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Archive for June, 2013

The openSUSE Team at oSC13

June 27th, 2013 by

This edition of the openSUSE Conference is unique in many ways. If you’ve read the recent blogs by main organizer Kostas and openSUSE team member Jos Poortvliet reminiscing about the history of our conference, you know what we mean. Until now the former Boosters (and now openSUSE team) and some other SUSE employees were the core organizers of the event. This year, we’re in a far more supportive role. In this post we’d like to detail some of the things we’ve been working on!

Finance and administration

Of course, like previous years, SUSE is the Platinum sponsor of the openSUSE Conference. But we don’t just give money, we help spend it. We provide administrative and legal support to the organization team, helping execute tasks like dealing with providers, venue and sponsorship contracts, payments and more. Several departments at SUSE are involved in these activities internally coordinated by the openSUSE Team at SUSE and in particular by Agustin.

There is an important part of the administrative and financial support provided by SUSE related with the Travel Support Program. The openSUSE Conference is the most relevant community action openSUSE organizes so the workload related with this program increases this time of the year, specially this edition that the financial support has been doubled compared to the previous one. A report about the TSP will be publish during oSC13 by the TSP Comittee so you will get all the details there.

Video editing

Video editing at oSC12

Technology: video, network

We are preparing the video coverage for this years oSC like we did it in 2012. That means we are recording all the talks of the three main rooms and we’ll try to publish them as sooon as possible. However, due to the reduced manpower of this years video team we might not be able to publish them on the day after. We’re aiming for perhaps during the week after the event.

Additionally we will provide live video and audio streaming of the talks worldwide. So even if you are not able to come to Greece you will able to see the talks you are interested in. And if you’re at oSC you could even try to attend two talks at once if you bring a video streaming capable device. The local team will try to make sure that the room chairs share questions from people joining remotely with the presenters.

SUSE also provides networking expertise in the form of Lars Vogdt, who’s also in charge of infrastructure in the Nuremberg and Prague offices and took care of networking for oSC12.

the openSUSE Booth at oSC12

the openSUSE Booth at oSC12

Marketing and communication

A conference needs lots of communication over lots of channels and this is where community manager Jos Poortvliet helps out. There’s of course the main website, set up by Henne Volgelsang. Jos has done a fair bit in writing texts for it as well, helping Henne in maintaining the site with tasks like adding the sponsors when they came in or speakers for the program. Jos has also written or edited the majority of conference articles for news.opensuse.org, announcing things like the start of the travel support program request period, the Call for Papers, the program, sponsors, keynote speakers and more. Some of these were send out on our press channels.

Speaking of Press, Jos has tapped into his pool of press contacts, inviting journalists for the conference, helping to organize Media Partnerships and interviews. At the event, he’ll take care of the press, help them find people to interview and make sure they have a place to quietly work. He’ll also coordinate the communication, with help from the local team, making sure we send out tweets, facebook and Google-Plus messages and of course daily articles informing those who didn’t make it to the event about what is going on.

oSC12 workshop

oSC12 workshop


Michal Hrusecky was active for the openSUSE team on the CfP committee. That was in part due to his expertise as main organizer of the openSUSE Conference 2012 but also because the openSUSE team as a whole is committed to provide content for the conference: each member will perpare presentations and workshops, sharing their knowledge and experience. Michal coordinated this and made sure that if the CfP team saw gaps in the current proposals, the openSUSE team would attempt to provide the desired content. For example, Michal and Jos will provide daily “how to give awesome presentations” workshops.

Just part of the machine

All these activities represent a small fraction of the effort needed to organize such a conference. The heavy work is done this year by openSUSE community, specially by the local team lead by Kostas and Stella, among others.

The openSUSE Team, together with some other members of the Operation, Services and Communities department, are coordinating and/or executing most of these tasks assigned to SUSE. We are not the only ones, since other SUSE employees involved in openSUSE are helping in many different areas, like usual. But is the community who leads the event organization.

For SUSE, as you can imagine, it is easier to provide support close to any of our offices than in other countries. So we are open to have openSUSE Conference again in Nuremeberg or Prague in the future. In any case, our commitment to the openSUSE Conference is clear no matter where it take place.

The openSUSE community is getting mature so our relation as company with the project has to evolve. This new role that SUSE plays in the openSUSE Conference organization is just another sign of this evolution.


And here then the statistics we promised two weeks ago and forgot last week… The top ~10 contributors to Factory last week, AND the list from the week before!

