Friday, January 14, 2011

» Why I am not running for the openSUSE Board

As you might have noticed, I am not a candidate for the current openSUSE Board Elections, and a few people have asked me why.

The reason is simple: I have been elected on the two previous Board instances, and have also been part of the initial "bootstrap Board" (as I like to call it) where there were no elections (chicken/egg) and where our primary mission was to set up an election process.

The Board Election Rules state that "openSUSE board members can serve for up to two consecutive election periods. After that they must stand down for at least one election period, but may run again after the one election period break", and that's simply what's happening in this case -- and I was even one of the people who made that rule be part of the Election Rules ;D.

So no conspiracy theory, no anger or disgust, it's simply sensible mechanics of a democratic system.

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Friday, January 07, 2011

» Review of openSUSE Trademark Guidelines

Bryen just opened an interesting feature request about a review of the current openSUSE trademark guidelines (#311039).

The current state of things is that Novell owns the openSUSE and openSUSE related trademarks (which include things like the openSUSE name and the openSUSE branding). While at some point I would love to see those trademarks go into the ownership of the openSUSE foundation (but let's first actually have that foundation ;)), it is better to keep them with Novell until we have a properly working and funded foundation, because owning trademarks is also an obligation to enforce them. And that potentially means legal enforcement as well.

As the trademarks are owned and enforced by Novell, permissions to use trademarked material must be sent to Novell (, actually), but in practice, Novell's legal team has been delegating the responsibility of evaluating such requests to the openSUSE board.

Nevertheless, the board has to take decisions within a certain framework. Part of that framework, obviously, are a few legal aspects, but more prominently, it is what is currently defined in the openSUSE Trademark Guidelines document.

Bryen's feature request (which is essentially filed as such because openFATE gives us a good tool for transparency and collecting feedback) is precisely about that point: let's take a step back and rethink our trademark guidelines.

The task isn't as simple as it might sound, of course, as we have to find a good balance between a few, most probably contradictory things:

  1. make the rules short and simple: the simpler they are, the easier to grasp and the less daunting to approach
  2. enable derivatives of openSUSE: yes, we'd love to see more and more derivative works based on openSUSE (but the current guidelines, which the board has to abide by, do not really reflect that)
  3. prevent abuse

Which is why we'd love to hear from YOU what you believe are genuinely good use cases that we want to enable and support and what you believe would be cases of abuse, especially if you have been involved or have been pondering about making a derivative of openSUSE or, more generally, use the openSUSE trademarks in one way or another.

To do so, just click here, log in with your openSUSE account, and give us constructive feedback. Thanks !


Monday, January 03, 2011

» MPlayer and smplayer update

I've just updated the MPlayer and smplayer in the Packman repository to their latest respective development revisions.

I also enabled rtmpdump, mpg123 and mpcdec support.

MPlayer changed the way it handles closed captions in a recent revision, as it now takes an option to the -subcc parameter to select which channel to use. Because of that, I also had to update the (brilliant) smplayer GUI frontend for mplayer in order to support that change.

Needless to say, if you encounter any issue, please report it by email to packman with the domain

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