Tag Archives: conferences

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!

I am going to Hong Kong

There will be Linaro Connect Asia next week. Which means: I am going to Hong Kong today. 21-22 hours trip like usual. This time through Helsinki ;)

But recently I started to count and got quite long list of Linaro events I attended so far:

  • 2010.05 UDS/M – Brussels, Belgium
  • 2010.07 Ubuntu/Linaro sprint in Prague, Czech Republic
  • 2010.10 UDS/N – Orlando, FL, USA
  • 2011.01 Ubuntu/Linaro sprint in Dallas, TX, USA
  • 2011.05 LC + UDS/O – Budapest, Hungary
  • 2011.07 Ubuntu/Linaro sprint in Dublin, Ireland
  • 2011.10 LC + UDS/P – Orlando, FL, USA
  • 2012.02 LC – Redwood City, CA, USA
  • 2012.05 LC – Hong Kong, China
  • 2012.11 LC + UDS/R – Copenhagen, Denmark

The “Linaro Connect” name is quite young and I do not remember which event got this name first. There will be three of them this year: Asia, Europe, US. But when and where? Do not ask me cause so far it was not announced yet.

So if any of my readers will be in Hong Kong next week — please say hi. And there will be Chromebook hacking session on Tuesday at 15:00 in Fountain 1 room (but please check schedule/ask me if not changed).

FOSDEM 2013

Year ago we had Linaro Connect right after FOSDEM so I decided to skip and walk to Golden Gate instead. But this year there were no conflicts!

Months before we had discussion on SzLUUG mailing list about who goes for FOSDEM. There were about 9 people wanting and we ended with five. So on Friday morning friends arrived near my house, I jumped into car, we grabbed 4th one (Tomek was in London at that time) and went to Berlin Schönefeld airport for 07:00 Easyjet flight.

And we missed it… 5-10 minutes late we were ;( 75€ per person and 10 hours later he took off from SXF airport.

But that 10h was not wasted. Berlin has very nice Technical Museum with many trains, cars, planes and other exhibitions. And they had Trabant 601 as well:

My first time in Trabant

Then trip to shops (Saturn, Media Markt) in search for HTC Desire X case (Magda) and LG Nexus 4 (me). Avoid Saturn — they do not handle credit card payments at Alexanderplatz so I had to walk to the ATM. Two S-Bahns later we passed security check and went to the gate early enough to fly.

BRU airport… I think that (with exception of SXF/TXL) it is my most visited airport as it was my 5th FOSDEM and there was UDS-M around as well. But this time we took a bus instead of a train. 14€ ticket works for 72 hours so cover all trips perfectly. Few hours later we were joking that this multi country journey was exhausting as we were in Berlin, Brussels, went though Geneve (bus stop) to Luxembourg (square) and passed near London (restaurant) ;D

Hotel, drop stuff, connect chargers, went for beer event. Crowdy as usual it was. But I managed to meet some friends (but also missed lot of them) and grabbed few beers. Good spent time. Too bad that I was so tired that went back to hotel just right after midnight.

Saturday

Breakfast in St. Nicolas hotel maybe is not the best but provides enough energy to survive a day. Met several guys there, Philip gave me Kindle Paperwhite which I bought few days before (with delivery to his house to lower price) and his famous Belgium/Holland/Luxembourg guidebook. I also got Beagle pendrive from Koen.

24-01-13 - 1

Then overcrowded bus 71 and FOSDEM! I told Bartek where things are (but at that time I had no idea of K building) and we split. In AW building I met friends manning OpenEmbedded stand just right in front of building entry.

OpenEmbedded stand

Circuitco had Beaglebone stand right to it:

Beaglebone robot

That robot was great example what you can do with enough signals available to drive all those motors. And what you can do with 3D printers ;D

I do not know is it due to crisis or something but AW building had just half of a space for stands used…

Then I went for talks:

  • “Embedded distro shootout: buildroot vs. Debian” — wasted time. Long discussion about Emdebian + short info that Buildroot works in other way. Could be nice talk if done in other way.
  • “Porting Fedora to 64-bit ARM systems” — talk done by Jon Masters and his clone. As usual first “what the hell is 64-bit ARM” and then how Fedora bootstraps itself. Nice talk, got some new stuff. Have to dig for Cavium SDK.
  • “Porting OpenJDK to AArch64″ — interesting it was. Two speakers, lot of technical details.
  • “ARMv8, ARM’s new architecture including 64-bit” by Andrew Wafaa. Mostly to catch speaker in easy way ;D
  • “Bootstrapping Debian-based distributions for new architectures” – I was lazy to go somewhere else but it was good talk.
  • “Bootstrapping the Debian/Ubuntu arm64 ports” by Wookey. Kind of recycled talk from Barcelona but I like his presentations. Also first one without “what the hell is armv8″ introduction.