The top-10 contributors to openSUSE Factory in week 25:

Spot Geeko
1 Sascha Peilicke
2 Stephan Kulow
3 Jan Engelhardt
4 Vincent Untz, Marcus Meissner
5 Dirk Mueller
6 Joop Boonen
7 Wolfgang Rosenauer, Robert Milasan, Dinar Valeev
8 Michal Hrusecky, Michael Calmer, Cristian Rodríguez
9 Wolfgang Bauer, Ruediger Meier, Petr Gajdos
10 Tobias Klausmann, Stefan Dirsch, Johannes Weberhofer

The top-10 contributors to openSUSE Factory in week 24:

Spot Geeko
1 Stephan Kulow
2 Jan Engelhardt
3 Dr. Werner Fink
4 Marcus Meissner
5 Togan Muftuoglu, Sascha Peilicke
6 Cristian Rodríguez, Andreas Stieger
7 Charles Arnold
8 Dinar Valeev, Bjørn Lie
9 Michal Vyskocil, Ismail Donmez, Bruce Rogers
10 Tomáš Chvátal, Michal Hrusecky

The openSUSE TSP application

June 20th, 2013 by

Introduction blog of the TSP
Today, Ancor Gonzalez Sosa writes about the Travel Support Program Application he developed with the openSUSE Team.

Traveling to an event to represent your project, sharing experiences with other people with common interests and showing them what you are passionate about is absolutely awesome – but it can get expensive. This is why openSUSE introduced a Travel Support Program last year.

The openSUSE Travel Support Program

The goal of the Travel Support Program is to support contributors representing openSUSE at events by reimbursing up to 80% of the travel and/or hotel costs. In turn the contributors make a worthy contribution at the event and report back to the openSUSE community about what they did.

We’re not alone in doing this, having drawn inspiration from GNOME’s Conference Travel Subsidy Program, the KDE e.V. Travel Cost Reimbursement initiative and the Travel Policy from The Document Foundation.

vanilla entering reimbursement request_crop

entering reimbursement request

The program is sponsored by SUSE, but the Travel Committee independently manages the money and decides who is supported and how. This is a lot of work: decisions involve the event itself, the contributor asking for support, other Geekos in the area, the costs and of course the entire budget. The team also has to plan the priority of events with the marketing team and communicate about the status of the requests and reimbursement.

And the Free Software world was lacking a proper tool to manage all this… until now!

The brand new TSP application

We developed a new web tool to make the life of the TSP team and the community easier and do this in an open and generic way so other projects could benefit as well. We’ve started using it already for the upcoming openSUSE Conference 2013 and you can see it in action here. It even offers a pretty diagram explaining the TSP process! Of course, the complete source code of the project can be found on Github.


For a more detailed explanation of the goals of the project you can refer to the ‘about the TSP application‘ page in our projects management tool. In that page you will find ‘the 6 Ws’ of the new application: who, what, when, where, why and how (yes, we know that ‘how’ does not start with ‘W’, but we didn’t invented the 6Ws term).

During development we honored the motto “release early, release often” and worked following agile development principles. We begun by collecting ideas and requirements of the TSP team and the people handling the payments on the SUSE side. After developing a first prototype, it was presented in a video conference. You can find the minutes of this meeting in the project’s wiki.

Once the feedback was in and new goals were set, the prototype was deployed on a provisional server in order for the Travel Committee to test it. Using this test-drive installation, the application was improved in an interactive way. Every two weeks (sometimes a bit longer), a new version was installed. Izabel tested the new version providing very useful feedback used to plan the new milestone in our projects management tool and so on. This cycle is still in motion: new version, feedback, planning, new version…

bento style request status

bento themed request status

Awesome Rails goodies

While working on the TSP application we have developed some features that can be interesting for other Ruby on Rails programmers working within the openSUSE infrastructure, like the team behind OSEM. The TSP application includes a Devise backend for the openSUSE authentication infrastructure, a Bento theme for Bootstrap (written in pure Less) and integration with openSUSE Connect through its REST API. We plan to release all these features as individual components to allow reuse in other openSUSE developments.

Present and future, sharing with others

We plan on continuing maintenance of the application and as with most free software projects, it’s hard to predict in which direction the tool is going to evolve. Conference volunteers in charge of the visa invitation letters and the team in charge of merchandising shipping already made some interesting suggestions so it will not be a surprise if we end up developing a full event management tool. Not for registration and scheduling individual conferences -the oSC’13 guys are already doing a great job developing OSEM– but for the administrative tasks and planning behind the attending various events that communities like openSUSE do.


