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openSUSE ass-kickin’ keynote

October 20th, 2010 by
Henne kicking ass

Henne kicking ass

As 260 fans of openSUSE descended upon Nuremberg, the second annual openSUSE Conference began at 9:30 sharp with Hendrik “Henne” Vogelsang delivering a very important and poignant message for us all.

In Henne’s keynote, “Get your ass up!”, he talks about where we are and how we can move forward as a Project. “We’re in a unique position”, Henne said. He asked the audience how old they thought SUSE was. Nobody guessed correctly – it is 18 years. Debian is 17, Red hat 16 – SUSE really has been around a long time. Yet it has only been a really open project for a few years – Henne considers the opening of Factory during 2009 the real milestone here.

So – an old distribution with a large userbase, yet a very young community with very little structure and few rules and limitations. Now is the time to change things – you can make a huge impact in openSUSE and Free Software in general.

Moving openSUSE means taking responsibility; you can do anything – nobody can and should question those who take responsibility!

Highlighting some of the examples of people who have stepped up and pushed their initiatives, Henne pointed to people like Andrew “FunkyPenguin” Wafaa who recently released the openSUSE incarnation of Meego, Smeegol. Wafaa, a true enthusiast of the netbook environment, didn’t wait for someone to give their permission or blessing to proceed with his initiative. He just did it, made it happen – beating Fedora and the ‘official’ MeeGo project in getting out the latest MeeGo user interface!

working classroom-style

working classroom-style

Henne talks about things stopping people from stepping up and doing what they think is needed. Fear of duplication or doing something contradicting other efforts often stop us from making a difference.

Henne’s advice is simple: don’t give ave a you-know-what. Just do it. What is wrong with having Emacs *and* vim? Nothing! we can have duplication – we’re an open source community! We can have a million text editors if we want! We can have 8 desktops – we actually do… We can’t possibly all want the same thing and that is perfectly OK. We need diversity, that is how open source works. Don’t fear duplication, don’t fear contradiction, don’t let others tell you not to do something. Just do it.

Developers are WHAT?

Developers are WHAT?

All of this points to where we can go as a Project, which has limitless boundaries. There’s room for everyone and everyone’s ideas. Even if your ideas seem minute or insignificant, don’t be afraid to try and play around with your ideas. Every big idea started out small. And don’t even *think* about stopping anyone with whatever they want – help or get out of the way.

And last but not least, have a lot of fun! This goes for everyone who is here at the openSUSE Conference, as well as everyone out there in the openSUSE Community throughout the world. We are at a unique place right now – any person at this conference (and those not here) can make a huge impact on the future of openSUSE and consequently on Free Software.

Make a difference!

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9 Responses to “openSUSE ass-kickin’ keynote”

  1. prealphanerd

    Are there girls in the photographs?!

  2. theo

    i’m with suse 10 of those 18 yrs and i never really regretted it … yes there was this learning to do at the beginning (afterall, linux is not for the lazy), it take a little longer to tweak the system, but then linux in general and opensuse in particular mean freedom other platforms (windows and/or osX) can’t provide … suse rocks, and i hope we keep rocking … theo

  3. SuSE has Yast. A unique tool which allows the users to tweak /etc/sysconfig like no other distro does. I often change distro, but always return to SuSE. I’ve been using SuSE since 6.0.
    I still think SUSE is the best distro around.And that after all those years…
    That’s why I promote SuSE on my website http://www.greencraftwicca.org.
    Yes, constructed with…Well, what do you think???

  4. Samir Mathur

    SuSe has been an excellent revelation to me,the concept of open source itself is one where I can see everyone and everything converging in due time.My personal opinion is,to spend more time with the operating system,contemplating on the functioning, open a landscape of thoughts and this thoughts,as rightly stated by Henne shouldn’t be treated as miniscule.I bet open source is one community where one doesn’t need to fear to exercise one’s thought as the essence of this community lies in mutual understanding and the power of collaboration.

