Following its announcement in August, the dedicated openSUSE Boosters team held its inaugural meeting in Germany last week to plan its activities to promote the growth of openSUSE and its community.
The openSUSE Boosters team is a hand-picked group of fifteen Novell employees with skills ranging all across the distribution, and who are dedicated to openSUSE development and working with the community. Since the team members are spread all over Europe and as far away as Mexico, we came together for a few days after the openSUSE Conference to get to know each other better and make plans.
Who They Are
So who are the openSUSE Boosters Team? Starting at the top we have Klaas Freitag, the team leader and one of the architects of the distinctive tools that make openSUSE, such as our feature tracker, FATE, and Hermes, the notification system of the Build Service. Stephan Kulow needs no introduction due to his role as openSUSE release manager. Rumour has it that his photo has been circulated to all the bus drivers in Nuremberg and Fürth so they take extra care not to run him over, such is his importance to the distribution. Henne Vogelsang, known for his no-nonsense attitude to organizing the community, keeps the plates spinning on the larger openSUSE project as project manager.
A trio of expert packagers from the Prague office, Michal Hrušecký, Pavol Rusnak, and Petr Uzel bring their skills to the team. With responsibility for hundreds of packages each and the knowhow to tackle upgrades and maintenance on some of the most complex packages smoothly, their experience will help the team solve problems facing the broad base of openSUSE contributors and make joining in on openSUSE at any level a rewarding experience.
For many openSUSE users, the graphical user interface is paramount. Egbert Eich joins us from the X.org developers’ team and will help us make sure that openSUSE keeps improving in performance and efficiency. As a member of the X.org Board of Directors, he has a wealth of experience in governing free software projects. The KDE desktop is represented by Luboš Luňák and Will Stephenson, while Vincent Untz and Federico Mena-Quintero look out for GNOME. Long term contributors to their projects, they have a close relationship with their users and appreciation of the issues faced daily by Linux users.
Peter Poeml, Marcus Rueckert, Robert Lihm and Thomas Schmidt will be making sure that getting hold of openSUSE is faster and easier than ever. As kingpin of the download system, a key distribution maintainer, graphic designer and developer of the Build Service frontend respectively, their skills cover all the important infrastructure to get openSUSE where it needs to be.
We spent a few days away in the countryside near the Novell office in Nuremberg, Germany, hatching our plans, deciding how to work on them, breaking the ice and enjoying the last of the sunshine. Staying on an organic farm, we had lots of country air and great food to nourish our creativity.
Plan of Action
Having introduced ourselves, what will we be doing? With a sturdy shield to repel SLE product managers, all of our time will be spent on openSUSE. As well as caring for our specialisms, we will also be working in three groups on various projects to improve openSUSE overall.
The first batch of three projects are firstly, to reorganise and improve contributor documentation on the openSUSE wiki, so it’s always easy to find out how to turn your time and skills into a part of openSUSE. Secondly, to bring all openSUSE’s infrastructure – the Build Service, the wikis, Hermes, Bugzilla, openFATE and so on under one umbrella page, so there is a clear portal each area. Thirdly, to develop a new factory.opensuse.org site that allows Factory developers and testers to get a view of the status of the cutting edge of openSUSE and become aware of problems. We’ll be working on these concurrently and blogging about our progress regularly, so expect lots of developments!
Call for Participation
All of these efforts are being developed out in the open, and anyone who wants to is welcome to contribute. We have a opensuse-boosters mailing list as well as the wiki pages listing us and our projects. As well as the first three projects, we have a long list of other technological, social and organizational improvements that we want to make to the project, which happen a lot quicker with the community’s involvement.
~ By Will Stephenson