31 July, 2013

oSC13, Strategy and Factory

The openSUSE conference had some chats about strategy. Ralf talked about suggestions from SUSE in his keynote and there were more suggestions discussed in person between various people. I'd like to summarize some of the things I heard. In this blog I will talk about the directions of Factory, what Ralf mentioned as SUSE's ideas from his keynote; later this week I will blog about the openSUSE releases.

This is a combination of stuff I heard (not just at oSC but also earlier - even from the first strategy discussion, 3 years ago) and ideas I have. I just attempt to put it into text so it is easier to shoot at, comment upon, think about.


Let's start with talking about Factory.

Who is it for

We need to think about who factory is for, how these people are supposed to be using it etcetera. Right now, we have a shared understanding - but it probably isn't always as shared as it seems and it can be good to write things down and talk about them (see my keynote at oSC). Some of these thoughts will come to the mailing lists, I am sure, over the coming months.

Where should it go

On the technical side, there are some things I've heard about and seen several times and which will most likely see some form of implementation:
  • more automated testing - the openSUSE team did a openQA sprint but many agree that there is more room for improvement.
  • getting more people involved - As Ralf said, SUSE will commit to more SLE engineers on openSUSE; and the community & the openSUSE team should work more on both growing our dev pool and training people. In a GSOC discussion about this at oSC, this point was made as well: it would be good to use GSOC also for bringing existing contributors to a higher level.
  • Bringing Tumbleweed, Devel projects and Factory in alignment - As Ralf noted in his keynote, not all work on Devel projects and Tumbleweed benefits Factory and openSUSE ultimately - it would be great to unite forces and bring them all in one process!
  • segmenting Factory in rings - which Coolo has been talking about for a while now. It would create a Ring 0 with the bootstrap- and compiler infrastructure, ring 1 with the base system and other rings on top of that. He has been experimenting with this, hinting at some results in this mail. I leave it up to a later post (perhaps by/with Coolo) to be more concrete about this whole thing once the core Factory team has talked to more people and expanded upon it...

That last point is by far the least concrete - it is an idea which is discussed and toyed with. How much and what exactly will happen - only the Geeko knows ;-)

Some discussion has started on the mailing list, by the way, with the idea of segmenting Factory in even more 'components' than just the rings. I had a chat with Coolo before this proposal came out and I suggested the same thing. He noted that it would lead to a huge mess of dependency issues, including many circular ones (he gave libpoppler as example). This is already brought into the discussion there, let's see where this goes!

20 July, 2013

Akademy and openSUSE Conference

It's been a insane 7-8 days. Starting with Akademy, where I gave just one talk but still have notes on 5 or 6 sessions to send to the mailing lists, followed up with the openSUSE conference where I give 3 workshops, 3 talks and a keynote, luckily not all unique or alone. The latter is still happening, I just wanted to share some thoughts ;-)


... was awesome as always. I really like that the community is moving forward with thinking about the future. The manifesto is of course a first step but there were BoF sessions talking about the position of KDE e.V. and how it relates to other projects which might want to join us or that we work with; and I ran a session with Valorie and Peter on how to deal with the dark side of community - the least fun moments. (I'll mail to the community ML about this)

Now I am aware that some of these things don't move as quickly as many would like. The manifesto is great but also excluding projects and people many of us actually don't want to exclude. And I bet that beyond that there is even more room for KDE e.V. to play a role, say in helping other FOSS organizations handle GSOC money or even more. Or think about our relationship to Qt...

Meanwhile, I'm of course still concerned with the Marketing side of things. At my presentation I put forward some strategic thoughts from the KDE Marketing Workgroup in this area and there was some good feedback, also in the BoF session about this. If you're on the promo list you can expect mail some time next week.

And many thanks to Carl and everybody at Akademy in helping getting articles out on the dot! It was real team work and that does not only lead to better results but is also a whole lot more fun... Awesome!

openSUSE Conference

Like Akademy, I spend the first oSC day running around, talking to people. And having a few more hours of meeting-with-the-board than I care for. The keynote by Georg however was a great start of the day (see article on news) and I must say the Greeks have outdone, well, everybody. There is a lot of creativity and fun everywhere - from the beach ball shooting (at the audience...) in the welcoming talk to the small pools outside, the style of the event is just awesome. Lots of fun.

On the content side, I really enjoyed talk by Alexjan Carraturo. He pointed out many hard issues with promoting Linux in Italy. And he's an excellent speaker, too - his English might be a tad Italian but it is not hard to follow and his presentation and slides are awesome. Most importantly, he brings up a lot of real excellent, interesting issues which the local team bumps into. From political and economical to social. They have found very creative solutions like the 'openSUSE Live USB station' where people can put in a USB stick and get their live openSUSE on it or using bare ARM board to draw people into the booth.

Max Huang (sakana) gave a great talk on how things are going in Taiwan - amazingly much better. Where Alexjan brought up the many troubles he and his fellow Geekos (and tuxies and more) run into, Max seems almost exhausted by the many open source events taking place in Taiwan! He showed some impressive numbers and facts about what is going on in Asia - clearly, that's where we, as FOSS community, need to put more focus.

Before these two ambassadors sharing their experience, Richard and myself spoke about new directions in the ambassador program and merchandising handling. Of course there were many, many more talks but I haven't seen that many and the above did catch my attention mostly because this is the area I care strongly about...

Currently I'm listening to the openSUSE Board talk about technical directions for openSUSE in response to a question. SUSE has some ideas on that and is sharing those with the community at this event, which is an interesting experience.

oSC isn't over yet and there is much more to come, I look forward to much of that ;-)

(edit: fixed some stupidity with names, I wrote this too quickly)