New embedded Linux engineer job opening in 2019 in Lyon, France

Penguin worksBootlin is going to move to a new and bigger office in Lyon, France, by the end of 2018. Our team in Lyon will therefore be able to welcome a new engineer in 2019.

Here are a few details about the job:

  • Job description: embedded Linux and kernel engineer
  • Profile: for this new position, meant to strengthen our small team in Lyon (currently two people), we are looking for someone with already valuable experience and autonomy in embedded Linux and kernel development. The positions that will follow should be open to junior engineers.
  • Lyon is a beautiful and vibrant city, the second largest urban area in France, which two rivers instead of one! Our office is within 5 minutes of a subway station, and is also easy to access from more residential areas in the south of Lyon.

If you are interested, please send a resume to jobs@bootlin.com, letting us know about your interests and ideas for the job.

Free Electrons becomes Bootlin

Bootlin logo

Free Electrons is changing to a new name, in the context of a trademark dispute.

Reasons for changing

On July 25, 2017, the company FREE SAS, a French telecom operator, known as the owner of the free.fr website, filed a complaint before the District Court of Paris against Free Electrons and its founder Michael Opdenacker for infringing upon 3 trademarks which include the word “free” and on FREE SAS’s rights on its domain name and its company name.

In this complaint, FREE SAS asked, among others, the French judges to order Free Electrons and its founder Michael Opdenacker to pay the total sum of 107,000 euros on various grounds, to order Free Electrons to change name, to delete the domain name “free-electrons.com” within 15 days and to cease all use of the sign “FREE ELECTRONS” but also of the term “free” alone or with any other terms in any field in which FREE SAS is active or for any goods and services covered by its prior trademarks.

Michael Opdenacker and Free Electrons’ management consider that these claims are unfounded as both companies were coexisting peacefully since 2005.

The services we offer are different, we target a different audience (professionals instead of individuals), and most of our communication efforts are in English, to reach an international audience. Therefore Michael Opdenacker and Free Electrons’ management believe that there is no risk of confusion between Free Electrons and FREE SAS.

However, FREE SAS has filed in excess of 100 oppositions and District Court actions against trademarks or names containing “free”. In view of the resources needed to fight this case, Free Electrons has decided to change name without waiting for the decision of the District Court.

This will allow us to stay focused on our projects rather than exhausting ourselves fighting a long legal battle.

The new name

Amongst all the new names we considered, “Bootlin” came out as our favorite option. It can’t express all our values but it corresponds to what we’ve been working on since the beginning and hope to continue to do for many years: booting Linux on new hardware.

Of course, “booting” here shouldn’t be limited to getting a first shell prompt on new hardware. It means doing whatever is needed to run Linux by taking the best advantage of software and hardware capabilities.

Same team, same passion

Nothing else changes in the company. We are the same engineers, the same Linux kernel contributors and maintainers (now 6 of us have their names in the Linux MAINTAINERS file), with the same technical skills and appetite for new technical challenges.

More than ever, we remain united by the passion we all share in the company since the beginning: working with hardware and low-level software, working together with the free software community, and sharing the experience with others so that they can at least get the best of what the community offers and hopefully one day become active contributors too. “Get the best of the community” is effectively one of our slogans.

Practical details

The only thing we’re changing is the name (“Bootlin” instead of “Free Electrons”), the domain name (bootlin.com instead of free-electrons.com) and the logo. The two penguins, our mascots which have been the key identification of Free Electrons for many years will stay the same. Except for the domain name change, all URLs should stay the same, and all e-mail addresses too.

For the moment, we’ve just migrated the mail and main web servers. The other services will be updated progressively.

For practical reasons, the name of the company running Bootlin will remain “Free Electrons” for a few more months. Until then, there won’t be any impact on the way we interact with our customers. We will let our ongoing customers know when the legal name changes.

What about links to free-electrons.com resources, made by community websites but also in mailing lists archives and in public forums? Of course, we redirected the old URLs to the new ones, and will continue to do so as long as we can. However, depending on the outcome of the legal procedure, we may not be able to keep the free-electrons.com domain forever. Therefore, we would be grateful if you could update all your links to our site whenever feasible, to avoid the risk of broken links in the future.

