People of openSUSE: Tanja Roth

Tanja Roth

How important is documentation to you and people around you? Certainly it is a lot! Then good news because openSUSE has a team focused on manuals for the SUSE Linux/openSUSE distribution. Today’s we have the opportunity to salute openSUSE Documentation Team member Tanja Roth!

Please introduce yourself!

I was born near Trier (said to be Germany’s oldest town) and moved to Nuremberg some years ago for job reasons. I’m a member of the SUSE documentation team since I joined SUSE in 2005. Apart from being a tech writer (which I do for a living for quite some years now), I love music and outdoor sports (like swimming, hiking, etc.). When being to the Czech Republic for the first time, I felt ashamed that I didn’t even know how to say “Good Morning” or “Thank you” in the local language. So I joined a Czech language course afterwards, and I am still learning the language, but I doubt that I will ever be able to speak (or write!) it properly ;)

Tell us about the background to your computer use.

I started to use computers when being at university. I remember typing my first paper on my friend’s PC (80286, with a black and white display), afterwards I got myself one, too. During my studies in phonetics and computer-linguistics, I also used UNIX systems. In order to analyze data for my master’s thesis (high speed motion pictures of the vocal cords), I was lucky to be granted access to a brand-new SGI workstation available in our phonetics’ institute at that time ;-) .

When and why did you start using openSUSE/SUSE Linux?

Basically, when I joined SUSE in 2005. I bought a laptop soon afterwards for use at home (my old machine was outdated, anyway) and installed SUSE Linux 10.0 on it. With every release, I usually install the new openSUSE version, and haven’t used my pre-installed MS Windows since ;.) .

When did you join the openSUSE community and what made you do that?

With the day I became a SUSE employee.

In what way do you participate in the openSUSE project?

Well, writing documentation, communicating with developers and providing feedback, filing Bugzilla entries, etc. The doc guys are usually among the first “real” users actually testing new features, and thus usually serve as alpha or beta testers :)

What especially motivates you to participate in the openSUSE project?

A bunch of nice people making an effort to maintain and develop the distro further :)

What do you think was your most important contribution to the openSUSE project/community or what is the contribution that you’re most proud of?

Nothing in particular.

When do you usually spend time on the openSUSE project?

Most of the time at work and sometimes also during the evenings and week-ends.

Three words to describe openSUSE? Or make up a proper slogan!

“Have a lot of fun!”

What do you think is missing or underrated in the distribution or the project?

From a doc point of view: comprehensive documentation for newbies. The openSUSE community can only grow if we also get new users “on board” – and we can’t expect all of them to be geeks or Linux experts already. There is a number of valuable docs about openSUSE and Linux, including all the wiki pages on But I think it is still cumbersome for unexperienced users (especially for those from a non-Linux background) to get all the bits and pieces together to make transition to openSUSE really easy.

Apart from that, fully-fledged multimedia media and driver support would be a great improvement.

What do you think the future holds for the openSUSE project?

A growing number of users and a growing community.

A person asks you why he/she should choose openSUSE instead of other distribution/OS. What would be your arguments to convince him/her to pick up openSUSE?

In the end, everybody should decide according to his or her own needs. But showing how easy it is to work with openSUSE and what a great number of options you have, has already convinced some of my friends to give openSUSE a try.

Which members of the openSUSE community have you met in person?

Mostly the ones located in Nuremberg or Prague.

How many icons are currently on your desktop?

Let me check: 5 (apart from the default KDE desktop icons I haven’t touched since installation).

What is the application you can’t live without? And why?

amaroK – my favorite music player :)

Which application or feature should be invented as soon as possible?

amaroK (if it hadn’t been invented yet)

Which is your preferred text editor? And why?

I often use Kate (or vi for SVN log messages or stuff like that).

Which famous person would you want to join the openSUSE community?

I’m not so fond of famous persons altogether, I’d just like to see the number of people contributing to openSUSE grow.

Which computer related skills would you like to have?

I would rather like to have some more non-computer related skills, such as being a gifted percussionist, for instance… ;)

The Internet crashes for a whole week — how would you feel, what would you do?

Though I like being connected to others and spend much time at the computer when working or being at home, I would also enjoy being without any Internet connection at all. There is so much to (re)discover when you are not sitting in front of a machine ;)

Which is your favorite movie scene?

“Sir! What are you doing?”  “Uh…trudging. You know trudging? To trudge? To trudge the slow, weary, depressing, yet determined walk of a man who has nothing left in his life except the impulse to simply soldier on.” ;)

Star Trek or Star Wars?

Neither of them, I’m afraid…

What is your favorite food and drink?

I like all kinds of Mediterranean stuff and often enjoy Indian food. Favorite drink: depends on the situation…

Favorite game or console (in your childhood and nowadays)?


Which city would you like to visit?

Oh, quite a number: Prague again, …and Edinburgh. But also London, Vienna, Florence, Istanbul, and many others.

What is your preferred way to spend your vacation?

Pack the most important things, put them in a backpack, and do a one week’s walking tour. Your body may ache sometimes, but it’s the best way to free your mind and to get back to the essential things in life :)

Someone gives you $1.000.000 — what would you do with the money?

Spend a part of it on people needing it more urgently than me (for medical treatment, etc.), working part-time only, and traveling the world, I guess…

If traveling through time was possible — when would we be most likely to meet you?

Mostly here and now, though I would probably do a trip back to the 1960s.

There’s a thunderstorm outside — do you turn off your computer?

At home, I use a notebook, I’ll probably only pull the power supply.

Have your ever missed an appointment because you forgot about it while sitting at your computer?

Occasionally I’m late for an appointment, but I never completely forgot about one, I hope.

Show us a picture of something, you have always wanted to share!

Sorry, I have nothing interesting at hand…

You couldn’t live without…

Music …and words.

Which question was the hardest to answer?

All of them, actually…

What other question would you like to answer? And what would you answer?

No more questions, please ;)