The openSUSE Conference - a Few Months Later

21. Jan 2013 | Jos Poortvliet | No License

oSC Logo-700x400 This article attempts to give a bit of an overview of what happened at oSC 12. And that is lots and lots, as you can see in the Google Plus event page for oSC12 and LinuxDays. You can find a lot of CC licensed pictures here and of course in this article. Read on to get some idea of the feedback we’ve got, the number of visitors and results from the BoF’s! [caption id=”attachment_14819” align=”alignright” width=”300”]Friday registration time! Friday registration time![/caption]


As many people noted, the first two days were clearly a ‘FOSDEM like event’ as Klaas Freitag and Richard Brown both noted in their blogs. Over 90% of our participants liked the co-location with LinuxDays, Gentoo and SUSE Labs according to our survey and this is what many people said on the spot as well. The University as venue was greatly appreciated: it was big, so big you sometimes would look at a seemingly empty booth area, despite the over 550 visitors! That was of course also partially due to the many concurrent sessions we had. Of course, we’re a bunch that likes to sit and get work done. That’s something which could be improved, as Wolfgang Rosenauer noted - especially the second location lacked a dedicated hackspace.

Blogs and such

There has been a number of blogs about the conference, a few of which have been falling off quickly as the videos were also posted to the timeline. For your convenience we’ve listed them here, if any are missing, let us know: [caption id=”attachment_14829” align=”alignright” width=”300”]Tech Talk Tech Talk[/caption]

[caption id=”attachment_14824” align=”alignright” width=”300”]Part of the Booth area (Saturday) Part of the Booth area (Saturday)[/caption]

The press

A number of magazines and websites reported on our event - including the Czech sites Linux 1, 2 and electrotrends. There’s a blog about Gentoo bing there too. Then there was a number of international sites covering the event, like the Var guy and more.

And of course our very own had articles about Day One, Day Two and Monday, the first ‘real’ openSUSE Conference day.

The program

We had an amazing and stuffed program. Overstuffed, as some said - with 6 or 7 concurrent tracks (and shouldn’t we count the hallway and the booth areas?) it was quite crazy. openSUSE allows you the freedom to choose - that much is certain. The awesomely good news is that the main tracks were recorded by our awesome video team and most of the productive BoF sessions in the two ‘openSUSE only’ days have notes posted on the relevant mailing lists.


You can watch video’s of the talks on the openSUSE TV channel (oSC 2012 playlist) and our channel. During the event we usually had about 40-80 viewers per stream on our bambuser channel and as they also joined the chatter in IRC, this was very cool to have. Afterwards, the videos got hundreds to thousands of more viewers so it was very much worth recording the talks. Big thanks to our video crew, whose names you can find below reverse-ordered on length of their email address. [caption id=”attachment_14827” align=”alignright” width=”300”]Training session Training session[/caption]

  • Marco Fleckinger

  • Jan Tomanek

  • Wolfgang Rosenauer

  • Theodoros Chatzimichos

  • Matthias Griessmeier

  • Dimitris Papapoulios

  • Petr Pulc (+ his team)

  • Christian Boltz

  • Gerhard Schlotter

  • Bernhard Wiedemann

  • Thomas Schmidt

  • Vit Pelcak

  • Robert Wawrig

  • Kilian Petsch

  • Harald Müller-Ney

  • Martin Caj

  • Christopher Hoffmann

  • Jürgen Weigert

[caption id=”attachment_14826” align=”alignright” width=”300”]Hallway Hacking Hallway Hacking[/caption]

Work done

Events like these are useful in many ways and on many levels. Of course, it’s nice from a marketing point of view. We got news articles out, lots of video’s which got thousands of viewers, press visits us and interviews get done.

Then there is the social side: meeting your fellow hackers, sometimes after only having seen them online for a year or even ever. That’s awesome, fun, interesting, cool and what not. It’s why we had the opening party and other parties, but also the food in the evening, the ‘hallway track’ and group photo.

Last but not least, there is work being done. Problems get discussed, code and packages get hacked together and decisions get made, informally but also during BoF sessions. And most of these BoF sessions have a log send to our mailing lists, which allows us to recap the results of a few of them below. [caption id=”attachment_14835” align=”alignright” width=”300”]Fancy Devices Fancy Devices[/caption]

Project Meeting

Our bi-weekly Project Meeting was organized as BoF at the conference. Not only the conference itself was discussed but also the progress on Summer of Code and the Google Code In, the openSUSE Summit and the future of Free Software in South America (and how we can help). You can find more details in the mail to the Project mailing list.

Landing Page BoF

A handful of people had a BoF about the landing page and how to improve it. Notes were put into actions on a Trello board and since then, some progress has been made. See here for the report mail.