Bootlin at FOSDEM and Buildroot Developers meeting

The FOSDEM conference will take place next week-end in Brussels, Belgium. As the biggest open-source conference event in Europe, featuring a number of talks related to embedded systems and generally low-level development, Bootlin never misses this event!

Fosdem 2018 logo

This year, Bootlin engineer Miquèl Raynal will be giving a talk Drive your NAND within Linux – Forget the word “nightmare”, sharing details on the enhancements he has contributed to the Linux kernel MTD subsystem, and which are scheduled to be merged in the 4.16 Linux kernel release.

In addition to Miquèl’s talk, a number of other Bootlin engineers will be attending the event: Mylène Josserand, Quentin Schulz, Antoine Ténart, Boris Brezillon and Thomas Petazzoni.

Buildroot logoFinally, Bootlin is also sponsoring the participation of Thomas Petazzoni to the Buildroot Developers Meeting, which is a 2-day event dedicated to the development of the Buildroot embedded Linux build system. With 14 attendees, this event will have the largest number of participants it ever had. We take this opportunity to thank Google and Mind, who are sponsoring the event by providing the meeting room, lunch and social event for the attendees.

Tourist suggestions in Avignon, France

We very regularly organize public training sessions about embedded Linux and kernel and drivers training sessions in Avignon in France. Of course, we can also organize such sessions anywhere in the world.

AvignonThese tips only reflect our own interests and tastes. There are certainly others other worthy things to do and see in the area. We would recommend to buy a tourist guide book about Provence, which will have a much more exhaustive and objective coverage. See also the Avignon tourism website for updates and information about local events.

Sightseeing in Avignon

Popes Palace, AvignonThe historic city centre of Avignon, the Popes’ Palace, all the episcopal buildings and the Saint Benezet Bridge are listed as world heritage sites by UNESCO.  The Avignon city walls constitute the 2nd longest continuous wall in the world, after the Great Wall of China. The annual Festival d’Avignon (around July) is one of the biggest art festivals in the world.

The Popes Palace one of the 10 most visited monuments in France. It is the biggest Gothic edifice in all of Europe and awe-inspiring monument to the importance of Avignon in the Christian world of the Middle Ages. Starting in mid-August and continuing until early October, the Popes’ Palace is the venue for the Luminescences, a monumental video show and sensory experience.

You can go up to Rocher des Doms, the cradle of the city, for a refreshing break among the peacocks and swans by the pond. From this spot, you have panoramic views over the entire city, its tiled roofs and bell towers and over to Villeneuve-les-Avignon and all the surrounding areas (stairs behind the main building of the palace).

Saint Benezet Bridge, AvignonThe Saint Bénézet Bridge was built around 1180 – miraculously, according to legend, by a simple shepherd – to link the city to Villeneuve-les-Avignon. Over the years, wars and successive flooding by the Rhone partially destroyed the bridge. Today, the 12th century Saint Nicholas Chapel remains, as well as four arches of which the span constitutes, according to a prestigious civil engineer, an amazing feat for the period.

Museums

The Petit Palais Museum: exceptional collection of paintings from Italy and Provence (end 13th – beg. 14th century) and collection of Romanesque and Gothic sculptures from Avignon.

The Calvet Museum: in a splendid 18th century town house. Fine arts, painting and sculpture collection (15th – 20th century).

The Angladon Museum: ancient town house in the center of Avignon’s old town: masterpieces of the 19th and 20th century and 18th century living rooms, signed furniture, works of art, paintings and drawings.

Collection Lambert en Avignon: amazing showcase of modern art, spanning from paintings and land art to photography and video.

Shopping

At the bottom of the Place de l’Horloge, the main avenue, Rue de la Republique, divides the city into two. On one side, the Rue Saint Agricol leads to the chic and bourgeois neighborhood with the Rue Joseph Vernet, the 5th Avenue of Avignon where designer clothing and luxury goods shops abound, and the Place Crillon, with the prestigious Hotel d’Europe in a former private town mansion built in the 16th century for the Marquis de Graveson.

The Les Halles market of Avignon is a treasure trove for all kinds of products from the Provence area. Every day from 6:30 am to 1:30 pm vendors sell local vegetables, herbs, meats, olives and oil, and anything lavender-related. The market is housed in a big, modern building in the city center which facade is overgrown with plants and moss, making it stand out from the traditional architecture around it.

