As in michl’s post announced a the openSUSE Board and some other community members met the past weekend in Nürnberg to have a comprehensive 2.5 days face to face meeting . The meeting was attended by Bryen Yunashko, Andreas Jaeger, Jan Weber, Pascal Bleser, Michael Loeffler and Pavol Rusnak (Hendrik Vogelsang and Rupert Horsttkötter were unfortunately unable to join) and lead and facilitated by Kurt Garloff.We’d like to tell you what we’ve done, what the outcome is and what the next steps should look alike. We had tons of very fruitful discussions and are much clearer about the strengths of openSUSE and how to create a strategy around those.
Beside of the usual meeting things (introduction, ground rules, goals of the meeting) we wrapped up the stuff we did over the last months during our weekly IRC meetings. So we concentrated on our users, the strength and weakness openSUSE has, the competition we face and our expectations for future changes in the way we use computers. When building a strategy, you acknowledge that you can’t be the best everywhere, you can’t be everything to everybody, if you want to be successful, so you need to choose your focus – the already existing strength might be a good start to focus on. Therefor we went through the SWOT analysis and summarized the the strengths we do have:
- openSUSE distro works out of the box, comes with good hardware support and is known for good quality (stable and usable but not outdated)
- openSUSE distro has areas in which we stand out such as YaST, zypper, tool chain etc.
- openSUSE offers an ecosystem of tools around the distro such as openSUSE Build Service, openFATE, Bugzialla, Hermes etc.
- we have and attract a technical savvy audience
- high market share in Central Europe
- Stable funding by Novell
- Boosters team with their mantra: Grow community by enabling community
- We’re the only distribution out there supporting multiple desktops out of the box
- Linux is a growing market
To go down the path of a strategy we brain stormed competitive advantages which are things you can do better then your competition or things making you unique. After the brain storming we had around 40 single competitive advantages which we then grouped to clusters to find a focus. We found 6 clusters and a number of competitive advantages we couldn’t put into one cluster or which had relations to more then one cluster. We then tried to name them and create strategy statement around them. A strategy is a sentence or two describing what you want to achieve by excelling at what to serve whom. We can tell you that’s a tough task and we had a long discussion if such a statement isn’t too narrow for the openSUSE project. As the strategy statement only highlights the competitive advantages (and some of the most important activities directly connected to them), it is not a good description of all the things we do in such a broad project and with such a broad community. We thus decided not to use such narrow statements as the primary description of our proposed future strategy, but to come up with more descriptive and elaborate proposals.
Where did we end up? We ended up having 3 possible strategies which should be worked out to our community in smaller groups during this week and be published on June 8 for further discussion. The strategies are currently in a very raw format but we’d like to share the headlines already with you:
- openSUSE the home for developers (distro, tools, apps)
- openSUSE the base for derivatives of any kind (eg. openSUSE Education, openSUSE XYZ)
- openSUSE for the mobile world (be the glue between mobile services (clouds) and mobile consumers)
After we’ve published the proposals we’d like to have this discussion open for 30 days, use the feedback to enhance or possibly change the proposals s and then having a vote by openSUSE members which strategy is the right one to go with. For that the openSUSE Board will define a pass criteria so we have a clear winner.
That’s it for today. We had an exhausting weekend but the outcome is pretty good and more stuff, way more detail will be there soon to define together the path openSUSE should take in the future.
Please stay tuned to June 8 when we will present our proposals to the community and open up for 30 days of public discussion.