Stop and/or Fun by Dan Dickinson © 2011 . All rights reserved.

Why we are here.

I’m chewing on something for a couple of weeks now and I think I need to tell you before my jaw turns into dust. It’s about the openSUSE Project and what’s happening with it. I’m heavily involved in the project. Since over 10 years I get paid by my employer to work in that project and I spend a lot of my spare time on it. It’s a huge part of my life, both personal and professional and I love it! I love the people, I love how the project is set up and I love all the cool results we produce together. But since a couple of weeks, I couldn’t really pin down if there was a single cause, what it was or when, I was in misery about it. It’s only yesterday that while talking to a fellow openSUSE Board member that I realized what really causes my grief. All of the sudden this project went from “Hey dude, let’s do cool things together” to “I have this and that opinion and I’m going to stick it to you!”. The whole project went from collaboration to politics in a blink. Now I’m sure all of you tin foil hat wearing people out there will start to spin this as result of some single event, whatever fits your agenda best, but I assure you it’s not. Sometime in the last couple of weeks this tipped over and we started to have discussions about all aspects of the theory of politics, we argue about human rights or quotes from Mahatma Gandhi, people put up motions for the powers that be, the structure and people are questioned to the last extent, alliances are forged, opportunities are seized to get even and a lot of distrust is spreading around.

And there are two answers so far I have heard. One is that people say that this is normal. Because we as open source project always ask for equal rights, democracy and all these other crazy liberal ideas and that now we reap what we sow: politics. So however you are involved in this, like me for instance that stood up and took responsibility for nasty things nobody else wants to do, you have asked for this and now got what was coming to you. Don’t be a crybaby now, bitch!

The other answer I see to this from the members of our project is to be passive. YAWN politics… I want to code, draw, write, fix, test. Politics are none of my interests and I don’t want to get involved. You idiots can fight this out, I just work on my stuff while you’re doing that. So however you are involved in this, like me for instance that stood up and took responsibility for nasty things nobody else wants to do, you have asked for this and now got what was coming to you. Don’t look at me, not interested!

Both are equally destructive and neglect the reason all of us are here.  We are here for one thing: FUN! Yes, remember please why you have come to the openSUSE Project. Because it’s fun to use the software for any purpose you want. Because it’s great to study how the software works, and change it to make it do what you wish. Because it’s cool to redistribute copies so you can help your neighbor. Because it’s a great feeling to give the whole community a chance to benefit from your work. You know what’s wrong with us? We have forgot to Have a lot of fun!

Can all of you who love openSUSE please go to a console, open an xterm, gnome-terminal or a konsole, do a cat /etc/motd and think about the output for a while?

Then pull yourself together and stop doing what is robbing ALL OF US of the reason we are here! If you want to push through your agenda, don’t!  If you want to stick it to the man, don’t! If you want to insist on all of your given rights, don’t! If you want to be pigheaded, don’t. If you want to be serious, don’t!

Instead, remember to Have a lot of fun!


  1. Long discussions drain energy. imho it’s just one or two poisonous people who prolong discussions. May be making opensuse-project to be for members-only during controversial times, may help in maintaining sanity for the project ?

    • Henne

      @Sankar: This is a very viable idea for situations where you want to gather the opinion of the membership, and especially with the foundation we’re going to have to think about that. But I fear this situation right now goes way beyond one discussion on a specific mailing list…

  2. AlbertoP

    That’s called censorship Sankar. If someone is truly poisonous, that should be discussed in the community, and, if a general agreement is found, some decision will be taken.

    But then again, that’s politics. You simply need to put your ignore button and the spam filter to good use.

    A community should be welcoming and easily accessible, not a place where someone has the role of “eliminating/disinfecting” (taken from your platform).

    Long discussion drain energy, but you do not have to follow them, if you are not interested. I agree too many discussions are of no use on the mailing lists, but making it a general rule is quite wrong. Discussions are a vital part of communities, which are not a company, where you simply direct and someone executes ;-)

  3. tigerfoot

    Just a big thanks to Henne, to remember the basis of why ! :-)