Mailinglist Archive: opensuse-project (245 mails)

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Re: [opensuse-project] openSUSE Membership
  • From: "Francis Giannaros" <francis@xxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Thu, 7 Feb 2008 15:56:50 +0000
  • Message-id: <94dc34e40802070756r104d0201kaae0bca76a39a631@xxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
On Feb 7, 2008 11:50 AM, Cornelius Schumacher <cschum@xxxxxxx> wrote:
On Wednesday 06 February 2008, Francis Giannaros wrote:

Being an open, global project is certainly the top thing on the list,
and nothing should detract from that. We should always be open and
accessible to others -- and in fact I think the idea of membership
only complements this. Nearly all open source projects have something
similar to this (like KDE e.V.). What we do need to keep an eye with
things like this is that the process and requirements are transparent.
I want to work on making it even more transparent, and the current
method should definitely be seen as a "beginning" with serious
consideration later on how well it scales, how appropriate it is, etc.
There shouldn't be anything secret, exclusive, or bureaucratic about

If becoming a "member" requires "continued and substantial contribution" and
approval by the board it is in fact a pretty exclusive thing. I don't think
that's necessarily bad in itself.

Here I meant exclusive in the sense that there are people who will
never have access to it; theoretically, anyone can of course become a

But calling these people "member of openSUSE" and all others not is wrong in
my opinion. In contrast to KDE and many other free software projects openSUSE
doesn't have an organization whose purpose is to represent the project. For
KDE e.V. and other organizations being a member comes with certain
formalities, responsibilities and rights, which are very specific to the
organization. In most cases members of the organization are also members of
the project, but it's not required at all to become a member of the
organization before you can be part of the project.

In this sense it is precisely the same -- no-one is saying others are
not part of the project; in fact, you have to be part of the project
before you can be a member.

We should work hard to make everyone feel involved instantly, and we
should definitely distinguish and acknowledge the active and helpful
contributors. The point is never to imply that only those who are
members are part of the community -- on the contrary, everyone
involved in anything related is part of the community, and
'membership' is just an umbrella for those active contributors who it
would be fitting to give i.e. o.o addresses and cloaks to, and who for
example we might see as representatives of the openSUSE project.

For me the problem would be solved by using another term than "member".
Maybe "representatives" or "ambassadors" (Fedora is using this term) or at
least attribute it like "core members" or something like that.

Yes, I think there's a different interpretation here of "member", and
it was a term that we discussed and I talked about to a few other
people, but it just seems like the most fitting term for the case
(though not really perfect). "Representatives" lacks the contribution
part and overplays the representation factor, "ambassadors" is just
far too political and doesn't really even seem relevant enough, and
"core members" seems far too exclusive.

This term -- "core" -- would generally be reserved for people working
on very core or essential aspects of the project (for example, to take
KDE again: people working on i.e. kdelibs), whereas we consider people
working in *any* area of the project to be legible for membership.

I agree that the word is perhaps not entirely perfect, but I don't
think we'll get any closer with another word, and I don't think we're
losing too much by using it.

Kind thoughts,
Francis Giannaros
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