Mailinglist Archive: opensuse-project (245 mails)

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Re: [opensuse-project] openSUSE Membership: a general comment
  • From: "Francis Giannaros" <francis@xxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Sun, 10 Feb 2008 22:03:43 +0000
  • Message-id: <94dc34e40802101403u330d449ep52da4dfbaaa94b9@xxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
On Feb 10, 2008 1:02 PM, Thomas Hertweck <Thomas.Hertweck@xxxxxx> wrote:

Francis Giannaros wrote:
Who said you *had* to sign them? I haven't seen that stated anywhere,

You said so, and the Wiki says so: if you want to be an openSUSE member,
you have to sign the documents.

You can still be part of the community, or a "member" in a looser
sense, but you cannot be an "openSUSE member" in terms of the criteria
we have defined.

Finally, I think you start to realize the problem. There have always
been members of the SuSE community (since the mid '90ies), later on they
have become members of the openSUSE community. Now you have changed the
meaning of "membership" by introducing artificial new criteria,
applications, approvals etc.

One curious thing here: you acknowledge that the meaning of the word
(as we mean it) is different to your meaning of "member", and yet you
go on to still suggest that others are members in the respect *you*

There would be some very big confusion if "openSUSE member" was a
widely used term in some particular way before it was more clearly
defined by us. Fortunately, however, it was not. Secondly, the word is
very applicable in this scenario.

Many people that I (and obviously others)
consider as members of openSUSE do now fall short of your criteria and
therefore are no longer considered as members (according to your
definition). This, from my point of view, disregards their very valuable
contributions, though these contributions might be small in absolute
terms! Your own sentence cited above shows how obscure the situation now
is: you talk about "loose members" and "openSUSE members".

How else would you prefer me to differentiate between the way you use
the term and they way in which we've defined it? That there is a
confusion here is obvious (confusion is what you get when two people
use a word differently :-).

You shouldn't
have called your approach a "membership".

And yet you have provided no substantiation for this other than that
"you consider people as members who are not"; when we disagree (as we
have defined the criteria very clearly), what exactly do you expect?

In principle it comes down to
two questions: Can you measure contributions in an open community with
such a variety of people and skills in absolute terms (see my email to

What absolute terms? We do not need to proffer some type of explicit
metric in order to compare contributions to. As Pascal said, this is
not a mathematical formula for you to plug in and get out an explicit
result. It's been patently clear that the decision (at least
currently), is up to the board. It is also clear that there is
reasoning involved, examples of contributions that are valid; no crazy
magic involved in the process.

And secondly, should you be allowed to change the definition of
"membership" although it has already been used over the last ten years
and it has gained a certain meaning?

It is untrue that the term has been widely used in the openSUSE
community in the way that you suggest. If anything, that is something
I know, or do you think I'm not involved at all? :)

You don't have to agree with me and some others, it's okay to have
different opinions, but I expect from you - as a board member - that you
(at least) realize the concerns that have been raised, and that you
start thinking about it.

I have said from the beginning that I'm open to any suggestions for change.

If you only want to represent that part of the
community that agrees with your own opinion, then there's something

When a project goes from being closed source into opening up as a
community project there are going to be a *lot* of changes around the
place. Turning a closed project into an open one is an awful lot
harder than just creating a new open community and project. With
change there are always people that will disagree. The vital point
will always be to listen to the concerns with an open-mind, but also
to not let invalid or unpractical concerns drag the project behind.

Needless to say, so far I'm incredibly pleased with the membership
effort (this of course includes the community response to it). We've
had countless membership requests (95% or so which will probably be
accepted if they haven't been already), and many people feeling very
positive about it. Though the process is of course not perfect and I
hope it can be improved as time goes on.

PS> Please stop sending me private copies of list postings. Everybody
has to be subscribed in order to be able to write to the list. I
obviously read this list and there's no reason why I would like to
receive your emails twice! Use a "reply-to-list" functionality.

It was gmail wackiness.

PPS> That's my last email in this thread. I think everything has been
said and there's no need for repetition.

Just read your latest email (the one after this one), but I've covered
most of your points in this email anyway.

Kind thoughts,
Francis Giannaros
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