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openSUSE:Board election 2020 platform Mark Stopka

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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

Contact Details edit

Mark Stopka

Contact Details

My contact details in short:

Vítejte (Welcome), my name is Mark, and I work in the area of IT Governance and Compliance for some of the largest companies globally as an Independent Consultant, while at a same time I provide DevOps, SecOps and SysOps consulting services to smaller companies as sort of a paid hobby.

In addition, I spend a lot of time in the Blockchain industry, where I am mostly interested in proof-of-stake distributed ledgers and systems of governance that could change the fabric of society. Perhaps in a generation or two leveraging the advancements in Zero Knowledge Cryptography that could enable private, cryptographically verifiable, frequent elections of the representative and executive branch of both governments and corporations, perhaps even society build around principles of liquid democracy.

Steps to openSUSE

I became fascinated with computers before I even started going to primary school, or had a computer to call my own, I remember how excited I was to visit my ophthalmologist, because a family friend with a computer lived near by, so we always dropped for a visit and I had couple of hours to play with her computer. Later, still before having my own computer I was reading what I could about neural networks and other interesting stuff. I think it was 5th grade when I got my first computer, powerful 650Mhz of processing power and 80 GB of hard-drive storage.

I started experimenting with Linux shortly after, I have bought a magazine that had Mandriva CD attached to it, and failed miserably due to a firmware issue with LG CD-ROM drive (which I have discovered years later). My second try, I have accidentaly met a guy with a Linux t-shirt on a bus from a hiking trip, so I striked a conversation and he was kind enough to help me get my hands on Gentoo Live CD, so I have built my OS from scratch and learned plenty about Linux / UNIX internals along the way.

openSUSE years

After few years of Gentoo, I have become openSUSE user, the Czech community back then was vibrant, and I was making some cash on the side as an author for a major Czech Linux magazines, writing reviews of every new openSUSE versions, translating openSUSE and KDE to Czech language and packaging RPMs as a member of Packman packaging team as well as few OBS projects.

I have shortly became "the Czech openSUSE community", being called that by few Czech employees of SUSE and my dear friends like Michal, Anińćka, Pavol and others... I have been invited to participate in several Hackweeks, and migrated entire CPAN to Open Build Service as first of my projects, on the second hackweek I've made a bash-completion script for Zypper that was included in the upstream. I have also been lucky enough to mentor one of the Google Summer of Code students, the objective was to make Educational YaST module extension, sadly the student bailed on the project mid-flight.

Coporate fat-cat

This, what at time I've considered a personal failure and the fact that I have recently started working full time led me to take a step-back from openSUSE and focus on my corporate career at Finnish IT Service Provider Tieto in Finland, later US Data Storage Company NetApp in the UK, and Swiss BigPharma Novartis after that. I have joined Novartis as an Independent Consultant for Gemini Transation & Transformation Project, but was involved in much more than just that effort.

At Novartis I immediately stood-out as someone who had a great technical understanding of technical domain, and well... trained by UK corporations in processes, also someone who is not afraid of the paperwork required to move things in highly regulated vertical such as pharmaceuticals. After Novartis, I have continued on with my career of IT Governance & Complience independent consultant, while still remaining keen to keep my in-depth understanding of the underlying technology.

Community come-back

I have got involved with openSUSE again in 2016, when I was working a contract for Tieto involving distributed storage from IBM currently called IBM Spectrum Scale. As a recognized openSUSE community member, I was approached by different Tieto team to help them evaluate and move from RedHat Enterprise Linux to SUSE Enterprise Linux for their large estate of SAP deployments. Working with SUSE commercial team reminded me what fun it was working on open-source and free software.

I started making openSUSE packages again, and joined openSUSE Reddit, where I started helping people with questions and issues, currently I am involved in several packaging efforts, the most notable one would be my involvement in improvement of Haskell support in openSUSE.

Agenda for the current board member term

SUSE and subsequently openSUSE walked some rocky road in the past few years, and it certainly has some challenges ahead, current owner of SUSE - Private Equity Fund EQT is planning an IPO, IBM, one of the significant SUSE partners is planning to split into two separate companies. These strategic changes on the side of our coporate partners may have significant impact on openSUSE as a project, this is why I would like to focus on following challenges:

  1. Incorporation of openSUSE Foundation
  2. Defining the roles and responsibilities between our current partners and openSUSE Foundation
  3. Clarifying project vision and definining market possitioning in a way that brings value to openSUSE Foundation partners and the community
  4. Establish strong position of openSUSE in markets abandoned by SUSE such as Infrastructure as a Service
  5. Help EQT facilitate sucesfull IPO of SUSE, for which I believe I am well fitted as I have been involved in many M&A transactions
  6. Identify new partners for openSUSE Foundation to secure and diversify sources of funding
  7. Building greater media presence and defining unified communications strategy with community outsiders
  8. Strongly push towards recruitment of new contributors, perhaps thru sort of incubator program
  9. Establish partnership with industry in emerging verticals such as DevOps, Blockchain and RISC-V ecosystem

Role of the board

The openSUSE Board is a representation of the community. In all it's decision making that should be the leading principle. Apart from the tasks already described on the openSUSE:Board pages, and related to my main campaign issue I also see a task for the board to help propagate the project and it's achievements.

Why should you vote for me?

  • Number one: I am big supporter of both openSUSE Project and SUSE commercial efforts which, let's be honest are significant enabler of our project
  • For my skills: Being a strategic thinker, with strong technical background is quite rare set of skills that can significantly help move this project forward
  • For my experience: I have 17 years of IT experience, about 10 years in high-profile roles where I was part of a major systemic improvement efforts in complex environments
  • For my dedication: While I was absent from the project for a long period of time due to my work dutties, I am now highly dedicated to openSUSE project and leveraging the synergies that openSUSE have with emerging technology trends such as DevOps and Distributed Ledger Technology


If you have any, please leave them below, you have my gratitude.

I have known Mark since at least 2008 and I know him as extraordinary skilled (from high detailed technical knowledge to strategical thinking and range of knowledge) IT guy, always willing to help even with issues far from his interests, like compilation issues with weird biological software. As particular example I can mention his great help with selection of our computing cluster and storage. I don't have to agree with every of his opinion, but I'm sure he'd bring fresh air into Board and move openSUSE forward. Vojtaeus (talk) 10:29, 3 December 2020 (UTC)