1. Revision 2013

    This year I spent Easter in other way than in past years. Instead of staying with the family I went for demoscene party — Revision 2013 in Saarbrücken.

    Please note (RSS readers mostly) that this post will contain many YouTube videos embedded. Please go to my blog to have them properly displayed.


    Took us 12 hours to get there (mostly due to waiting on TXL and FRA airports) but we managed to be at party place around 19:00 on Friday. Registered, met friends and went to Kirchberg Hotel to drop bags.

    Hotel has two stars but was perfectly fine for such trip as our. Clean bed, good breakfast, quiet place (except church bells at 10:00 on Sunday). All just ~2km from E-Werk where Revision took place.

    Back to party, more people to meet, discuss a bit with guys from ARM Ltd about Samsung Chromebook, Cortex-A15, Mali etc. One guy joined with his Chromebook and recognized me when I asked “may I fry your speakers?” :D

    Timetable listed one interesting thing: “Curio’s 2012 Essentials” which was ~1 hour long set of PC demos from previous year. It was nice as I was totally out of PC scene so was able to check how it looks.

    Taxi to hotel was just 6€ ;D


    Attended “How to start writing compilers without a Ph.D” seminar as it sounded interesting to me. And it was ;) Video below:

    Also had discussion with ARM guys about presenting not only technical demos (like Unreal Engine one) but also to show some demoscene productions. Soon “Beginnings” by Elude started on one of Nexus 10 tablets and was working nice. But coder who wrote it was not so happy about that when we discussed that later… I think that it would be a good thing for ARM Mali team to get some good demoscene groups to write demos for Android platform to amaze people with nice looking productions. ARM even had seminar for OpenGLES 3.0 API:

    But Saturday was also full of competitions. Tracked music, oldskool music (read: 8-bit mostly), photo, animation/video, game, ascii/ansi, Amiga intros, PC 4K intros, Oldskool demos (8-bit, Atari STE, Amiga 500)…

    There were many entries in compos where productions from long time no see groups/people were presented. For example in oldskool demo we got “RINK A DINK REDUX” from Lemon which was astonishing:

    There were also demos for Amstrad CPC, MSX1, ZX Spectrum, Commodore 64 and other platforms. Oldskool music compo had even NES entry ;)

    But it was also visible that demoscene is not full of amateurs like it was years ago. Some of videos in animation/video compo had professional level. “Lübeck 24x7x365” took 50 days of recording but was really nice:

    There was a concert in the evening… Ear plugs were not strong enough for me so I spent most of time outside talking with people. Next time need to take some better hearing protectors…


    As Saturday ended really late for us and competitions were planned for 13:00 we decided to not rush and stay in bed longer :) But at around 10:00 bells in local church started their music compo so we were not able to sleep anymore.

    We got music, graphics, wild and of course PC 64K intro, web browser demo/intro, Amiga demo and PC demo competitions that day.

    Graphics one was won by “Double Trouble by the Royal Forces” made by forcer & prince. Huge amount of details which was not so visible on big screen as it was on a tunnel’s wall where it was hanging as few square meters photo copy.

    Wild compo… Man, that was something great. From productions made for Arduino (with some shields) though ARM Cortex-M3 one to interesting hack by Dexter/Abyss which shown one view on monochrome TV and second on oscilloscope while both were connected to Composite video signal only… See it for yourself (or grab separate entries from scene.org FTP server):

    Then DJ set by h0ffman (skipped by me) and clue of party — Amiga and PC demos/intros. Different quality but most of them was really good — both from technical or design view (but not always from both at same time).

    But as I am not a coder I looked mostly at design and audio/video part. All those names like ‘ray matching’ etc meant nothing to me so when someone tried to explain why demo which I did not like was so great I just told similar thing ;D


    Wake up, breakfast, pack, pay, go to party place. We did not manage to get there before voting ended so not voted for PC demo compo entries. Greeted those who was still present, discussed a bit and then return trip… This time just ~9 hours but next time (if there will be such) we plan to go there by car. Less time needed.

    Random stuff

    I liked how party was organized — it was my first such event abroad and many people told me that Revision is the last demoscene party in old style. I really liked it. Saw many different platforms like MSX1, MSX2, C= VIC20, Amstrad CPC or Videoton…

    Due to Easter time shops where closed on Sunday/Monday but it was not a problem for me as there was free coffee/tea, beer/water/orange juice was available to buy at low price (2.5€ for 0.5l beer) and there was hot food served all time (like 10:00 - midnight) also not so expensive.