The Rue de la Republique, the central axis of the city, and the pedestrian areas are rather dedicated to big shopping brands: Fnac (books, music and technology), Zara, H&M, Eram, André, Naf-Naf, Promod, Kookai, etc.

You can also find many little designer shops in the very typical Rue des teinturiers.

Restaurants

To eat at the restaurants in town, it is recommended to book a table in advance. The best idea for up-to-date advice is probably to use sites that collect tourist reviews (here’s the TripAdvisor page for restaurants in Avignon).

Here are a few that we like and at least gave us a good impression the last time we went:

  • Chez Lulu, 6 place des Chataignes, 84000 Avignon, 04 90 85 69 44
  • Le 26, 26 rue des Trois Faucons, 84000 Avignon
  • D’ici et d’ailleurs 4 Rue Galante, 84000 Avignon, 04 90 14 63 65
  • L’Epice and Love, 30 Rue des Lices 84000 Avignon, 04 90 82 45 96

Here are more good restaurants worth visiting outside of Avignon:

  • Domaine de la Camarette 439 Chemin des Brunettes, 84210 Pernes les Fontaines, 04 90 616 078 (booking is compulsory)
  • Mas de Grès 1651 RD 901 – Four à Chaux-Isle sur Sorgue, 84800 Lagnes 04 90 20 32 85

More sightseeing in Provence

Culture and heritage

L'Isle sur la Sorgue
L’Isle sur la Sorgue:
“Comtadine Venice” with its
numerous canals and 300 antique sellers

Orange
Orange:
The Roman Theater and Triumphal Arch

Gordes
Gordes:
See the village, lavender fields and the Sénanque Abbey

Venasque
Venasque:
The medieval Baptistery and the old town

Vaison la Romaine
Vaison la Romaine:
Roman ruins and the old town

Carpentras
Carpentras:
The oldest synagogue in France

Pernes les Fontaines
Pernes les Fontaines:
The 40 fountains

Aix en Provence
Aix en Provence:
The mountain “Sainte Victoire” – subject of a number of Cézanne’s paintings.

Aix en Provence
Aix en Provence:
The Cours Mirabeau and the old town

Uzès
Uzès:
The famous Roman “Pont du Gard” aqueduct and the old town.

Arles
Arles:
The Roman amphitheatre and the old town.

Les Baux-de-Provence
Les Baux-de-Provence:
Cathédrale d’Images: sound and lights show in ancient and spectacular stone-pits.

Nîmes
Nîmes:
The Roman amphitheatre and the arenas.

Museums

Pernes les Fontaines
The museum of the Comtadin costume: in an ancient shop of the 19th century, exhibition of ancient Comtadin costumes and traditions linked to the materials.
The Maison Fléchier: reconstruction of the last santonnier’s workshop of Pernes les Fontaines, traditions of the Comtat Venaissin and of Provençal Christmas.

Fontaine de Vaucluse
Speleology museum: in a recreated life-size scenery, presentation of the researches and explorations of the Fontaine de Vaucluse and other speleological sites.
Library Pétrarque museum

Roussillon
Conservatoire des ocres et pigments appliqués: ancient ochre factory created in 1871.

Carpentras
Duplessis museum: collection of fine arts of the town and art works by artists of the Comtat Venaissin
Pharmacy Museum: preserved in order from the 18th century with its jars of Italian, Montpellier and Moustier earthenware.

Cavaillon
Provençal nativity scene museum: one of the nicest santon collections of the Luberon and the Alpilles.

Gordes
Pol Mara museum: 200 works to discover in the castle with the biggest Renaissance chimney of Europe.

Nature

The régional Parc of the Luberon: it provides a habitat to a exceptional variety of flora and fauna, as for an architectural and natural heritage of high value.

The Mont Ventoux: The giant of the Provence (1912 m).

Fontaine de Vaucluse: natural resurgence of the Sorgue that gushes forth at the foot of a 230 m cliff.

The Provençal Colorado: Remains of an ancient ochre quarry on more than 30 hectares.

The Alpilles: exceptional massif with famous towns and villages such as les Baux de Provence, Saint Rémy en Provence

The Thouzon cave in le Thor: discovered the 23rd of January 1902, it is the only natural cave laid out for tourism in the Vaucluse. It lies in the centre of the Pays des Sorgues.

