Covid-19: Bootlin proposes online sessions for all its courses

Tux working on embedded Linux on a couchLike most of us, due to the Covid-19 epidemic, you may be forced to work from home. To take advantage from this time confined at home, we are now proposing all our training courses as online seminars. You can then benefit from the contents and quality of Bootlin training sessions, without leaving the comfort and safety of your home. During our online seminars, our instructors will alternate between presentations and practical demonstrations, executing the instructions of our practical labs.

At any time, participants will be able to ask questions.

We can propose such remote training both through public online sessions, open to individual registration, as well as dedicated online sessions, for participants from the same company.

Public online sessions

We’re trying to propose time slots that should be manageable from Europe, Middle East, Africa and at least for the East Coast of North America. All such sessions will be taught in English. As usual with all our sessions, all our training materials (lectures and lab instructions) are freely available from the pages describing our courses.

Our Embedded Linux and Linux kernel courses are delivered over 7 half days of 4 hours each, while our Yocto Project, Buildroot and Linux Graphics courses are delivered over 4 half days of 4 hours each.

Here are all the available sessions. If the situation lasts longer, we will create new sessions as needed:

Type Dates Time Duration Expected trainer Cost and registration
Embedded Linux (agenda) Apr. 28, 29, 30, May 4, 5, 6, 7, 2020 14:00 -18:00 (Paris time) 28 h Michael Opdenacker 790 EUR + VAT* + fees
Linux kernel (agenda) May 11, 12, 18, 19, 25, 28, Jun. 2, 2020 14:00 – 18:00 (Paris time) 28 h Grégory Clement 790 EUR + VAT* + fees
Yocto Project (agenda) Jun. 11, 12, 16, 17, 2020 14:00 – 18:00 (Paris time) 16 h Alexandre Belloni 490 EUR + VAT* + fees
Buildroot (agenda) Jun. 4, 5, 8, 9, 2020 14:00 – 18:00 (Paris time) 16 h Thomas Petazzoni 490 EUR + VAT* + fees
Linux Graphics (agenda) Jun. 23, 24, 25, 26, 2020 14:00 – 18:00 (Paris time) 16 h Paul Kocialkowski 490 EUR + VAT* + fees

* VAT: we should be able to grant VAT refunds for participants who are registered by businesses, provided we are given all the details we need for VAT exemption.

Each public session will be confirmed once there are at least 6 participants. If the minimum number of participants is not reached, Bootlin will propose new dates or a full refund (including Eventbrite fees) if no new date works for the participant.

We guarantee that the maximum number of participants will be 12.

Dedicated online sessions

If you have enough people to train, such dedicated sessions can be a worthy alternative to public ones:

  • Flexible dates and daily durations, corresponding to the availability of your teams.
  • Confidentiality: freedom to ask questions that are related to your company’s projects and plans.
  • If time left, possibility to have knowledge sharing time with the instructor, that could go beyond the scope of the training course.
  • Language: possibility to have a session in French instead of in English.

Online seminar details

Each session will be given through Zoom. Each participant should have her or his own connection and computer (with webcam and microphone) and if possible headsets, to avoid echo issues between audio input and output. This is probably the best solution to allow each participant to ask questions and write comments in the chat window. We also support people connecting from the same conference room with suitable equipment.

One hour before the session starts, we will organize a test connection, to make sure that everyone has a working set up.

How to register

For online public sessions, use the EventBrite links in the above list of sessions to register one or several individuals.

To register an entire group (for dedicated sessions), please contact training@bootlin.com and tell us the type of session you are interested in. We will then send you a registration form to collect all the details we need to send you a quote.

You can also ask all your questions by calling +33 484 258 097.

Questions and answers

Q: Why just demos instead of practicing with real hardware?
A: Shipping real hardware is going to be complicated to organize in the next weeks, and we are not fully ready to support people doing practical labs remotely with real hardware either. Hence, what we we’re proposing is to replace practical labs with practical demonstrations shown by the instructor. The instructor will go through the normal practical labs with the standard hardware that we’re using.

Q: Why proposing half days instead of full days?
A: From our experience, it’s very difficult to stay focused on a new technical topic for an entire day without having periodic moments when you are active (which happens in our public and on-site sessions, in which we interleave lectures and practical labs). Hence, we believe that daily slots of 4 hours (with 2 or 3 small breaks) is a good solution, also leaving extra time for following up your normal work or taking care of your relatives at home.

Internships for 2020 at Bootlin

Note: these internship positions have been filled. We can only accept new interns from mid-June 2020 on. Don’t hesitate to apply if you are interested.

Bootlin penguins at workFor 2020, Bootlin proposes five internship topics, this time open to all students from the European Union, studying in European Universities.

