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LinuxCon wrapup: Quips on ARM and Pi, IBM's Power trip

Aug 22, 2014 — by Eric Brown 2,090 views

LinuxCon revealed a new Linux certification program, an expansion of IBM’s OpenPower program, and quips from Linus Torvalds on ARM and Raspberry Pi.

Unlike the European edition of LinuxCon + CloudOpen, the North American version that wrapped up today in Chicago does not co-locate the Embedded Linux Conference. Still, there’s a lot more to Linux than circuit boards, industrial computers, and home automation gizmos. LinuxCon is the place to catch up on the larger tux universe of desktops, servers, and clouds. Despite the enterprise focus, there was some embedded talk in various presentations, including the Linux Kernel Developer Panel.

The major LinuxCon development included a new Linux Foundation Certification Program (see related story) and an expanded initiative from IBM to seed Linux developers for its OpenPower platform (see farther below). Other news from LinuxCon includes the announcement of five new members of the Linux Foundation (LF). Adapteva (Parallella), GitHub, SanDisk, Seagate, and Western Digital now join more than 200 existing LF members.


In other news this week, Hitachi and NEC have joined the LF’s Core Infrastructure Initiative (CII). The CII identifies and funds promising open source projects that are in need of assistance.

Videos of the first two days’ keynotes and other presentations and events at LinuxCon may be found here. They include Intel’s Dirk Hohndel on “IoT and Connected Devices” and Anthony Moschella of Makerbot, which earlier this year introduced the first commercial Linux 3D printer, speaking on “Innovation in 3D Printing.”

Linux Kernel Panel – As kernel maintainer Greg Kroah-Hartman (right) talks about the Linux of 2014, Linus Torvalds (left) dreams of the Linux of 2114. To the right of Linus are Andy Lutomirski, Andrew Morton, and Samsung’s Shuah Khan.
(click image to enlarge)

Also of interest is a presentation by Jay Rogers of Local Motors, which is billed as the world’s first open source automobile company. There’s also a State of Linux address by Jim Zemlin, executive director at the Linux Foundation, as well as a Linux trivia challenge.

A video of the Linux Kernel Developer Panel has been posted, and compiled the top 10 quotes from the panel. On the panel, Greg Kroah-Hartman publicly thanked kernel developer Andy Lutomirski for his recent work getting 32-bit programs to run faster on a 64-bit kernel.

“A lot of people thought, who cares? It turned out Valve cares,” said Kroah-Hartman at the panel, speaking of the Linux-oriented gaming firm. “You just sped up all the gamers. You made their machines run faster without realizing it. Thank you.”

The panel story also includes the following embedded-oriented nuggets from Linux creator Linus Torvalds:

    “I’d love for Linux to shrink again… We’ve clearly been bloating up the kernel a lot over the past 20 years… It’s a problem if we want to push the envelope into embedded devices, in particular.”
    “Projects like Raspberry Pi were actually great at seeding random people with hardware… and very few of those will necessarily decide to do kernel development, but if you seed the world a small percentage is still a lot of people.”

This next Torvalds quote from the panel, meanwhile was cited by Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols writing on ZDNet:

    “ARM cleanup is getting much better. When I used to do ARM merges, I wanted to shoot myself and take a few ARM developers with me. It’s now much less painful and ARM developers are picking up the multiple maintainer approach. ARM developers are now working together on a common tree and working on code unification.”

Finally, both and ZDnet picked up on this exchange:

    GregKH: “We’re running really well. We’re running everywhere. Where are we going next? We’ve conquered pretty much every major industry.”
    Torvalds: “I still want that desktop.”

IBM expands Linux on Power program

A year ago at LinuxCon, shortly after announcing an OpenPower Consortium and related plans to open source its Power processor architecture, IBM announced plans to invest $1 billion in new Linux and open source technologies supporting Power-based systems. This week, IBM followed up with news that it will add Power Systems Linux services to its Innovation and Client Centers around the world.

IBM’s circa-2000 “Peace, Love, Linux” banner

The new services include Linux training workshops that will demonstrate programming, porting and optimization of applications using Red Hat Enterprise Linux, SUSE Linux Enterprise Server, and Canonical Ubuntu Server on Power Systems. IBM also said it would offer developers hands-on assistance in mastering its POWER8 parallel processing and advanced virtualization capabilities. In addition, it will provide access to IBM’s business consulting experts and partner resources to develop joint go to market strategies for Power System and Linux based solutions.

In the last year, five new Power Systems Linux Centers have been established in Beijing, New York, Austin, Montpelier, and Tokyo. The centers have helped to develop some 1,500 ISV applications that are now available for Linux on Power, says IBM. Although the main focus is on enterprise applications, the Montpelier, France, center is also exploring mobile and social computing applications.

The OpenPower Consortium, now called the OpenPower Foundation, includes 53 members. More information can also be found at IBM’s Linux on Power site.

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