Running for the openSUSE board - ad-hoc board elections 2020

In case you follow the mailing lists or openSUSE groups in social media you might have come to know that the openSUSE community holds ad-hoc board elections to refill an open spot in the openSUSE board.

If you did not know or even if you knew, you might not know that I was honored by being suggested as a candidate for that elections by Gerald and that I accepted the nomindation.

So, ultimately, I am running for the openSUSE board!

Ballot is open

Since 17th August 2020 the ballots are open and votes can be cast via the election system by openSUSE members. The ballots are open until 30th August 2020 and final results will be announced on 31st August 2020. So make sure, to cast your vote, either for me or Stasiek who makes a great campaign, too, until 30th August 2020!

Futher details on the vote can be found at the "board elections article" on the openSUSE wiki.

My Campaign

You can find my campaign document at the openSUSE wiki article "openSUSE:Ad hoc Board election 2020 platform crowbyte". To save you the click:

Introduction and Biography


My SUSE journey started with SuSE Linux 7.3 back in 2001 - with a box I bought at the local computer store not having any idea about Linux yet.

After the early - maybe too early - adoption of KDE Plasma 4 there was a time where I started distro hopping. Though each distro had its own beautiful specific features I always came back to openSUSE - it simply feels home. With openSUSE Leap we finally got a distro that was in almost every aspect fitting my needs and preferences. I am therefore spreading the word about openSUSE, especially openSUSE Leap at any chance given.

Since openSUSE Leap 15.0 was released I switched to Leap for my workstation needs, too. I never looked back and am still using openSUSE Leap 15.2 at work for all my Developer tasks and at home for all my media needs.


  • German translations (Weblate)
  • spreading the word (mainly on my blog at - "Why I prefer openSUSE over other distributions" is a post that got shared a lot on LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, Mastodon, Diaspora)
  • blog aggregated on (de/en)
  • helping and supporting whenever and where ever I can

Thanks go out to ...

... everyone who nominated me or are supporting the nomination. A special thanks goes out to Gerald Pfeifer, who brought up my name though - or specifically because - I was the one calling for a Non-Confidence-Vote.

Why you should vote for me (nonetheless)

I know that not everyone was happy with my call for the Non-Confidence-Vote. As I already stated in my mail to the mailing list I did that with all the best intentions for the community and the distro. openSUSE is my daily driver at home, at work and beyond that even as a hobby. So hurting the community and distro would consequently hurt myself, too. And that would be the furthest thing from my thoughts and intentions. Nonetheless I was and still am one of the biggest critics of the current openSUSE board and their work of the last few months.

Nonetheless, and if elected, I will put all my passion for openSUSE into my work for the board and community. Bringing in a load of criticism shall not weaken the board or make the work more difficult but should give the board and community a chance for a change, growth and improvement. I will always work with all my passion to best serve openSUSE and our community and its general good.

And last but not least you should vote for me and thereby in favour of the following goals I set for my potential time in the openSUSE board:

My Goals

  • continuing and supporting the work towards a openSUSE foundation
  • bringing the critical thoughts and new views of me and some others (who are not confident with the boards work of the last few months) directly into the board
  • improving the confidence of the community in the board
  • improving the community's morale
  • improving the overall cooperation within the community and between community and board

Current Issues / Criticism

Though the Non-Confidence-Vote got only about 11 percent of the needed 20 percent to trigger a complete re-election of the board the criticism about how the board acts and works is still valid. Nothing has change since I decided to call for a Non-Confidence-Vote. The unnecessary and disgraceful retaliation against a former board member is not what I want to see from an elected institution of the community I am part of.

Besides all the hassles inside of the community I still want to see the foundation project being continued and would love to support the efforts.

Best wishes ...

...go out to every one in the openSUSE community. I hope we can overcome the difficulties in a joint effort. Good luck to hellcp for his candidacy.

Q&A from the mailing list

If you are not following the mailing list closely and missed out on my Q&A, here it is:

  • How do you make yourself available for contact by community members?

I already am available for contact to every member of the community. After calling for a Non-Confidence-Vote I was open for everyone to explain my motives and did so in e-mails and in a lengthy video call with Gerald - and I will continue to do so. Whoever wants to get in touch: write an e-mail, write to me on Twitter, Facebook, Mastodon or in IRC (when I am online) and if you want, we can arrange an appointment for a video call, too.

