My time at Linaro is over

Today is my last day at Linaro. And this time it is for real (compared to “So long, and thanks for all the fish” post).

Often people asked me what I like at Linaro. It is openness with the “upstream first!” motto and the team. People with wide experience, open to share their knowledge, many FOSS world celebrities… I will miss those guys.

And this time I will not write summary of what I did at Linaro — most of the things worth mentioning were already mentioned (see archives).

So today I am changing mailing lists subscriptions, pass over maintenance of OpenEmbedded layers to Riku Voipio and other things related to my leave.

But who knows when our tracks will cross again. I think we will meet at FOSS conferences…

My UK trip — Cambridge

Cambridge is nice city. I was there at least once every year since 2009: OEDEM 2009, Emdebian sprint in 2010, during Linaro Connect q3.11, ARMv8 sprint in 2012. But this time it was not work related visit.

Saturday

It was evening when I reached Cambridge. Paweł took me from the train station and I had occasion to see their new house and how they plan to restructure it. We discussed some things, spoke a bit (mostly I) about ARMology (history of ARM cores) and day ended.

Sunday

Lazy day spent on wandering around in the centre of Cambridge. I could go to Ely or Norwich instead but decided to just take a long walk and see places which I already saw before and find something new as well.

One of new places was Market Square Street Market where many local products could be bought and/or tried. Ostrich burgers, cakes, cookies, cheese, different things made from wood, metal or screws, jewellery made from misc materials like buttons. There were books, movies, music on CDs and vinyls, paintings, different kind of food to buy/taste… And many other things. I spent probably an hour there just walking and checking what do they have on offer.

But as it was yet another quite windy day I decided to buy some wind proof jacket. Visited few shops but did not find anything (finally bought one day later). My cold was already at advanced phase ;(

But it was well spent day. I saw many new places, reminded already visited ones but (mostly due to cold) did not took any pictures.

Monday

I had an appointment with Andrew Wafaa so we met for lunch at the Oak Bistro. Discussed about misc things (like end of my job at Linaro) and at the end I gave him MicroSD adapter which does not stick out from Chromebook. He told me few hours later that it was a problem to get it back from people later during day 😉

After lunch I went to the Whipple Museum. Interesting exhibition. Models of human body, lot of scientific equipment from few centuries. Really worth visiting.

Day ended with visit at 40th Cambridge Beer Festival. I like how event was organized. “No glass, no service” means you can bring your own glass or pay 2.5GBP deposit for event one. There was wide choice of beers, ciders, perries (cider like make from pears), meads and wines. You could buy whole, half or third of pint (meads and wines were sold in 175ml portions) which made tasting easier.

Tuesday

I reserved that day for beer festival only. Leif took day off so we could spend it together there. The only problem was when on Monday’s evening I realized that we forgot to share any usable contact information but we managed to find each other at one of social networking websites.

So beer… I bought several ones and tried even more from local friends. In the official application I marked (random order):

  • Curious (bitter)
  • Summer Virgin (golden ale)
  • Nero (stout)
  • “Ruby… don’t take your beer to town” (dark mild)
  • Krasny Red (bitter, IPA style)
  • Pegasus (bitter)
  • Honeypot (speciality which I got rid to urinal after few sips)
  • Golden Kiwi (golden ale)
  • Bohemium Lager (lager)
  • Zulu (porter)

But there were also other ones and “Dark Mead” for the end of day. With thanks of Leif and Steve I found out what is a source of that strange taste I call “English beer taste” which I am not a fan of. According to Steve it is due to hops.

It was great day due to beer and people I met: Andy, Neil, Steve, Leif, Maria and others.

Wednesday

The last day in Cambridge. Went to Fitzwilliam museum to take a look at the art. And I have to admit that I prefer art from 18-19th centuries rather than modern one.

Eat lunch, packed bags and then went to Stansted airport. Funny moment at security gate where officer asked me about amount of cellphones in my bag. There were just two of them: Nexus 4 and Chinese E6 one (plus Kindle and Nexus 7 tablet). Probably it was just routine control ;D

And after around 9 hours I finally arrived at home…

Conclusion

It was good trip, I enjoyed every day of it (even with cold), managed to visit most of the places I planned to, met friends and spent time in other way than usually.

My UK trip — London

I was few times in London but always on business without time for sightseeing so decided to change it.

