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Linux summit surprises

Apr 14, 2009 — by Eric Brown — from the LinuxDevices Archive — 1 views

The Linux Foundation (LF)'s Collaboration Summit last week in San Francisco featured a variety of announcements ranging from the LF's new role in hosting Moblin to new collaboration tools to the latest kernel changes. Meanwhile, the LF announced the winners of its “We're Linux” video contest.

Held April 8-10 at the Hotel Kabuki in San Francisco, the invitation-only Collaboration Summit was collocated with the fifth annual U.S. version of the ELC conference (Embedded Linux Conference). Embedded Linux developers who just couldn't get enough PowerPoint presentations were able to craft a two-week Bay Area junket by also attending the previous week's Embedded Systems Conference (ESC) show in San Jose. ESC organizer TechInsights reports that despite the recession, this year's show was considered a success, with 8,000 attendees — only ten percent fewer than the previous year.

While there was no major news from vendors at this year's Collaboration Summit, such as last year's announcement from Via Technologies that it had begun offering open source drivers, the Linux Foundation itself preceded the show with its own stunner: Intel's transfer of hosting duties for to the LF.

Jim Zemlin

At the conference, the LF offered few specific details as to which direction it would steer the MID- and netbook-oriented Moblin, but the conference did offer a special Moblin sub-conference, and the mobile Linux stack was one of the major points of discussion, says a story in SDTimes. The story also reported that the LF's executive director Jim Zemlin (pictured) unveiled new collaboration tools hosted on the LF web-site for forming and maintaining Linux workgroups. The workgroups will focus on areas where Linux needs improvement, says the story, including energy management, SSD storage handling, and improving cross-distribution packaging.

The new workgroup tools were designed “for collaboration between vendors, users, and developers,” Zemlin was quoted as saying. “You can have private conversations within your group and share documents from one group to another group,” he was said to have added.

The story also reported that virtualization was a major topic at the conference. Zemlin was said to have told developers that the LF is encouraging vendors and developers to standardize on KVM, instead of Xen.

The Linux Kernel, Btrfs, and all that “crap”

As usual, the Collaboration Summit also sponsored discussions about the ever-changing Linux Kernel. Only two weeks before, the LF released Linux 2.6.29, which featured numerous driver and header updates, WiMAX support, the embedded-oriented Squashfs filesystem, and a temporary new mascot in the Australian Tuz (pictured at top).

Linux “Unsung Hero”
Andrew Morton

According to a report by Ars Technica, the kernel panel was the most engaging and technical of the Summit's discussions. Moderated by editor Jonathan Corbet, the panel included superstar developers Greg Kroah-Hartman, Keith Packard, Ted Ts'o, and Andrew Morton (pictured), who was awarded the LF's first-ever Unsung Hero award, says the story.

Novell's Kroah-Hartman was said to have discussed the new content staging area, which holds those unstable or incomplete kernel components that are generally referred to by developers as “crap,” according to the story. Introduced in Linux 2.6.28, the staging area has helped to increase visibility of the incomplete components, it was said to have been generally agreed, and the feature is set to be further improved in kernel version 2.6.30.

In other kernel discussions, Intel's Packard discussed changes being made to the Linux graphics stack, where components including acceleration architecture, video mode configuration, and memory management are being shifted from userspace to the kernel, says the story. ATI is now joining Intel in improving Linux support for major graphics chips, Packard was said to have reported, but Nvidia has yet to provide much assistance.

Ted Ts'o

IBM employee and current LF CTO Ted Ts'o (pictured), meanwhile, discussed filesystems. He dismissed the new Ext4 default filesystem as being a rehash of outdated “1970s technology,” according to Ars Technica. Instead, he suggested moving quickly to Oracle's open source Btrfs filesystem, which was introduced in preliminary form in version 2.6.29.

We're Linux and we won!

Finally, the Linux Foundation announced the winners of its “We're Linux” video contest, which was presented as a somewhat tongue in cheek alternative to the Apple Macintosh commercials, as well as the Microsoft response. Launched in December, the contest asked Linux lovers to submit one-minute videos showcasing what Linux means to them, and convincing other people to try it. Ninety Linux users entered videos in the contest, which attracted a 100,000 combined views, says the LF. A combination of community votes and a panel of judges determined the winners.

The winning entry was “What Does It Mean To Be Free?” by Amitay Tweeto, a 25-year-old graphic designer from Israel. The simple animated clip describes how Linux frees users to both customize and contribute, and concludes with the tagline “Linux — Get your Freedom.” Tweeto will receive a trip to Tokyo to participate in the LF's Japanese Linux Symposium in October 2009. Two runners up we're also honored: the arty, animated “The Origin” by Agustin Eguia, and the humorous “Linux Pub” by Sebastian Masse, which featured an actor in a Tux penguin outfit, an operating table, and a fainting nurse.

The Collaboration Summit conference also gave developers the opportunity to pitch in on how to redesign In early March, the LF announced it had taken over editorial and community control of the news site. The LF is collaborating with previous owner SourceForge to upgrade the site in the coming months to offer more community and collaboration features for Linux users and developers, said the LF. A beta version of the redesigned site will be available in the coming months, and in the meantime, the LF has launched an “IdeaForge” feature for gathering opinions and ideas on the redesign from the Linux community.


The winning “We're Linux” video entries may be found here.

The SDTimes story on the Summit may be found here, and the Ars Technica story on the kernel panel should be here.

This article was originally published on and has been donated to the open source community by QuinStreet Inc. Please visit for up-to-date news and articles about Linux and open source.

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