2018-2019 openSUSE Board Elections: Meet incumbent Christian Boltz

21. Jan 2019 | Fraser Bell | No License

Seven Candidates in Race for Three Vacant Board Seats

With two weeks to go until the ballots open on Monday, February 4, 2019, openSUSE News and the Elections Committee are running a “meet your candidates” series. Questions were sent out to the seven Candidates. The questions and answers will appear in the News, one Candidate each day, in alphabetical order.

You can find out more about the Elections at the Official Wiki Page.

Meet Christian Boltz


The Candidates were asked to give some biographical personal information, such as birthdate, age, their work, their openSUSE contributions, their hobby, and more, as they saw fit.

I’m Christian Boltz, 38 years old, and live in Insheim, Germany.

I have been using openSUSE for many years (it was still named “SuSE Linux” with lowercase “u” back when I began using it) and started annoying people in bugzilla, er, started betatesting in the 9.2 beta phase. Since then, I have reported more than 1300 bugs.

Christian Boltz aka cboltz, incumbent

Nowadays, OBS ruins my bugzilla statistics by introducing the option to send a SR. ;-)

One of my current activities in openSUSE is working in the Heroes team, where I started with moving and upgrading the wiki. I also help out on various *.opensuse.org servers since someone was evil enough to give me root permissions on lots of them ;-)

(Transparency note: I helped to setup the elections.opensuse.org server before last year’s elections - but will of course not touch it until the elections finish.)

My other openSUSE hobbies are AppArmor and PostfixAdmin, where I’m active in upstream development and as packager.

AppArmor also turned out to be a good opportunity for cross-distribution collaboration - with the funny side effect that I’m probably the only one who ever spoke at a DebConf wearing an openSUSE t-shirt.

Oh, and I have been a Member of the openSUSE Board for about two years. I would like to continue this “job”, and therefore I am running for re-election. My day job has nothing to do with computers. I produce something you can drink that is named after a software we ship in openSUSE.

Why you are running for the openSUSE Board?

I enjoyed working on the Board and helping the Community whenever needed in the last two years, and I’m willing to continue this in the next two years. That doesn’t mean that I’ll stop doing that in case I don’t get re-elected, but being a Board member makes a few things easier.

What impact would you like to make as a member of the openSUSE Board?

I don’t have a plan for “doing a big change” - I’ll let promising that to our beloved (?) politicians and their election posters. Unlike politicians, my /dev/brain isn’t good at forgetting what I promised.

Instead, I follow the mailinglists etc. to learn about the issues and problems people hit, and unsurprisingly (you remember my bugzilla numbers?) sometimes I also run into problems myself - both technical and non-technical.

2018-2019 Election Poster contributed by Aris Winardi2018-2019 Election Poster contributed by Aris Winardi

If there’s something that needs improvement and looks doable, then I try to get that improvement done in the way that looks most promising. For technical problems, that can mean to encourage people to report bugs, talk to the responsible people, or to simply do a submit request if the problem is easily fixable and the bugzilla paperwork would take more time than actually doing it.

If the problem is “political”, then the obvious way is doing it via the Board, but that doesn’t stop me from using “less official” ways if they look easier and/or more promising.

Push for Solutions

For example, I annoyed various SUSE people about the non-public SLE bugs since years - long before I was a Board member. It took a very long time, but now we at least have bugshare. I know it is only a far from perfect workaround, but it’s still better than nothing. If a chance comes up to make more SLE bugs public, I’ll be annoying enough to get it done.

But: SLE bugs often involve customer data, so I won’t and can’t promise this.

Luckily most problems don’t take that long. I’m really a fan of fixing issues quickly instead of letting people suffer from them for a long time. Especially small things should (and can!) be solved quickly.

In the places I’m involved (including, but not only the Board), people know me for reminding them of pending issues. Maybe they sometimes hate me for doing that, but I can live with that if it means to get something fixed faster.

OTOH, I always try to be balanced and listen to both sides, which is useful when helping to resolve a conflict (which luckily isn’t needed too often thanks to our great community) and in many other cases.

Why should openSUSE members vote for you?

I’ll be lazy here, and hope that what I wrote above already answered this. As I already wrote two years ago: I tend to kick people to ensure they work faster and fix things. This is your chance to kick me!

Oh, and if there’s only one bottle of openSUSE beer left, I’m the best person to have in the queue between you and the barkeeper because I don’t drink beer (not even openSUSE beer).

What’s one thing people would find interesting about you that is not well known?

If you hoped that I’ll disclose what my day job is, I have to disappoint you. The hint in the biography should be enough to find out yourself. Instead, I’ll tell you about a trick I sometimes use, even if that comes with the risk of “burning” that trick:

I sometimes ask so-called “silly questions”. That can happen if I really have no idea what’s going on, but more often than not, it’s a way of telling someone “I know that this is wrong/broken” in a less offending way.

Contact information

IRC: cboltz on freenode and oftc

Mail: cboltz AT opensuse.org or opensuse AT cboltz.de

Blog: https://blog.cboltz.de

You can also find me on several mailinglists, and of course I still scare people in bugzilla. I‘m also a regular visitor and speaker at the openSUSE Conference, and visit other conferences as time permits. For example, you can meet me at FOSDEM in about two weeks.

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