On 2 August 2015 at 15:48, Carlos E. R. <carlos.e.r(a)opensuse.org> wrote:
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On 2015-08-02 15:00, Richard Brown wrote:
Is there really much benefit of trying to expand
general userbase if we don't have a very strong contributor base to
Well, hardware makers could be enticed to provide machines with
openSUSE already installed. Currently you can find them with Ubuntu,
The idea that users = preloaded machines from OEMs is a fallacy
OEM manufacturers are in the business of making money, and while they
will make more money, more easily with Windows, then they'll keep
shipping either Windows only
Ubuntu and SLED are small exceptions to that rule, but even then, look
at the recent debacle with the Dell XPS 13, where Dell have removed
the Ubuntu version from the shelves because they couldn't get it to
The only way openSUSE has any hope of becoming enticing to OEMs is if
we're better, cleaner, and easier to do than 'the other guys' (be that
Windows, or Ubuntu)
And in order to do that, we need things like easier installations for
OEMs to work with (Premade install images instead of an installer?
Better documentation for Kiwi? Better guides on how to use Kiwi+OBS?)
Dedicated teams to work with OEMs to improve the support for their
hardware (Ubuntu have this, so did SUSE when they were pursuing OEM
Pre-Loads with SLED)
Longer support lifecycles (something like..hmm..openSUSE Leap? ;) )
A clear vision for the kind of users they can expect their openSUSE
pre-loaded hardware to appeal to (technical users - The Makers Choice)
and so on, and so forth
All of those things require openSUSE to have contributors to do them..
not non-contributing Users
a non-contributing user is often just a statistic which we may or may
not choose to count and may or may not use to brag about when
comparing ourselves with other distributions.. beyond that, while I
love every single one of our users, they are not the reason I'm still
here contributing to openSUSE 10 years after I started - that's
actually the contributors, every single one of you who are reading
this email..and more on that topic later.
Or when we get a printer or whatever, and download
software for it,
the typical target and documentation is "Ubuntu". I would like to see
This will only happen if we increase our user base.
Wrong, this will only happen if we increase our appeal to developers.
Do you know who decides supported platforms for most open source
When we are seen to be more interesting to them, they _will_ more
often, more easily, and more obviously, provide clearer support for
And, some of those that come may eventually become
time. If they go to Ubuntu, they will not :-p
I wish this was true, I really do, but experience has shown us that
the story that growing users leads to a growth of contributors is just
It never has been, and I dont think it ever will. I think it's one of
those collective myths many of us in open source like to tell
ourselves because it sounds appealing.
In reality, you grow your contributor base by targeting people who
want to contribute, giving them a reason to find your project
interesting so they have a desire to contribute, and then giving them
the tools and support to make it easy for them to do so.
You might target them and convert them from inside your userbase, you
might target them and convert them from the big wide world, but if you
don't go out and have a reason to appeal to people who will
contribute, you won't find new contributors just because you have more
No one wakes up in the morning and thinks "I think I'll start working
on open source today, I'll google the Project with the most users and
go help them".
You have to have a 'hook', a reason to draw someone to your project
and a reason for them to think openSUSE is the project that is worthy
of their time, effort, and contributions.
I do believe that if we focus our marketing and efforts on appealing
to contributors & 'users who are easy to convert into contributors',
then we will see an increase in users beyond that narrow(ish..it's not
really that narrow) target audience
Because lots of people *aspire* to be good technically
Lots of people want to understand technology, find open source
interesting, and want to learn more and contribute back. They want to
be 'Makers', even if they dont know how to be yet, and don't have the
And if openSUSE is seen as "The Makers Choice", the project with well
engineered tools and operating systems which appeal to smart technical
people, developers, sysadmins, power users, hackers, and such-like,
then we will see people drawn to us, not because they ARE those
things, but because they want to be.
People buy high end German cars like BMW, Mercedes-Benz and Audi,
because they want to be seen to be advanced, successful,
businesspeople with a good taste in high quality German engineering -
even if the owner is not any of those things, that is what those
brands stand for, and that's how they get customers.
I want to see openSUSE to appeal to people who want to be seen to be
technically savvy types with a good taste in high quality engineering.
Let Ubuntu be the Ford, GM, Toyota and Chrysler of the Linux world,
with their mass market appeal.
We can, and should be, something special for ourselves, our current
users, and our future users.
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