So, if you are an openSUSE contributor and you might need sponsorship for traveling in the future, bookmark the TSP page! If you are a Ruby on Rails developer, just Fork it on Github™ and meet us at oSC’13 to talk about future collaboration. And if you are in charge of a travel support program for another open source project or are thinking about the possibility of starting one, you can run it yourself and we’d be happy to help you in case of trouble. You can find me (Ancor Gonzalez Sosa) as ancorgs in the openSUSE-Project channel on Freenode.

And always remember: have a lot of fun!

The Resourcefulness Of Our Great Community — An Example

June 18th, 2013 by

At the risk of stepping on other people’s toes let me apologize before I start. I am certain we have many members in the community that have gone out of their way to overcome hurdles placed in their way by our “organization” or others. I was inspired by this story because it shows how dedicated our community members are and it really fits well with some of the issues we are still struggling with in the transition from Boosters to SUSE team and the transition between initiatives, Ambassadors to Coordinators and shipping of DVDs to boxes of promo material for designated events.

Peter Czanik was caught in the middle of all of this at a recent FSF conference where he and others had an openSUSE booth. With no DVDs being shipped, due to the transition in the promo material shipping procedure (this has been announced) and no money available through TSP for local production of marketing materials due to a snafu (a temporary solution is in the works) there was basically no help from the resources where help should be coming from, sorry about that Peter.

Despite these obstacles Peter and the team showed up and made due with what was available to have great success. In Peter’s words:

– distributed the last few remaining openSUSE 12.2 DVDs. Many people complained, that it’s not the latest and greatest, but also many were happy, as they have an old machine and older Linux versions usually have lower resource requirements.
– reused the posters we printed last autumn to decorate the booth (at the end of the day they were in a sorry state, so can’t be reused any more…)
– used the few remaining openSUSE brochures, stickers we printed last year (printing was contributed last year by somebody working at a printing company and our company printer…)

– used my ARM machines and a few borrowed mini PCs to demo openSUSE and make the booth eye catching (people asked about the machines and went away with openSUSE DVDs and brochures )

So, in short: last autumn we had local contributions from community members, this year we used what was last few bits of it and some creativity.

The good thing is, that I was told from multiple directions, that openSUSE had the best booth among software projects at the conference (and they did not know, that it was from a ZERO budget…).

The bad thing is, that we don’t have any marketing materials left. No DVDs, posters or brochures.


There is no need to rose color the situation, leaving community members trying to represent openSUSE at a conference stranded like this should not happen and there is no excuse for creating this situation in the first place. Work is proceeding to address these issue. However, I want to focus on the positive, and that is undoubtedly how determined Peter and the team were to make the conference a success and how they overcame the obstacles presented to them.

Thank you Peter and team fro being such dedicated representatives of our community and project. Also thank you for pointing out the shortcomings in our current transition period. This will allow us to address these, hopefully in short order.

As I mentioned, am am certain many of you have similar stories to tell. Thanks for your efforts as well.

I will miss the 5th edition of openSUSE Conference

June 16th, 2013 by

no osc13 for me

I’m not going to osc13

Sunny sky, rainy heart today.

Two days ago, I took the decision to not assist the certainly most fabulous openSUSE Conference next July in Thessaloniki.

A conjunction of several factors lead to that decision.
First what I regret was the chosen date. Damn July is the only expensive period to travel to Thessaloniki. The plane ticket never drop below the 800€ (hey! for sure I want to have Françoise with me), especially with the late announce of precise days. May, June, September would have been so cheaper…
I can understand the choice main sponsor SUSE do, and their need to spread osc and SUSECON at a 6 month delay in the year’s schedule, but sadly does not work for me this year.

Thessaloniki port

Thessaloniki port

Secondly after February marketing hack-fest, I missed (I still don’t know how) the opportunity to get my travel reimbursed by the TSP and then loose half of the budget for osc. Before TSP get improved, and send a bounce email to ask you to send back your forms. So if you are sponsored for osc, fill and send back your expenses quickly after the event. Don’t believe you do it, check twice you really do it! Don’t suppose, be sure!

