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openSUSE is what you make it

openSUSE is what you make it

How to change anything you want in the project

This talk is for openSUSE's aspiring new contributors, existing contributors, users, detractors, or just anyone curious at all about openSUSE. In other words, if you're at this conference, you should consider being at this talk ;)

The session will detail how openSUSE does what it does, and most importantly how openSUSE strives to empower ANYONE to be able to contribute to the project.

The presentation will outline examples of not only basic contributions to the distributions (Leap & Tumbleweed), but also explain through example and anecdote how anyone can influence, steer, and drive the direction of the openSUSE Project, including changing the scope of the Project by introducing new sub projects.

The session will end with a Q&A section for anyone to ask any question about contributing to the project in general, to provide feedback on any potential improvements to openSUSE's current contribution story, or to ask those first questions about that first contribution so that YOU can start making openSUSE YOURS.

Richard Brown

May 25, 2018

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  1. Richard Brown
    openSUSE Chairman
    [email protected]
    How to change anything
    openSUSE is what you make it
    Jiri Srain
    Project Manager
    Future Technology Team
    [email protected]

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  2. The openSUSE Project

    Open Source Community Project sponsored by SUSE

    Founded to “Promote the use of Linux everywhere”

    Produced the openSUSE Distribution

    Announced 9th August 2005

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  3. “Every good work of software starts by
    scratching a developer’ personal itch”

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  4. “Those who do, decide”

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  5. “Those who do, decide”

    Open Source works best when decisions are made as close as
    possible to the actual contribution – ie. the Volunteers doing
    the work

    Self-organised Teams - Volunteers working on the same thing
    should work together

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  6. “Those who do, decide”

    Quality & Common Standards defined by consensus,
    enforced by Open Source automation overseen by willing
    senior Volunteers (Release Managers/Engineers)

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  7. “Those who do, decide” In Action

    Anyone can login to openSUSE’s OpenBuildService and
    submit any change to any package

    No Permission Required. Existing Volunteers will be
    automatically notified & given the opportunity to review your

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  8. “Those who do, decide” In Action

    Contributions do the talking. Automated OBS checks &
    openQA functional testing ensure your change will work.
    Majority of review effort is therefore contemplating “how easy
    is it to carry this change ?”

    No Steering Committees, Community Managers, Technical
    Boards, Benevolent Dictators or Project Managers

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  9. openSUSE & systemd

    First major distribution to adopt systemd (July 2010)

    Default since September 2012

    Changes made by volunteers who wanted it

    Volunteers who didn’t want it always had the opportunity to
    contribute in a different direction

    No major strife

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  10. “Those who do, decide” - Benefits
    Agility – Able to rapidly respond to changes in upstream projects &
    adopt new technologies
    Flexibility – Every upstream is different, with different release
    schedules and support lifecycles, openSUSE volunteers can adapt their
    way of working for maximum efficiency and comfort
    Freedom – No restrictions on finding innovative solutions. “If it works,
    and you’ll support it” is the primary acceptance criteria.

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  11. “Those who do, decide” - Risks
    Freedom – “Paradox of Choice” - too many choices can be overwhelming
    to new volunteers
    Misconceptions – Established volunteers may be seen as de-facto
    decision makers and inadvertently discourage new innovative volunteers.
    Few newcomers want to ‘rock the boat’ even when the Project welcomes
    Deadlock – Multiple volunteers may not always agree, who decides if
    compromises cannot be found?

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  12. Organisational

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  13. Conflicts happen

    Volunteers are human (mostly)

    Humans have different ideas

    Sometimes these different ideas are not compatible with each

    Compromises can be hard to find

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  14. Conflicts are not technical decisions

    Volunteers arguing over a technical difference is NOT a
    technical problem

    Conflict resolution needs a human touch

    All sides need to be heard, and feel they were heard

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  15. Conflicts are not technical decisions

    Compromises can be found to the strangest problems

    Decision making in conflicts must ALWAYS be a last resort

    Previously conflicting volunteers ultimately will still be
    implementing the solution

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  16. If you have a problem...

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  17. openSUSE Board
    “Leads” the overall Project

    Act as a central point of contact

    Helps resolve conflicts

    Decision makers of last resort

    Communicates community interests to SUSE (and visa versa)

    Initiates discussions about new project-wide initiatives

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  18. Getting Started with

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  19. Primary Communication Channels
    Mailing Lists
    [email protected] - Development list
    [email protected] - Project related list
    – https://lists.opensuse.org - Index of more specific lists
    – #opensuse-factory @ irc.freenode.net – Development chat
    – #opensuse-project @ irc.freenode.net – Project related chat
    – #opensuse-chat @ irc.freenode.net – Off Topic chat
    – #opensuse-* @ irc.freenode.net – Many more channels available

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  20. Do your homework
    Understand your topic

    Don’t assume, make sure you know what you’re talking about

    Google, openSUSE wiki, other FOSS Projects. Where have others tried and failed?

