For the first time in months I have a couple of hours to reflect on what we, the openSUSE Boosters, have been up to. With the release of openSUSE 11.3 and the openSUSE Conference 2010 we had two big fish to fry and they turned out quite yummy in the end. But those two were only the tip of the iceberg! We had a very busy summer full of hacking and events, which means we basically went to all big FOSS events in central Europe, ran a couple of smaller ones on our own and finished two milestones from our backlog. Of course all of us are pushing the openSUSE project in general forward and lead our individual teams. Pavol, the other board member and me where busy working towards the foundation, Vincent and Will with maintaining their desktops upstream AND downstream, Robert with artwork and promo material like the Ambassador press-kit, Coolo with managing the distribution, Tom and Christopher with all the web apps, Michal with MySQL, Egbert with X.org and Klaas with taming all of us.
That’s nice work and very good for the project but that’s also the reason of the only thing that didn’t turn out quite like we wanted to: our agile work on the milestones. The distractions of our day to day dealings we’re, for the last couple of months, way to high and made the progress on the milestones very, very slow. So Tuesday before the conference we sat down and tried to come up with a way to resolve this. We identified three “problems” with our current setup:
- Day to day distractions
- Someone who drives the overall process (scrum master or whatever)
- Communication of the things we do
The daily work which is mostly urgent and important makes it very hard for people to concentrate on milestones which are important but not urgent. There is always a quick fix you can do in the OBS, always a mail you can answer, always someone on IRC with a question. And, if you do these things all week long there is no one really holding you accountable that you didn’t do anything else. No one that questions if you spend too much time on firefighting, no one driving the milestone. We thought we can share the task of caring for the overall process among ourselves but it turned out that we can’t. On top of that we do not communicate our urgent and important things very well and hence some people outside the team and everybody inside the team has the feeling that we are not doing enough despite all the good general things we do.
This can’t be and after we have finished the openFATE and Connect milestones we’ll make a tactical retreat and regroup. This means we will only do one Milestone at a time, I will act as classical project manager/scrum master and I’ll also document what we do, including general things we hack on or contribute to. We hope that once we practiced this process for some time and with the addition of a few new people to the team, we will be able to take on more milestones again. But for the moment we need to regroup. So this is whats going to change in the future, time to tell you people what we did in the past!
As the openSUSE distribution is the most important thing the openSUSE project does, we of course helped to make 11.3 a great release. All of us took on their fair share of package maintenance and bug fixing in various areas, from the command line to the two main desktops. Coolo, as openSUSE Release Manager, pushed it out of the door and afterward many of us helped with the marketing around it. Of course there are also other things to do afterward like getting the extra repositories Contrib or Packman up to speed. openSUSE 11.3 took a lot of effort for us but we greatly enjoyed i!
Of course 11.3 is not the only thing we did. Here is a list of various of our hacking activities.
- Robert and Henne prepared and release the new news/lizards theme based on bento
- Coolo worked on factory cycles to reduce the overall rebuild time and the 11.4 roadmap
- Klaas had a meeting with Prof. Dr. Riehle and his PHD students to discuss further collaboration
- Michal implemented openSUSE Paste and made Lubos’s obs-generator KDE independent
- Pavol, Michal and Vincent helped to staff the openSUSE Maintenance Team
- Henne helped to bring the the german wiki team up to speed with all the mediawiki and content changes. They are working on their own new instance now.
- Tom spent some of his ITO with Android
- Vincent wrote a pdiff plugin for osc
- Klaas boosted the openSUSE Invis project, a small to medium business server spinoff.
The openSUSE Conference brings together users, contributors and friends of the openSUSE in Nuremberg, Germany. The conference is the yearly get-together of the openSUSE project to give its people a chance to meet face to face, talk to and inspire each other and the openSUSE Boosters of course attended this event! Klaas and Vincent we’re deeply involved with the Call for Papers and the program organization. From choosing content for the tracks to running the conference application at conference.opensuse.org. Egbert helped to organize the Birds of a Feather sessions and Tom and me made the social event of the conference a notable evening at the lizard lounge. Robert provided of course again great media and Klaas and me did quite some marketing around the conference. Now of course every booster carried his share of talks, sessions, discussions. Over 20 sessions were led by a booster, including but not limited to two of the conference keynotes!