Future of the OBS BoF

A well attended BoF was held on the future of the Open Build Service. There’s an overview of OBS at the event, talk about the future (mobile client for package reviews, native build hosts for ARM, user experience improvements for the webUI, adapting OBS for other personas than just ‘casual packagers’ and more), ideas for new features and much more in the overview of OBS at oSC here. [caption id=”attachment_14836” align=”alignright” width=”300”]Project Meeting Project Meeting[/caption]

A particularly cool idea is to add some Gamification elements to the webUI. Like badges for the Nth built package or the Nth submitrequest; top packager lists and stuff like that. This was partially inspired by this talk about Gamification in the Future Media track.

Admin BoF

The admin@ BoF was more or less skipped (because we extended the www.o.o BoF). Instead Christian Boltz annoyed some people in the hallway track. Some notes from him:

  • the biggest problem is (surprise, surprise) time (to be exact: no/not enough time or a too big TODO list). This blocks several admin tasks that are considered “not too important” - at least in comparison with other items on the TODO list

  • one of the “not too important” things is the mailinglist merge/shutdown, but I’m sure there are more

  • someone stepping up as admin for a part of the infrastructure is always welcome, but there might be practical problems like “allowing external people access to $server is difficult”. Nevertheless - if you want to help, ask on

  • some parts of the infrastructure don’t have a maintainer, but it seems we don’t have a list of the affected parts (and I’m not even sure if we have a complete list of the *.o.o infrastructure somewhere)

  • nobody knew something about the wiki update status (except the parts I already knew) - I’ll have to ask Scott on the -web ML about the status

openSUSE Development Discussions

Of course there were discussions on openSUSE Development. [caption id=”attachment_14837” align=”alignright” width=”300”]Live video steaming = hard work! Live video steaming = hard work![/caption]

Robert Schweikert brought forward the Maintainer Model cleanup (see his report here. His basic proposal, which got support at the conference, is to move forward changing the model as follows:

  • In the web UI one will no longer see inherited project maintainers on the package page, only the “true” package maintainers. (Inherited “maintainers” will be hidden in an expandable tree)

  • We will collect information about all packages in all devel projects that feed factory. We will generate a list of packages that have no maintainer, and a list of packages that need help, i.e. a package that has fewer than 5 maintainers. In addition we will list packages that have more than 5 maintainers and try to encourage maintainers from those packages (to get the number to 5) to take on packages that need help.

  • We want to clean up the devel project maintainer list to a ratio of 10/500 packages with a max of 25.

  • We would like to see a notification on the package page if the package fails to build in factory

  • Would like to see package build status information on the factory status page about the status of the package in it’s devel project.

  • Having the monitor page and the status page presented in the current form is confusing, we need to somehow merge the information.

  • It would be really nice if there were some kind of policy engine that could enforce the “no more than 5 per package” and the “no more than 25 project maintainers” policies.

  • We would like to have some kind of rating system on the devel projects

  • We will produce guidelines for package and product maintainers outlining what is expected.

These are the rough outlines of the “plan”. Obviously there is work to be done and the OBS team already has plenty to do. Robert will document these things and start a wiki page to define the various roles in the development process, up for discussion next. [caption id=”attachment_14838” align=”alignright” width=”300”]Cafe allowed a sneak-peek into a talk room Cafe allowed a sneak-peek into a talk room[/caption]

If you care about these things, agree or disagree - it is highly recommended to read Roberts’ full report and chime in.

Christian Morales Vega shared his ‘point of view’ on the Release Schedule discussion in this mail. To improve the development process and keep Factory in a more stable state, he proposes to make the openSUSE Factory status page more accessible so people more often start fixing issues from there. It’s currently slow to load (30+ seconds is not rare) and not easy to find.

Another change he proposed is that people need to be made to want to work on problems. Right now, the list shows problems which surely someone is working on (but no way to see if that is the case) and lots of issues a particular developer might not be interested in at all. It should be visible if someone is working on a problem and it is important that packages get dumped easier/faster if nobody cares about them, to keep the list short. In that regard, he also proposes to ping a developer by mail if his build breaks other packages - not everyone might care so much but some do.

Group Photo [caption id=”attachment_14847” align=”alignright” width=”300”]The Awesome Greeko's Organizing oSC'13 The Awesome Greeko’s Organizing oSC’13[/caption]


In general, the survey we ran showed that almost half our participants noted that the conference exceeded their expectations and only a few were dis-satisfied, surely due to the high expectations! While there is always room to improve, this event turned out to be impressive and - and unique, as always. The ‘Bootstrapping Awesome’ theme, in which we tried to say that we like to start cool things, came to life: the FIRST Gentoo MiniSummit, the FIRST LinuxDays - and the first time we had Ubuntu, Fedora and other booths at our event… We’re proud of being not only the most Green but also the most Open Linux distro around! And as many of you might already know, the next openSUSE Conference will be in Greece, organized by our faithful Greek team in Thessaloniki.

At the end, we’d like to thank everyone who made this event possible. That includes the local team, especially Michal and Theo. Of course the Video Team, the people manning the registration, those taking care of the booth, Martin Stehno’s pictures, the openSUSE Team (former boosters) and everyone who was there or who we forgot for just being awesome.

See You Next Year under the Greek Sun!

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