Mailinglist Archive: opensuse-project (63 mails)

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Re: [opensuse-project] openSUSE Board election 2019-2020 - Final candidates list
On 2020-01-22 21:31, Sarah Julia Kriesch wrote:
Gesendet: Mittwoch, 22. Januar 2020 um 16:32 Uhr
Von: "Richard Brown" <rbrown@xxxxxxx>
An: opensuse-project@xxxxxxxxxxxx
Betreff: Re: [opensuse-project] openSUSE Board election 2019-2020 - Final candidates list

Hi Sarah,
Hi Richard,
You have misunderstood a lot of my answers.

Hi Sarah,

After reading your email, I don't think I misunderstood much at all, but I do really appreciate your responses and the opportunity to elaborate my concerns.

I feel there are a number of factual inaccuracies and tonal concerns I
wish to raise with your answers

Where are the concerns? You are the first one who has responded.
That is a mailing list and I am open for discussions.

My concerns are outlined in the email below..or do you mean to suggest with this statement that my concerns don't count because I'm the only person raising them? Isn't the whole point of public discussions so that individuals like myself can raise the concerns that bother us?
aren't board members meant to represent the whole community, even the people they disagree with and who disagree with them?

> Background: I was asked really often at open source events how
> another company can sponsor openSUSE. We had to say that it would not
> possible because all of our money is going via a SUSE credit card and
> the money would be lost (same with the GSoC money, which has to be
> transferred to other organizations because of this issue). No company
> wants to pay Open Source Developers with such a background of an
> open-source project. Therefore, most openSUSE Contributors are
> working for SUSE or SUSE Business Partners. This topic popped up more
> than 3 times during my last Board Membership (really created by SUSE
> employees each time!).

There are a number of other ways besides money that other companies and
projects can, do, and have sponsored openSUSE.

Yes. But that all has the issue that we don't have a foundation.
We had supperior offers for hardware sponsorships and they had been
canceled because
"SUSE Linux GmbH" is listed as a co-contractor[0]. Such companies
would accept a foundation.

Another case is the sponsorship for openSUSE Conferences. I have
organized a German
organization in the past. There were a lot of problems to receive
information about sponsorships
before. We sponsored the food then. But during a meeting this year, I
heared that our Board
does not want to support openSUSE any more because of these problems.
You can watch the food of
the last conference. Do you want to have only sandwiches for guests at
the conference?

I find your statements above to run incongruently with reality.

openSUSE has has events sponsored, non-financially, by countless sponsors. Just in the last 12 months that includes the following companies and organisations:

arm ltd
Red Hat/Fedora
Linux Magazine
Simplify Inc
Radiant Utama Interinsco TBK

And I'm sure I am missing a number of other examples and to those wonderful sponsors of the openSUSE Project.

As a candidate for the openSUSE Board, I find your attitude expressed on this topic to be dismissive of the sponsors openSUSE already has and defeatist towards finding more such sponsors in the future.
These are attitudes I do not want to see in a Board candidate I wish to vote for and I would hope that such feedback, while possibly uncomfortable for you to read, is helpful for you to recieve in some way.

The topic "paied Open Source Developers" is coming from a study
conference of the SBB foundation.
A speaker told about "New Work" and that it is modern to offer 20% of
working time for non-profit
projects. I know different IT companies who want to support
open-source projects on this way.
Do you mean, they want to give us these Developers without being
allowed to publish the openSUSE
logo on the homepage? What is the requirement for doing that? They
have to be a sponsor, too.

As you know as a former Board member, under the openSUSE Trademark Guidelines, the openSUSE Board can, if they wish, define the terms, conditions and requirements for any organisation to be able to use the openSUSE logo. "All other uses of the openSUSE Marks need to be reserved by us, but we are available to discuss terms for use. "

If a Company wants to sponsor developers and in return use the openSUSE Trademark, they should already be able to under the current rules.
You seem to be suggesting that if you are elected you will 'fix' the status quo, but the problem you are stating does not appear to exist as far as I can see.
Therefore I do not understand what point you are trying to make here as part of your campaign to join the Board in 2020.

I disagree with the implication in the above that openSUSE is not able
to recieve any such sponsorship.

