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openSUSE:What to improve osc11 session

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During the openSUSE Conference 2011 a BoF session with the topic "What do we need to improve" took place. The discussion was framed such that we would not end up with a long "pie in the sky" list that cannot be implemented. The goal was to have items that are actionable in a reasonable (6 month to 1 year) time frame. The notes below contain the items discussed:

Eliminate iChain


  • outdated
  • buggy
  • proprietary
  • iChain is being replaced with Novell Access Manager
    • we still have a proprietary solution managing our access, albeit Access Manager is more modern and hopfully less buggy.

Potential issues

  • This is a potential political issue, an there may be push-back from people within the Attachmate organization

Potential solution

Using openID is a potential solution to replace iChain. Connect can be openID provider and we could tie things to Connect, i.e. someone would need a Connect account instead of having a Novell account today. The issue with Connect is that it currently uses iChain for authentication and can't act as openID provider while using iChain. So many people would need to set up their passwords. Also as it let's people to enter many information, it may provide false impression that all this is needed and scare some people away.


  • Discuss in project meeting how we can go about this

Improve installer to handle multi boot

The multiboot installer is not working and an effort needs to be made to improve the situation. There is some work going on, but progress is slow as more helping hands are needed.


  • FATE will be filed (BoF participant)
  • Helping hands are desperately needed, call for volunteers on factory list.

There is a script lying around on the forum that reads the partitions and copy the needed information on menu.lst. I don't have the name of the script right now, but will try to find it Jdd 01:11, 20 September 2011 (MDT) Jdd 22:49, 19 October 2011 (MDT)


More pages should be translated

  • There is no real entry barrier


  • There is no priority to translate
  • There is no connection between translators
  • Translated pages need to be kept up to date, this is a long term commitment

Potential solutions

  • Publish page views to generate some kind of ranking?
    • The page views for each wiki page are published in the footer for each page
  • Make ranking available to translators?
  • Can we/ambassadors compile list of people working on translation?
  • When translators are connected maintenance should be easier as it can be done by committee

Improved usability/navigation


  • We have a lot of documentation and information in the wiki, but it is difficult to access and find.
  • Information if a page is available in another language is hidden
  • There is no way to know if the translated page is up to date

Potential solutions

  • Maybe setup topics in a B-tree like structure
  • Maybe display in a bar at the top of each page languages into which this page has been translated
  • Invent some kind of mechanism to inform people if translated page is up to date
  • As part of Google Code-in a solution proposal was developed and can be found here.

Improve search


  • Search is broken and we need a better solution
    • Example search for %{?suse_version} using the wiki search and the top result is a link related to SAMBA and not to packaging

Potential solutions

  • Can we use Google?
    • Maybe pipe our search to Google in the background and just re-display the results that start with
    • Use the Google engine (there maybe concerns about the license)
  • Make sure we allow the "public" Google crawler to crawl the wiki
  • Maybe have no search on wiki and point people to Google?
  • As part of Google Code-in the proposal found here was developed.


  • Discuss at next project meeting some details
  • Wiki team needs to get involved

openSUSE needs its own bugzilla


  • Not having a bugzilla we control creates problems
    • Categorization is not what we would like
    • We are connected into iChain and Novell accounts
    • Cannot be themed
    • ...

Potential issues

  • This is a potential political issue, an there may be push-back from people within the Attachmate organization
  • Easy duplication/sharing of SLE bugs
  • What is the entry barrier to file a bug? (this is connected to the iChain discussion)
    • Having no entry barrier, i.e. no registration, potentially creates a flood of duplicates and invalid bugs


This issue was raised during the 2010 SUSE Labs conference. Jeff M. and Greg KH did the initial work to get an openSUSE bugzilla running.

Do to lack of assistance from ACS (Novell outsourced IT admin to ACS a few years back) it was not possible to make any reasonable progress on this issue.


  • Determine current status
  • Discuss in project meeting once status is known

Improve communication infrastructure


  • It appears that it is difficult to get information dispersed in the community
    • Too many mailing lists
    • Too many IRC channels


  • We need to agree what channels and lists should go away or be merged

Discussed towards end of project meeting 2011-10-19

  • Mailing lists
    • Message limit to get new list is not a favored approach
      • tumbleweed appears to be working OK with sending related messages to factory (this does not imply that factory should be a "catch all" bucket). But this does not necessarily imply that this would work for other list "merges"
    • Possibly need some sort of evaluation on "related topics" such as
      • maybe merge boosters with the project list
      • maybe packaging should be merged with buildservice
      • maybe web and wiki should be merged
      • it might also be easier to merge low volume lists than to merge two high volume lists
      • it is possibly difficult to merge development specific lists such as ham and mobile, while it might not be unreasonable to merge cloud and virtualization
    • Thus the problem remains that even if we find someone willing to look at all the lists and come up with a proposal, what are the guideline we would provide to that person to develop the proposal?
      • Related topics - yes
      • Volume guideline?
      • Number of subscribers?

IRC Channels

  • List of openSUSE/SUSE IRC channels as of 2011-10-19
  • we have 82 channels, obviously way too much
  • most are almost empty
  • language specific channels must remain in place, for obvious reasons
  • #opensuse-packaging should be closed, as it's almost empty, and #opensuse-buildservice serves the same purpose (similar issue as to the similarly named mailing-lists)


  • boosters channel and project channel should be merged
  • packaging channel and buildservice channel should be merged

Better usability/navigation of main page at


  • Current site does not draw people in
  • Information is difficult to find


  • Get web team involved
  • Discuss at project meetings