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Changing the Chair of the openSUSE Board

August 19th, 2019 by

Dear Community,

After six years on the openSUSE Board and five as its Chairperson, I have decided to step down as Chair of the openSUSE Board effective today, August 19.

This has been a very difficult decision for me to make, with reasons that are diverse, interlinked, and personal.
Some of the key factors that led me to make this step include the time required to do the job properly, and the length of time I’ve served.
Five years is more than twice as long as any of my predecessors.
The time required to do the role properly has increased and I now find it impossible to balance the demands of the role with the requirements of my primary role as a developer in SUSE, and with what I wish to achieve outside of work and community.
As difficult as it is to step back from something I’ve enjoyed doing for so long, I am looking forward to achieving a better balance between work, community, and life in general.

Serving as member and chair of the openSUSE Board has been an absolute pleasure and highly rewarding. Meeting and communicating with members of the project as well as championing the cause of openSUSE has been a joyous part of my life that I know I will miss going forward.

openSUSE won’t get rid of me entirely. While I do intend to step back from any governance topics, I will still be working at SUSE in the Future Technology Team. Following SUSE’s Open Source policy, we do a lot in openSUSE. I am especially looking forward to being able to focus on Kubic & MicroOS much more than I have been lately.

As I’m sure it’s likely to be a question, I wish to make it crystal clear that my decision has nothing to do with the Board’s ongoing efforts to form an independent openSUSE Foundation.

The Board’s decision to form a Foundation had my complete backing as Chairperson, and will continue to have as a regular openSUSE contributor.
I have absolute confidence in the openSUSE Board; Indeed, I don’t think I would be able to make this decision at this time if I wasn’t certain that I was leaving openSUSE in good hands.

On that note, SUSE has appointed Gerald Pfeifer as my replacement as Chair. Gerald is SUSE’s EMEA-based CTO, with a long history as a Tumbleweed user, an active openSUSE Member, and upstream contributor/maintainer in projects like GCC  and Wine.

Gerald has been a regular source of advice & support during my tenure as Chairperson. In particular, I will always remember my first visit to FOSDEM as openSUSE Chair.
Turning up more smartly dressed than usual, I was surprised to find Gerald, a senior Director at SUSE, diving in to help at the incredibly busy openSUSE booth, and doing so dressed in quite possibly the oldest and most well-loved openSUSE T-shirt I’ve ever seen.
When booth visitors came with questions about SUSE-specific stuff, I think he took some glee in being able to point them in my direction while teasingly saying “Richard is the corporate guy here, I’m just representing the community..”

Knowing full well he will continue being so community minded, while finally giving me the opportunity to tease him in return, it is with a similar glee I now hand over the reigns to Gerald.

As much as I’m going to miss things about being chairperson of this awesome community, I’m confident and excited to see how openSUSE evolves from here.

Keep having a lot of fun,


Note: This announcement has been cross-posted in several places, but please send any replies and discussion to the opensuse-project@opensuse.org Mailinglist. Thanks!

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7 Responses to “Changing the Chair of the openSUSE Board”

  1. Tony Su

    Thank you Richard!

    The past 6 years have been an incredibly fast-paced evolution in both our flagship openSUSE products and related FOSS projects. Although you probably had plenty of help on individual projects, the overall and rate of success in everything we have now could not have happened without top shelf leadership.

  2. Thanks Richard! God bless your life

  3. Hello.

    The only 2 words that comes to my mind is a great THANK YOU!
    for your work for the community as a simple user (when we met in a hackathon), and later as Chairman!
    You have done a great work in this time, and your contributions and dedication in many areas has been a great example for others!

    Keep having a lot of fun hacking in openSUSE and SUSE stuff.

    And welcome to Gerald!!

  4. Dear Richard,

    Many thanks for your great work during your time as chair. I fondly remember your presentations during FOSDEM. I wish you a lot of fun on future endeavorus.

    Best regards,

  5. leslie Satenstein

    Two congratulations are in order.
    To Richard,

    You are going back to your first love–Software Development/Engineering. It is a level of work that is rewarding when the product is delivered and is made available in Tumbleweed. As a bits and bytes guy, welcome back to the world of technical challenges.

    To Gerald
    From what I understand, your enjoyment and career objectives are more oriented to management. Management of a fantastic set of products from Tumbleweed (a favorite of mine) to the other SUSE stuff that techies like Richard and myself avoid.

    Your rewards are not immediate, as Richard would derive from his work, but in the long range planning, budgeting and steering of the company so it remains remain top-notch, viable and respected.

    Again, congratulations and a successful future to each of you.

  6. I also relayed this information for the french openSUSE community ;)


  7. I hope it will run smoothly and easier in the future