The Dentelles de Montmirail: A small chain of mountain with a dramatically jagged shape of their peaks. A perfect place for hiking.

The gorges of the Nesque: imposing wild canyon, perfect for cycling and walking.

The gorges of the Toulourenc: walk that starts at the small village Saint Léger dans le Ventoux and that follows the river bed to the Vaux bridge.

The Orgnacpothole in Bollène: Cave and regional prehistoric museum

The villages

Our region is famous for its picturesque villages, with their Mediterranean flair. One can, while walking, make discoveries and plunge in the history of the region.

The villages with character in:
The Ventoux: Venasque, Le Beaucet, Séguret, Le Crestet, Brantes, Méthamis, Mazan
The Luberon: Gordes, Roussillon, Murs, Joucas, Bonnieux, Lacoste, Ménerbes, Lauris,
Oppède le Vieux, Lourmarin, Cabrières d’Avignon, Saignon, Curcurron
The Alpilles: Les Baux de Provence, Saint Rémy de Provence, Eygalières and their markets

Between rosemary and thyme, melon or figs. The beautiful stallholders with their singsong accents sale peaches, apricots or a nice bunch of lavender.

Monday: Cavaillon, Bédoin, Saint Didier
Tuesday: Gordes, Vaison la Romaine, Aix en Provence
Wednesday: Saint Rémy de Provence, Malaucène, Le Thor
Thursday: Villeneuve les Avignon, Nyons, Orange
Friday: Carpentras, Lourmarin, Châteauneuf du Pape
Saturday: Apt, Pernes les Fontaine, Uzès
Sunday: L’Isle sur la Sorgue

Do not miss: the farmer markets in Coustellet (Sundays from 9 a.m. until 1 p.m.) and in Velleron (in the summer, every day as from 6 p.m., except Sundays and bank holidays).

The Wine road

Between the Luberon, the Ventoux and the Côtes du Rhône, the Vaucluse can be proud of being one of the nicest wine region of France. The clayey chalky soil, the different grape varieties, and the wine grower’s know-how produce world famous wines. Here under, a list of the best wine growers of the Côtes du Rhône, Côtes du Luberon and Côtes du Ventoux.
To taste with moderation.

The Côtes du Rhône

Sablet:
Domaine de Piaugier

Rasteau:
Domaine de la Soumade

Vacqueyras:
Domaine des Amouriers

Gigondas:
Domaine de la Présidente

Uchaux:
SCEA Château d’Hugues

Châteauneuf du Pape:
Domaine de Beaurenard
La Cave du Verger des Papes
Château la Nerthe

Tavel:
Domaine de la Mordorée

Saint Gervais:
Domaine St Anne

Saint Victor la Coste:
Domaine Pélaquié

Beaumes de Venise:
Domaine de la Pigeade
Domaine de Durban

The Côtes du Luberon

Oppède:
Domaine de la Citadelle

Apt:
Domaine de Mayol

La Tour d’Aigues:
Château de la Dorgonne

La Motte d’Aigues:
Bastide du Claux

The Côtes du Ventoux

Mormoiron:
Château Pesquié

Mazan:
Domaine de Fondrèche
Terre de Solence

Flassan:
La Ferme Saint Pierre

The country products

Truffel
The famous truffle markets, with their special atmosphere, take place in winter (Fridays in Carpentras and Saturdays in Richerenches). Once in the season (the last week of December) takes place the big Truffle Market of Ménerbes, where is also to see the Maison de la Truffe et du Vin du Luberon (the House of truffle and wine of the Luberon), bringing lots of information on those subjects.

Olive oil
The mill Moulin de Mathieu in Oppède
The mill Moulin de la Balméenne in Beaume de Venise

Goats cheese
Family Morard in Buoux

Tapenade (olive paste)
”Les Délices du Luberon” in Isle sur la Sorgue

Berlingots (boiled sweet)
Confectionner’s shop ”Confiserie du Mont Ventoux” in Carpentras
Calissons (sweets made of ground almond)
Confectionner’s shop ”Confiserie du Roy René” in Aix en Provence

Croquettes (almond croquettes)
Traditional biscuit factory ”Aujoras” in Morières-les-Avignon

Nougat
The nougat factory ”Silvain Frères” in Saint Didier

Activities for the young and the not-so-young

All year round

The Jarditrain in Saint Didier
miniature world dedicated to the train passion

Karting in Monteux

The Crocodile Farm in Pierrelatte

La Barben Zoo
The biggest animal parc of south-eastern France

Haribo Sweets museum in Uzès
Come and discover the great story of the sweets and try them.