I also had nice discussion with Jolla guys about their system/device and would I like to test it once they will have something ready for complains. Played a bit with Firefox OS on their reference developer platform and on Nexus S and was not impressed — for example it looked like they have to learn about DPI…

Then I met OE crew and few other guys and when finally noticed that it is time to go to the hotel and drop gear there. Once arrived it was a bit to late to go somewhere and search for some event so I joined SzLUUG team and we went for a meal, chocolates and then some drinking with Kerneliusz (SzLUUG mascotte):

Kerneliusz is hugging bottle

Sunday

Breakfast, packing gear and go for a bus which was less crowded than day before (but we are a bit late as well). As we had to leave after 14:00 I managed only two talks:

  • “systemd, Two Years Later” — some Ubuntu trolling and project status. Nice talk.
  • “Porting applications to 64-Bit ARM Architecture” by Riku Voipio (main AArch64 porter at Linaro). Good discussion in a room, some nice hints and suggestions. Read his recent blog post about ARMv8 porting

Then walk, tram, bus and security check. This time I did not have to take developer boards from backpack as I gave them away during event. We arrived in Berlin and (due to Michał’s fosdem flu) I drove us back home.

Summary

It was great event as usual. But distance between K building and rest was too big for sessions which are one after another. I dropped some entries from my calendar just because it would be H->K->H->K switching.

Android application for schedule was ok. Would be nice to make a bigger effort and update it to cover K building as well and add a way to see what is going on in each building/room to reduce time before sessions.

Funny part

On Saturday I realized that for some reason I may remind Jon Masters… That’s due to hardware I had with me:

  • two developer boards
  • two phones
  • two tablets
  • 3 USB chargers
  • 4 microUSB cables

The good thing is that they were not of same type (except some cables) :D

Going for FOSDEM

This year no one blocked me from going to FOSDEM ;D

What are plans? There will be some AArch64 related talks which I want to attend:

  • Bootstrapping Fedora for AArch64
  • Bootstrapping Debian/Ubuntu for AArch64
  • Porting software for AArch64
  • Porting OpenJDK for AArch64
  • What the hell is AArch64

Few ARM ones:

  • Freedreno update
  • Open ARM GPU drivers
  • ARM status in Linux kernel

Few for entertainment:

  • Buildroot contra Debian
  • Baserock introduction
  • Eudev

Some for curiosity:

  • HipHop
  • Why there is no such thing as FOSS phone?

Original titles may differ. There are over 450 events during FOSDEM, several keynotes etc. There will be also few thousand people so I would rather not find a time to attend even half of sessions listed above… But for me this is how this conference work :D

Normally I do not take hardware with my (other than phone). This time I packed two boards, two tablets and hope to get rid of most of them ;)

Linaro Connect q2.12

Another week of conference passed. This time I was at Linaro Connect q2.12 which took place in Hong Kong Gold Coast hotel.

As usual everything started with packing. I have a list for it so it is usually quick job but you know — I was going to Hong Kong, world capital of cheap electronics so better have some space available just in case. So I borrowed bigger bag from friend, put some Linaro stickers on it (to be able to find it at baggage claim) and put all my stuff inside. Of course travel things went to backpack (have to buy more comfortable one).

And then trip began… In short: car, bus, wait at airport, plane, wait at airport, plane, catch Rob Clark, taxi, hotel. Total time: 22 hours.

Hotel was nice. View from room at “15th” floor (which was 12th due to 4, 13, 14 missing):

View from hotel window

Monday went with meeting people, sessions (scheduled and random ones) and some hacking. At end of day we had usual “meet & greet” dinner which was rather “seat & eat” style as we had it in room where we has lunch and there was not enough space to walk and discuss with people. For this I prefer UDS style where you have few points with food/drinks, lot of walking space and some tables here and there so you can grab something to eat and chat with many people during one evening.

Speaking of food… It was great! Breakfasts offered wide choice of Chinese, Japanese, Singapore food with Western options available too (some sausages, boiled eggs, British beans). Add fruits, sweets and all what was there to make sandwiches… Lunches were even more mixed. Something local, something European, salads, sweets — all that made me a bit heavier on return trip :D

Many people were surprised by lack of soda options as only coffee, tea and bottled water were available daily. For me it was not a problem as coffee + water were more than enough.

