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On Coordinating our Work

August 15th, 2013 by
Redmine in action

Redmine in action

This week we present Ancor Gonzales Sosa who writes about how we coordinate our work and introduces progress.opensuse.org!

A distributed team

The openSUSE Team at SUSE is a combat force spread all over the world: we have members in Berlin, Prague, Malaga, Nuremberg and Taiwan. And we are planning to reach new territories in the following months (beware, a openSUSE Team member could be standing behind you just right now). Coordinating the work of a distributed team is not always easy. On the other hand, we are disperse not only from a physical point of view, we also work simultaneously in a lot of different tasks and projects. We also have members with different skills and interactions with SUSE employees and community members outside our team.


For managing all this complexity we have been using Chiliproject for some months now. Chiliproject is a fork of Redmine. Both Chiliproject and Redmine are free and web based project management systems with a focus on teamwork. Both are really flexible and configurable and both can be extended by plugins (which are very easy to write, by the way).

Using such a tool has been particularly useful when dealing with complex development processes like the Release of openSUSE 12.3. As you might remember, in 12.2 we made a “reverse engineering” process to analyze and document the few steps of our release process. We used a simple collaboration tool (trello) during that work, the content of which was later imported into Chili. Chili then was the tool managing the openQA sprint we did a few months ago as well as our TSP application work and our work on merchandising. And it will play the same key role in the coming projects.

Collaboration with the service team

Meanwhile, in the Service Team’s Cave, wherethe infrastructure of openSUSE servers and services is kept running, the openSUSE Service Team was facing an issue: requests to admin@opensuse.org are managed by mail, making it hard to keep track of all the open issues and leading to coordination problems. So they decided to setup a Redmine instance to keep track of their work.

The free software movement is all about collaboration, so it made no sense to have two different management tools if we can focus the efforts of both teams into a common direction. So it was decided to setup one Redmine instance to rule them all and that’s how progress.opensuse.org was born.


After setting up the instance in its own virtual server, two main tasks were still pending: migrating all the content from openSUSE Team’s former Chiliproject instance and integrating it into the openSUSE authentication infrastructure.

The first task was not that hard thanks to the documentation written by Radek Terber. It was written some time ago for old versions of Redmine and Chiliproject and obviously some things have changed during that time in both projects, but the document was a great starting point for performing the migration and his ChiliToRedmine program still works like a charm for migrating issues history. There was only one casualty during the process -we lost the history of wiki pages- but the rest of the information of our ten projects lives now happy and safe in progress.opensuse.org.

Only one more challenge remained: integrating Redmine into our authentication infrastructure, so everybody can sign in using the same user account that is currently shared between openSUSE Connect, openSUSE Build Service, our Bugzilla, Wiki, Hermes and so on. This integration of heterogeneous systems is currently provided by iChain, a technology that offers secure authentication and access to web-based content and applications. One more time, this tasks was not that hard. Thanks to the excellent plugins system provided by Redmine and grabbing inspiration from Redmine RubyCas by Brandon Aaron, we managed to create a Redmine’s plugin with the very imaginative name of Redmine iChain, so know you can login in progress.o.o using your openSUSE user account and a new Redmine user will be created in the first login and associated to your account. The plugin is licensed under the MIT license and Works For Us™, we will update it according to our own needs, but feel free to use it, review it, change it and report bugs.


Work on progress.opensuse.org is still… well, in progress. Of course it needs a greener theme and we are evaluating and developing new Redmine plugins for tailoring it to our needs. The Service Team (syadmin team) is not yet using it full steam. Changing their processes will take some time, as they are always busy delivering the best possible experience to the openSUSE community. But at least the new tool is ready to rock. Now, let’s have some progress!


Let’s finish in style: the weekly top 10 of contributors to Factory!

Spot Name
1 Hans-Peter Jansen
2 Stefan Dirsch
3 Dominique Leuenberger
4 Stephan Kulow, Dirk Mueller
5 Sascha Peilicke
6 Hrvoje Senjan
7 Marcus Meissner
8 Ruediger Oertel
9 Jan Engelhardt and Dr. Werner Fink
10 Togan Muftuoglu and Andreas Stieger

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One Response to “On Coordinating our Work”

  1. Bruno Friedmann

    quote “beware, a openSUSE Team member could be standing behind you just right now” you mean my wife ? Uh I’m so surprised 🙂