Why my device is not supported by distributions

During weekend I was in Puck, Poland at small conference called “Zimowisko linuksowe” (Linux winter camp) where I had a talk called “Dlaczego moje urządzenie nie jest obsługiwane przez dystrybucje” (Why my device is not supported by distributions).

In talk I presented how distributions (Debian, Fedora) handle ARM devices (one kernel for all, one image for all) and why it does not fit Raspberry/Pi or Chromebook. Also mentioned Roseapple/Pi as an example of how not to make support for device.

There were questions about suggested boards (most of people knew Raspberry/Pi and one or two other by name) and ARM powered laptops other than Chromebooks.

And then we went to celebrate birthdays of few friends who had them on same day.

You can download presentation in Polish or English (translation was requested by few folks from IRC after I annouced that there will be such talk).

FOSDEM and Devconf.cz trip

As two years and year ago I plan to make conference combo: FOSDEM in Brussels and then Devconf.cz in Brno. Weekend after weekend. But this time I want to make it different.

First I thought that will skip devconf.cz one. But this is quite important Fedora conference so checked how to make it cheaper that in previous years. And found out few deals and setup a trip which should be interesting.

From home to SXF and then with Ryanair to Brussels. Visit friends, meet friends, make some beers, attend talks, discuss with strange and familiar people — like each time during FOSDEM.

Then fly to Bratislava, Slovakia (Ryanair from CRL) and stay there for few days. Visit some places, do some Ingress missions, buy fridge magnet — typical tourist stuff.

From there take a train to Brno. Stay at some cheap ho(s)tel, attend devconf.cz conference, do some beers, meet friends etc. Like on normal conference.

And from there go back home by train. With one hour break at Berlin Hbf station.

Have to fill a form to arrange PTO for Bratislava and buy some tickets. Hope that it will be fun trip.

Vacations in USA and Canada

Few years ago I told that I would not fly to USA. Then I changed job and had to fly there for conference. And another one and another… But it was always travel just for conference and one or two days of sightseeing. But not this year.

In August I am going to USA for Fedora Flock conference which takes place in Rochester, NY, USA on 12-15th. But I plan to spend a bit more time on american continent…

First flight is Berlin, Germany to Reykjavík, Iceland where I could just change flight and go to Boston, MA, USA. But why would I? Price of tickets does not change if I stay there for 24h. So I will do some sightseeing, buy a fridge magnet to my collection and then fly.

Boston is a place where I would like to spend few days. Take a look at city, visit Cambridge, MA just because it is younger brother of Cambridge, UK etc. Hope to go to Westford to visit Red Hat office and met some team members and co-workers there. Nothing planned yet, not even hotels.

Then trip to Rochester, NY. Probably by train or bus. Then conference, sightseeing, meeting people etc. I share hotel room with Paul Whalen so probably there will be some interesting discussions ;)

Another part will be visiting Niagara Falls. Hope for both US and Canadian sides. From there I go to Toronto and then on 19th August flying back home.

If someone want to meet me then just ping me. Hints for Canadian prepaid are welcome (in US T-Mobile with 30$ plan should be fine).

Is being connected a need or a must?

For all previous FOSDEM visits I was offline. You know: high roaming costs, not liking to use random open wifi networks etc. But not this time.

I arrived yesterday morning at BRU airport. Planned to buy a simcard there but managed to skip whole shopping part without realising what I did.

But when I arrived in a city centre I noticed a “free wifi” sign at the Novotel hotel so decided to make use of it. Flood of Google+ and Facebook notifications was what I got. Checked in on Foursquare and minute later met XorA with Anya. We took a coffee, discussed about work, life and then went for some walk.