    Weather could be better as it was cold but at least there was no snow (which we still have here).

    It was also nice to see Kiero at work as he was finishing “Machinist” Amiga demo on his x86-64 laptop with WinUAE running fullscreen. I was surprised that ASUS UL30A is capable to run it fast enough.

    Amount of discussions with people is probably uncountable. Chromebook, ARM, Android, Amiga, scene were just subset of topics…

    Will I go there next year? Will see…

    Written by Marcin Juszkiewicz on
  2. Organizing books on Kindle sucks

    I have a Kindle. Paperwhite to be precise. And 224 books on it…

    When I look at a shelf behind me I see probably similar amount of paper ones. Science fiction, fantasy, sensation, computer ones and other. They are more or less in an order.

    I have series next to each other — with books set in reading order (not always original one but mine). Tall separated from low ones, English ones near to those in Polish.

    So when I want to read “Collectors” by Baldacci I can just go there, take a quick look, grab it and start reading. Other two parts are next to it (I just realised that I lack two books from cycle) and in Polish. Similar with “Witch World” cycle by Andre Norton (but only in Polish).

    Getting such order on Kindle? Forget it.

    I have 5.3.3 firmware with jailbreak and Collection Manager. I use Calibre on desktop to have my e-books in one place. But then I have some books only on Kindle cause I bought them on Amazon directly. Will unDRM them one day. For some books from Polish online stores situation looks similar.

    Some e-books have the same title for both parts — like “Dziewiąty Mag” for example. And guess which one is which on device without opening…

    There is no easy way to store information where book was bought. Sure, I can create a column in Calibre and fill that data there. But have you tried to do it for more than 3 books? PAIN

    I created several collections to get a bit of order on device. But I do not like situation when I have to edit e-book title just to add information which part of cycle it is.

    Maybe one day I will find solutions…

    Written by Marcin Juszkiewicz on
  3. 35 months at Linaro

    Today with my paycheck Canonical reminded me that I started working at Linaro 35 months ago…

    Time flies fast and things are changing even faster. I am working in the same team as started but it has 4th or even 5th name with most of first members gone or moved to other teams. 3rd manager at Linaro (and first one not from Canonical) and 5th or 6th at Canonical (depends on how to count).

    At the same time Linaro grown from 20-25 people who met at private meeting on first day of UDS-M in Belgium to a much bigger number. I lost track long time ago as it is hard to remember everyone especially when people move into Linaro and then go back to member companies, switch teams, companies (like going from member company to Linaro directly).

    I will have to make such decision in next 1-2 months as I am one of the few reminding Canonical ones…

    Written by Marcin Juszkiewicz on
  4. Cookies blabla…

    This site is using cookies. Some of them are to track you as I use Google Analytics. Other may keep your name/email/website when you write comments on my blog.

    We have new law here in European Union that visitors should get notification when website is using cookies. You know — privacy stuff etc. Lot of people does not even have any idea what this whole noise is about. There are websites for them with all that not even needed information — your search engine will point you there (and use few cookies in meantime).

    I do not plan to add any of those annoying popups which will tell that there are cookies in use. Once you see such one you get cookie — cause website needs a way to remember that you clicked “yes, I know, get off my screen” button. You will not see such one here.

    There is a text box in right column about cookies — go, read, decide would you read my blog or not. It is your choice and always was.

    PS. I added tags into post just to get this post shown on each RSS aggregator I am/was listed.

    UPDATE: added small header.

    Written by Marcin Juszkiewicz on
  5. 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
    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:

    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:

    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
    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
    Helsinki with snow

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

    Szczecin next day
    Szczecin next day

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

    Written by Marcin Juszkiewicz on
  6. 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).

    Written by Marcin Juszkiewicz on
  7. AArch64 port of Debian/Ubuntu is alive!

    That day had to come. It was just a matter of time. Debian bootstrapped new architecture port using just own tools and packages…

    It was long trip. During last few years we saw bigger amount of work spent in Debian/Ubuntu on cross building packages. Then were Google Summer of Code projects on bootstrapping Debian and one for multiarch cross toolchains. And we had Wookey with his ideas, knowledge and abilities to get one thing to work on for months in a way that managers were agreeding that it needs another month and another ;)

    And today I found an email from Wookey about AArch64 port. I suggest you to read it as it has a lot of information. You can find ready to use rootfs there which (connected with kernel from OpenEmbedded) boots to fresh Ubuntu 13.04:

    Ubuntu Raring Ringtail (development branch) localhost ttyAMA0
    localhost login: root
    Last login: Thu Jan  1 00:07:37 UTC 1970 on ttyAMA0
    Welcome to Ubuntu Raring Ringtail (development branch) (GNU/Linux 3.8.0 aarch64)
     * Documentation:  https://help.ubuntu.com/
    root@localhost:~# uname -a
    Linux localhost 3.8.0 #1 SMP Wed Feb 20 14:31:07 CET 2013 aarch64 aarch64 aarch64 GNU/Linux

    You need to have patience as Upstart needs to run lot of stuff before it gives login prompt.

