On 05.11.2013 11:10, Robert Schweikert wrote:
And here are the promised answers
good and on-the-point answers.
But in addition to these more general points I have a very concrete
question: Will was saying in his resignment from the board position:
"Thirdly, changes in how the openSUSE project is handled by SUSE shifted
many new tasks to the Board."
Maybe I missed it, but I have no idea what this is about. I think this
has to be explained a bit more in detail, not by Will but by the
remaining acting board, as this affects a potential new board member
What kind of tasks are these?
One of the tasks that is planned is the management of a budget. At the
board meeting in April at SUSE it was indicated that SUSE would like to
have the board take over some financial responsibility. This is the
"financial transparency" topic that has popped up every now and then and
is of public record in the board meeting minutes from April. This is a
task that can probably not be easily transferred to the community at
I remember the topic and I agree that this should be handled by the
board or maybe a very defined, responsible group of people.
Another task are the events. oSC13 was the first
organized event but SUSE was still heavily involved in choosing the
location and deciding that this is the direction things should proceed,
i.e. more control for the community. For oSC14 the board initiated the
location search and made the decision of the location, rinse and repeat
for oSC15. Organization of Hackathons has also been nominally
transferred to the community, for those we have not found any volunteers
yet to run the show. For any of the events the board does not want to
assume organization responsibility, and this is not possible. For the
organization of events it will always be necessary to have teams from
the community handle the organization in mostly autonomous fashion.
Yes, and that
does not work out yet, as you say. That's bad because
openSUSE as a project and also as a distro needs the visibility.
also get a fair number of trademark requests that at some point were
handled by SUSE.
Yes, but that is not a new task which was recently shifted.
The unfortunate trend of separation of the openSUSE
team from the community that many have noticed and mentioned in private
mails to the board ML has also put the board into the position of being
a conduit. Something we are mostly uncomfortable with, but that is the
Why are these board specific and can not
be shifted to "the openSUSE community" in general?
Some tasks, such as the first three tasks given above are probably best
handled by those the community elected rather than the community at
large. Other tasks are being handled by the community, for example the
event organization. While the board handled location search and the
location decision, the community is in complete control of the
organization of the event.
How can SUSE 'assign'
tasks to the board at all?
This works on multiple levels. One way to "hand things over" to the
board/community is via discussion, at the board level or the ML. Another
way is of course by simply no longer performing the task.
What kind of relationship do we have here
A strained one. The transition from Boosters to openSUSE Team has not
been easy so far and continues to be difficult. At least some of the
community is aware of the difficulties as we have had issues raised on
the board ML, we are trying to work on these. We would rather not
address these in detail on the list to avoid bikeshedding and mud slinging.
Sure. This sounds scary to me.
I think the most important question should be "how can we make sure to
not loose relevance as a distro and as a FOSS project?". Every activity
in and around openSUSE should meassure itself on that.
What is the
role of the board,
The role of the board is changing a bit but is still predominantly
governed by the board charter and guidelines:
- stay out of technical stuff
- be a steward of the guiding principles
- help with conflict resolution
- present community issues and concerns to SUSE as the primary sponsor
- be the decision making power of last resort
What is obviously changing is the "decision making power of last resort"
as we already have made decisions about oSC14 for example and if the
financial transparency plan moves forward there will need to decision
made about money.
Although the board has experienced an increase in decision making
"power", that does not imply the board is also the executor of actions.
As mentioned, in the end it is still up to the community at large to
rally around the project, events etc. to make things happen. As such any
decisions that can be transferred to the community at large will be
transferred. No one on the current board has any interest of building
empires or playing any hidden games. In the end the community at large
needs to be in control of the project. That a few elected people from
the community get together and make decisions about where a specific
event will be located does not take away from the fact that the event,
in this example is controlled and organized by the community and not
those that were elected.
Sure, good to read this clear statement.
what of the
We would like to see the openSUSE Team at SUSE mostly just like any
other team in the community. However, the team does have somewhat of a
privileged position as there is still a number of things that are
directly controlled by the team, or team leader. The SUSE team presents
a very concentrated force of people that can work in unison on openSUSE
as a directed full time team. Thus, this can easily over power the
efforts of a loosely connected group of volunteers that work in their
"spare" time. Unfortunately the view about immersion of the SUSE team in
the community, that the board feels would be most beneficial to all, is
not necessarily shared.
I see, and this points to a couple of old and hard to
and what is
We believe the plan of having more community responsibility is sound at
its core. But obviously there is a can of worms of details, and a
million different ways to get there. The details and the approach is
where a lot of work is left to be done.
Sure. The problem is also if you ask for
more control, you have to
handle it with responsibility and work on it. That requires active
people. On the other hand, people who are interested in that kind of
work tend to leave the project if responsibility is _not_ shared because
it becomes simply unattractive to them. There are alternative projects
Hopefully this provides some of the insight you were
looking for. We
realize that we have been short on details in certain areas. This is in
the interest in avoiding flames we probably do not need.
Yes, I appreciate the
details you gave. Thank you! I hope that more
people are interested in that.
We of course do not need flames, but I think we need to see clear about
where the project is heading, and also what the big sponsor's ideas,
impulses and influences are.
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