  5. Ola! A todos mis amigos! OpenSuSE is the BEST Distro around. I have been using it since 6.3 or 6.2. It has truly matured into a most solid and stable OS. Thank you Linus Torvalds and the GNU Bunch for providing us with good programs and freeing us Microsoft Slaves. I am on a mission to put Linux on school campus PCs. This saves the district money and the kids can take home a copy for their own use. Linux saves me 90 man hours per month on just 30 PCs. Think – Clean Disk, Degraggler, Spybot, and anti-virus run will take a good 3 hours per PC. Windows has become so bugged out that it is not now worth the hassle to use. Please continue to keep Linux secure and stable against all the maladies that plague Windows. My most sincere regards to all of you in the projects that make this happen and God bless.

    Master Rod

  6. Gaaaacckk! I almost forgot! – have a lot of fun! –

    Master Rod

  7. Joseph

    I’ve got to completely disagree with him about this “who cares if there’s duplication – do whatever the heck you want” message. That type of thinking will get you 1,000 different types of tires and no automobile. David Letterman once reflected on the state of film today and observing that studios release a few good movies and many poor ones each year, asked why the studios couldn’t just give us 4 or five movies a year “but make them all really good ones?”

    There’s too much duplication of effort. Don’t like an editor’s key layout? Develop a whole new editor from scratch! Don’t like feature X in a desktop? Create a whole new DE from scratch! That’s not leadership, that’s a rudderless ship. At some point Linux is going to have to find areas where product X has a clear feature advantage over product Y and consolidate things so that all types of that software use that feature. What’s the point of open source code reuse with major redundancy? We don’t need multiple office suites – if KOffice is demonstrably inferior to OpenOffice, why continue to waste manpower to develop KOffice? If Krita and Kexi are its only advantages, continue developing those, merge them into OpenOffice, and abandon the rest. Take the extra functions of Gnumeric, add to OpenOffice, abandon the rest. By concentrating development on strengths and abandoning weaknesses, we move forward. We don’t need Reiser 4, for instance, when we already have ext4 and Btrfs in development. I’d rather have one great filesystem for Linux than a choice of three or four unfinished ones. Let’s abandon areas of development that offer no clear advantage over existing code and redouble our efforts on the most promising software.

    Smeegol is not the same thing at all as developing another text editor. Moblin was locked into using CPU instructions present in the Intel Atom but not AMD CPUs. Merging it with openSUSE allows for a Moblin experience across x86 CPU manufacturers. In fact, Smeegol is an example for what *I’m* advocating – it merged the strengths of two software products and ended up producing a working product before the Meego team (which is in effect partly duplicating what already exists in openSUSE). Leveraging the core of openSUSE with the UI of Meego gave a product with a better netbook experience than either in less time. That is the kind of thinking we need, but I’m not sure the keynote speaker understands why.

    • Hey Joseph,

      you really need to read up on the history and principles of free and open source software. The whole FOSS community is one big evolutionary process. There is no “we” that can dispense workforce at will. People have the freedom to do what they want, and freedom includes duplicating efforts and even contradict each other. I suggest you start out with “CatB” from Eric S. Raymond (BTW Everybody loves Eric Raymond!) and other essays like “Voices from the Open Source Revolution” from Bruce Perens or “The Free Software Definition” from the FSF.

      BTW this keynote was about the openSUSE Project, not about the FOSS community and for us, at this moment, it makes a lot of sense to duplicate and contradict because we want to emancipate us from our creator (Novell) and kick start our evolution. The more we do the better!

      Have fun :-)


  8. PhillipS

    My vote goes to Joseph, we have reached the stage to go beyond and not start from scratch, identify what requires enhancement and focus on it to make it the best across all software and hardware platforms. You attract new users by advertising in different ways but for me the “word-of-mouth” is the most powerful one. When you can say I recommend SUSE due to “this and that” plus we have “the leadership in the community that has a vision and a mission to …kick-butt”; the freedom to agree or to disagree goes without saying, we just have to accept valid critisem and turn the negative into the positive and as the selling team says; turn all the objections into acceptance and we have a sale. Allowing us to feedback and contribute shows that we are on the right track. Thank you for a great service as the product will not exists without it.