2015 Q1 newsletter

The Bootlin team wishes you a Happy New Year for 2015, with plenty of optimism and energy!

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

Kernel contributions

We continue to work significantly on support for various ARM processors in the Linux kernel. Our contributions to the latest kernel releases:

  • 147 patches from Bootlin merged in Linux 3.17, making Bootlin the 14th contributing company for this release by number of patches. See our blog post about this release.
  • 155 patches from Bootlin merged in Linux 3.18, making Bootlin the 14th contributing company. See our blog post for more details.
  • For the upcoming 3.19 release, we already have 196 patches merged.

One of the highlights was that we added support for the Atmel SAMA5D4 SoC to the Linux kernel even before the new chip was announced by Atmel! That’s a very positive sign for customers when an SoC is supported in the mainline Linux kernel sources right at product launch, instead of having to wait for months or years before the community developers can catch up.

Note that we also added Atmel SAMA5D3 SoC support to Xenomai, a hard real-time extension for the Linux kernel. Thanks to this, the Atmel SAMA5D3 Xplained board can now run with the 2.6.x release of Xenomai.

Besides those highlights, most of our kernel contributions were as usual centered around support for specific families of ARM processors: CPUs from Marvell EBU and Marvell Berlin, from Atmel and from Allwinner. We added a new network driver for some Marvell EBU processors, added SMP support for Marvell Berlin processors, added a DMA controller driver for Allwinner processors, and did a lot of maintenance work to support these processors in the mainline kernel.

Buildroot contributions

Our involvement into the Buildroot project, a popular embedded Linux build system, is going on. Our engineer Thomas Petazzoni contributed 136 patches to the 2014.11 release, making him the second contributor by number of patches. Thomas is also taking care of the maintenance of the project on a more regular basis, reviewing and merging patches from contributors.

OpenWRT contributions

We have recently started contributing to the OpenWRT project: improve the kernel support to use defconfig, introduce a notion of board to support different NAND configurations for each platform. We will soon to be pushing support for the Marvell Armada 385 platform, and improved support for the Marvell Armada 370 and XP platforms.

Recent projects

Besides our publicly visible kernel contributions, we do also work on customer-specific projects. Among the latest projects we have done:

  • Develop a complete Board Support Package for a custom TI AM335x based platform: U-Boot porting, Linux kernel porting, and development of a Yocto-generated system. Qt5 and OpenGL are used for the graphical application, a fairly complex audio setup had to be supported, and many traditional interfaces as well (USB Host and Device, CAN, display, etc.)
  • Develop a Board Support Package for a custom Marvell Armada 375 based platform for a telephony system. Not only did we port a Linux kernel on this platform, but we also wrote several DAHDI drivers to interface the telephony hardware of the platform with Asterisk.
  • NAND and UBI stress-testing for a customer-specific Freescale i.MX28 based platform. We improved the NAND controller driver, added a new MTD tool to generate bitflips, and did some long term power-cut stress-testing of the UBIFS setup to ensure the reliability of the platform. See our kernel driver improvements and the new nandflipbits tool.
  • Adapt an existing ADC driver for a customer-specific platform to the modern Industrial Input Output (IIO) subsystem of the kernel.

Conferences: FOSDEM, Embedded World and Embedded Linux Conference

Several Bootlin engineers will participate to the FOSDEM conference, taking place on January 30 and February 1 in Brussels. In addition, Thomas Petazzoni will be participating to the Buildroot Developers Meeting that takes place right after FOSDEM in the Google offices in Brussels.

Bootlin will participate to the Embedded World trade show on February 24-26 in Nuremberg, Germany. We will be present at Atmel’s booth and visiting exhibitor booths too. For people in Europe, this will be a good opportunity to ask your questions about our embedded Linux training and engineering services. In particular, you will be able meet our engineers Alexandre Belloni, Thomas Petazzoni (CTO), Michael Opdenacker (CEO) and Anja Roubin as well, the new person in charge of our training services.