My experience at openSUSE shows the opposite.

Again, see the incomplete list of companies I've already posted above.
Are you suggesting that you weren't aware of any of these sponsorships in the last year or the many similar sponsorships that occurred when you were previously a Board member?

The idea of an openSUSE Foundation has been a recurring topic for the
openSUSE Project since before 2011.

I outright reject the statement that you "had to suggest this solution
more than 3 times that was was accepted by SUSE employees in the

We had long discussions about resolving the problem with the money.
Google Summer of Code and openSUSE Asia Summit are only examples of our
Board Meetings. Every time, I have repeated the suggestion with the foundation
with all benefits for us and SUSE. I have experience with foundations from my
student life and one employer who wanted to safe his open-source
project with that.
After 1.5 hours discussions without any predictable end (topic
openSUSE Asia Summit
in the past) all the other Board Members agreed that this would be the only
possible solution. We can use the time for other topics in the future.

I recall the discussions you cite, and I remember vividly your repeated assertions that you have experiences with Foundations from your student life.
I also remember the expressions of experience from other members of the Board who were in that discussion, including those who work for SUSE.

I didn't want to go into too much detail in my original email because it was a private discussion of the team. But as you have now directly referred to the conversation, I feel I must firmly state that I still outright dismiss your characterisation of the discussion that you, individually "had to suggest this solution more than 3 times that was accepted by SUSE employees in the Board".

The Board, as a team, decided to reinvigorate the project's efforts to look into a Foundation.
Your statement above, even after your clarification, reads to me like you wish to take singular credit for this effort.
This team included people on all sides of the debate from all backgrounds and employment states. I do not like picture of "Sarah vs SUSE" you paint with your choice of words.

I do not think it is appropriate for an individual in a Team to try and take singular credit for a decision made by the whole team.
That is not an attitude that I wish to see in a candidate asking for my vote for them in this election. Again, I'm sorry that might be uncomfortable for you to read, but isn't the purpose of this thread to give the opportunity for community members like myself to give feedback on the answers given by Board candidates?

There is no difference between the Board members who are democratically
elected by the community, and I think it is inappropirate for a
potential Board member of to express a "them vs us" outlook between
those elected Board members employed by a certain company and those who
are not.

Yes. That is right. There is no difference in the Board. But it was peculiar
that all the time SUSE employees were complaining about money topics at the
openSUSE Board. The shortest way is another one.

Peculiar or not, I think it is inappropriate for a potential Board member to run on a campaign where they actively single out any other members of the Project because of the employer they might have.
When that employer is also the primary sponsor of the project, I wonder how effective the Board member candidate will be at working with the Project's primary sponsor.
I would much rather vote for a candidate who sees all of our contributors as equals.

> 2) openSUSE infrastructure in Provo
> Background: I am one of the Founders of the openSUSE Heroes Team and
> was allowed to coordinate our first wiki project between Germany and
> Provo. The openSUSE infrastructure is in Microfocus hands and they
> need very long to respond on issues and we are not allowed to receive
> access as a community. Additionally, SUSE is not part of Microfocus
> any more which makes it more difficult to receive good support in the
> future.
> Solution 1: Migration of all openSUSE systems from Provo to Nuremberg
> / Prague (perhaps missing space?)
> Solution 2: Migration of all openSUSE systems from Provo to any
> German hosting data centre with access for openSUSE Heroes

It is my personal and professional experience that issues I report to
admin@xxxxxxxxxxxx are no more likely to be resolved if they relate to
openSUSE infrastructure in Nuremberg than if they related to openSUSE
infrastructure in Provo.

Really? We are waiting for a database dump for our forums since September.
A one line fix for the broken rss feed needed 2 months.
In my experience our Heroes Team interacts mostly faster.

And yet there are tickets regarding Nuremberg-hosted infrastructure that have been open just as long if not longer:

Some quickly identified examples:
Ticket #4314 - related to (hosted in NUE) - open since 09/06/2015
Ticket #17604 - related to (hosted in NUE) - open since 08/03/2017
Ticket #17676 - sponsor wishing to provide a new mirror using the sources hosted in NUE - open since 12/03/2017 with the user still waiting for access since the last ping 11 months ago
Ticket #37099 - related to (hosted in NUE) - open since 12/06/2018
Ticket #40061 - another sponsor wishing to provide a mirror from NUE - open since 21/08/2018

And I'm sure I could go through more of the admin@xxxxxxxxxxxx ticket list to find more examples.

