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openSUSE:Board election 2020 platform simotek

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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

Contact Details

My contact details in short:

My name is Simon Lees, I commonly use the alias simotek in many parts of the openSUSE project though, I currently work for SUSE in the packaging team and have done so for 2 years but I have been involved in the openSUSE community for around 7 years, mostly packaging the enlightenment desktop and a few other things. I am also part of the factory review team and have contributed to a bunch of other areas including patterns etc.
I'm based out of Adelaide, Australia and in my spare time i've been known to create enlightenment desktop themes, robots, ride bikes or just head to the beach

Aims, Goals, Thoughts

The reasons I started using openSUSE were It treated all software particularly desktops equally and with yast it was easy to use. The reasons I started contributing to openSUSE 7ish years back were any contribution is welcome and contributing is easy. I don't have any radical new plans for the vision of the project I think its in a really good place, mostly I just want to keep helping to make the reasons I joined the project reasons for other people to join and keep working on the project.

Role of the board

I tend to agree with the current roles of the board outlined on the board wiki page, particularly as a point of contact, a conflict resolution body and as a way to help people with any roadblocks they have to implementing their ideas. The board has been doing a really good job in helping manage the project and I'd like to help it continue to do so.

Why you should vote for me?

With what I've said about the role of the board above I believe I have the right skill set to help the board do its job well. I am very passionate about the project and feel that it is a way that I can help make the project better.

Questions and Answers

1. What do you see as three, four strenghts of openSUSE that we should cultivate and build upon?

1. How easy it is to contribute to. Compared to many other distro's the barrier to making a first contribution is often quite low this is a message that we should continue to sell and cultivate by making sure our documentation for new contributors reflects this.

2. We have many large communities in places where some of the other major distro's struggle due to language and cultural barriers, at the same time we can probably try and do more to get these communities talking to each other.

3. How easy it is to use. One of the things that drew me to openSUSE was YaST and how it made it easy to do a number of different things that can be quite hard to do on other distro's. I certainly think we can improve some of our marketing in this area (Its nice to see discussions around that). At the same time I think we need to be careful not to dumb other areas down to a point where it makes life hard for existing power users. There is certainly a fine line of how much do we want to allow users to shoot themselves in the foot in some areas.

2. What are the top three risks you see for openSUSE? (And maybe ideas how to tackle them?)

I think the biggest risk for any open source projects is not continuing to train / bring in new contributors, in any project it is inevitable that over time existing contributors will want to go of and do new things and explore new ideas meaning that if there aren't new contributors coming through to take there place the project will slowly die. This extends beyond developers to community organizers etc

Secondly I see complacency as a big risk for the project, while we now have two very good capable distro's it starts to become easy for us to sit back and stop really innovating despite the fact that tumbleweed is an amazing distro for innovation.

Less of a risk more of a thing we can still improve, there are many parts of the world where openSUSE is still not as well known as other distro's its certainly worth investigating ways to improve this, although often the best way is to find someone willing to be active in there local community and finding the first person to do this is the hard first step.

In many ways I think the solution to all three of these questions is somewhat linked, by focusing on attracting new users in existing and new communities be they geographical or open source communities where we haven't had a significant presence. We can then work toward getting some of those users to contribute to area's they are passionate about which will hopefully lead to more innovation. In reality its probably more complex then that. Maybe a solution here is to encourage existing members of the openSUSE community to join other open source communities of interest to themselves.

3. What should the board do differently / more of?

This is a hard one for me to answer having been in the board for the last two years, there was definitely parts of the name vote we could have handled better. Given the work that's currently going on with the board I wouldn't be looking to change much and do to many different things until the foundation issue is sorted out. If the foundation goes ahead then there will be a number of foundation related things where the board can start to look at differently and it will be interesting to explore those.

4. If you had a blank voucher from the SUSE CEO for one wish, what would that be?

To extend SUSE's commitment to provide all the "core" resources that openSUSE need to function to include providing administration staffing for a foundation. It is far easier and more efficient for a large company such as SUSE to employ one more person then it is for a foundation to set up all the overheads it needs to employ someone.

Second on the list would be for SUSE to provide openSUSE and the open source community at large with a full time designer. Products that look and feel polished are much more likely to attract users. While community contributors have stepped up a lot in the last year or so the projects web presence lacks a consistent design and flow with some parts of our web presence not seeing significant design changes for a number of years. It would also be wonderful to have unique and well designed branding across all our major desktops for Leap 16. Then when openSUSE design is looking in a good shape to help some of the other open source projects we use alot.

===5. What is your take on the Foundation? What do you consider a realistic outcome of that endeavour? (And if different, what outcome would you like to see?)

Having spent a large amount of time looking at this question over the last 2 years, I believe that the proposal the board put forward at the last conference is a realistic way forward and the best way to proceed.

Having looked in detail at a number of possibilities I believe that the only two realistic proposals are the one that was put forward and to continue not to have a foundation.

For a foundation of our size the question of having a sponsor to help handle the administration work is an absolute prerequisite without such I think it would be very unwise to pursue a foundation without such given the amount of extra work that would be required and that the project hasn't been able to find a replacement treasurer to cover the existing stuff we need to do.

Even looking at an e.V. I believe that it would be unswise to go down that path without this being satisfied as well as additional risks about how the scope of the project could change over time as such I almost certainly wouldn't support a proposal for a foundation based around an e.V.

Similarly from the existing foundations we have spoken to about partnering with there are concerns that we as a project are probably two big and would create to mich work for them it would also potentially become very expensive for us to the point where we could look at doing our own thing anyway.

So in summary I believe going with a proposal other then the one the current board has suggested has to much long term risk and it would be unwise to go down that path as such i'm unlikely to support any alternate proposals should we not be able to work through the details of the current one with SUSE.


If you'd like to endorse me add your comments below.

I worked some time on Enlightenment with Simotek and he was always positive, technically skilled, helpful and motivated. I'm sure he'll show the same drive in openSUSE Board. -- Tomas Cech (Sleep_Walker)

Over the 12 years i have been using Opensuse and SUSE, simotek has always been a calm, collected and open minded person. With a clear idea of how things can be done, he is open to alternative ways of approaching problems and their multiple solutions. This open minded trait will be a benefit to the Opensuse Project Board as it has been towards the Opensuse Project as a whole. -- Patrick Finie (Mir)