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Russian openSUSE community

March 30th, 2010 by

Hello everybody,

I want to share some ideas about the success of the Russian openSUSE community, and try to answer the question about its popularity. As you can see it is one of the top places:

The reason for the high popularity of this distribution in Germany is of course the fact that the German SuSE distribution and the main branch of development is located in Nuremberg. Popularity in the U.S. is due Novell – an American company, and of course the language is English. But why are so many people in Russia choosing openSUSE?

Good question. One of the main things that influence the choice of distribution – the quality and localization. The global community plays a top role for quality of distribution and local make it appropriate for Russian language users (of course a local community can be as part of a global community).

Perhaps most important is the documentation. And of course, not everyone wants (or can) read the documentation in English. Everyone wants to read the documentation in their native language. The distribution may be in a good shape and stable, nice and convenient, but without documentation it will use very few. Translated documentation is very important to the community. The translation must have a high quality, understandable, and as it must be kept up to date.

For the community its also profitable that 2 guys from the community working for Novell (in Nuremberg and in Prague). This provides better communication between “developers – community”. It helps to be closer to the project. This allows you to always be aware of all the major news of the project. And of course the translation is much better if they are engaged not just as a translator, but the employee who works on the distribution.

Of course this also applys for software. Although it is not as important as documentation, it still makes an impression on the quality of distribution. Everyone wants to work with the software in their native language %)

A successful community is a group of people who love openSUSE, who understands why the software should be free, who wants to make openSUSE better and better… every day.

Build your own Google Earth rpm

March 9th, 2010 by

The last days I’ve spent some time to investigate how to package Google Earth into an rpm. There was already a script called make-google-package available on the internet, but this one creates a debian package only. However, it was a good start to get me going to create a Google Earth (GE) rpm. Although I met quite some obstacles, which is not to uncommon in package building, I was still able to come up with a procedure a get GE packaged. The biggest problem I encountered were incorrect library dependencies, for which I opened issue 702 in the Google Earth issue tracker. Anyway to make a long story short: the rpm installs Google Earth system wide, corrects file permissions, for openSUSE_11.2 it takes care that the font is rendered correctly, the rpm takes care that Google Earth integrates nicely with the rest of the openSUSE system.

The procedure to build the rpm can be found in the openSUSE wiki. One word of caution about the procedure, you need to be an experienced linux user and you need to have access to the openSUSE Build Service (OBS) to be able to build the rpm. This is due to library dependency problem, which prevents it to build without modification to the base system.

If you like and you have the knowledge how to build an rpm with the tool ‘build’, it would be great if you can extend the howto with steps how to do this (build a GE rpm with ‘build’) to the before mentioned page. The same is valid for a procedure that uses VirtualBox to build the rpm.

Last but not last; a procedure or even a script, that uses ”’rpmbuild -ba”’ to build the rpm, would be very welcom as well.

A Green Rock

February 28th, 2010 by

Working as a manager sometimes has not so nice days, but tomorrow it will be a really great day. Novell HR has asked me to celebrate a team members ten years anniversary with Novell. That means fun and a present since ten years is a long time, yes, quite a long time for IT industry.

Henne Green RockThe guy who comes in to S.u.S.E, SuSE and Novell every day since exactly ten years now is Henne. You all know him. He is the guy who helps you with your multimedia problem, the man who finally dries your tears when your package does not build and the one who is first at breakfast after he kicked the last hackers to bed the night before. Of course looking fresh like a new born baby and with the energy of a power plant. Whenever there is work to be done in openSUSE, one can rely on Hennes advice and helping hand.

But that is not all. You might have realized that the openSUSE project is not really ten years old. But maybe it is? Might be that before it was officially set up a few years ago, it was already nested in Hennes heart? He is with openSUSE from day one and before, always following the idea of an open, community driven, vibrant and optimistic openSUSE project with space for opinions, ideas and argues. Over that he never looses focus on a practical compromise that works for all.

He gave very valueable direction in the Guiding Principle discussion as well as designing the devel project concept in the Build Service which makes external package maintainance possible. Today he gives important guidance as a member of the openSUSE Board and is of course one of the strong shoulders in the openSUSE Boosters Team.