    Still lot of work required as there are many patches to packaging waiting for being merged but I think that it is a big day for Debian and all distributions derived from it.

    Written by Marcin Juszkiewicz on
  8. How to update Chrubuntu 12.04 to Ubuntu 13.04

    There are many users of so-called Chrubuntu which have Ubuntu 12.04 running on their Samsung ARM Chromebooks. And I do not support them with any updates so they wonder how to upgrade to 13.04 release. So I decided to spend some time and help with it.

    For this I installed Chrubuntu 12.04 on SD card (not on internal as I have own installation of Ubuntu there) and I will go though upgrade to 13.04 and document all steps here.

    First thing: if your Chrubuntu installation fails on fetching 4.7MB of “ubuntu-1204-binak.bz2” file then you probably started script with “sh” instead of “bash”. Abort process and run it with “bash” — it really needs it.

    But ok, you got your Chromebook booted to Ubuntu desktop (running Unity 2D). Remember: your password is “user”. Open terminal (Ctrl+LAlt+t), get root and edit APT sources so they will point to “raring” instead of “precise”. Now refresh APT data and run distro upgrade (I used “apt-get dist-upgrade).

    There may be some issues during upgrade. I had to run “apt-get -f install” and it removed some packages including “unity” and “ubuntu-desktop”. To get them back I needed “apt-get install ubuntu-desktop gnome-control-center nautilus nautilus-share nautilus-sendto eog unity libgnome-desktop-3.4 gnome-settings-daemon” command.

    Next step is adding ARM Chromebook hackers PPA: “sudo add-apt-repository ppa:chromebook-arm/ppa” and again updating APT cache.

    Now it is time to install Ubuntu kernel and tools: “apt-get install cgpt vboot-kernel-utils linux-image-chromebook. During installation you will get “Warning: root device does not exist” message during creation of initrd image. Just ignore that and then remove “flash-kernel” package.

    Time to sign kernel. Create file with kernel command line. I suggest “console=tty1 printk.time=1 quiet nosplash rootwait root=/dev/mmcblk1p7 rw rootfstype=ext4″ but you can adapt it as you want. Sign kernel: “vbutil_kernel --pack /tmp/kernel-to-boot-ubuntu --keyblock /usr/share/vboot/devkeys/kernel.keyblock --version 1 --signprivate /usr/share/vboot/devkeys/kernel_data_key.vbprivk --config CMDLINE_FILE --vmlinuz /boot/vmlinuz-3.4.0-5-chromebook --arch arm. And do not forget to write it to SD: “dd if=/tmp/kernel-to-boot-ubuntu of=/dev/mmcblk1p6 bs=4M.

    Time to reboot to 13.04. Less kernel messages on console then before but blue screen instead of Unity desktop ;( Good that “Ctrl-LAlt-1” switches us to text console.

    Login as “user” (password is “user” as I mentioned earlier), gain root and install “chromium-mali-opengles” package. Now “restart lightdm” and check how X11 looks this time. Still blue? Switch back to text console then.

    Now it is time to enable “universe” part of repository (I though that it is enabled by default). Edit “/etc/apt/sources.list” file and uncomment proper lines. Now we can install “armsoc” X11 display driver. Here you can curse at me — package in repository lacks Exynos5 part of xorg.conf ;(

    But this does not change situation — still no Unity. At this moment I can recommend XFCE instead. Install “xubuntu-desktop” (181MB of disk space needed).

    Ok, time to switch default session to Xubuntu one. Edit “/etc/lightdm/lightdm.conf” and set “user-session” to “xubuntu”. Save and “restart lightdm. Now you should land in XFCE session.

    Are icons broken? If yes then you probably need to complete distribution upgrade. I had 725 packages to process… Once it done — restart X11 session.

    So now I have working XFCE desktop with latest kernel. OpenGLES is not working but I have to check why.

    Was it hard?

    UPDATE: fixed OpenGL ES package name and improved formating so -- were preserved. UPDATE 2: fixed PPA name and partition number.

    Written by Marcin Juszkiewicz on
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