Half hour later I left some small shop with a BASE simcard in my Nexus 5 with 1GB of transfer available. My standard simcard went to the backup phone (Nokia 101 this time). Quick look at Foursquare, Google+ and Facebook and I saw where my friends are and could get in contact. Met Philip, Koen, Vladimir and several other guys, got invited to a dinner etc. Managed to take some portals down in Ingress game as well ;-)

Not that I would not be able to survive without a local simcard. There are lot of open wireless networks in Brussels but how many of them are safe?

Conferences in February

Next month will start with conferences… Tomorrow I go for FOSDEM 2014 then one day break (to change bags) and then Devconf.cz in Brno, Czech Republic.

It will be 6th visit at FOSDEM for me. I do not plan to man a booth for any project and hope to find time to visit at least few talks — this year list is quite long:

  • A Method for Distributing Applications Independent from the Distro
  • Anatomy of kdbus
  • ARM: Allwinner sunxi SoC’s and the community behind it
  • CentOS: Planning for Variants and the Next Chapter
  • Ceph
  • Considering the Future of Copyleft
  • Cross Distro Automation
  • Debian Contributors
  • Discover DoudouLinux live!
  • GNURadio as a general purpose DSP environment
  • How we found a million style and grammar errors in the English Wikipedia
  • Introducing the Meson build system
  • IP risks for OSS developers
  • Is distribution-level package management obsolete?
  • Legal issues from a radical community angle
  • lima driver: Opening up the Mali instruction set
  • Lumicall — an open alternative to Viber
  • MINIX 3 on ARM
  • No more IPv4
  • Nouveau — On-going work, demos and research
  • OpenJDK on AArch64 Update
  • OpenPandora and a peek into the future
  • osmocom: Overview of our SDR projects
  • Persistent Memory
  • Porting FreeBSD on Xen on ARM
  • Reproducible Builds for Debian
  • Software Archaeology for Beginners
  • State of the X.org foundation
  • State of Thunderbird
  • Sunxi KMS driver
  • Technical introduction to the deeper parts of Sailfish OS, a Qt5-Wayland based mobile OS
  • Testing Kernel GFX Drivers
  • The evolution of Android’s runtime
  • The Lima driver
  • UEFI is not your enemy
  • Virtualization Dungeon on ARM
  • Who ate my battery?
  • Why You Should Be an Open Source Project
  • Xen on ARM

As usual it would be success if I will manage to see 30% of them as for me FOSDEM is a place to meet people from other projects to share ideas rather than spend time on sessions.

Next will be Devconf.cz but first ARM Hackfest a day before at Red Hat office (an option to check my badge). This conference is more Fedora related and I hope to meet interesting people there to discuss how to do some things. No talks selection as there will much smaller amount of them so I can do it between sessions ;D

If you want to catch me at conferences then use Google Hangout, Facebook Messenger or just mail me. I plan to have local SIM card to be always online.

Linaro Connect Asia 2013 was fun

Second day in a row I managed to get 8 hours of sleep like I was not able at Linaro Connect Asia 2013. There was no time for sleeping as so many things had happened.

This time I decided to go to Hong Kong on Friday to have whole Sunday for shopping or sight seeing etc. Also to make things different I went though Helsinki (was Istanbul in 2012). It was interesting experience to hear English language with Finnish accent. There were moments when during in-flight announcements I was not able to recognize when they ended Finnish part and started English one ;D

HEL was cold but only outside so once I got to terminal it was fine. Rushed though, passed biometric passport gate and got a seat with electricity to charge my Chromebook and phone. Flight was “fine” as usual but as it was during night I tried to catch some sleep.

Finnair’s crew had some problems getting in-flight entertainment system working so we could watch how Linux booted on those NSC Geode GX2 based devices. Due to copyright note in bootloader (redboot) I assumed that it is not older than 9 years. Very slow boot anyway with lot of text printed. They should show some splash + potential progress bar instead. But finally it started working. Provided in-ear headphones are much better than ones on Lufthansa flights.

