In preparation for the upcoming 12.3 release, the openSUSE Marketing and Artwork Teams followed up a very successful FOSDEM presence with a week-long hackfest at the SUSE headquarters in Nuremberg, Germany.
Every year SUSE rents a bus that gets loaded with SUSE and community guys and girls and drives it across Europe to the leading developer-focused Free Software event. Although the trip is long, a busload of geeks and beer is a great recipe for things to discuss and projects to hack on. So we had a lot of fun on the way already.
At FOSDEM, we got a booth between Debian and the FOSDEM organization’s stand, and demonstrating openSUSE 12.3 Beta 1, and sold openSUSE Old Toad beer and merchandise. We had two big touchscreens (although one had broken touchscreen) and we were showing Gnome and KDE there. Apart from that we also had Samsung Chromebooks with openSUSE demoing Enlightement 17 (including a nice openSUSE theme) and XFCE. We also promoted our next openSUSE Conference in Greece by playing promo videos, hanging posters everywhere and off course having plenty of Greeks at our booth talking to everybody about it. They even managed to “catch” few Greek FOSDEM visitors.
So what were the hottest topics? osc13 and ARM got a lot of attention. But OBS is still a hot topic as well. People are asking for some software they deeply care about and the answer to that is always OBS – you can find a lot there and you can even contribute easily! As usual, the Old Toad was very popular and we ran out of beer during the afternoon on both days, despite bringing twice the amount that we brought last year…
According to Ilias ‘Zoumpis’, openSUSE development continued even on the bus back to Nuremberg, with various hackers sitting behind their laptops, building packages. We’re certain that if anyone had thought of setting up an ad-hoc network, a nice icecream server could have sped it all up a fair bit (and emptied those batteries in no time ;)). We were tired, but still, the many ideas we got during FOSDEM were just too motivating. And that’s the best part of FOSDEM – meeting people, learning new things, discussing various topics from all possible angles and getting new ideas and motivation to work on them!
During the hackathon, ten to fifteen people were spread over the two rooms we had. In one room you could find the artwork guys, designing and packaging branding and promo materials, while in the other room you could hear keyboards clicking away at the pile of writing work to do for 1.3. Here is a short summary of what we worked on:
- Branding: Grub, plymouth, YaST and KDM+KDE application branding
- Release artwork: Posters for 12.3, slide templates, announcement picture, screenshots of 12.3
- Other artwork: first draft of stickers, t-shirt design, updated brochure artwork
- Writing: Cleaned and categorized, integrated change logs for the 12.3 Feature list, and collected info from community wiki and announcements, prepared social media messages
On the social side, we taught our new team members the ropes of git and packaging and spent time planning and discussing the future. And of course, helping each other. Trying to prepare a computer for taking screenshots, Ilias Zoumpis was told by Bruno that he has
“… a little from 12.1 , 40 % of 12.2 and all the other is 12.3 on your pc”
Luckily, screenshots did get made, in a proper collaborative fashion!
The Artwork team met with SUSE designers, discussing how to get more people involved. The Ambassador team talked with Agustin and Jos about the future of this program and concluded that a major overhaul needed. Watch this space. The writing team had a meeting with a group of long-time OBS developers to discuss and prepare for an upcoming marketing effort for this awesome project. The SUSE Documentation team gave a demo of the new ActiveDoc tool and on two occasions we had visits from company management, with Ralf Flaxa, VP of engineering, and Roland Haidl, head of the SUSE work around openSUSE, talking to the team about various issues and opportunities for improvement. And the Spanish speaking visitors discussed “We are Hispanohablantes”, an effort to centralize the Spanish speaking communities in openSUSE.
Besides the hard work there was relaxation: not only did the team enjoy dinners and beer at night, on Wednesday we all joined the KDE 4.10 release party. After a presentation about this 105th release by KDE president Cornelius Schumacher and a demo of how KDE went to Mars by Jos Poortvliet, we enjoyed some decent Old Toad beer, and went – no surprises – for a Greek meal. We even had the honor of a visit from Klaas Freitag, now ownCloud developer, who is the person who bestowed this green beverage on the openSUSE community.
During the week we used Google+ hangouts to have people join us who couldn’t make it to the event. This is something we really need to plan better in the future, as Carlos noted. Otherwise, we should be proud that we did so well in preparation for the release, especially in the artwork and branding areas!
(thanks to the marketing and artwork people for input on the report)
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