openSUSE Strategy: Community Statement

Discussion about Community Statement

as described here: openSUSE News » A Strategy for the openSUSE Project: Proposals and Discussions

this is a somewhat shortened rant from a post i made in
http://forums.opensuse.org/forums-feedback/how-use-forums/440495-where-strategy-discussion-thread.html#post2177350

can anyone tell me why “the community” can’t find a way to
include the 40,000+ members of the openSUSE forums and all users in
general as anything other than “everyone else” in the statement:

“We are the openSUSE Community - a friendly, welcoming, vibrant, and
active community. This includes developers, testers, writers,
translators, usability experts, artists, promoters and everybody else
who wishes to engage with the project.”
cite: http://tinyurl.com/2ve2m94

or, maybe i missed the point: maybe “the community” has specifically
excludes those who are “just users”…

to me (my opinion) this is a shameful way of clearly and
specifically excluding all who contribute via the forums…all us
‘everybody elses’


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DenverD, we have especially brought this over to the forums to not exclude them ;), the forums are an important part of the openSUSE project and we recognize that.

Thanks DD and Andreas, I missed “us” too during reading. Apart from that, IMO, it’s a fine piece of work.

You raise an important question here: What is community?

Let’s just use an example: If you’re bird watching a bird in your garden, are you automatically part of the bird-watching community. At what point do you join the community? When you meet with others and talk about birds?

I see a clear difference between people “using” the distribution on the one hand and people discussing about it and helping others how to use it (contributors on forums/mailing lists).

This discussion was started to improve the community statement - I’m looking forward to constructive feedback how we should change it so that we get the right message out with the final version. So, how could we change it?

Andreas

a jaeger wrote:
> So, how could we change it?

how about this which just slightly alters the as written:

“We are the openSUSE Community - a friendly, welcoming, vibrant, and
active community. This includes forum participants, developers,
testers, writers, translators, usability experts, artists, promoters
and everybody else who wishes to engage with the project.”

NOTE: i just put ‘us’ first to press home the shock effect…that is,
is in what way is the order important? are testers less important than
‘developers’ but more important than artist?

if not why not put it in alpha order? like:

artists
developers
everybody else
forum participants
promoters
testers
translators
usability experts
writers

however 1: isn’t a writer a ‘developer’ (of documentation)?
and, a translator a ‘developer’ of translated documentation?
and a promoter a ‘developer’ of enthusiasm and buzzzzz
an artist a developer of the necessary art work?

what i’m saying is: isn’t “programmer” a more precise term to use for
what i think the original meant?

to me (read: imo), it seems to take the entire community to
develop openSUSE

however 2: can’t we either define “everyone else” or just leave them
out until they holler (like i did)

here is an alpha ordered list organized by related activities:

ambassadors, evangelist, marketers and other promoters
artists and graphic designers
bug reporting testers
creative thinkers and other blue sky idealist
documentation, help and wiki writers
forum, IRC and mailing list contributors, monitors and participants
package builders
programmers
translators
usability experts

i’m sure there are still some from the group “everyone else” who
should be mentioned…but, there is my first cut at a more inclusive
and less hierarchically ordered snapshot of “the Community”…

or shall we stick to the notion that the only people who can be a
part of “the Community” must meet the test laid out in
http://en.opensuse.org/Members#How_to_become_a_Member
and be approved by the standing select membership committee (whoever
they are…must be a secret)

and, if only those are accepted members to be considered part of “the
Community” then why are listening to me?


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When I see an unordered list preceded by the word “includes”, I don’t regard the order as significant, but do regard it as inclusive. IMO getting bogged down on the order is distracting from the objective of the exercise.

Was there a mission staement defined for the project? That usually precedes strategy development (for obvious reasons). It might be helpful for us to see that.

We have the guiding principles which I advise to read. Besides that, there’s no explicit mission statement.

Andreas

Ah, so openSUSE News » openSUSE Strategy Meeting – wrap up was the wiki page I tried commenting on (2x) and it never took. So seeing forums being listed in openSUSE News » A Strategy for the openSUSE Project: Proposals and Discussions is nice because I know the forums work.

First off, I want to applaud that defining a target with openSUSE has been something I’ve been mentioning for a while now because until now it has seemed, basically, floating in Limbo. If one wanted a “consumer” system they would look to Ubuntu, if they wanted more FOSS- and bleeding edge focused they would look to Fedora, yet openSUSE was always like a 2nd choice.

So the focus of openSUSE is going to be

  • Developers
  • Derivatives
  • Mobile

This is a good start. I’m listing some of my thoughts based on these three categories.

Developers

  • Platform for development
  • Distrubtiion means
  • Collaboration

From reading, I am seeing openSUSE as trying to provide the best platform for developers to use the tools that suit their projects the best. This focus, I think, will be vital in defining openSUSE.

  • I can see Yast as needing to be more ganular, and being able to finely tune the libraries, versions and details of the environment (such as a web server, Mono/Java versions, or virtualization).
  • Along with building the development platform, I think openSUSE and Novell would do well to do what they can in streamlining the developement-to-production in what they can control, such as moving from an openSUSE development platform onto SLES and handling any differences, and making sure the required versions are available.
  • While understandably developers will develop using whatever tools they require, I think openSUSE would do well to promote the FOSS versions when possible (OpenJDK instead of Sun/Oracle’s for example).
  • As the developer community grows around openSUSE, I think that streamlining with the upstream IDE developers would be beneficial to both openSUSE and the upstread projects, which in turn makes it more friendly for developers who will choose openSUSE over alternatives in part because of this.