I think Henne is one of the persons who make our community valueable and enjoyable. openSUSE is so much benefiting from people like him who take up responsibility and drive things forward.

Henne, in the name of Novell and I guess the whole openSUSE community I like to thank you for all your work so far. I am really looking forward to continuing to do crazy stuff with you. There is a lot more the openSUSE project can achieve over the next couple of decades, great that we have you on board as a green rock 🙂

FOSDEM’10

February 13th, 2010 by

Just laptop and headphones, book and a bit eat/drink for trip time and of course rube’s cube are in my rucksack 🙂 On last weekend I was on FOSDEM.

FOSDEM is probably the most developer-oriented European Free and Open Source conference/event. As usual it was in Bruxelles, Belgium on first weekend of February. I was there with another Novell/SUSE employees. Majority of they are responsible for work with community. For example, boosters team.

On 5th February we went from Nuremberg at 12 am (by bus) and was in Brussel at 9 pm. At half past ten we (Holgi, Dinar and me) were on the beer event. What can I say about this evening? It was really nice to meet and speak with another developers for a cup of beer 🙂

The main thing that happens on conferences is learning. This was main reason why I was there and why Novell/SUSE help me to visit FOSDEM. A lot of presentation/talks about KDE, or packaging (RPM), or BuildService or… a lot about another open source projects…

I like such events 🙂 It’s not only interesting presentations through which you open/learn a lot of new, but also possibility to get acquainted with other developers or is simple with enthusiasts whom it is unconditional as bring the contribution to development free and open source software.

The next evening I have devoted to walk across Bruxelles. It was very interesting to speak with people there. I have made a lot of photos.

For sure, I’m going to visit FOSDEM in next year, but for next time it will be depends on money. Anyway I will recomend to visit this event for every Linux-/*BSD- user/developer.

Russian openSUSE forum

January 8th, 2010 by

Hello community!

As agreed at the meeting – Russian commutiny needs a forum.

Also… Fixed… I would like to introduce a new Russian openSUSE forum %)

Right now we have a small problem with encoding and want to add Russian buttons, but it’s trifle and we will fix it in next days.

In the past Russian community meet on another linux_universal forums like linuxforum.ru or linux.org.ru, but these forums are not related to openSUSE project. And now I hope our community gradually will start to join the global.

In this forum we are closer to the draft openSUSE: in the same domain is located and Wiki, and the openSUSE Build Service, and much more.

So… you are welcome %)

openSUSE 11.2 is out

November 12th, 2009 by

The openSUSE Project is pleased to announce the release of openSUSE 11.2. After a couple of month good work towards the 11.2 we’re enjoying a very nice distribution which I already like very much. It is running on most of my machines for a few weeks now. I have already seen some SUSE Linux distros going gold over the time I spent with SUSE and my personal gut feeling tells me this is one of the more remarkable versions.

As usual it comes with tons of new up to date software and also the installation runs smoothly, please read the announcement for all the details, but what for me the most remarkable with 11.2 is that it is a real community openSUSE distro.

There is so much effort visible in 11.2 which was achieved through our growing community rather than just the SUSE people. We had a lots of requests in openFATE suggesting features, we discussed some of them quite heated, others were no-brainer. We again had lots of testers who hammered the alphas and betas and reported big and small bugs. On the openSUSE Conference many discussions about the upcoming distribution took place which were inspiring. We were able to utilize the powerful openSUSE Buildservice to build the distro together with all packagers very effectively. That improved the quality of our packages again. Another very visible thing for me personally is the desktop artwork which was done in best cooperation with upstream – and it looks so great that I hesitate to start applications which cover the desktop all day 😉

It is really exciting to see how things come together on the way to community distribution, and how far we got with openSUSE 11.2. I am happy about that and I am proud to be part of this and like to say thank you for every little bit you might have contributed. I believe that the message that openSUSE is your community distribution has arrived.

Of course openSUSE continues to be open for your ideas, the distribution can be the vehicle to power up ideas from a little application to huge software projects. The openSUSE project is the powerful community behind which helps to make ideas reality. And all that based on the principles of free software! I am really happy today and very excited about what future will bring 🙂

I hope to see you on the release event here in Nürnberg soon 🙂

openSUSE Ambassadors…numbers?

