Friday, June 3, 2011

It's been half a year again ...

It's been more than half a year since I last published here. It's just about time to sum things up again.

Firstly, this whole lag is because there was that Operating Systems class where our team wrote a complete OS for MIPS R4kc, including kernel threads, memory management, disk driver, SMP support, userland support etc.

Then, me and Cyril Hrubis started lecturing class "NSWI075 -- Linux kernel" on the university we both study at, Charles University in Prague, Faculty of Mathematics and Physics. The class was enjoyable, even though it was a lot of work to prepare for each of the lectures. Even through this stuff went on, we even managed to make a 2-and-half day long hack-a-ton for our students.

This actually resulted in us finding there are some very capable people in the class, which already got some patches mainline. This is actually quite positive information. Here we also even got tiny bits of device tree on Intel/Marvell PXA!

In parallel with NSWI075, I got involved in a project where our task was to analyze and potentially improve capabilities of Linux in certain network operation. This is where I got to taste real device tree based thing and also got a taste of PowerPC machine. The device in this case was the completely boring MPC5200-based board.

Other than university projects, firstly, I got Efika Smartbook. The device is actually very nice and interesting and I'm very happy with it. I worked on U-Boot for this thing, which still isn't quite ready. There is still a reset problem on the Smartbook, which I didn't have time to debug yet. Though with a tiny change in Linux or U-Boot, the system works fine.

Hardware-wise, there was another event where I got a new toy. That was, FOSDEM. I bought there the Ben Nanonote MIPS/JZ4740 based handheld. It's an awesome thing, but due to Operating Systems class and stuff, I wasn't able to hack on it at all.

FOSDEM though requires a special paragraph or two here. We called it a school field-trip, since the group of people I went there with were all my students from NSWI106 -- Administration of UNIX class. We met a few other friends on the airport, though the most interesting was the first evening in there. Delirium Cafe, where we had some Belgian beer, made things very interesting. So much we left the hotel the other day sometimes past noon.

When we arrived at FOSDEM, we quickly met with many well-known people. For me, it was a friend I sometimes meet even here in Prague since he's local -- Pavel Machek. As for the foreigners though, it was Hector Oron, Wookey, rtp, Loic Minier and many others from the Debian/ARM team. There were obviously many others. Lastly, I must not forget to mention that for whole that time, I had no other than ARM-based hardware with me. I had no x86 laptop with me and I had no trouble at all. As for FOSDEM, it was really enjoyable and next year I'll likely go with a bigger group of friends, but that's all.

Next important event was my visit of DENX. Meeting Wolfgang Denk, Detlev Zundel and others from that was an awesome experience. Seeing how the company works and how they work with the hardware was something awesome. Here again I saw a lot of interesting hardware and had a great time with those people.

But due to me being too busy with all the stuff happening, I got barely any time to hack on kernel. I got a few fixes in, but most of the stuff I tried pushing down on my students. I really hope I'll be able to bring in a few new kernel hackers soon.

1 comment:

anarsoul said...

So, you're lecturer now? :) Congrats! Btw, I hope to see PXA devicetree bits upstream soon ;)