Panel: Measuring Community Contributions (Liveblog)

Panelists:
Joe Brockmeier – OpenSUSE
Jono Bacon – Ubuntu
James Bottomley – Novell
Dan Frye – IBM
Karsten Wade – Fedora

* Don’t always associated “contribution” with “code”.
* People tend to contribute things that are of value to them – they are scratching their own itch.
* Measuring community is very new and is not an exact science. There’s still a lot to learn and we’re still making mistakes.
* Having a clear answer to “how do I get involved” is very important.
* The first mistake companies often make when they try to enter the Linux community is an attempt to push things upstream as-is and in a way that only benefit the company.
* Audience question: It seems most mainline kernel development comes from the developed world. Why isn’t more coming from India, China and other developing countries?
– Dan indicated that some IBM’ers are actually effectively contributing from BRIC countries, but admits that we can do a much better job here.
– Some of this is an infrastructure problem, which is already being worked on.
* Audience question: Is there a way to objectively measure contribution?
– Intuition is our starting point, but we’re moving toward reverse intuition.
– Fedora is using EKG – https://fedorahosted.org/ekg/
– Every project focuses on different aspects and different items are important to them.
– Measuring community started out very informally, but as we mature we’re being much more rigorous and scientific in our measurements.
– Deciding _what_ to measure can be difficult.
– Measuring for the sake of measuring is senseless. Getting data that is useful is very important.
Audience question: is anyone measuring the way people are mentoring?
– Generally yes, but it’s vastly different for each project/community.

–jeremy

Panel: The Linux Kernel – What's Next (Liveblog)

Panelists:
Ted T’so – CTO Linux Foundation
Greg Kroah-Hartman – Novell
Andrew Morton – Google
Keith Packard – X.org

* 2.6.30
– now has a staging tree
* X.org
– moving forward, focus will be on fixing what is already there.
– Intel stuff mostly “just works”. Lot of work going into ATi Radeon right now. nVidia is still not supporting native Linux efforts “at all”. Via is starting to engage the Linux community.
– each driver is a fairly concerted effort. There is a lot of silicon, complexity and logic in GPU’s these days.
– with most graphic stuff now in kernel, it’s easier to get started with small new experimental interesting projects.
* Filesystems
– ext4 – 2 community distros will ship in the near future with ext4 enabled. Fedora 11 may make it the default.
– most recent bugs have not involved data loss.
– ext4 really represents a short term safe solution, but is based on old technology. Long term there will be a different answer.
– btrfs and nilfs are two of those.
– Are there too many filesystems?
* Linux Next
– comprised of over 100 branches
– has taken a lot of work out of doing -mm. He’d like to see it get more uptake, but think it’s still been a success overall.
* Is there a point where the Linux kernel community gets too big?
– the velocity of change remains astounding.
– there have been a lot of new “silos” and even subsystems that have popped up that have not been vetted by any of the old timers. This can cause issues.
* Audience question: There is a big push to get things in mainline, but often when someone actually tries to do that they run into a lot of opposition. How can this be improved?
– touch the kernel core as little as possible (systemtap was used as an example) and if you do, the code better be *very* good. If it’s a new driver or small subsystem, send it to Greg for Linux Next.
– utrace ran into the chicken and egg problem. Not enough users to get merged, but difficult to get users before you are in mainline.
– Knowing how to push a patch to the kernel community makes a big difference.
* Where do we stand with tracing?
– part of the problem will be evangelizing that tracers exist in the kernel.
– there is a large amount of interest in tracing now. A lot of what is going on now is experimentation and we’re still learning. Documentation is still poor, but they continue to get more usable.
* Audience question: What is being done to foster the next generation of kernel maintainers?
– Is actually something some of the current core maintainers think about. Being welcome, open and honest is a lot of it.
– The code is complex and growing rapidly. Just getting to know the memory system well could take 6-12 months. It’s a serious time commitment,
* nftables
– what would a migration from iptables look like? A long process that would take 4+ years and would require serious vendor buyin. It has been done before.
– maintaining compatibility with the `iptables` command could help.
– in almost all cases, maintaining backward compatibility is a lot of work.
* A lot of new companies who never contributed to the Linux kernel are now doing so.
* There are now 1,200 contributors and the mix of sources is extremely varied.

