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OpenSUSE Starts Steering its Own Course

openSUSE Elects Community Board

  • October 31, 2008
  • By Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols
It's not easy for a Linux company to let go the reins of control over its community Linux distribution. Just ask Red Hat, which started to let go of Fedora and then decided to keep managing it (Red Hat keeps its grip on Fedora). But, now Novell is loosening its apron strings on its community Linux openSUSE.

The first step was to allow a community-elected board to take charge of the project. While Novell still has a large say, the company appoints the chairman and half of the board's members come from Novell, the community of openSUSE developers does get a larger say in the popular distribution's direction.

From the non-Novell side of the community, Pascal Bleser and Bryen Yunashko are the newest members. While, from Novell, Henne Vogelsang and Federico Mena-Quintero have been elected to the board. Novell appointed Michael L�ffler, the openSUSE Product Manager, as the new board's chairman.

Novell is pleased by these first steps. Joe 'Zonker' Brockmeier, the openSUSE Community Manager, said "I think this is an important milestone for the project. As you know, the previous board was handpicked by Novell -- and I think that the company made good choices for the "bootstrap" board, but it's necessary for the project to elect its own members for the community to really feel like it's being well-represented."

Yunashko, a consultant and developer, is looking forward, as a member of "the first Community-elected Board" to "focusing on laying the groundwork for the present, as well as future, Boards, clearly defining our role within the community and exploring ways we can continue to close the gap between Community and Novell. That's not to say that there is a huge gap because I think currently the Community and Novell do work well together. But there's always room for improvement in any organization."

Specifically, Yunashko wants to improve openSUSE's usability to end users and, in particular, improve its "accessibility through computing, otherwise known as a11y ."

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