Another side, I already knew that a customer project will happen during that time-frame. As it concerns a lot of partner’s I’ve to take in account the availability of each of them. Unfortunately, after believing that it could be doable to free-up time for osc I decide to stop persecuting myself, and make a deal to live in peace and go ahead: no osc this year.

Maths have their say: statistically, more osc will be, more the chance to miss one will increase 🙂 ( I know still not a real excuses)

I would like to share my deep apologizes to the whole Greek Community in charge of OSC13. You all know, how I was and still am a big found of your commitment and really appreciate each of you.
I will all miss you!

I really hope osc13 will stay in history as one of the ever greatest conference organized.

Don’t worry Thessaloniki, I know how great the place is, kind the people are, etc..
I’ll be back soon!

Αχ Θεσσαλονικη – Αντωνης Βαρδης

Keeping Factory in shape

June 13th, 2013 by

Michal Hrušecký has been helping out on maintaining Factory in shape and shares his experiences.

Factory is development version of openSUSE and it is where the next openSUSE is taking form. Hundreds of packagers send packages into Factory to be integrated as a part of the new release and many more use Factory for testing or for their daily work. Thus it is really important to keep Factory rolling and usable. Everybody knows that Coolo is the Factory master and he does everything to make next openSUSE be the best ever. But keeping factory in shape is really complicated and stressing task. There are dozens of request everyday and each one of them can potentially break something. So Factory can always use a pair of extra hands and for some time I have been one of them. I’d like to give you some insight in what we do, working on keeping Factory building and working. (more…)

openQA in openSUSE

June 6th, 2013 by

factory-testedToday, we’ve got for you an introduction of the teams’ work on openQA by Alberto Planas Domínguez.

The last 12.3 release was important for the openSUSE team for a number of reasons. One reason is that we wanted to integrate QA (Quality Assurance) into the release process in an early stage. You might remember that this release had UEFI and Secure Boot support coming and everybody had read the scary reports about badly broken machines that can only be fixed replacing the firmware. Obviously openSUSE can’t allow such things to happen to our user base, so we wanted to do more testing. (more…)

bareos an interesting replacement to bacula

June 2nd, 2013 by

Bareos logo
Dear community, I would like to present and get your feedback about a new project called bareos [1]

I discovered it 6 months ago, after starting to be more and more annoyed by the way the bacula’s community edition was driven and developed. Even if I was using it since version 1.32 … First of all, I wish to be clear and shout out my respect to all the work done by Kern on Bacula or any other contributor. We have a really nice working software. We even have a nice build packages for it on OBS.
But it’s stalled …

My personal frustration started with the creation of Bacula Enterprise, which has until now never (from what I’ve seen) reversed an Enterprise feature back to the community. Which in my sense would have been a clear statement & commitment from the Bacula Enterprise to the community.
A Free Software is free once it has been paid once. And more the time pass, more the community edition look like abandoned (windows client binary, bweb, …) Okay I can understand the enterprise’s edition arguments, the point is not there according to me.

So at the end of last year, I’ve started looking what else could replace Bacula for my own usage, and the small/medium customers I serve. Digging on github (my favorite source forge) I discovered bareos project. Basically Bareos is a fork of bacula community edition. With active contribution, and look like what I was looking for. Bareos is a compatible (at the time of writing) drop’in replacement which offers a bunch of nice feature I was waiting for. Especially high quality windows clients. The whole being cooked on a private obs instances, tested with jenkins, travis …

Okay I was disappointed about the fact it was a fork, but their website explains the why for those who wish to know.

I’ve then started to use it (easy to try with the number of supported platforms) and ready to use package. (Thanks to open build service [2]) Some installations were kept in a compatible way, other in native bareos way. The transition was really easy for anybody knowing how bacula works. After 3 months of production, including full restore, virtual machine backup, etc, I qualified it to be really production ready. Hey the base code and the way patches have been handled certainly explain those results. I also appreciate the effort to make bareos almost ready to use after installation. Trying to reduce the entry level ticket.

The remaining concerns I’ve found:
– The community behind will have to grow and success in a truly transparent way.
– Get new contributors (challenge is the same for bacula, but forking and propose request merge on github is really more cool than email patches)
– The full remake of the documentation (work in progress)
– Get a perfect web bconsole
My best hope:
– Make sustainable, the business plan associated with bareos.com and thus continue to produce quality community software

So did some of you already test it?
What’s your own feedback, your thoughts about it?

[1] http://www.bareos.org
[2] http://openbuildservice.org