    Bounce ideas off other interested people in IRC, at openSUSE Conferences, etc

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  21. Plan your solution
    Knowing what you want to do is only the beginning
    Plan your solution, answer “how will you do it?”
    Details optional
    – Be sure on the direction and final outcome, details can always be
    finalised while in progress

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  22. Do you need help?
    If “No”
    – DON’T WAIT, proceed directly to ‘Do it’
    If “Yes”
    – Share with Project, Listen, Respond, and then Decide how to do

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  23. Getting Help – Share with the Project
    Present plan
    – Avoid open ended questions
    – “This is what we need to do, and what I intend to do about it”
    – Describe findings from “Do your homework”, include proofs of concept if
    – Post on appropriate openSUSE Mailinglist
    It’s now the responsibility of the Project to convince you to do things

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  24. Getting Help – Listen
    Listen to feedback
    – The openSUSE Project contains many experienced contributors, listen to them.
    – Consider their feedback.
    – A well informed & well reasoned proposal should illicit well reasoned &
    informative responses
    Deciding to do something different at this point is not a ‘failure’, but a
    learning experience

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  25. Getting Help – Respond
    Respond to feedback
    – Fast feedback drives innovation.
    – Discuss why you do, or do not agree with feedback.
    – Explain why.
    These discussions are how you find colleagues to
    contribute with you

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  26. Getting Help – Decide
    Decide what to do
    – You do not need to accept all, or any, of the feedback
    – If you remain convinced that your planned course is correct, continue
    on it
    – If something gets in the way, find compromises
    Two competing solutions in different directions can often be
    resolved by accomplishing both

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  27. Do It
    You’re all set!
    Get to work.
    Start your engines!
    Time to inconvenience some electrons with your code!

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  28. SUSE & openSUSE

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  29. SUSE & openSUSE

    openSUSE is an independent Open Source Project
    – Sponsored by SUSE, AMD, IP Exchange, B1 Systems, Heinlein &

    SUSE acts as primary sponsor & patron

    SUSE formally contributes as peers in the community &
    encourages it’s staff to also contribute in their spare time

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  30. SUSE & openSUSE – Working Together

    Leap shares a common code base with all SUSE Linux
    Enterprise Service Packs

    Tumbleweed will provide the base for all future SUSE Linux
    Enterprise Major Releases

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  31. SUSE & openSUSE – Working Together

    Complete openSUSE Toolchain is also used by SUSE internally,
    including Open Build Service, openQA & KIWI

    Not just tools & technology, openSUSE processes often inspire
    improvements to SUSE development processes

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  32. SUSE & openSUSE – Working Together
    Stable code & contributions
    Upstream innovations
    Mutual collaboration

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  33. SUSE & openSUSE – Working Separately

    openSUSE is free to set it’s own direction & all that entails

    – Different default desktop (KDE in openSUSE, GNOME in SLE)
    – Different product scope (Unified openSUSE Distros, SLES/SLED)
    – Different installation workflow

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  34. YaST Example

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  35. What is YaST

    Yet another Setup Tool

    Installation and Adminitration tool of openSUSE

    Mostly developed inside SUSE

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  36. How can you contribute?

    Write your own module

    Fix your favorite bug

    Implement your missing feature

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  37. How do you provide your code?

    Devel project in Open Build Service
    – https://build.opensuse.org/project/show/YaST:Head
    – Similar branches for older releases

    Wait: What about git repo?

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  38. How do you provide your code correctly?


    Find and fork the needed repository

    Implement your change

    Create a Pull Request

    Answer the reviewer comments

    Get it approved and merged

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  39. Need help to implement your change?

    Don’t hesitate to ask!

    [email protected]

    #yast channel on freenode.org

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  40. Created a PR and nothing happened?

    Yes, that can happen :-(

    Contact us to get our attention

    Do not take any feedback personally

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  41. Anything you can help with?


    Why not to try fixing a simple bug?


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  42. Where can you learn more?



    And, most importantly: Just ask if you need more :-)

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  43. In Closing

    You decide what happens in openSUSE

    No part of the project is off limits to contributors

    The Project is here to help

    Have a lot of fun!

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  44. Join Us at www.opensuse.org

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  45. License
    This slide deck is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International license.
    It can be shared and adapted for any purpose (even commercially) as long as Attribution is given and any
    derivative work is distributed under the same license.
    Details can be found at https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0/
    General Disclaimer
    This document is not to be construed as a promise by any participating organisation to develop, deliver, or
    market a product. It is not a commitment to deliver any material, code, or functionality, and should not be
    relied upon in making purchasing decisions. openSUSE makes no representations or warranties with respect
    to the contents of this document, and specifically disclaims any express or implied warranties of
    merchantability or fitness for any particular purpose. The development, release, and timing of features or
    functionality described for openSUSE products remains at the sole discretion of openSUSE. Further,
    openSUSE reserves the right to revise this document and to make changes to its content, at any time,
    without obligation to notify any person or entity of such revisions or changes. All openSUSE marks
    referenced in this presentation are trademarks or registered trademarks of SUSE LLC, in the United States
    and other countries. All third-party trademarks are the property of their respective owners.
    Richard Brown
    [email protected]
    Design & Inspiration
    openSUSE Design Team

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