My first Hackweek project: openDoc | SUSE Communities

My first Hackweek project: openDoc


This is a guest blog written by Markus Feilner, Teamlead Documentation SUSE. 

When I arrived at SUSE more than a year ago, with a background of journalism, Enterprise Linux, Consulting and thousands of pages of writings about other people’s work in open source, I found a company almost 25 years old adjacent to a thriving community, both of them so much different from all that I had learned before. The openSUSE community didn’t want to be governed, so they said, and I learned far more than that little sentence. Not being a coder,  I had never written nor contributed a single line of code, but I had spent quite some thoughts about documentation and sparked some development (sometimes with rude articles and biased tests….). Nevertheless 2016 I ended up with a team of sensational writers, coders and magnificent content experts: The SUSE Doc Team.

Things I found out included the dogma: SUSE is not doing openSUSE documentation, but will almost always help with infrastructure needs. Several tries to help the community had already been undertaken: I learned about ActiveDoc and the current sad state of the openSUSE wiki – where prior decisions had led into a spam-spoiled state of disillusion and an abundance of know-how at the same time. En plus, there are maybe hundreds of sources of valuable information around that nobody knows or finds or could use.

After having learned about the SUSE documentation and getting started the SUSE Best Practices (which now seem to soar thanks to Mrs Chabowski), this year I’m spending some time on the openDOC project, which I presented at openSUSE Conference 2016 and which I discussed with several colleagues during Hackweek — and I just arrived back at my seat from an all too short Lightning Talk in All Hands about it.

Imagine a portal where automated triggers “dump” data from the Open Build Service, Mailing lists, Forums and so many other ressources. The data could be weighted, evaluated and aggregated way before a human being has read them. Presented as interactive, colored lists, tag clouds, rateable, taggable or just with buttons like “this is outdated” or “update me”. Hopefully, interested people would rate, tag, condense or condemn stuff, way before documentation experts could start working with it. Think of portals like Stack Overflow, Reddit or the demo at

While the documentation team will still not write documentation for openSUSE, it is eager to help. Like with (still trying to) get the openSUSE wiki back up, we will help with this openDoc portal. With the help of knowledge management specialists we will provide a first Proof of Concept in the next months, and I currently am gathering contributors who would like to help. This is my first hackweek project ever, so I’ll need your help, criticism or anything you can think of!


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Meike Chabowski Meike Chabowski works as Documentation Strategist at SUSE. Before joining the SUSE Documentation team, she was Product Marketing Manager for Enterprise Linux Servers at SUSE, with a focus on Linux for Mainframes, Linux in Retail, and High Performance Computing. Prior to joining SUSE more than 20 years ago, Meike held marketing positions with several IT companies like defacto and Siemens, and was working as Assistant Professor for Mass Media. Meike holds a Master of Arts in Science of Mass Media and Theatre, as well as a Master of Arts in Education from University of Erlangen-Nuremberg/ Germany, and in Italian Literature and Language from University of Parma/Italy.