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Jan
18

Running for re-election

As you might have noticed, I’m running for re-election. I served my first term as openSUSE Board member, learned a lot and I think I could represent you well for another two years. Although this years elections will be tough as we have in the end quite some strong candidates. So honestly, I have no worries regarding result of the elections as it can’t end badly. Compare it to real world politics and elections where the results can be either bad or even worse… But even though our elections are quite friendly, it is still competition. So what would I do if I get elected? Why should you vote for me? I’ll try to answer it in this post.

What does the board do?

I was a board member for two years. During that time, I learned more about what board actually does and would like to describe it at the beginning. Even if you decide not to vote for me, it can help you pick the best candidates. I believe that the following roles are the main responsibilities that board has.

Judge

Board is the last resort when there is some conflict. And there are some conflicts from time to time. Our task is to listen to the both sides of the story and help them to achieve some solution, peacefully if possible and deescalate things. Sometimes, there are quite some emotions and you might even know one or both parties of the argument. It could be sometimes hard staying objective and resolving stuff in a way that is defendable and if there are some consequences, it has to be be plainly visible what the cause was.

Budget keeper

We have a power to influence how SUSE spends money on openSUSE. Our responsibility is to help decide what to support and how. When there is a need for money, board asks SUSE and SUSE gives us money. Part of this role is being reasonable, if we start asking for Lamborghinis for everybody, they might start saying no. Also we need to be kinda predictable so SUSE can plan the budget for openSUSE. But lately part of that job was out given to Andrew – to keep our books.

Point of contact

We are single point of contact for people from outside of the project or for companies. Our task is to tell them how our community works. Also whenever they have interesting proposal to our community, put them in contact with the right people from our community. We are also in charge of our trademark – openSUSE name and logo. From time to time, somebody wants to do something with openSUSE label on top of it. Mostly it is producing merchandising, new cool spin-off, port openSUSE to some exotic architecture… In these cases, our task is to decide whether this would benefit openSUSE community or if it is an attempt to exploit it. Mostly, these requests are good ideas thought, and we just say yes.

Yes man

Last but one of the most import tasks that board has is to encourage people to do stuff. Board itself has no power over technical decisions. In openSUSE, who does the work, decides. But sometimes people still ask whether they can do something. Our job is to tell them that they can do it. Sometime people ask us to change something or implement something. Our job in that case is again to tell them that they can do it. We don’t have a pack of code monkeys to implement whatever whoever wishes. But we have power to encourage people to scratch their own itch and we can help to promote the idea and try to find more people to help.

How do I fit the board

So why should you vote for me in upcoming elections? I’m by nature calm person. It is really hard to upset or angry me. So if you ever get into conflict with somebody, you want me to be part of your jury as I will try to be as objective as possible. If you are a villain, you probably don’t want me there thought. Regarding budget, I’m quite frugal. I was a student for a long time and I learned to think twice before spending money. But I’m working on it and learning how to spend money. Instinctively I’m always thinking whether the goal justifies the expenses. So don’t expect those Lamborghinis for release parties.

Regarding communication, I worked in two big companies (one of them being SUSE) and I learned what is troublesome for those companies and what is easy. Quite often it is counterintuitive. Understanding how this works can help find a better deal for both sides. Regarding encouraging people to do stuff, I try to do it whenever I speak somewhere about openSUSE.

I think I would fit into board nicely but so would the others running for the board. Your task is to choose who do you think fits the best and who matches your our world view the most.

About me

For those who don’t know me, I’ll sum up who am I. As you probably noticed, I was openSUSE Board member last two years. Apart from that, I try to promote openSUSE whenever possible so you might have met me on some conferences and with Tomas Chvatal, we have lessons in local school teching kids Linux (on openSUSE). What I’m lately most known for is that I wrote a bot that tried to kick almost every eligible voter from openSUSE members. But even that bot was just and tried to kick people regardless whether I consider them my friends or whether I never heard about them. There was a bug, I found it and you can look forward to next round after the election. The goal is to know who is still around. It will help us to interpret how are people interested in elections. But in the future there might be some even more important things to decide. And if there ever will be need for some community wide decision that should be taken by majority of our contributors, we should know whether people just don’t care or whether the votes we got are representing roughly the people we still have and we just have too many late members. It can also help to decide whether package is still actively maintained – if it’s maintainer got kicked out, he probably is not around anymore to fix your issues and it’s time to step up. So it can be useful, but I’m sorry for all those falsely accusing mails. And it will be finished after elections regardless whether I get elected or not, so not voting for me will not stop it 🙂

What would I do if I get elected? Will I try to kick out more people? Probably not. I will represent you the best I can and given the power board has, I will encourage you to do whatever crazy projects you like. But I’m not going to promise to solve all the bugs or make you rich. That is not in boards powers.

Endorsements

Real world politics usually mention which famous artists are supporting them. I don’t have any and I think those doesn’t matter. What I would like to do instead is to endorse one of my competitors. Well, I could easily endorse all of them, but then you wouldn’t vote for me. With one endorsement, there is still the other seat 🙂 I would like to endorse Sarah. I know her for some time. During conferences you can find her on openSUSE booth promoting our awesome project. Between conferences helping with Leap releases and openSUSE infrastructure. I know she would represent openSUSE well (she already does) and I believe that as a board member she will always act in openSUSEs best interest.

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