Derivatives

  • Consolidate packages
  • Provide an easy means to “spin”
  • Support whims

Derivitives, or “spins”, are always a fun way to focus a distro towards smaller groups’ needs or wants. Unfortunately I see a bit of the Developer focus on the Derivitives. I would think that Derivitives are more about the selection of packages than for developing new products.

This would a possibility of filling in the more “consumer” level needs while keeping the core openSUSE focused on the Developers.

Mobile

  • Connectivity
  • Networking Peripherals

I’m not sure if this is a reflection on the difference between American and European Cell Phone usage, but this looks like the lesser of the three focuses.

  • "Our tweak here is that we think some customers do not wish to use the public infrastructure for their data. " I have long said that Cloud computing will take off with the “personal cloud”, where a company can have in the HQ a Cloud server that all of their users in all of their locations (across the globe) can access it and everything; all the data is under the company’s control not Google, Microsoft, Apple, etc.
  • “Support connectivity to our private cloud service”, does that mean openSUSE or Novell will offer something similar to the UbuntuOne cloud service that they are building off of, or is this only for the Build Service and Suse Studio?
  • Mobility also should include ease of integrating with an existing network. I remember when I had to delve into the system further than initially thought in order to open the firewall enough to access my Samba shared folder. It wasn’t too difficult with proper documentation, but if I had to do that for every connection that would be just too much.

These are initial thoughts, and likely to change. I do understand that these focuses are different than my other thought exercise outlined in the thread Where do I see SUSE Enterprise and openSUSE? - openSUSE Forums, but this looks like a good direction for openSUSE.

Thanks for the guidelines. The statement could be for example

We want to be a world class open-source project, fostering innovation in producing the best Linux distribution for its users. We will achieve this in collaboration with upstream projects, by growing the openSUSE community and placing a greater emphasis on its contributions.

Does that represent a reasonable statement of the projects aims? If it does, then the discussion might proceed on whether the Community Statement is in line with those aims…

Cannot edit in this sub-forum. My post was in reply to this post from Andreas Jaeger.

We have the guiding principles which I advise to read. Besides that, there’s no explicit mission statement.

prusnak wrote:
> (http://en.opensuse.org/Documents/Strategy/Community)

above cite says:

The sponsors are part of the Project and will support it in various
ways but not control the project.

which i find laudable, and agrees with the following (in “Governance”,
discussed in the Guiding Principles)

The board [of maintainers] should provide guidance and support
existing governance structures, but shouldn’t direct or control
development, since community mechanisms exist to accomplish the goals
of the project.

(cite: openSUSE:Guiding principles - openSUSE Wiki)

but neither of those seem to be in agreement with the board’s
composition:

The board of maintainers consists of five community members including
two people who are not employed by Novell. The board is headed by a
chairperson with veto power over any decision. The chairperson is
appointed by Novell and will typically be a Novell employee.

perhaps my confusion comes from not fully understanding one of the
stated tasks of the board of maintainers

Facilitate decision making processes where needed

because when i read (in the strategy we are discussing) that the
sponsors will not control the project, then i have to ask what kind of
decisions are made (or are expected to be made) by the sponsor
controlled board which do not affect, direct or control development by
“the Community”?

note: i’m not suggesting that Novell or any other sponsor should be
expected to provide resources without some expectation of a return on
investment…and, certainly they therefore should have (some)
influence over the strategic direction of development if not the daily
details…but the words in the strategy do not track the reality of
the board’s absolute sponsor control…


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The board of maintainers consists of five community members including
two people who are not employed by Novell. The board is headed by a
chairperson with veto power over any decision. The chairperson is
appointed by Novell and will typically be a Novell employee.

I’m not sure if this is supposed to mean at least 2 members are not employed by Novell, as a means to make sure there will always be non-employees on the board, but the way it is written it is not clear.

Agreed, there should be a Novell representative in the board, but when there are 3 out of 5 members are employees and the chairman who can veto anything that manages past the 3 there seems to be little doubt whose interest will be more focused on.

Back on the Community Statement, where there are many fine statements such as this:

Make contributing easy by eliminating or greatly reducing bureaucratic obstacles and having great governance
That will surely help, but so might the provision of world-class systems, interfaces, and tools to help users of the distro (not just developers with mailing lists) to interface more easily in order to contribute.

If you wish to expand the community and the users, you need modern, friendlier interfaces. Could we not say something positive about this in the Community statement?

the second sentence of the strategy statement defines “the openSUSE
Community” by listing some of it members (developers, testers,
writers, etc)…

then the second sentence introduces a new term neither listed as a
part of “the Community” nor defined in the statement:

To grow the openSUSE Community, we will put contributors first and
focus on the following activities:

  1. are the “contributors” first in importance, stature, class, title,
    benefits, authority, responsibility, trustworthiness–what? that is,
    in what way are they ‘first’?

  2. the “contributors” will be put in front of who (or what) in order
    to be first?

are contributors to be put in front of “the Community”?

or are they “the Community”? if they are, then how can the reader
understand the rational re-writing of the sentence to “To grow the
openSUSE Community, we will put the openSUSE community first and focus
on the following activities:” which then includes “Increase
contributor visibility”

is it the purpose of “the Community” to put “the contributors” first
and make them more visible, or is it the contributors purpose to put
themselves first in front of “the Community” in order to become more
visible??

confused? i am! so i go looking and further down in the Community
strategy i find a goal to “Mentor new contributors” and “Praise
contributors (Publicity, bounties, …)”

ok, so apparently “the Community” and “the Contributors” are the same,
right? or wrong?


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the strategy includes three lists of activities, are the activities
within each list presented in order of importance to the Community, or
are they random?


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they are random within each list

prusnak wrote:
> they are random within each list

good, maybe we should say that so the (say) marketing folks don’t feel
bad about being last on the list, etc ?


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