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People of openSUSE: Michael Löffler

April 25th, 2008 by

This week ‘People of openSUSE’ scope out openSUSE Product Manager Michael Löffler known for his great work in helping setting up the openSUSE Project, bridge between Novell and community, openSUSE Shop, and so much more..!

 

 

michael_loeffler.jpg
Nicknames: michl, michl19 and sometimes Sprudel24  
Homepage: www.opensuse.org  
Blog: -  
     
Favorite season: All have their ups and downs. I like variety.  
Motto: Carpe diem  
     

 

Please introduce yourself!

Meanwhile I’m losing hair and remaining hair becomes grey but my 3 girls (my wife + 2 girls) still like me.

I’m now almost 5 years with SUSE/Novell. I started at Marketing and moved with a stop in Product Marketing to Product Management. At all stations SUSE Linux Professional/Personal and the successor openSUSE have been major tasks for me. Prior to my life at SUSE/Novell I studied Business Administration, travelled the world after my degree and started to work for several years at different trade show organizers and finally worked as an event manager. So people say, I’m pretty good in organizing and keeping things together. All that working experience happened in the Munich area which I happily left in direction of Nürnberg where I started at the Marketing department handling the retail box in all markets beside of Germany.

Shortly after I joined SUSE, SUSE got acquired by Novell and I moved to Product Marketing with a more technical aspect of the distribution. With the planning of the openSUSE project I became Product Manager which I am now for 3 years or so. It’s kind of weird being a Product Manager for a project and not for a product. As it is driven more and more by the openSUSE community,…however – I understand myself more as an interface between the community, the distribution, several departments at Novell and Novell’s Executives.

 

Tell us about the background to your computer use.

Prior to my job at SUSE I was literally just a computer user – Windows and Mac.
Since I started at SUSE of course I’m getting more and more computer knowledge with my daily work.

 

When and why did you start using openSUSE/SUSE Linux?

Aug ’03 when I started working for SUSE. SUSE had a vacant position at Marketing and a number of friends told me that Linux is powerful and SUSE Linux a great company to work for.

 

When did you join the openSUSE community and what made you do that?

I’d say I joined the openSUSE already prior to its birth as I was pretty much involved in planning of the openSUSE project and in getting it up and running in August, 2005.

 

In what way do you participate in the openSUSE project?

As Product Manager of openSUSE employed by SUSE/Novell I’m involved in pretty many things.

Main tasks are:

- interface between external community and Novell (Guiding Principals and openSUSE Board)
- working on future activities (events, spiffs, marketing plan)
- together with coolo getting the distribution done
- coordination of tasks (shop.opensuse.org, smolt.opensuse.org, openFate)
- retail box
- getting the first sponsors aboard of openSUSE

 

What especially motivates you to participate in the openSUSE project?

I’m thrilled to see how many talented people are involved in the project and how much everybody contributes. To see discussions on mailinglist with sometimes pretty opponent opinions which at the end lead to a good solution.

 

What do you think was your most important contribution to the openSUSE project/community or what is the contribution that you’re most proud of?

- being involved in the creation of openSUSE’s Guiding Principles
- raising Novell’s attention for openSUSE.org (e.g. getting Zonker aboard)
- open sourcing of the openSUSE Service, this required long breath and was only doable with Adrian

 

When do you usually spend time on the openSUSE project?

100% percent of my working time and some evenings as well. I try to keep weekends reserved for my family which not always works out…

 

Three words to describe openSUSE? Or make up a proper slogan!

Have a lot of fun!

 

What do you think is missing or underrated in the distribution or the project?

First, the openSUSE project made over almost 3 years now great progress in becoming more open, allow more people to contribute, to grow its community, offering the openSUSE Build Service, making openSUSE more independent etc. Yes, there is still something missing but we achieved a lot and are heading in the right direction.

- We’re on the right track with promoting openSUSE better (e.g. news.opensuse.org, weekly news, zonker.opensuse.org) but we’re still a quiet technical community in which I have the feeling it’s not easy for an outsider to get in or get information you’re interested in offered in a convenient way
- We’re not using yet the power of the existing community in regards of multiplier for getting openSUSE in the hands of everybody. Especially in countries with no or expensive broadband access this could drive the adoption of openSUSE.

 

What do you think the future holds for the openSUSE project?

I see a bright future for openSUSE. We are already one of the most popular distributions known for being on top of technical development. And all this offered in a very usable way for newbies to developers.

The project itself is growing and growing – I’m always amazed what high quality pages are offered in our wiki. And with the openSUSE Build Service we’re offering a high quality service to everybody who might imagine spending his time with something else then packaging. And of course the openSUSE Build Service is a wonderful source for any kind of open source software somebody is looking for. This all combined with the backing of Novell will remain offering a lot positive things in the future.