Hot-air balloon
One of the most original and beautiful ways of discovering the Luberon, gliding with the birds over the beautiful landscapes. One can do that just next to ours, in Joucas:  
https://www.montgolfiere-provence-ballooning.com

During the summer

Kayak Vert in Fontaine de Vaucluse (March – November)
From Fontaine du Vaucluse down to l’Isle sur la Sorgue, discover the joys of canoeing during the 2 hours of the descent of the Sorgue. https://www.canoefrance.com

Passerelle des Cimes (bridges in the trees) in Lagnes (March – November)
Young and not-so-young will go for an adventure on differents secure itinaries: https://www.parcours-aerien.com

Mini golf de la Peupleraie in Isle sur la Sorgue (Mai – September)
Outdoor activity Espace for the whole family

Circus castle Alexis Gruss in Piolenc (Mai – September)
Visit of the Circus Gruss museum, make up, ride in a barouche, circus workshop, trapeze, horses. https://www.alexis-gruss.com/piolenc/accueil.htm

Colorado Aventure in Rustrel (March – November)
3 hour adventure for the whole family, courses for children and juniors.
https://www.colorado-aventures.com

Bambouseraie en Cevennes (March – November)
A unique journey in the heart of giant bambou forest and hundred-year-old trees, approximately 100 km away from Avignon.

Free seat in Android training session

Student penguinsAt Bootlin, we owe a lot to the Free Software community, and we’re doing our best to give back as much as we can.

One way of doing that is welcoming community contributors in our public training sessions about embedded Linux, Linux kernel and Android system development organized in France. We’ve done that multiple times in the past, and this allowed us to meet very interesting people (who even had very valuable experience and points of view to share with the other course participants), while of course giving them extra knowledge that they can use for further contributions.

The next session in which we can offer a free seat is about Android system development, and will take place on June 20-23 in Toulouse, France. The session has a value of 1890 EUR (without V.A.T.) and includes lunch and breaks, as well as a free Beaglebone Black board with its 4.3″ LCD touchscreen cape.

This course will teach you how to modify Android to support a new embedded board (assuming that it is already supported by the Linux kernel), and how to build a real system through accessing specific hardware, customizing the filesystem and using debugging techniques.

How to apply?

  • You need to be a student or a contributor to a free software project, which doesn’t have to be related to the embedded field, and even if your contributions are modest.
  • Write to award@bootlin.com before May. 30 and tell us about your contributions and your interest in the session.
  • Thomas Petazzoni and Michael Opdenacker will review all the proposals and will select the candidate who best stands out in terms of past contributions and/or in potential for further ones after taking the course. Bootlin reserves the right not to select any candidate if nobody actually makes a sufficiently interesting application.
  • The winner will be notified by June 2, and will have to be ready to travel to Toulouse and stay there the whole 4 days at her/his own expense.

Don’t hesitate to apply to this free seat. In past editions, we didn’t have so many people applying, and therefore you have a real chance to get selected!

2016 Q1 newsletter

Newsletter iconThe Bootlin team wishes you a Happy New Year for 2016, with many new bits to enjoy in your life!

Bootlin is happy to take this opportunity to share some news about the latest training and contribution activities of the company.

Bootlin work on the $9 computer

As announced in our previous newsletter, Bootlin has been working intensively on developing the low-level software support for the first $9 computer, the C.H.I.P by Next Thing Co.

Next Thing Co. has successfully delivered an initial batch of platforms in September to the early adopters, and has started shipping the final products in December to thousands of Kickstarter supporters.

