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People of openSUSE: Rupert Horstkötter

June 14th, 2008 by

This week the openSUSE Project announced the launch of forums.opensuse.org, a merger of the three largest openSUSE forums. Continuing the openSUSE Forums euphoria we present you the Project Manager РRupert Horstk̦tter.



Nickname: rhorstkoetter
Homepage: http://en.opensuse.org/User:Rhorstkoetter
Blog: None
Favorite season: Definitely summer!
Motto: "Have a lot of fun!"


Please introduce yourself!

I was born on the 10th of April 1981 in Stuttgart, Germany. Therefore I’m 27 years old right now. I’m currently living in Darmstadt, Germany and I’m studying business administration and electrical engineering at Darmstadt University of Technology. I’ve one younger sister, Elsa Laura, 22, who is also my best friend.


Tell us about the background to your computer use.

I bought my first computer in 2001 – pretty late, I know. It was running Windows XP, but not that long. In 2002 I got my hands on a KNOPPIX LiveCD a friend of mine gave me. Nowadays, I’m using Linux as my main desktop operating system.


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

After playing around with LiveCDs for some time, I finally decided to install Linux on my harddrive instead of Windows XP. I tried out a lot of distributions, but always came back to SUSE Linux/openSUSE as it’s simply the best distribution out there, at least IMHO. SUSE Linux 9.0 was the first version I’ve ever used. I’m currently writing off an openSUSE 11.0 RC1 installation and I love it.


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

I joined the openSUSE community during my internship (from November 2007 to February 2008) in product management at Novell’s Nuremberg offices. Prior to that time I never contributed to the openSUSE project.


In what way do you participate in the openSUSE project?

I’m the former project manager of the openSUSE Forums Project. I got started with that project in January 2008 as a Novell employee and continued working on this in community effort. I’m currently planning to implement a user-rating for the openSUSE community and I try to be useful for the openSUSE project wherever I can. Besides of that I’m hoping to be a moderator at forums.opensuse.org in the near future.


What especially motivates you to participate in the openSUSE project?

First of all, I think, the openSUSE distribution is definitely worth the effort. Besides of that, it’s the community that motivates me to participate in the openSUSE project. The folks in Nuremberg are doing a great job IMHO and we have some really nice external contributors on board as well. I hope that my participation will help to some extent to grow the community and to spread the word about Linux in general and openSUSE in particular.


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?

Definitely the final launch of the openSUSE Forums – I hope you like it!


When do you usually spend time on the openSUSE project?

Mostly in the evenings, although my contribution as the former project manager of the openSUSE Forums Project was nearly a full-time job lately.


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

Green, great and a lot of fun!


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

I always thought, the project is missing official forums – that’s fixed now fortunately. Besides of that, I think, the marketing aspect was extremely underrated within the openSUSE project. openSUSE is by far the most innovative distribution out there, but nobody knows about it. The openSUSE developers invented great technologies (kickoff, gnome-main-menu, compiz, xgl, mono applications, yast is most likely the best system management tool available for Linux, the new zypper – the list is long), but the user statistics of Linux distributions do not reflect that. Ubuntu is far more popular and that’s mainly due to their marketing effort IMHO, not because of their developments. Fortunately this got better and better lately – openSUSE Spotlight, openSUSE News and openSUSE Lizards are IMHO good developments in that context – Communication is, what it’s all about.


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

World domination, of course!


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?

As I said before, openSUSE is the most innovative distribution out there, at least IMHO. It’s well-designed, KDE as well as GNOME are smoothly integrated (the user has a real choice), openSUSE has a lot to offer for the basic as well as the advanced Linux user, it has a friendly community, it provides you the tools you need to contribute – just have a look how innovative the openSUSE Build Service is, it offers a whole bunch of precompiled packages. Enough arguments for openSUSE?


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

During my internship at Novell’s Nuremberg offices, I met most of the Novell employees, I guess. Michael Loeffler was, so to speak, my mentor at Novell – btw, thanks for all your patience! I met Zonker at FOSDEM and LinuxTag. From the external folks, Pascal Bleser, Francis Giannaros and Christian Boltz so far.


How many icons are currently on your desktop?

1 – the trash


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

Definitely Firefox – why? how should I browse the internet without it?


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

I’d like to have the ability to play whatever game I’d like in Linux – although I’m not that much of a gamer, I think everyone plays games from time to time. What’s needed for that? A DirectX implementation?


