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openSUSE:Board election 2011 platform template rbrownccb

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Note: This page is used by the candidate of the board election as a platform to show his views and answer some standard questions.

Introduction and Biography

Me at OSC 2011

Hi! I'm Richard Brown, 29 years old, living in Brighton on the South Coast of England. Originally from London, I've been steadily moving south, but am yet to cross the channel and become French.

I currently work as the Systems Manager for City College Brighton and Hove, a large UK further education college where we use a lot of openSUSE, SUSE, and other interesting technologies, with a big emphasis on using FOSS solutions whenever possible.

I'm also the UK Representative on the Advisory Board of the Novell TTP Academic User Group, an NDA-covered user group that deals with Novell, SUSE, and NetIQ products, with good links to the developers and management teams in these companies and their partners.

I've used SUSE/openSUSE since 2003, and have found myself getting more involved as time has gone on.

These days I'm mostly working with our GNOME, Marketing, Ambassador and Artwork teams, but I have very broad interests and am always keen to help out, try and fix problems, come up with ideas, and then get my hands dirty trying to implement them.

I spent a lot (too much?) time in our IRC channels, where I go by the handle ilmehtar

I'm a keen tester who especially enjoys the crunch in the weeks leading up to releases, frantically testing and packaging pactches to try and get bugs big and small squashed out so our releases are as polished as possible.

As a geek who loves his technology, working on the Artwork for 12.1 was a very different challenge for me, getting involved with something I previously knew very little about. You can see some of my contributions here. I'm very happy learning new things and trying to help out in areas outside of my 'comfort zone' - like helping out as a Mentor for the Google Code-In, which has been a lot of fun!

I attended this years openSUSE conference, and was part of the openSUSE team at this years Brainshare conference where I also presented. I intend to be helping out with our openSUSE stand at the next FOSDEM.

Through my work and the TTP group I also attend various other conferences and events where I invariably end up singing the praises of our distribution, so much so a friend of mine calls one meeting we attend regularly his "monthly openSUSE propaganda session"

Major Issues

Communication - We're a great community with lots of very different individuals interested in very different aspects of the distribution, the project, and open source generally. With such a diverse mix of contributors and users, I see more examples than I'd like of misunderstandings, misconceptions, and perceived problems that are often cleared up when the people involved understand the facts or the reasons behind something.

I think a big factor in these communication blips is the wide variety of sources of information we have right now (Wiki, IRC, Mailinglists, Connect, etc). Few of us can track everything going on in all these communication channels, but they often include really useful information. If I am elected I would like to work with you all to try and find ways of improving the situation, so its easier for both contributors and users to get the information they need about the project and everything in it.

This might be along the lines of improving, better integrating and marketing the tools we already have, or possibly introducing new tools if they can do the job better.

Independence/Foundation - In my opinion, the openSUSE project already enjoys significant freedom from our main sponsor, SUSE. We have lots of SUSE contributors, but they're part of the project as individuals who have no more or less of a voice and an ability to contribute than our non-SUSE contributors and users.

I'm well aware my opinion isn't universally shared by the community or the wider world. I think the perception that we're not independent is something we really need to address, as well as possibly an area we need to improve on.

So if I am elected I intend to help drive forward the notion that openSUSE is an independent project and support any initiative that strengthens that, such as the formation of an openSUSE foundation

Minor Issues

Hidden Excellence - the openSUSE community has a number of areas of excellence that I think are not adequately recognised inside and outside of the community.

With projects like OBS and openQA, we have tools which make it very easy for new contributors to help with the project, but I think many don't realise how easy it is to get involved.

Our tools also have the potential to really help out other FOSS projects, but that potential is yet to be fully realised.

We also have great potential to improve things for our 'new users', who often don't immediately know of our excellent services like which can often smooth a lot of concerns about moving to our products.

Of I am elected, I would try to work to get these and other areas of hidden excellence more recognised and better advertised.

Role of the board

I would like to see the board become more approachable and more prepared to 'step in' and help resolve issues.

I don't think leadership in a project like ours should be dictatorial. I feel the board should act as 'enablers'.

The board should be the primary point of contact for contributors and users to raise issues that cant be addressed elsewhere

The board should also be a source of new ideas and proposals for the community to consider.

Once issues and future initiatives have been identified, the board should be troubleshooters prepared to work with, and for, the rest of our community to help get things improved.

Why you should vote for me?

  • I'm a geek(o)
  • openSUSE is my first distribution and I've been a loyal user and contributor since 2003. I care a great deal about seeing our project continue and improve.
  • I've worked on both technical and non-technical contributions to the project, and like to think I have a working knowledge of many of the different aspects of our very diverse project.
  • While I have my own opinions and will often argue passionately for them, I always listen to and consider the opinion of others, especially when they disagree with me. If I am elected I intend to champion the desires of the community, not just my own agenda.
  • My experience outside of openSUSE, especially as a board member of the TTP, give me skills and knowledge I think will help me here
  • I enjoy learning and getting involved in new things, and see working on the board as an opportunity to get help out in parts of the project that I'd probably otherwise not see.


I think our goals should focus on continuing and improving our solid distribution, while making sure the distribution and everything else the project is doing is better advertised, marketed, and understood.

I think we need to grow both our user and contributor base, and I feel the best way of doing that would be to make it easier for people to realise what great things we're already doing, while incrementally improving on them.


Room for your supporters to leave a word about you

I've watched Richard work in several areas of the project, and I really like the fact that he's able to listen to people while still having strong opinions on a topic; this combination helps us reach decisions. And on top of that, he's not afraid of jumping in to help fix things himself when needed! -- Vincent Untz

I have worked with the artwork team for some time and I have seen Richard add so much to our conversations and ideas. He has put in a lot of hours into making of openSUSE a great distribution.

Andres Silva