Those products are using the U-Boot and Linux kernel ported by Bootlin engineers, with numerous patches submitted to the official projects and more to be submitted in the coming weeks and months:

  • Support for the C.H.I.P platform itself, in U-Boot and in the Linux kernel;
  • Support for audio on Allwinner platforms added to the Linux kernel;
  • Development of a DRM/KMS driver for the graphics controller found on Allwinner platforms;
  • Significant research effort on finding appropriate solutions to support Multi-Level Cell NANDs in the Linux kernel;
  • Enabling of the NAND storage in Single-Level Cell mode, until the Multi-Level Cell mode can be enabled reliably;
  • Addition of NAND support in the fastboot implementation of U-Boot, which is used to reflash the C.H.I.P.

We will continue to work on the C.H.I.P over the next months, with among other things more work on the graphics side and the NAND side.

Kernel contributions

The primary focus of the majority of our customer projects remain the Linux kernel, to which we continue to contribute very significantly.

Linux 4.2

We contributed 203 patches to this release, with a new IIO driver for the ADC found on Marvell Berlin platforms, a big cleanup to the support of Atmel platforms, improvements to the DMA controller driver for Atmel platforms, a completely new driver for the cryptographic accelerator found on Marvell EBU platforms.

In this cycle, our engineer Alexandre Belloni became the official maintainer of the RTC subsystem.

See details on our contributions to Linux 4.2

Linux 4.3

We contributed 110 patches to this release, with mainly improvements to the DRM/KMS driver and DMA controller driver for Atmel platforms and power management improvements for Marvell platforms.

See details on our contributions to Linux 4.3

Linux 4.4

We contributed 112 patches to this release, the main highlights being an additional RTC driver, a PWM driver, support for the C.H.I.P platform, and improvements to the NAND support.

See details on our contributions to Linux 4.4

Work on ARM 64-bit platform

We have started to work on supporting the Linux kernel on several ARM 64 bits platforms from different vendors. We will be submitting the initial patches in the coming weeks and will progressively improve the support for those platforms throughout 2016 where a major part of our Linux kernel contribution effort will shift to ARM 64-bit.

Growing engineering team

Our engineering team, currently composed of six engineers, will be significantly expanded in 2016:

  • Two additional embedded Linux engineers will join us in March 2016 and will be working with our engineering team in Toulouse, France. They will help us on our numerous Linux kernel and Linux BSP projects.
  • An engineering intern will join us starting early February, and will work on setting up a board farm to contribute to the kernelci.org automated testing effort. This will help us do more automated testing on the ARM platforms we work on.

Upcoming training sessions

We have public training sessions scheduled for the beginning of 2016:

Embedded Linux development training
February 29 – March 4, in English, in Avignon (France)
Embedded Linux kernel and driver development training
March 14-18, in English, in Avignon (France)
Android system development training
March 7-10, in English, in Toulouse (France)

We also offer the following training courses, on-site, anywhere in the world, upon request:

Contact us at training@bootlin.com for details.

Conferences

We participated to the Embedded Linux Conference Europe in Dublin in October 2015, and gave a number of talks:

In addition, our engineer Thomas Petazzoni was invited to the Linux Kernel Summit, an invitation-only conference for the kernel maintainers and developers. He participated to the three days event in Seoul, South Korea. See Bootlin at the Linux Kernel Summit 2015.

At the beginning of 2016, our entire engineering team will be attending the Embedded Linux Conference in San Diego (US), which means that no less than 9 engineers from Bootlin will be present at the conference!

Porting Linux on ARM seminar

In December 2015, we gave a half-day seminar entitled “Porting Linux on ARM” in Toulouse (France). The materials, in English, are now freely available on our web site.

ELCE 2015 conference videos available

ELC Europe 2015 logoAs often in the recent years, the Linux Foundation has shot videos of most of the talks at the Embedded Linux Conference Europe 2015, in Dublin last October.

These videos are now available on YouTube, and individual links are provided on the elinux.org wiki page that keeps track of presentation materials as well. You can also find them all through the Embedded Linux Conference Europe 2015 playlist on YouTube.

All this is of course a priceless addition to the on-line slides. We hope these talks will incite you to participate to the next editions of the Embedded Linux Conference, like in San Diego in April, or in Berlin in October this year.

In particular, here are the videos from the presentations from Bootlin engineers.

Alexandre Belloni, Supporting multi-function devices in the Linux kernel

Kernel maintainership: an oral tradition

Tutorial: learning the basics of Buildroot

Our CTO Thomas Petazzoni also gave a keynote (Linux kernel SoC mainlining: Some success factors), which was well attended. Unfortunately, like for some of the other keynotes, no video is available.