But back to sessions. There were many ARMv8 (aarch64-gnu-linux) sessions. I attended one of them where we discussed about building cross compilers, bootstrapping distributions etc. As rest of ARMv8 ones this was not broadcasted or recorded. Rest of sessions used Google Hangouts for remote participation. It worked well even with last-minute changes from Google which terribly broke setup we used for earlier Connects. I was on session where leader (Wookey) was remotely so we had “big brother is watching you” effect:

Big Wookey is watching you

Have to admit that this method of remote participation helps as users can just ask questions instead of relying on someone following IRC channel. But it is also limited to who can join so no use for conferences like UDS.

For me interesting sessions were ones around CI process. We have few such systems and each has different use. There is LAVA which gives us ARM boards to run tests on, Jenkins to run builds on x86 instances (Amazon EC2 like). Toolchain Working Group has “cbuild” which they use to build and test toolchain on x86 and ARM machines. And then there is also Launchpad which has daily builds from selected Bazaar branches. We had discussions about merging them and/or sharing resources (like a way to borrow ARM boards from LAVA to run cbuild). Hope that we will get something interesting from it.

But sessions are not the only thing to do. There are also after work activities. We got coaches available on Tue/Wed/Thu to Tsim Sha Tsui (TST in short) district, The Peak (Tue only due to cloudy weather) and somewhere else. I went to TST on Tuesday and we just walked around it, got some food (chopsticks only so we decided to not ask for cutlery and handle it — we managed) and for fun visited one of those shops with “TAX FREE” signs (which in tourist language means “YOU DO NOT WANT TO BUY HERE”).

On next day I went with Zygmunt Krynicki to Golden Computer Shopping Center near the Sham Shui Po station. Lot of computer shops compressed in small area. Everything from SSDs, mainboards etc to normal and weird cables. In one shop I asked for 0.5m long HDMI cables and got them so expect soon post about adding HDMI switcher to my devboards setup. Decided to not spend money on anything more expensive as there is no warranty that it will work and I do not want to ship hardware back to Hong Kong when it fail.

Thursday we want for team dinner. But before we decided to take a ferry from Avenue of Stars to Hong Kong Island and go for ice cream there:

Ice cream selection at "I Scream" place

I went for ginger and green tea flavours as both sounded crazy enough and I am sure that will not find them here in Poland. Ginger one was great (even if I do not like ginger) but green tea one was awful — tasted like concentrate of concentrated tea.

Hong Kong Island skyline

Me and Alexandros at Avenue of Stars

Then we went to “Spring Deer” restaurant. Crowdy, long queue (even with earlier registration). As usual in Hong Kong I had to watch my head in few places. When we got table it looked like disaster but got cleaned quickly and were served with food.

For start they give us some oiled peanuts so we had interesting challenge as a way of practising eating with chopsticks. We ordered some pork, fish, vegetables and duck.

Vegetables - no idea which Pork or fish Pork or fish

duck Lotus seeds Bananas

After dinner we were able only to grab taxis and go back hotel ;)

Friday was my last day there. During packing bag I realized that this is my first conference when do not have any extra hardware (cables do not count). But I hope that sooner or later I will put hands on some kind of ARM server hardware (maybe one node Calxeda board which I heard rumours about). As there were nearly no sessions I went to one of hacking rooms for coding and got my patches reviewed by Matthias Klose — have to work on few of them, some were described as “have to merge as look ok”.

After lunch we had usual “Demo Friday” where people presented work of miscellaneous Linaro (but not only) teams. One of interesting ones was comparison of ASOP build of Android 4.0.4 contra Linaro build which was present on two same Pandaboards. Both were running 0xbench and results were cleanly visible. Changes are in review and on a way to ASOP tree (due to usual “Upstream, upstream, upstream” philosophy of Linaro).

Day ended with dinner in Chinese style. Food was good and interesting — especially when we were trying to find out what menu entries mean ;) There was a show of Chinese “Bian lian” art with a guy changing his masks. I was wondering for a moment how we did that but did not bother with it too much.

20:15 was bus to airport. Then usual stuff: wait on airport, plane, wait on airport, plane, wait on airport, bus, car, home. This time 26 hours. Saturday evening was a bit hard but with a help of melatonin I managed to get rid of it with 8h sleep. So this is first trip without jet lag problems.