Day one

After few hours trip landed at London Gatwick airport. Some say that’s worst one of five but was not so bad. Why there? Because I could and I was on Stansted, Luton and Heathrow already (plan to use City one next time). Short trip to the city and hello Victoria station — long time no see

Bought Oyster card to use public transport in easiest way and took a metro train to hotel. Nothing fancy — just cheap (65£ per night) hotel without any extras (but with working free WiFi).

Unpacked only needed things and went to city centre. Victoria monument, Buckingham Palace, the Mall etc. More or less followed the most popular trip from the “Trip Advisor” application.

Went to Thames, crossed with one bridge, looked at London Eye (and decided to skip it) and then Big Ben and Westminster Abbey were next. I considered returning to the Abbey next day but later decided against it.

Grabbed some food and went to sleep early as it was 3rd day when I woke up around 5:00.

Day two

Thursday… Skipped Westminster Abbey and went by foot to the British Museum. Met Mark Brown on a way and we had good time looking at all those things which British Empire had stolen from all around the world. We didn’t managed to find Britain sections.

After lunch I went to the Forbidden Planet store. And sunk there for quite long time. Then got back to buy two more books. This place was amazing…

They had stuff related to movies, games, tv series – figurines, key chains, t-shirts, toys, rings/jewellery, helmets, weapons and other… Some from limited editions. But when I wondered “is that’s all?” I went to the basement. And sank.

Comics, books, movies, tv series, manga, anime, photo albums and more. Books about movies, books which movies were based on (and vice versa). “Darth Vader’s princess” and “Darth Vader and his son” were there (9£ each), “Simon’s cat” books which my daughter would love (so I bought one), lot of SF and fantasy books in nice editions (Asimov for example).

“Big book of butts” looked funny. Next one was “Big book of legs” next to “pin-up girls” and other photo/erotic ones.

Nice place to go to but I warn you – you can leave a lot of cash there and have problem packing…

Lack of Britain sections in museum made me go to their website to check floor plan. And back to the building to see few more exhibitions. When I finally found what was searching for they told us to leave 🙁

But no need to be sad I thought cause I was going to meet long time no see friends at a pub not so far away. Went there, ordered some “organic lager” and sat down to wait for them. Few minutes later I had a chat with some guys around 60 years old about some random stuff. Good part were their recommendations which beer to try next. As you probably guess it was not lager but rather ale or something more English.

YaaL and Pornel arrived and we had nice chat about life, work etc. Time passed too fast 🙁 But it was good to meet after so many years.

Day three

This had to be no museums day. First I went to visit Canonical’s office as I have never been there…

Finding building was quite easy, then discussion with security took a bit more before they finally realised that I am on a visitors list already. Got tour of the office, looked at wall full of Ubuntu Touch interface mockups, discussed few of them with someone, made some coffee and left the building.

Next step was Tete Modern Art gallery. I spent few hours there watching all those sculptures, paintings and installations which were counted as art in previous century. Did not even tried to understand those…

Due to cold I got during previous days I went back to the hotel. But why stay there when there are so many places to visit and so little time?

So I decided to make use of longer opening hours at the British Museum and went there. This time managed to see Britain sections and European Medieval times ones. It was good evening.

Day four

As this was my last day in London I decided to not go far from the hotel. Checked out, left luggage and went on foot to the Science Museum.

Lovely place. Went quickly though Space exhibition (cause most of it I saw at Cape Canaveral already) but other ones were worth seeing. Age of Steam with all those engines and descriptions, vehicles like bikes (starting with “safety bicycle” by Rover), motorcycles, cars (including JET 1 powered by gas turbine) but also planes (with replica of Wright brothers one) and helicopters.

I enjoyed the “Materials” exhibition — especially body model with some artificial addons and long list next to it informing which materials can be used for which implants and other inserted parts.

There was also special exhibition about Alan Turing and his work.

After visit I went for food, took luggage from hotel and then the Underground to King’s Cross train station and went to Cambridge. But this will be next post.

Call for ALSA UCM profiles

When I bought Samsung ARM Chromebook few months ago I had no idea about UCM profiles and burnt speakers (left is dead, right is resting)…

This was good lesson. I learnt more about how UseCase Manager works, took profiles from ChromeOS and added them into Ubuntu so other users will be a bit more safe (due to lack of testers it took months to merge it into “precise” and “quantal” releases).

During last months I had discussions with some Debian, Ubuntu, Fedora developers about how to solve such problems and how to keep UCM profiles shared between distributions.

In meantime Liam Girdwood pointed me to (not used) UCM git tree at ALSA Project server. So finally I spent some time and sent Ubuntu ones for merging.

I also got newer profiles for OMAP4 devices and some updates for Chromebook ones.

