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openSUSE Community talk

Francis Giannaros will be applying to give a talk on the openSUSE Community (current state, ongoing efforts, problems, goals).

Proposed items for the talk:

openSUSE, since SUSE Linux 10.0, is open to the community, with public beta-testing; no longer all in-house.


Response so far has been very good, but far from perfect:


How has it been good?

  • last couple of releases saw more bug reports from the community than from Novell engineers (todo: get some stats)
  • collaboration between developers and users (mention translations, per cb400f's talk); can appropriately respond to openSUSE users' needs. There are a few marvellous and thriving community efforts:
    • Build Service
    • accessible and editable Wiki
      • Allowed metalinks to be used for 10.2 release on release page (60,000 fast downloads)
    • artwork can be contributed


What are the problems?

  • Because of the previous lack of centralised community, the community as it exists now is still fragmented; virtually no correspondence between users on IRC, the forums, or the mailing list.
    • it spawned what we might call micro-communities, quite isolated and independent of each other.
    • This is inherently problematic as collaboration is close to the essence of the Linux community. A user coming over from Windows is frequently struck by this; that (i) there are many people with the shared interest, and (ii) that they give up their time to help each other. Together we are stronger. We collaborate in order to work as a team, and that's a vital component of a community.
    • Duplication of effort. Each micro-community may well have its own resource for information, reference, and the like. Not only do many of these resources all contain information that's covered in each other, but they also each have information that the other might not.
      • it's good that the information is on the web, but it's counterproductive that it's in multiple locations. This is confusing and tiresome to a new user, and if we're not attractive and easy to access to new users, then we cannot completely lay claim to being entirely usable.
  • Factory isn't in the build service, so it's not actually possible for a non-Novell employee to directly to commit to Factory yet.

What's Happening

What we are we doing:

  • Maximise collaboration by trying to use only one resource. Trying to encourage all documentation to go directly onto
    • not always possible for legal issues, so where that's not possible there should be one (and only one) other resource. was born
    • What's there? FAQ and basic instructions on adding+using packman/guru to get various restricted formats which are vital for a complete operating system experience.
    • in the process of emailing the other wiki/forum/site maintainers
  • 3rd-party repositories with many extra packages:
    • Packman: hosting many extra-updated packages, and vital mp3 codecs for Amarok MP3 users
    • Guru: large horde of full-featured packages (example, Amarok), and many others that aren't in the release.
    • Package search (benjiman)
    • KDE Build service front-end (bill-barriere)
    • makeSUSEdvd
      • Making a SUSE-based distribution (makesusedvd + rembrand)

To be Done

What more can be done?

  • Expand documentation. and are good, but quite lacking in documentation and tutorials compared to other distributions. They need a little more weight on them.
  • maybe a create a bugzilla on for Guru and Packman. For bugs, package suggestions. Perhaps mention outcome of upcoming community meeting.
  • Merge Guru into Packman.
    • Problems: a few gigabytes of package, and hosting issues (what are these?)
  • Get Guru and Packman into the build service
    • All guru and packman packs won't be able to be into the build service because of legal issues
    • Could put in all the ones that there aren't legal issues with
    • Problem: Build Service isn't completely mature enough and not accessible for new users (no search, nice interface; c.f. packman website)
  • Really need to have one medium of communication. The opensuse-project list is ideal, but currently only a few people are subscribed to it (todo: get stats).


I'd very much like to hear any input you have on the items above, or possibly other things to talk about. There are a few ways of contacting me on my user entry.