All these topics will give you an opportunity to make substantial (and very useful!) contributions to an open-source project.

Here are the details about our internship topics:

As you can see, all these topics propose both a challenging technical opportunity, but also require strong interaction with the community of users and developers of free and open-source software used in embedded projects.

More details are available in the descriptions. The internships can start from February 2020, for a minimum duration of 4 months. These internships will take place either in our offices in Toulouse, Lyon or Orange, in France, depending on the topics. These internships are open to all students from the European Union.

For all questions about our internships, please contact jobs@bootlin.com

Raspberry Pi: update breaks Raspbian Stretch

Raspberry Pi logoToday, the three Raspberry Pis that we have on our network went down. They were all running Raspbian (Debian for Raspberry Pi) Stretch.

While this issue can be solved, it is serious enough to require to remove the micro-SD card and manually fix the the root filesystem. Therefore, it seems you cannot fix this issue unless you have physical access to your system.

Here are details to attract attention to this issue…

As I started telling you, our systems were down, well almost. Some services were still running, as they were still responding to ping through our VPN. However, SSH access was no longer available:

$ ssh scan
ssh_exchange_identification: Connection closed by remote host

After connecting a serial cable to one of the Pis, and adding init=/bin/sh to the /boot/cmdline.txt file. I found that I couldn’t seem to execute at least some executables. Everything I tried to execute was causing a segmentation fault.

It was time to remove the micro-SD card and look at system logs. Inspecting /var/log/apt/history.log revealed that the raspi-copies-and-fills package was updated yesterday (March. 11, 2019). This allowed me to make a search for issue reports with this package name. Indeed, before having such a lead, I couldn’t find what I was looking for, as there are too many discussions about the use of the Raspberry Pi! So, here’s what I quickly found following this lead:

raspi-copies-and-fills package gone AWOL? (Raspberry Pi forums)
Ras3 crashes after update (Raspberry Pi forums)

These posts have all details. All you need to do is take away the micro-SD card, repair the second partition with e2fsck -f /dev/mmcblk0p2 and remove the etc/ld.so.preload file inside this partition.

Note, that at the time of this writing, this issue has already been fixed, so it is safe to upgrade your Pi if it is still up and running, or right after repairing your Raspbian root filesystem.

This incident is very unfortunate, as you need to physically access your board to recover from it. I hope you don’t run updates as frequently as we do (or right after the time when the update was issued), and that your Pis are not impacted, otherwise possibly forcing you to travel or to crawl into difficult to access places to reach your boards.

However, I don’t want blame the community volunteers running Raspbian. They have made a terrific job maintaining this distro which had been flawlessly running for more many years on our systems. This seems as good as what we get from commercial distributions.

I hope that not too many services ran by Raspberry Pis will be disrupted because of this issue. However, that may be yet another way to prove how popular such devices are.

Free seats in embedded Linux and kernel training sessions (Mar 2019)

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 organized in France. We’ve done that multiple times several years back, 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.

Here are the next sessions in which we can offer a free seat:

See our Free training seats page for practical details about how to apply.

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!

Follow Bootlin on Mastodon

We’ve started to use Mastodon (in addition to Twitter and LinkedIn) to share quick news with you: new blog posts, contributions to Free Software projects, photos at events, etc.

Did you know Mastodon? I’ll like Twitter, but better, decentralized and really free (as in Free Software). I discovered it by attending one of the conferences we sponsor (Capitole du Libre in Toulouse, France) and by following the efforts of Framasoft to provide decentralized Internet services.

There is a very nice article introducing Mastodon and its strengths vs Twitter: Mastodon Is Better than Twitter: Elevator Pitch.

Here is a summary of Mastodon’s advantages:

  • Being Free Software and not biased by the need to maximize revenue for its investors
  • It’s decentralized and therefore controlled by its users. You are free to join an instance that matches your interests and sensibility, but of course you can follow anyone on any other instance. It’s also easy to move to another instance or even host your own one
  • There are no Retweets but Boosts. Retweets allow to share a post with your own comments to all your followers. This creates flame wars in the best interest of Twitter. Twitter needs its users to spend as much time as possible viewing the content they host (and therefore their promoted content at the same time). Instead, Mastodon only allows to “boost” the visibility of someone else’s post, without allow you to add your own comments. Mastodon has no interest in making you stay as long as possible by creating flame wars. It just lets you focus on the content your are interested in.

In a nutshell, using Mastodon contributes to a better world in which users are in control of their data, interests and time.

What about joining the Mastodon network and give it a try ! Go to https://joinmastodon.org, choose your perfect community (your Mastodon instance… we are on https://fosstodon.org), and follow us if you wish on https://fosstodon.org/@bootlin.

We hope that you will like the experience.