The idea is to collect UCM profiles, keep them in one place and share in each distribution packages. So if your hardware has profiles created then join us to make users life easier.

State of Linaro layers for OpenEmbedded

As I will leave Linaro at the end of May I would like to write a summary of current state of Linaro layers for OpenEmbedded.

At Linaro we have 3 layers:

  1. meta-aarch64
  2. meta-linaro
  3. meta-linaro-toolchain

First one is BSP kind. I know that it had some issues which affected each build which had it in BBLAYERS but I fixed those issues. I would like to thank Khem Raj for pointing me at those.

We have git version of binutils there due to some changes which were not present in 2.23 line. But use of this version is not required as builds are fine with OE Core one.

We have “tune-armv8.inc” in this layer as well. There was attempt to merge that into OE Core but “/lib or /lib64” discussion started and at that time I decided to skip it. There are similar discussions at GCC and Glibc mailing lists. Once they sort that out OE tune file will be adapted by someone (I hope).

Rest of recipes can be split into 2-3 types. Few (like sysprof, emacs) just disable recipes for AArch64. Other have extra patches to add missing functionality or defines. And we have Linaro kernel for AArch64 there.

Second layer has ARMv7a(b) machine definitions used for our machine independent builds and some recipes.

There are no patches for OE recipes here. The only exception is busybox where we enable “dpkg(-deb)” command which we need for our tools used to merge rootfs with hardware support.

We have “recipes-extra” where we keep new recipes which may not be in a nicest state so are not yet merged into OpenEmbedded (or have no use there like “meta-toolchain-hhvm” one).

“recipes-linaro” is for our stuff. Images, automatic root shell on serial port etc.

And finally is toolchain layer. Everything here is related to gcc-linaro and Linaro binary cross toolchains (armv7a and aarch64 ones). GCC 4.6 and 4.7 is there but 4.6 one will be removed when 4.8 will be added into OE Core.

Who will maintain those layers after my leave? This was not decided yet. There are few guys at Linaro who know how to use OpenEmbedded but I think that most of them is outside of Builds and Baselines team.

If you have any questions then better ask now.

Looks like it is time for me to say good bye again

Good things have one ugly part in common — they have to end one day… For me that day will be 31st May 2013 when contract between Canonical and Linaro will end.

Those 3 years were great. I wrote a lot about it half year ago so those of you who are new – go to my previous “good bye Linaro” post before reading rest of this post.

Half year ago I was going to Canonical but got hold at Linaro for longer. Then I made a mistake by agreeing to postpone my move to Linaro instead of joining as soon as possible — my fault…

Last 6 months were full of interesting things. We went from just bootstrapped AArch64 port to fully working LAMP and SDK images built with OpenEmbedded. I integrated all Linaro layers into one repository and reorganized in a way that those who want only our toolchains can have them without using any of our changes. This move was greeted by lot of maintainers and users from OpenEmbedded community. Wherever new toolchain components were provided for tests I had them checked on first day to see how AArch64 situation got improved and provided fixes when they were needed.

Recent release of Yocto Project has several changes done by me and Riku Voipio integrated. OpenEmbedded project also made release and has even more our changes in it. Most of those were AArch64 related, some were software updates or fixes to low level stuff.

Linaro Enterprise Group has Owen Yamauchi from Facebook working on porting HipHopVM. He is using SDK created by OpenEmbedded to not worry about any build dependencies or missing libraries. With my work (and work from porters like Riku Voipio, Steve McIntyre, Yvan Roux and others) he got not only libraries but also tools he needed for his job.

Andy Johnson started OpenJDK porting — also with OpenEmbedded. Riku provided instructions which I merged into our ‘jenkins-setup’ scripts to make live easier for Andy.

Due to all that work I am often contacted by random people (not only from Linaro) wherever they have some AArch64 related questions. Sometimes even with ARMv4/EABI related like post from Nicolas Pitre a day after RMK wrote that FPU emulator has to be removed from the Linux kernel. I provided him instructions how to make such build and just to be sure that I did not made any mistakes I tried one on my machine. IIRC none of main distributions support EABI for ARMv4 (no thumb) processors.

But looks like all that has to end. Unless someone from Linaro member companies (or who knows, maybe even Linaro itself) wants to hire me. I am open for offers.

If I go outside of @linaro.org then I would like to stay around and check how things go — probably as ‘community member’ or how it is called.

And one more thing at the end. As usual when I end my work at one place I gather recommendations on LinkedIn. If you have few spare minutes and want to write something then it will be appreciated.