  • How much time do you engage with community members every week?

Hard to tell, it varies a lot. But I am there whenever you need me and ask for me.

  • What is your view on conflict resolution?

There are many strategies towards conflict resolution. But two of them I value the most: Compromising and Collaboration

Conflict resolution is about finding a compromise between two points of view. You need both sides to be able and willing to make a compromise. In rare situations, where either one side or both are not able or willing to collaborate to find a compromise, the next higher instance is needed to trigger a resolution in the best interest of both parties.

But lets cut the long story short: We are a community and have one big thing in common; our passion for openSUSE. Therefore I am very optimistic that, though we cannot always be of one single opinion, we will still find a way to make a compromise in the very best interest of the community, openSUSE and therefore in our very own interest.

  • Does everyone always deserve a second chance?

Yes, as we all are human beings, making mistakes or sometimes misbehaving out of various reasons. But nonetheless I want to limit that answer to one important requirement: The misbehavior must not be intentionally harmful.

  • Are there some lines which deserve immediate sanction?

This is a bit general and therefore hard to answer. Sometimes it really does not only depend on the severity of the action or breach, but on the circumstances that led to the action or breach.

At least we can surely agree, that any action that would be of legal relevance, deserves immediate sanction.

  • What's the most severe action you feel the Board should take to resolve a conflict?

Any temporary sanction. Final and permanent sanctions should need a second instance validating that the permanent sanction is appropriate and the accusations which led to the sanction are confirmed and proven.

  • How do you make sure that you dont step on the toes of others when pushing your agenda and contributions in an area where existing contributors could be present but struggling?

A decent amount of respect for any contributor and their efforts and accomplishments for openSUSE and its community as well as being able, willing and always open for communication and making compromises in the best interest of the contributors, the community and the projects.

  • The Board's role includes "Facilitate decision making processes where needed."; should the Board decide when "when needed" applies, or should the Board only involve themselves when invited by community members who wish their help in decision making processes?

The openSUSE board consists of openSUSE members and therefore, as a normal member, they should be able to suggest where help might be needed - especially if those help might be needed in areas where they contribute.

  • Should the Board set the direction for the Project or should the direction be set by contributions?

As before, the openSUSE board consists of openSUSE members and any member can make contributions, that is true to those being members of the board, too. Therefore I think the board should be able to set directions, but should not do so in case they are against the community's will and wishes. As well as in cases where those directions result in radical changes to the community structure or to the community's projects the community should have a saying about whether they want those directions set or not.

As a do-o-cracy this already does apply in some ways automatically, where there are no contributors to drive the direction forward we'd come to a standstill. In cases where there are opposing contributions setting opposing directions the board should be able to help in the "decision making process".

  • What is your opinion of the Project's key sponsor (SUSE)?

I doubt this is a relevant point that says anything about how much I am willing and capable of working in the community interests when elected to the openSUSE board, but let me share a short anecdote: I was once asked by a professor that the HTW Berlin which company I'd love to work for after finishing my studies - I answered SUSE.

Although that maybe says it all, I'd want to stress the fact that I value SUSEs contributions to openSUSE to the highest. That though does not change my mind about the foundation plans which I want to support and push forward.

  • How do you intend to communicate and collaborate with SUSE in an official capacity? What are the first things you're going to ask for?

Given the community elected me to work in their interests in the openSUSE board, I'd be looking forward to work with the SUSE representatives. With one of them I already had the honor to have a lengthy video call and it was a very informative and fruitful conversation for both sides. As a openSUSE board member I'd love to continue that good conversation and collaboration. What I'd be asking for in detail will highly depend on where I see SUSE could be a valuable partner to reach goals of the community and openSUSE.

You still have questions?

Then reach out and contact me! I appreciate critical questions as they help you to better understand my statements and the underlying opinions and give me the chance to maybe rethink a point or two where I might have missed important issues you have been able to better see and identify.


After reading all of that, just let close this article with a few concluding words.

No matter how openSUSE got at a point where things got rough, I hope we find a way to look forward and make our motto true again:

Have a lot of fun.

Not only for working with the openSUSE distros but within and with the community and community members, too.

Stay healthy everyone!

Published by

Pierre Böckmann

Born 1985 in Berlin, I am Software Engineer, Blogger, Author, Open Source Enthusiast, openSUSE member and passionate openSUSE Leap user.