Also in the area of events we did not only do one but many! See this list to get an idea what we covered since the last post.
- Klaas, Will, Tom and Robert helped to organize the 5th hackweek at Novell.
- The whole Team ran a hackathon around openSUSE Connect at FrosCon called HackMeck
- Henne took care that we got a great share of the LinuxTag programm and everybody afterwards participated with great talks, hack sessions and booth duty
- Vincent attended the latest GNOME Marketing hackfest
- Pavol and Michal went to OSSConf in Zilina, Slovakia to talk about the OBS and SUSE Studio.
- Both of them also went to LinuxWochen in Vienna and handled the booth together with Sirko. Pavol also gave a talk about the openSUSE GameStore.
- Vincent went to RMLL to share a booth with our friends from Mandriva
- The Nürnberg portion of the team prepared two local events in the SUSE offices. During the Strategy Meeting we held a public meet the openSUSE Board Event and we ran the very successful openSUSE 11.3 Release Party
- Of course the Prague portion of the team countered that with their openSUSE 11.3 + KDE SC 4.5 release party
- Lubos had a nice talk at Akademy, Vincent conquered GUADEC and Egbert held a strategy BoF at the SUSE Labs Conference.
- Michal and Pavol attended FrOSCamp and organized, again with Sirko and a few others, the openSUSE Booth there and held a talk about openSUSE Connect.
- Will went to the Telepathy KDE sprint
- Pavol presented his pet project SVG-edit at the SVG Open conference
- Vincent gave a talk about GNOME3 and the openSUSE Build Service at JDLL
- Egbert boosted around at the Linux Kongress in Nürnberg and the X Developer Summit in Toulouse.
And now you think that’s it? Of course not. We also managed to finished up two milestones!
In July we finished the wiki milestone. The boosters squad worked together with the openSUSE Wiki team on the release of the totally revamped openSUSE wiki, you can read the announcement on http://news.opensuse.org/2010/07/05/a-new-hope/. We also finished the umbrella milestone that brings you a fresh and unique new look for all the openSUSE web applications. The team has posted a summary of the things they did also on news.opensuse.org. Because of the amount of work on 11.3 and the conference and especially because of the staff we had to cancel the Junior Jobs milestone and it went back to our backlog. That leaves us with two milestones running currently.
The big things the team implemented so far were the port of openFATE to the bento design, the switch of the codebase to the latest rails and libxml versions and making nearly all data in the frontend editable.
What’s still missing is to proxy all product and role information (of opensuse products) in the keeperproxy to allow to set all states and roles. Additional tasks include making the transition between product states easier in openFATE, show the notification status of users, automatically set project and product managers for openSUSE features, combine the product and project manager priority in the user interface, hide evaluation states and make it possible to remove/edit unsaved comments. We also need to make the codebase able to run in partner / webfate mode so it can be deployed everywhere.
In the last couple of sprints and the hackathon at FrosCON the team has get connect up and running with the features on par with users.opensuse.org. We have implemented a dashboard with customizable widgets, user profiles with v- and business-cards, groups with multiple admins, activity streams, voting/polls that can cover the openSUSE Board elections and have imported all user data from users.o.o (around ~10000). The user data connect has, including a simple trust rating, is accessible as LDAP export so we can use the data in other services like the Build Service. Of course all of that styled in a bento theme.
But there are still a couple of things to do until we have reached this milestone. The most important thing is the iChain setup so we can provide single sign on, the LDAP export needs to handle groups too and the bento themeing needs to be finished up for a couple of views that have been added since the first round of styling.
We were very, very busy but had to neglect the important but not urgent tasks and this is something we are not so happy with. The milestones are the things that leap the openSUSE project forward and enable people to contribute and that is what we’re here for right? But we have identified that and will work on it, promised. On the other hand we think we can be proud about the things we achieved. Especially the new wiki, the bento theme, the release of 11.3 and the conference really rocked and energized the whole project. In our book that is time well spent!
What do you think? Let us know here in the comments or contact us on our mailinglist email@example.com