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Kick Ass!

This is a plea to the openSUSE Community!

This is an appeal to you!

This is a incitement to kick ass!

You think that you are not entitled to decide something?

Don’t be humble. You’re the man!

Despite the fact that our distribution is around for some time we are a very young open source project. We don’t have much organization. No hierarchy, very little processes, no roles or functions, no directions and only general rules. You participate in a time where it’s really you that makes a difference. If you’re humble now and try not to stick your neck out, this project will fail. Don’t be humble, KICK ASS!

Don’t wait for anything “official”. There is no one official.

There is only you and the people next to you. There is no one steering the openSUSE project, there is only you pushing your topic. There is no mastermind behind all this, there is only you thinking about your thing. There is no management (no also not from Novell), there is only you running your things. If you do something it’s what openSUSE does. If you decide something it’s what openSUSE decides. Don’t wait, KICK ASS!

You’re worried about your idea being liked?

Don’t let the nay-sayers stop you. Push for your goal.

We value others’ opinions. We value openness. We value critique. We do NOT value consensus. It’s nice if it happens, it makes you feel warm and fuzzy on the inside but consensus is not the prerequisite for action. Try to incorporate the feedback you get as good as you can. Be open minded and willing to try new things. But also keep your goal in mind. You started with an idea on how to do something, don’t let the feedback kill your idea. Remember, there are at least 20 people who just like your idea and don’t say anything. Don’t let the nay-sayers stop you, KICK ASS!

Don’t be afraid of contradiction. We are not a logical consistent universe.

We can have a team but no leader. We can have vim and emacs. We can be self-contradictory! openSUSE consists of so many projects, ideas, values and people that they can’t possibly be all on the same page. You don’t need to prove to yourself or anyone else that you are. There also can be two or more things of the same kind even if they do exactly the same thing. Don’t be afraid of contradiction or duplication, KICK ASS!

You are unsure about something?

Don’t think everything through to the end. Be playful!

We are an open source project. You need to release early, release often. Everything! Not only code but your frustrations, ideas and plans also. That means that people will see your early errors. People will spot your inconsistencies. People will get on your nerves with their own ideas about your stuff. But it also means you don’t have be 100% correct, don’t have to be 100% ready and you don’t have to do 100% yourself. Put everything out there, KICK ASS!

Don’t doubt it for a second. If you fall you will be picked up.

More often then we like it the things we dream of, the ideas we come up with, the lines of code we produce STINK. And that’s okay, shit happens. Don’t be afraid of making mistakes, nobody will think less of you. In this community people will scrape you off the ground and put you on your feet again. Failure is punished by a pat on the back and a smile. Don’t doubt that for a second, fail but KICK ASS!

Stop contemplating!
Stop holding back!
Stop worrying!


  1. > Don’t be humble. You’re the man!

    No, I’m not and neither is 2-3 % of openSUSE users (they’re women, for clarity sake). Sure, compared to the rest of openSUSErs, it’s small minority, but still there.

    If somebody from openSUSE board will again contemplate why is it there is so few female openSUSEs, off-putting statements like this could be one of the reasons.

    • “You’re the man” is widely used slang in English to praise for a job well done and/or something like: “get on it!” It’s usually not used gender specific nor was it meant by me that way. “You’re the man” too Katarina :)

    • Bubli: For me off putting is this constant nitpicking about gender issues, and the constant cry about “not enough women”.
      There are not enough skilled and motivated *people*, I don’t care of which gender.
      Honestly, if there are women offended by a “You’re the man” in such a confidence boosting article perhaps they should sort other issues before even thinking about the community.

  2. Christian Jäger

    I’d suggest splitting openSUSE into a GNOME and a KDE version. This way, everyone could get the recognition he or she feels he/she deserves, and no-one could blame the other desktop-community of stealing the spotlight or unfairly getting preferential treatment anymore…

    This sound both hard and harsh but it is actually neither; it’s as simple as having to separate dedicated landing-pages for each SUSE-distribution.

