Bonum Certa Men Certa

Do-No-Evil Saturday - Part I: Week of Zonker in OpenSUSE World

The big news of the past week can be summarised using one word; Zonker!

Let us look at the past week's events very quickly, starting with technical progress rather than celebrities and community.

OpenSUSE: Technical

The most recent news is the announcement and availability of alpha 2 of OpenSUSE 11.0. It was announced just yesterday.

Only three weeks after Alpha1, we’re glad to announce the release of openSUSE 11.0 Alpha 2. There are various exciting changes in there that we would like to have feedback on.

When KDE 4.0.1 was released, OpenSUSE was among the first (if not the first) to make it easily available.

Just in time for the KDE 4.0.1 release, the openSUSE KDE team has updated the KDE 4 packages in the Build Service to the KDE 4.0.1 state, featuring several improvements over the plain KDE 4.0.1 release and including further integration fixes.

Zonker Factor

A new community manager (they insist on not calling it "evangelist") was added to the OpenSUSE team. There were many articles about it and here is a sample.

In ComputerWorld UK they speak about the (increasing) commonality of such a role.

One of the emerging trends in the GNU/Linux distro world is the attempt to build better bridges between the community of users and companies that sponsor development work. Perhaps the best-known example is Canonical's Ubuntu Community Manager, Jono Bacon, whom Open Enterprise interviewed recently. And now Joe ‘Zonker’ Brockmeier has joined the club as openSUSE Community Manager.

Here is the announcement from the OpenSUSE Web site.

I’d like to give a warm welcome to Joe ‘Zonker’ Brockmeier who joins the openSUSE project as “openSUSE community manager”.

Here is Zonker's first post. John Dragoon welcomed Zonker as well.

A video interview was published in where Roblimo is shown talking to Zonker. They have known each other for quite some time.

Yes, it's the same Joe 'Zonker' Brockmeier who used to be editorial director of, and was later editor in chief of Linux Magazine. This week he was named openSUSE community manager, a position analogous to the one held with great distinction by Max Spevack at Fedora until just a few weeks ago.

Direct link to the Ogg file for those who dislike Flash binaries.

Here is ITJungle's take on this development.

Being the community manager for the openSUSE project is not, strictly speaking, a technical job, although up until now, techies have certainly held such positions at the big open source operating system projects. Max Spevack, the leader of the Fedora Linux development project that was created by Red Hat a few years back as an independent development community for the code that eventually became Red Hat Enterprise Linux, is the obvious parallel to the position that Brockmeier has taken over.

DownloadSquad did an interview with Zonker.

A long time open source advocate, Joe began using Linux in 1996, after purchasing a set of Slackware CDs at a local store. He says, "...I was blown away by the concept of 'free as in beer' software. The idea that you could share software, and even modify it and distribute it, was (and is) extremely exciting to me. published yet another interview.

Linux advocate Joe "Zonker" Brockmeier signs on as Novell's community manager and new voice of openSUSE users and developers. Hear his thoughts on Linux love, the challenges he expects from his new role, and why techies choose one distribution over another.

Brian at LinuxToday had a particularly interesting article about it.

Is this is new position in Novell? If it is, why does a Linux company need an evangelist? Isn't evangelism implied in the choice of services and product offerings?

Well, it was originally called "Linux evangelist," but really, that didn't quite fit the bill, which is why the title was changed to openSUSE community manager, to better reflect what I'll be doing. Plus, I'm not crazy about the "evangelist" label. Too often, Linux advocates are derisively referred to as "zealots" and called "religious" about their advocacy--so I'd like to avoid a title that lends itself to that sort of thing.

All in all, as you can probably tell, Zonker was the big news to OpenSUSE, at least as far as the press was concerned.

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