The openSUSE project held a Community Week, May 11 -
May 17, 2009. Community Week provided a chance for people from around the world to get together and focus on specific topics, to transfer knowledge about openSUSE to users and contributors and to help build teams.
We talked with openSUSE community manager Joe "Zonker" Brockmeier about
Community Week and the upcoming openSUSE Conference.
This was an IRC conference, with different sessions on different
channels. Was it possible to attend all sessions? How many sessions were
That's correct. It probably wouldn't be possible to attend all
sessions, since some were held simultaneously and they were also
across all different time zones. Since we have to accommodate people
from all time zones, it would have meant being up ridiculously early
or late to be in all sessions. However, we repeated many of the
sessions so that interested contributors didn't have get up at 4 a.m.
or stay up to 11 p.m. to get the session they wanted to attend.
How many sessions did you attend?
I was in quite a few. I was actually logged into several channels at
the same time, sort of watching one session while being more active in
I read somewhere that this was the first annual event. Are there any
specific plans for next year?
I don't think we said "annual," just first. We are discussing doing
this again, probably in a more limited scope, maybe one day a month
and one session a week.
How much participation was there?
Quite a bit. Some of the IRC channels had about 50% more users/nicks
than usual while sessions were going on, I'd guesstimate that we had
several hundred people turn out that aren't usually in IRC for
Do you think it was a success? What was particularly successful about
I do think it was a success. It got people talking about how to
contribute to the project and gave us a chance to focus on new
contributors. What was really good in my opinion was that we had
several community members step up and plug in sessions where they felt
there was a need and take leadership to run their own sessions.
What didn't work as well?
The only real reservation I have looking back is that we probably
should have only run one session at a time, and that we bit off quite
a bit going a full week. The organization required to do it was fairly
heavy, and it'd be better to have a more lightweight process and
shorter schedule in the future -- but more often.
Was there a specific highlight or two of things that were interesting,
useful, unexpected, etc?
Most of the sessions were useful, so I don't know if I'd call out any
as being more useful than others. As I mentioned, I was very pleased
to see some of the community just taking initiative and setting up
sessions on their own. That's great to see and I'd love to see more of
For people who didn't participate, but are now interested in getting
involved, where is the right place to go for info?
It's a bit outdated, but this is the best place to start:
The mailing lists are also a good place to start. It can be a bit
intimidating, asking a first question on a project mailing list, but
we're happy to help people get started. If you're not sure which list
to start with, then an introductory mail on the openSUSE-Project
mailing list would be a good way to get started -- just say where
you'd like to be involved and we'll help you get started.
Tell us about the upcoming openSUSE Conference.
Sure. We're going to be running a four-day conference for openSUSE
contributors in Nuremberg, Germany from September 17 through 20th.
This is a free event, anyone can attend. openSUSE has contributors
from around the world, and this is a chance to get a bunch of
contributors together, meet face to face, and get some work done
Befitting that, the conference will be partially dedicated to
presentations and talks, but also have a huge amount of "unconference"
time where attendees can plan their own sessions or have
hacking/working sessions rather than just attending presentations. The
call for participation is still open, so anyone who'd like to lead a
session or give a presentation should sign up:
It's open to anybody who is interested in contributing to openSUSE.
We'll have sessions for newer contributors on packaging, etc. as well
as a lot of hands-on activity.
We'll also have an "Open Day" Saturday for new Linux users with some
content for people who are new to Linux and openSUSE.
Is there anything else you would like to add?
Sure - we just released openSUSE 11.2 Milestone 2 today [May 28]. This is
leading up to the openSUSE 11.2 release scheduled for November. This is an
ideal time for anybody who would like to start contributing to the
project. The release announcement is here
Thanks for taking the time to answer our questions.
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