–jeremy

Linux Foundation to Host Moblin (Liveblog)

Imad Sousou, Director of the Open Source Technology Center at Intel, explains the decision to have the Linux Foundation host the Moblin project.

* “Big corporations are not good shepherds of Open Source”
* “The Linux Foundation provides a vendor neutral forum where the project and its developer community can thrive”
* Despite giving up control, Intel will actually be dedicating more resources to Moblin moving forward, not less.
* There will be no disruption to the Moblin project
* Moblin was created because Intel want every OS to run the best on Intel platforms. The Atom processor was the impetus.
* What’s ahead in Moblin 2
– Fastboot:
today: 5 secs
goal: 2 secs
– Next generation UI’s
widget toolkits are not the right answer.
animation frameworks might be. Intel likes “Clutter”, which “allows you to develop apps using gaming technology”.
– Connection management using Connman

Linux Foundation Collaboration Summit

I’m in San Francisco for the 3rd annual Linux Foundation Collaboration Summit. I wasn’t able to attend the event last year, but I was at the introductory Summit and really enjoyed it. I know this blog has been quiet in the recent past, but posting frequency should return to normal moving forward.

–jeremy

Linux Foundation Collaboration Summit

As I mentioned in the podcast, I had planned to attend the Linux Foundation Collaboration Summit but had to cancel due to a last minute conflict. Since I wasn’t able to attend I’ve been keep a close eye on the coverage. It looks like I’m missing a great event. Here’s a couple links if you’re also interested in the event:

LF YouTube Channel
InformationWeek
Amanda McPherson on the VA announcement
SJVN live
Dave Jones
LWN

If you have a good link that I missed, feel free to post it in the comments.

–jeremy

Sun and Open Source

Sun takes a lot of heat in the community. Some would say too much, others would say not enough. I find the situation fascinating, really… and think it’s a good look into the complex and sometimes antithetical nature of the Open Source ecosystem. I don’t think it’s disputable the Sun has done a ton for Open Source. They have deep roots in OSS and to this day contribute a ton of code and mindshare. They have strayed off the path a bit at times and I think part of the uneasiness has to do with their waffling opinion on Linux. To me, it seems like much of this is in the past, but reputations die hard. One thing that is not in the past, and is the current cause of some consternation, is that Sun likes to control projects more then some in the Open Source world are willing to tolerate. The did it with Java, OOo and now OpenSolaris. Roy Fielding recently stepped down from the OpenSolaris project due to this and I think he brings up some valid concerns. I also think much of the problem Sun has in this regard isn’t how they act, but is around their messaging. As Roy mentioned in his email, companies like MySQL were able to adopt products that are truly Open Source with a decision making structure that was mostly controlled within the company. Not many people gave MySQL heat about that, because they were quite up front and transparent about it. Sun is not always so. My next point, as you may have guessed, is that with the recent MySQL AB acquisition, Sun has the opportunely to study and learn from the culture that MySQL was able to create. While I still have some concerns, the more I think about the deal the more I think it made a ton of sense for Sun.

While on the topic of Sun and Open Source, it would be hard to not mention the dust kicked up recently by this post. I do have some commentary, but will save it for a future post. I will say now that I do have some concerns that Sun will be tempted to push MySQL on Solaris, but I don’t think Linux support of MySQL will suffer any time soon. If you’d like some background on the Linux and OpenSolaris issue, this is a great post for you.

–jeremy

Announcing the 2007 Linux Desktop/Client Survey

From The Linux Foundation:

The Linux Foundation Linux Desktop Workgroup is conducting a survey.

The information from this survey will assist the Linux Foundation Desktop Linux workgroup to focus on areas of development that are important to you. The results of this survey may also be valuable to your business. Once you complete the survey, you will be able to view the current aggregated public results of the survey.

The 2007 Linux Desktop/Client Survey asks you to answer a few questions based on your company’s desktop/client plans and not necessarily your personal desktop usage.

If you provide contact information at the end of the survey, the survey results and analysis will be sent to you when the survey is complete. Note: contact information is not a required entry and your contact information will not be published or shared.

–jeremy