October 2nd, 2009 by

Alright. Just out of curiosity, I felt like finding out what the numbers show for South America compared to other regions in the Ambassadors Program of openSUSE.

As a reminder, the goals of the Ambassador Program are:

  • Act as an evangelist for openSUSE to the public.
  • Mentor new users and contributors.
  • Support openSUSE at local events.
  • Promote use of openSUSE and contributions to the openSUSE Project.
  • Have a lot of fun!.

So, checking out the Ambassadors List, I got for South America:

  • Brazil = 6.
  • Chile = 3.
  • Peru = 3.
  • Argentina = 2.
  • Colombia = 2.

Brazil is doing great here, doubling any other country’s Ambassadors number in the region. No doubt it’s not just users who are pushing Open Source out there but also their government and enterprises (example:Fisl), and I am glad openSUSE is a real choice for them. Compared to Europe, I believe statistical numbers are still OK for us 🙂 since the truth is that openSUSE is just ranked in the top five of the most popular Linux flavours in Chile, maybe it’s the same in other South America countries. So, Ambassadors for Europe (some countries only):

  • Germany = 8.
  • Spain = 6.
  • Austria = 4.
  • Italy = 3.
  • France = 2.

As for North America, we have got:

  • USA = 15.
  • Canada = 3.
  • Mexico = 3.

I even did a “quick and dirt” chart with OpenOffice’s Calc so you can have a graphical idea of our numbers around the world:

ambassadorschart01
For more information, please, visit the openSUSE Ambassadors section.

Have a lot of fun!.

Made my day…

September 7th, 2009 by

This morning when I started to work I found a bug report about Hermes. Nothing amazing so far, but hey – there is a patch attached to fix the problem!
We all know that this is the way it works in communities, but still, everytime it is a very good experience to get a patch that fixes something that was overseen, not thought through or forgotten for whatever reason. It means basically that somebody has found the problem and has not gone away but found it worth to take a closer look and help to fix it. For me, that is a great acceptance of my work and I bet that most developers feel that way.
So, if you want to motivate a developer, simply send a patch 🙂
Thanks, Christian, for bnc #537106 coming with a fix, you made my day.

Hermes Hack Session

June 2nd, 2009 by

Last week Cornelius and me spent two days in the office in Prague to practice two days Ruby on Rails with our czech colleagues.
It was not only fun as usual but we had chosen Hermes as a trainings project. Hermes, our openSUSE notification system where the user decides how she wants to be notified definetely can make use of work so it were great to discuss with ten developers about it, hear their opinions and get some patches finished which will improve the system.

All went to a branch in svn and I hope to find time soon to merge it back and put it into production.
Thanks to our colleagues for hosting us and work with us. Maybe YOU also want to train on something real? Hermes is your friend – send me a note and get a free svn account 🙂

openFATE

January 21st, 2009 by

openFATE is now up and running for a few days. openFATE is, in case you missed the announcement, the community accessible feature- and requirements tracking for the openSUSE distribution. We developed and used the FATE system (which has some more components than just openFATE) before internally, but since we want to really open up development it was a logical decision to find a good way to let the community participate.

openFATE is not a stand alone system. The openSUSE distribution is as you know the base for our enterprise products. That means that discussions we do around openSUSE features sometimes have impact on what happens in the enterprise products later on, or vice versa. If features become important for SLE that also might have importance for openSUSE.

That is implemented in openFATE. It is connected to a common database which holds all information about features for all products. A chain of tools filters out information that can not go public.

It is basically about the SUSE Linux product family, where the openSUSE distribution and the SLE products are part of. If a community member gives input on a feature which has a product context for the SLE product, the input
is seen by the SLE product- and project manager as well as the involved developers. I think it is important to realise that this is part of our understanding of open development. openSUSE is not cut off the things we’re doing for SLE, but can have a direct influence.

So far we nearly had 300 changes to existing features and a whole bunch of new feature requests from the community. That is a very good result for the first few days I think. Please keep on giving your input. We are happy to see people involved in product planing, eg. for openSUSE 11.2 .