One of the ways SUSE and its developers contribute to openSUSE is through Hackweek: - a week long sprint permitting developers to work on something entirely of their own design or wishes as long as it is FOSS-related. Started in 2007, it has become a regular part of SUSE’s development. This is in keeping in line with the openSUSE Project’s goal of being more than just an organization that benefits itself. We believe in a project that benefits the greater good of free and open software.
Some 150+ developers will have free reign to work on new applications or make improvements to other software projects. Hackweek also permits developers to push away from the grind of deadlines and “must fix” bug fixing (unless it’s a critical customer situation) which can be at times stressful and tedious.
So, how does this relate to the larger openSUSE community? First, some ideas come directly from openFATE, the openSUSE tracker for wish-list items and ways to help guide development of the distro: You can see the list of proposed Hackweek projects here, which will surely grow in the next few days.
Second, nothing blocks people outside the SUSE staff from participating. Most importanly, it shows that SUSE is an innovative distribution whose contributions make open source better for everyone.
And third, it follows openSUSE’s motto: Have a lot of fun ! Hackweek has it’s own motto: “No Motto, do what you want, but do it!”
We asked Jürgen Weigert and Pavol Rusnak, developers from SUSE, to explain how they participate
Q: How does someone from the openSUSE community participate Can they also have their own project?
**Jürgen: **Yes, they can work together with others (check openFATE for a list) or do their own project.
**Pavol: **But for doing their own project they don’t have to wait for Hackweek, right? :-)
Q: Can you give some examples of projects which were started from Hackweek ?
**Pavol: **SAT-solver used in zypper by Michael Schroeder, Fifth Leg font by Jakub Steiner, SUSE Paste by Michal Hrušecký and cnetworkmanager by Martin Vidner.
**Jürgen: **Polka by Cornelius Schumacher, YaSTroid by Stephen Shaw.
Q: What will you work on during this coming Hackweek ?
**Jürgen: **Make EyeFI sdcard work with Linux - see Fate#312811
**Pavol: **Rewrite spec-cleaner into Ruby - see Fate#312823
Q: What other projects are planned for this upcoming Hackweek ?
**Pavol: **Getting Enlightenment 17 into Factory, various openQA additions, Continuous YaST testing in Jenkins and much much more!
**Jürgen: **Also hackers need catering and thus we will have food provided in the common area - and the common meal is also a great chance to discuss Hackweek projects face to face. The camera team will go around and record videos and upload those to blip.tv and YouTube. Also, there’s a rumor about some nice surprise. :-)
Q: For developers what is the most satisfying part of Hackweek ?
**Jürgen: **Switching topics to something completely different and extend my comfort zone by looking at new areas. This year it’s wireless, an area I never touched before as developer.
**Pavol: **Yeah, I think working on something unknown, unexplored is always exciting and challenging
Q: How does the openSUSE and the larger open source community benefit ?
**Jürgen: **Quite often it’s scratching my own itches - and if something is successful, it might become a successful open source project. I’ve seen some people interested in projects like Bretzn or ARM support for openSUSE that will benefit openSUSE directly. Some people which are surprised by the late announcement of this Hackweek have said that they will just have a look into the upcoming beta of openSUSE 12.1 - getting familiar with new technologies like systemd, report bugs and improve the distribution.
**Pavol: **Lots of the projects that are started during Hackweek are directly integrated into the following openSUSE release. Also if they are usable by others they are adopted by other distributions as well or merged directly into upstream which is cool!
Q: Are there any awards or competitions during Hackweek ?
**Pavol: **Previous years we had a small group of judges that went through the finished Hackweek projects in openFATE and awarded three developers with nice gadgets. I expect it will be similar this year, but I am not sure.
**Jürgen: **Yes - for those that register their projects in FATE. Details will be announced later.
_Q: Is there anything else the larger openSUSE community should know about ? _
**Jürgen: **The infrastructure teams will also participate in Hackweek and thus not make major changes - and also might not review openSUSE:Factory submissions directly. Please let them know if you run into serious issues.
**Pavol: **If you see a project in openFATE which you like, tell us so in the comments or vote for the feature. Also if you have some nice idea, feel free to put it in openFATE, maybe some undecided developer will find it interesting and implement it.
Q: Thanks for the interview.
**Both: **Thank you and have a lot of fun!
So, stay tuned for the results of Hackweek where everyone has a lot of fun!
**article submitted by Peter Linnell **