To re-iterate my points in my original email
- It is an objective fact that issues in both Provo and Nuremberg take too long to fix
- There is no evidence that Provo issues take any longer than Nuremberg issues, therefore there is no evidence that moving openSUSE infra from Provo to Nuremberg is a good solution
- Even if there was, I do not think is it appropriate for Board members to demand the course of action that sponsors or other volunteers will have to take out.

And because you were insulting enough to suggest I want a broken infrastructure, I will re-iterate here, of course I do not want a broken infrastructure - but it's not the Board's job to tell our infrastructure volunteers or sponsors how to do their job.

> 3) Bad reputation of openSUSE Leap & openSUSE Tumbleweed
> Background: We are the openSUSE project with many different sub-
> projects. We don’t offer only Linux distributions, but we are well
> known for that and most people are associating us with that. I had
> given many presentations about openSUSE during my last Board
> Membership and represented us at different open source events. The
> existing openSUSE Board does not do that very much. They have another
> focus at the moment.
> Solution: We need more openSUSE Contributors representing openSUSE
> and I can do that as an openSUSE Board Member again. After that, we
> can be one of the top Linux distributions again. 😉

I disagree that you need to be a Board member in order to represent
openSUSE and I dislike the implication that those two roles are somehow

You are writing what I have written as a solution...
I wrote that we need more openSUSE Contributors there. It is not necessary
to be a Board Member to represent openSUSE. It is welcome to see openSUSE
Board Members at open-source events. That is giving openSUSE an higher
value there then.

You stated the problem was "Bad reputation of openSUSE Leap & openSUSE Tumbleweed"
You stated, in the section of your reply starting with "Solution" a single sentence that reads "We need more openSUSE Contributors representing openSUSE and I can do that as an openSUSE Board Member again"

I disagree that you need to be a Board member to represent openSUSE and I disagree with the implication that those two roles are somehow interlinked.

As I state above, I agree the Project needs more ambassadors,
advocates, and cheerleaders but I think the representation of openSUSE
can and should be handled by anyone in the Project.

You are elected as a openSUSE Board Member because you are representing
the openSUSE Community. We have the name "Student Representative" for
elected Students at our university. We have been electing Board Members.
Our focus should be to resolve problems. But we are representing the
community, too.
Additionally, I am not only one candidate with this idea. ;)

Please don't tell me as a voter what my vote means.
When I cast my vote in this election, I am not electing a "Student Representative" for openSUSE.
I am not electing a "Project Representative" for openSUSE, because I and all of my other voters can represent openSUSE.
When I cast my vote I am electing a Board member who's primary role is to help resolve conflicts in the Project, to communicate with SUSE and our other sponsors, and to be trusted to make decisions when no one else in the Project is able to.

None of those roles require or expect Board members to running around representing openSUSE to address the Project's perception.

I'd rather see Board members spend their time on tasks requiring the
trust and responsibility vested in them by the electorate.

I hope my fellow voters elect people based on their ability to handle
tasks the community could not otherwise easily solve themselves.

Which additional (missing) tasks do you see?
One role does not exclude others. I did not decline to resolve issues.
I can resolve problems as a Computer Scientist (not only technical things).

With all due respect, I do not wish to see a Board member trying to address issues like a computer scientist.
In my view the major issues the Project faces right now require Board members skilled in empathy, diplomacy, and other (I hate this term) "soft-skills" to interact with all the parties involved and encourage the people engaged with this Project to help openSUSE to improve itself.
I do not think those abilities or attitudes have been expressed in this thread to date, but I hope my feedback has been detailed and constructive enough to be of some benefit.
And if not, well, at least I can take comfort in being able to engage in this election process in a new way.

Richard Brown
Linux Distribution Engineer - Future Technology Team

SUSE Software Solutions Germany GmbH
Maxfeldstr. 5
90409 Nuremberg

(HRB 36809, AG NĂŒrnberg)
Managing Director: Felix Imendörffer
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