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LinuxCon grapples with challenges, from mobile to multicore

Aug 13, 2010 — by Eric Brown — from the LinuxDevices Archive — views

This week's LinuxCon show featured some lively discussions over the fate of the fast-growing open source operating system, says eWEEK. Hosted by the Linux Foundation (LF), the event explored cloud computing, social networking, Android integration, GPL licensing, Linux kernel challenges such as multicore processing and code complexity, and MeeGo, among other issues.

The Linux Foundation's second annual LinuxCon conference — a more open alternative to its annual, invitation-only Collaboration Summit — finished up yesterday in Boston after a lively week of discussions. In a slide-show report in our sister publication, eWEEK, Jason Brooks writes that this gathering of Linux developers, administrators, users, and executives "touched on nearly every corner of computing — an indication of how broadly Linux has spread." 

As we reported earlier today, several heated LinuxCon sessions addressed the issue of the ongoing "partial fork" between Android and Linux. Google and the Linux kernel maintainers appear to be no closer to bridging their impasse than they were last month at OSCON.

Here are some of the other LinuxCon sessions highlighted by eWEEK in the slide show (see link at end of story):

  • Open Compliance Program — As we noted earlier in the week, the Linux Foundation launched LinuxCon this week by announcing a program to help companies comply with open source licenses. The Open Compliance Program includes training, consulting, a self-assessment checklist, a standard format to report software licensing information, and tools for dependency checking, BoM analysis, and code clean-up, says the nonprofit organization.
  • Oracle loves Linux — Oracle senior vice president Wim Coekaerts gave a keynote discussing Oracle's extensive use of Linux its products and internal IT operations. He also detailed the upstream Linux projects Oracle contributes to, such as file-system improvements, particularly with Btrfs. This was before last night's announcement that Oracle is suing Google for using Java code in Android without its permission.
  • Qualcomm joins the LF — As we reported earlier this week, the Qualcomm Innovation Center (QuIC) has joined the LF as a Platinum member, sitting alongside existing Platinum members including Fujitsu, Hitachi, IBM, Intel, NEC, and Oracle. A wholly owned subsidiary of Qualcomm, QuIC is focused on developing and optimizing software for mobile open source platforms.

  • Kernel developers panel look ahead — On Tuesday, four Linux kernel leaders discussed some of the biggest challenges facing the project, including keeping the project accessible to new developers. As detailed on ZDNet by Paula Rooney, major issues include the increasing complexity of kernel code, as well as attracting top talent to work on the kernel now that commercial opportunities are so much more lucrative.

    Kernel pioneer Ted T'so (pictured) was said to have noted that scalability is still an issue now that we're moving toward massively multicore processors. Next generation networking technologies including Infiniband will also impose technical challenges, T'so was quoted as saying.

  • Novell, Linux, and the cloud — On Wednesday, Novell senior vice president Markus Rex gave a keynote about the trend toward cloud computing, and showed off Novell's new SUSE Gallery showcase for users of Novell's SUSE Studio web development service for creating software appliances using SUSE Linux.

    Primary operating system for software development (2007-2010)
    Source: Eclipse Foundation; 2010 Open Source Developer Report
    (Click to enlarge)

  • Open source adoption — Jeffrey S. Hammond, principal analyst, Forrester Research, presented recent data, including the Eclipse Community user survey (see chart above) that shows increased developer adoption of open source platforms, frameworks, and development processes.

  • Defending open source — Eben Moglen (pictured), founding director of the Software Freedom Law Center (SFLC) discussed legal defense strategies for Linux and open source software projects, and provided an update on GPLv2 and GPLv3 adoption.
  • MeeGo — The LF's Jim Zemlin joined with Thomas Miller, head of MeeGo Ecosystem development, as well as Derek Speed, senior technologist at Intel's Open Source Technology Center, to discuss MeeGo issues such as building effective app stores and keeping development close to its upstream components.

  • Free desktop, what about data? — Stormy Peters (pictured), executive director of the GNOME Foundation gave the last day's opening keynote yesterday, discussing the challenges that the web and social networking pose for open source software, particularly with regard to open data and cloud storage.
  • Virgin America case study — Also on the last day, Virgin America CIO Ravi Simhambhatla explained how he sold Linux and open source to internal colleagues at San Francisco-based domestic airline, and how Virgin is maximizing the software today in applications such as in-seat entertainment.

Before the conference started, Linux Foundation executive director Jim Zemlin (pictured) gave an interesting interview with Wired in which he criticized Apple's App Store business model as being unsustainable, noting that "the top ten pages are the only ones that matter." Zemlin admits that the App Store works for games, but says that for other apps, HTML5 and cloud-based computing will help connect users much more effectively.


The eWEEK slide show on LinuxCon may be found 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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