    • Chris

      Seriously, what should that be good for besides going after the buntu approach wich Ubuntu, Kbuntu, Christian Ubuntu, you name it, there surely is some otherwise named spinoff.

      In case you missed it (which I doubt) you can select Gnome or KDE or LXDE or … while installing. So what exactly is the benefit of creating a castrated version that can only run one of them?

  3. > Don’t be humble. You’re the man!
    No, YOU da man!

    This is so true of not only openSUSE, but most distributions; getting the community active!

    I see some “spring cleaning” going on with the forum and wiki documentation teams so I hope it starts getting more people involved, including myself.

    One thing that each project needs is not only clear information on HOW to get involved, but also WHO to contact regarding any questions (even stupid ones like “how do I get involved?”) and suggestions.

    Sometimes I wish I could clone myself so I COULD help!

  4. Hey ass, let me kick you ;-)

    Seriously, you’re right (“da man”) with this, and yes, fear of rejection is a common reason not to contribute.

    Let me propose a solution for that. It seems you like ass kickin’, so how about we scapegoat you from now on for everything that goes wrong. If Klaas comes up with a agreed-upon-stupid idea, we blame you. If a new contributor comes with a patch which clearly STINKS, everyone just sais – well, if henne would get his ass kicked some more, the patch would’ve been perfect, but you can now fix it by kicking his ass and fixing this and that.

    And if 2 people disagree on something, they just go, kick your ass together and all is well. Up to kissing and making out (after all, FOSS is all about Free Love).

    How about it?

    oh and @babli just go and kick his ass for ignoring you :D

    @Christian Jäger nah, G and K just kick Henne’s ass together and live happily ever after… Would you split up Suse after databases (mysql/sqllite/postgresql) and VIM/EMACS too? We’d have a OpenSuse VIM/GNOME/SQLlite/Banshee/python edition and 50 more :D

    @dragonbite: cloning is possible, didn’t you know? cp does it every day and so can we :D

    now don’t kick MY ass for this reaction, you posted this on friday and I always get weird on friday afternoon. More than normally, I mean. So it’s all your fault.

  5. libv

    So, Henne, if i am reading this right… Every time you kicked my ass, that was because:
    a) you were insecure whether you were entitled to decide something (besides kicking my ass)?
    b) you were insecure whether your idea would be liked?
    c) you were just generally insecure?

    I always knew it, you kicked my ass, not because that was in your jobdescription as a teamlead, but because you were insecure :p

    I always knew that behind that rough exterior was a small insecure boy waiting to come out :ppp

  6. Thanks Henne!

    I needed that!

  7. john

    ok, i try kicking some ass on that phonon bug.. hehe

  8. Etam

    I am gonna kill Bill.

    Wait. That was in the movie. That isn’t a good idea.

    I am gonna kick ass! Contrib and games repos! Prepare for my packages! (which are currently in my home:etamPL)

  9. Ikem

    > Stop contemplating!
    > Stop holding back!
    > Stop worrying!
    Well, I am not sure what the opposite of this points are, but formulate them as “start [action]“. Not as “stop [action]“.

    By the later one, people tend to start [action], stop them, and then sitting there waiting for other instructions. (And if there’s no other instruction, they do nothing.)

    Check the whole blog entry for this point.

    PS: The arrow thing ← → on your site is really REALLY disturbing!! I wrote something in the commentbox, used ← or → to navigate in them and whoops, I am in a new blog entry? What the ….?? o.O

  10. OK, I’ve read this. And I pretty much agree with it. Not just for openSUSE’s sake, but for everybody who ever comes up with the argument “We’re changing things because we can” and “every new bit of code is better than the old code”. If something works well, then don’t change it or break it – there’s enough code in any given distro that legitimately needs work without buggering around with something, breaking it then annoying the users.

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