 

A person asks you why he/she should choose openSUSE instead of other distribution/OS. What would be your arguments to convince him/her to pick up openSUSE?

Pretty easy, openSUSE is one of the best distributions available. I know many of the smart people creating openSUSE and for any issue which might appear I can get help from the real experts ;-)

 

Which members of the openSUSE community have you met in person?

As I’m working out of Nürnberg I meet many internal community members on a daily base and a bunch of Novell’s from time to time. From the external people I met already Francis, Benjamin, Pascal and Christian Boltz.

 

How many icons are currently on your desktop?

5

 

What is the application you can’t live without? And why?

I don’t have a “can’t live without” application. I currently use tomboy pretty much. It offers my a simple and efficient way for note keeping. And I have to admit that at the beginning I was very much oppose all those note keeping tools as I’m old school and a fan a pencil and paper.

 

Which application or feature should be invented as soon as possible?

A tool which automatically creates Linux drivers if a Window one is available.

 

Which is your preferred text editor? And why?

vi – ha, just kidding
kate – it just does what I need.

 

Which famous person would you want to join the openSUSE community?

Arnold Schwarzenegger – he probably would bring some more “action” [pronounced in his austrianenglish dialect] to the project.

 

Which computer related skills would you like to have?

Oh man, this is a long list.

 

The Internet crashes for a whole week — how would you feel, what would you do?

In regards of work pretty nothing possible to do without Internet. Maybe that would be useful once in a while to come down, put things in order and create concepts and plans for the future without a rush.

For my private life no Internet would be very nice – I have a family, a garden, many books not read yet. It wouldn’t be boring without the Internet.

 

Which is your favorite movie scene?

“Being John Malkovich” when people finding the hidden door and sliding down into John’s head.

 

Star Trek or Star Wars?

Oh, is there any difference?

 

What is your favorite food and drink?

Semolina dumpling soup. On request I provide the recipe.
Water.

 

Favorite game or console (in your childhood and nowadays)?

Childhood: Atari 2600
Nowadays: Backgammon – the wooden model, to be played at winter evenings in front of a fireplace

 

Which city would you like to visit?

St. Petersburg as in the past months to many people told me St. Petersburg is a very nice town and offers much.

 

What is your preferred way to spend your vacation?

In former days this was back packing parts of South America and Africa.
Nowadays staying at home with the family or drive to Northern Italy were we know a decent place to stay and relax (btw without Internet)

 

Someone gives you $1.000.000 — what would you do with the money?

I’d spend a fair amount (50% or so) of this to people not in a such good situation as I am. Invest some money in a conservative way and would try to enjoy life a bit more with regards to some luxury I can’t afford today.

 

If travelling through time was possible — when would we be most likely to meet you?

I prefer living in reality – here and now.

 

There’s a thunderstorm outside — do you turn off your computer?

No.

 

Have your ever missed an appointment because you forgot about it while sitting at your computer?

Yes. Not to many but this happens once in a while.

 

Show us a picture of something, you have always wanted to share!

Hmmm, I don’t have really something I always wanted to share but.. wait a minute. Yes, few months ago I saw a really beautiful car here in Nürnberg which you normally don’t see at all due to the high production number of around 600 cars. It’s a real beauty – Maserati Sebring. I couldn’t find a price tag but I assume even the $ 1mil from above wouldn’t make me the owner of one of those.

michael_loeffler_showpicture.jpg

 

You couldn’t live without…

… my bicycle.

 

Which question was the hardest to answer?

How many icons are currently on your desktop?

 

What other question would you like to answer? And what would you answer?

The ultimate question: The Answer to Life, the Universe and Everything?
Answer: 42

 

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3 Responses to “People of openSUSE: Michael Löffler”

  1. Albeit coming from a non-technical background and going through evil things such as marketing, Michael really is one of the key persons behind the success and drive of openSUSE.org.
    He really groks what the community needs, what the proper directions are, is always very helpful and collaborative.

    Besides being a very, very nice person I always enjoy spending some time with (even though unfortunately, it has always just been a succession of too short discussions and moments), Michael is essential to our project and our community.

    Thanks for everything you’ve done so far and you’re going to do in the future, it is immensely appreciated and respected. You truly are (as many, many other people), an invaluable part of this big thing.

  2. We’re not using yet the power of the existing community in regards of multiplier for getting openSUSE in the hands of everybody. Especially in countries with no or expensive broadband access this could drive the adoption of openSUSE.

    Thank you Michael. This quote show us that you’re really good marketing guy of openSUSE. I came from the country with no or expensive broadband access and we must try another way to increase adoption of openSUSE.

    Really appreciated what you have done to the community.

  3. anon

    is anyone else getting tired of the constant 500 internal error with opensuse.org? It’s getting pointless having this site if these errors that have been ongoing for months remain