel sponsorship for the openSUSE conference. I really appreciate that those who could afford the travel themselves have indeed done so, leaving those for whom it is a financial problem with some reimbursement. Now we can hopefully help a few more people. If you have decided not to go to the conference due to financial problems, contact me and I can see what I can do!
Talking about travel to the openSUSE Conference, be sure to look at the Travel coordination page!
And talking about conferences in general, the Desktop Summit dates are announced! As part of the organization I'm of course proud of that but there's a lot of work ahead. If you want to help, let the team know! mail to email@example.com or contact me.
EDIT: and thanks all for the re-tweeting/denting/blogging of the Smeegol, desktop summit and other announcements!
02 October, 2010
Recently Amaru Zelaya Orellana and myself cooperated on an article about the great work our ambassadors are doing around the world. They deserve great respect for what they do. A great marketing effort.
Meanwhile, the openSUSE marketing team is doing more work - getting articles out on the technologies we have, developing materials for our ambassadors and of course promoting the conference. However, no matter how much they do - they need help.
The work the marketeers do needs to be spread. openSUSE has technology and people which make our competition look pale. But they often manage to get the word out much more. Is that because they have better marketing people? Maybe. But what they DO have is a huge community of users who do their small share. Yes, it matters if you digg, tweet and dent. If you blog and talk about openSUSE. It matters if you become a fan on Facebook or on other social sites.
openSUSE has hundreds of thousands of users. Tens of thousands are active in the openSUSE community - reading our newssite, talking on the forums and contributing in other ways. Still, most of our news items get just a few diggs, just a few tweets, mentions in blogs or on Facebook. That means our impact is limited. You all should take that as a personal insult. If openSUSE is to make an impact, we have to do more than create a great linux distribution or good infrastructure. We have to make it known. Not only in English - blog, tweet or talk about our community in German, Spanish, Portuguese, Arabic, Dutch, Chinese - or any other language! Our lack of communication is hurting our visibility and therefor our impact.
A bad example is our conference. While most of our community members know about the openSUSE conference, a lot of people outside of our community don't. Yet, the title of our conference is 'collaboration across borders'. So they SHOULD know about that. And we are less than three weeks away! Why have they not heard about our conference? Because WE have not told them. People! We have a stunning program! We have excellent speakers, and many active community members will attend. But if we want to collaborate, increase our impact and really make a difference - we need more people there from projects like GNOME, Apache and yes, Mandriva, Fedora and others.
So I ask all of you - please step up. Go here and blog, tweet, dent, dig, become a fan. If you don't have any social media account, think about writing something for omgSUSE. OMGUbuntu is playing a major role in spreading the word on Ubuntu. We have rtyler and some others rocking and getting the word out for openSUSE users on OMGsuse.com but they need help! If you have a favorite application, write about it! It doesn't have to be a book, just a bunch of notes and a cool screenshot helps a lot. It IS a significant contribution to to that, and really, it doesn't take much time!
5 minutes at most - that's all it takes to help openSUSE. Think about it!