Landed, got prepaid sim from “3” network, met Andrea Gallo and we went to hotel. I had plans to go to the city center but was too tired for it. I also lacked HKD due to other layout of keypad in ATM :D

ATM keypad in Hong Kong

On Sunday we grouped and went to Shim Shui Po to do some electronics related shopping. Prices in Hong Kong are similar/worse than in Europe so I bought only few things which I had problems finding in low price at home: mini-ITX case (16€), Nexus 4 back cover (6.5€), case for Samsung Chromebook (7.5€) and some cables. There are still no USB 3.0 cables in wide selection ;( I also bought crappy dual sim phone for 10€ as I needed one to get my Polish sim on network.

I also did some shopping on Tuesday — this time on Ladies’ Market. It is one long street with lot of sellers with clothes, wallets, toys, phone covers, headphones and other gift like things of unknown quality. I left there all money I had but got gifts for everyone I wanted. Haggling there is a must as 40% of starting price is easy to get. And you do not even need to tell anything to get price lowered…

We also went to Shenzen, China for one afternoon but that’s story for separate post.

But I went there for connecting with people. And to discuss/present our work done in last cycle and to be done in next ones.

Each day started with keynote (Friday one had Linaro awards). And we got speakers from outside of Linaro:

  • Jon Corbet (LWN)
  • Lars Kurth (Citrix)
  • Jason Taylor (Facebook)
  • Greg Kroah-Hartman

Each talk was interesting. Jon shown Linaro developers that Big.Little switcher should be taken for community review earlier, Lars presented Xen on ARM (v7, v8), Jason told about how Facebook handles servers and where is a space for ARM ones. Greg’s talk was best — he told why he does not want our code, what kind of mistakes people do in sent patches and gave us story how one code submission can break whole set of devices due to lack of testing. I wonder how Linaro Kernel WG will handle Greg’s new requirement of having all Linaro patches signed by senior kernel developer.

This was also first conference where I was fully ARMed. I left my x86 laptop at home and took Samsung Chromebook instead. Ubuntu runs fine on it, speed is comparable but size (13.3″ contra 11.6″) and weight differ. This also gave me few more occasions to talk with other developers.

I spoke with Citrix guys about Chromebook kernel changes and their Xen backport will probably be merged into “linux-chromebook 3.4” package. Also had some discussions with ARM Mali developers which resulted in removal of OpenGLES packages from Chromebook support PPA due to licence issues (I do not have redistribution permission).

We also had meeting about hacking Samsung Chromebook where ChromeOS, Debian, Linaro, OpenSUSE, Ubuntu developers had discussion about what we can expect, where we are, how to get some things fixed etc. After that Nicolas ‘Charbax’ Charbonnier from armdevices.net shot video about it:

Direct link to video

I remember that Charbax tried to make interview with me at one of earlier Linaro Connects but I always rejected that idea. This time he went for help… And I could not refuse to Zack Pfeffer :) How it went? You tell me:

Direct link to video

Hong Kong was great. Weather was perfect with +25°C, sun and no rain. Someone told me March is the last moment for being there :)

At a beach near hotel in Hong Kong

But then I had to leave. Problem with return flights is that they usually are around midnight. Add lack of sleep during previous nights and result is not nice mix. So we spent some time in airport lounge to charge batteries (our and devices) and then squeezed in economy class for 11 hours. Took a nap, watched movie in English with Finnish subtitles (learnt new word even) and read “Amiga, the future was here” book.

Imagine weather change when we landed in Helsinki… -13°C and snow. As I left my spring jacket in checked-in baggage (but I had sweater) those few minutes from airport -> bus -> plane were cold ones. Similar few hours later in Berlin. But I had some time for shopping. Skipped salmiakki cause it is hard to know which ones will be hardcore just enough but got some other things.

Helsinki with snow

Szczecin was nice on Saturday. Cold, but spring was visible. Winter came during night:

Szczecin next day

Next Linaro Connect will be in Dublin, Ireland. See you there!