UN climate conference: switching to “green” electricity

Wind turbines in Denmark

The United Nations 2015 Climate Change Conference is an opportunity for everyone to think about contributing to the transition to renewable and sustainable energy sources.

One way to do that is to buy electricity that is produced from renewable resources (solar, wind, hydro, biomass…). With the worldwide opening of the energy markets, this should now be possible in most parts of the world.

So, with a power consumption between 4,000 and 5,000 kWh per year, we have decided to make the switch for our main office in Orange, France. But how to choose a good supplier?

Greenpeace turned out to be a very good source of information about this topic, comparing the offerings from various suppliers, and finding out which ones really make serious investments in renewable energy sources.

Here are the countries for which we have found Greenpeace rankings:
Australia France

If you find a similar report for your country, please let us know, and we will add it to this list.

Back to our case, we chose Enercoop, a French cooperative company only producing renewable energy. This supplier has by far the best ranking from Greenpeace, and stands out from more traditional suppliers which too often are just trading green certificates, charging consumers a premium rate without investing by themselves in green energy production.

The process to switch to a green electricity supplier was very straightforward. All we needed was an electricity bill and 15 minutes of time, whether you are an individual or represent a company. From now on, Enercoop will guarantee that for every kWh we consume from the power grid, they will inject the same amount of energy into the grid from renewable sources. There is no risk to see more power outages than before, as the national company operating and maintaining the grid stays the same.

It’s true our electricity is going to cost about 20% more than nuclear electricity, but at least, what we spend is going to support local investments in renewable energy sources, that don’t degrade the fragile environment that keeps us alive.

Your comments and own tips are welcome!

The quest for Linux friendly embedded board makers

Beagle Bone Black boardWe used to keep a list of Linux friendly embedded board makers. When this page was created in the mid 2000s, this page was easy to maintain. Though more and more products were created with Linux, it was still difficult to find good hardware platforms that were supported by Linux.

So, to help community members and system makers selecting hardware for their embedded Linux projects, we compiled a first selection of board makers that were meeting the below criteria:

  • Offering attractive and competitive products
  • At least one product supported Free Software operating systems (such as Linux, eCos and NetBSD.
  • At least one product meeting the above requirements, with a public price (without having to register), and still available on the market.
  • Specifications and documentation directly available on the website (no registration required). Engineers like to study their options on their own without having to share their contact details with salespeople who would then chase them through their entire life, trying to sell inappropriate products to them.
  • Website with an English version.

In the beginning, this was enough to reduce the list to 10-20 entries. However, as Linux continued to increase in popularity, and as hardware platform makers started to understand the value of transparent pricing and technical documentation, the criteria were no longer sufficient to keep the list manageable.

Therefore, we added another prerequisite: at least one product supported (at least partially) in the official version of the corresponding Free Software operating system kernel. This was a rather strong requirement at first, but only such products bring a guarantee for long term community support, making it much easier to develop and maintain embedded systems. Compare this with hardware supporting only a very old and heavily patched Linux kernel, for example, which software can only be maintained by its original developers. This also reveals the ability of the hardware vendor to work with the community and share technical information with its users and developers.

Then, with the development of low-cost community boards, and chip manufacturers efforts to support their hardware in the mainline Linux kernel, the list again became difficult to maintain.

The next prerequisite we could add is the availability as Open-source hardware, allowing customers to modify the hardware according to their needs. Of course, hardware files should be available without registration.

However, rather than keeping our own list, the best is to contribute to Wikipedia, which has a dedicated page on Open-Source computing hardware. At least, all the boards we could find are listed there, after adding a few.

Don’t hesitate to post comments to this page to share information about hardware which could be worth adding to this Wikipedia page!

Anyway, the good news is that Linux and Open-Source friendly hardware is now easier and easier to find than it was about 10 years back. Just have a preference for hardware that is supported in the mainline Linux kernel sources, or at least from a maker with earlier products which are already supported. A git grep -i command in the sources will help.

Embedded Linux internships at Bootlin in 2016

Penguin worksBootlin has internship topics to propose to people studying in French Universities or Engineering Schools:

If you already have a project related to embedded Linux you would like to contribute to, we are also open to your own suggestions!

See all details on our blog post in French.