Which is your preferred text editor? And why?

gedit, it provides all I need.


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

I think the openSUSE community do not need famous persons at all. I’d like it much more, if someone out of the openSUSE community would become famous due to his/her engagement for Linux.


Which computer related skills would you like to have?

All of them please. No serious, I’d like to be more advanced in coding and stuff like that.


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

I’d be not able to proceed with my common life. I’d most likely meet my best friends and have a good time!


Which is your favorite movie scene?

I like the scene in Big Lebowski, where Walter tells the "Dude" that he also fancy to be a pacifist, but not during his time in vietnam war.


Star Trek or Star Wars?

I don’t care!


What is your favorite food and drink?

Spaghetti Bolognese, Coca Cola and beer.


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

I never had a game console in my childhood and I do not regret that! If I play a game sometimes, I like strategic games like AoE, Command and Conquer or the Anno series best. If I’m in a bad mood, I like to play games like Call of Duty or the Battlefield series.


Which city would you like to visit?

Sydney, several people told me it’s worth it to visit that city. Besides of that I always wanted to visit Australia.


What is your preferred way to spend your vacation?

I like camping – you have to know, I’m a poor student.


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

Although I do not care that much about money, you need it these days IMHO. Therefore I’d invest it as reasonable as possible. I’m not sure about the specific allocation though.


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

Here and now! In the past I’d most likely miss too many inventions available today and in the future I’d be most likely totally lost.


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

Definitely not! Btw, we have no thunderstorms at all in Germany, I’ve never seen one at least.


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



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

No idea, sorry.


You couldn’t live without…

My family and sad but true, my computer(s).


Which question was the hardest to answer?

Show us a picture of something, you have always wanted to share! – I failed finally.


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

Q: Why there is a continuing flamewar between KDE and GNOME?
A: I don’t understand! Everyone should use whatever desktop environment he/she likes best and folks should concentrate on the fact that they’re all Linux users – that’s most important IMHO.


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9 Responses to “People of openSUSE: Rupert Horstkötter”

  1. apokryphos

    Rupert has done some amazing things for openSUSE with really being the full driving force behind the forum merge. Awesome stuff!

  2. Rajko

    Nice interview Horst.

    > … we have no thunderstorms at all in Germany …
    Everybody has some. The term is used for any storm with lightnings and thunders, and I have seen many in Munich.

    > I’m currently planning to implement user-rating for the openSUSE community

    Yeah! Any details?

    • rhorstkoetter

      Oops! LOL, that’s a typical case of “lost in translation” I guess. I thought about whirlwinds, not thunderstorms. For sure there are thunderstorms in germany, sorry. But anyway, no reason to turn off the computer as well.

      User rating? Not that much details yet. It’s only a raw concept atm. But stay tuned, details will follow soon.

      • Rajko

        Thanks Rupert,

        I would like to see some rating not limited to particular service.
        I had some hot discussion once on that topic, and I still think that rating is must have.
        There is not large number of exceptional people that don’t need rating, but for the rest of us rating can improve activity in the community.

        This time name is OK :-)
        Somehow I managed to extract Horst as a name from your online nick, sorry.

  3. damac

    u have done good job with forum- its just we need, but in my opinion not so innovative- more user friendly and more intuitive (we need ajax, ajax and more ajax) – look at that like marketing, forum is place where come a lot of people
    but i have to say again – i like that forum and community- so many, many, many nice people

  4. AlbertoP

    Pleased to know you! Nice interview.

  5. Ozzie Osborn

    Good Luck, Rupert! I have been using Suse Linux since Version 6.0. I am currently using OpenSuse 10.3 and am anxiously awaiting the 11.0 GA release. I only run Windows XP (Xtra Problems) on my work pc to access things that I can’t run using linux. (Thought: Maybe I should create a Virtual PC of Windows XP running on OpenSuse 11!) I am wishing you the best of luck with the OpenSuse community. This is definately the best version of Linux EVER!.



  6. Rupert it was a pleasure to meet you last Sunday. Many thanks for your instrumental efforts in helping our 3 forums merge. I think this merge can mean more to the community than many realize, and I believe openSUSE as a distribution is stronger and better now, because of your efforts.

    Best wishes to you!

  7. Hey hey, right about meetings: we gotta organize a happy meeting aaaaaaaall together somewhere in the world some time.. all the happy forum lizards… I’m serious eh! That would be sooo cool :D