This year again, most of the Bootlin engineering team (7 engineers) will participate to the 2015 edition of the Embedded Linux Conference on March 23-25 in San Jose, California. We submitted several talk proposals, but our presence won’t depend on the number of talks that are eventually accepted. Participating to this conference, and to its European edition in the fall too, is very important for us to make sure we do not miss any of the interesting developments in the technical community, and above all to strengthen our ties with the community developers. This helps us to be good technical trainers with valuable experience and information to share. The strong relationships with other community developers (and in particular with project maintainers) also help us when our customers contract us to add hardware support or features to official versions of community projects such as the Linux kernel.

Free technical documentation resources

Since the latest edition of this newsletter, we started running our new Yocto Project and OpenEmbedded course, and we released all training materials for this course. As usual, such materials are meant to be used by people learning by themselves too. All you have to do is get your hands on a Beaglebone Black board, read the slides and try to do the labs!

Our engineer Maxime Ripard also contributed documentation about the DMAEngine subsystem in the Linux kernel.

Upcoming training sessions – Now in Paris too!

The news is that we will run new public sessions in Paris, in addition to the ones we usually organize in Toulouse, Avignon and Lyon in France. We are starting with our embedded Linux and our Yocto courses, but other topics will follow too.

So, here are our next session dates:

See sessions and dates for more details. Of course, we can also deliver our training courses at your location, anywhere in the world. Feel free to contact us for a quote.

If you are interested in more frequent news about Bootlin, you can follow us on Twitter, Google+ and LinkedIn.

Call for participation for the FOSDEM Embedded developer room

BrusselsThe FOSDEM is by far the largest and most vibrant open-source event in Europe. With 5000+ participants, 400+ talks in just two days, a completely free entrance with no registration required, and many topics covered, it has become over the years a major meeting event of open-source developers.

The 2015 edition will take on January 31 and February 1st in Brussels. Like most years, a specific track dedicated to embedded systems is on the schedule, called the “Embedded Developer Room”. A call for participation has been published, and proposals are expected by December, 1st.

It is worth mentioning that the scope of the FOSDEM Embedded Developer Room goes much beyond Embedded Linux: it covers all types of embedded systems, including micro-controller based development, fun hacking or do-it-yourself projects, and much more. Looking at last year’s schedule of the Embedded Devroom is a good way of getting a feeling of the topics that are covered.

Also, FOSDEM has many other tracks that can be interesting to embedded Linux developers: last year there was a track about Tracing and debugging, a track about Memory and Storage, a track about Hardware, a developer room about Graphics, etc.

So, save the date, and join FOSDEM 2015 in Brussels!

Buildroot meeting and FOSDEM report, Google Summer of Code topics

As we discussed in a recent blog post, two of our engineers participated to the FOSDEM conference early February in Brussels, Belgium. For those interested, many videos are available, such as several videos from the Lameere room, where the embedded related talks were given.

Thomas Petazzoni also participated to the two days Buildroot Developers Meeting after the FOSDEM conference. This meeting gathered 10 contributors to the Buildroot project physically present and two additional remote participants. The event was sponsored by Google and Mind, thanks a lot to them! During those two days, the participants were able to discuss a very large number of topics that are often difficult to discuss over mailing lists or IRC, and a significant work to clean up the oldest pending patches was done. In addition to this, these meetings are also very important to allow the contributors to know each other, as it makes future online discussions and collaborations much easier and fruitful. For more details, see the complete report of the event.

Buildroot Developers Meeting in Brussels
Buildroot Developers Meeting in Brussels

Also, if you’re interested in Buildroot, the project has applied to participate to the next edition of the Google Summer of Code. Two project ideas are already listed on the project wiki, feel free to contact Thomas Petazzoni if you are a student interested in these topics, or if you have other proposals to make for Buildroot.

Bootlin at FOSDEM and at the Buildroot Developers Meeting

FOSDEMThis week-end is the first week-end of February, which on the schedule of all open-source developers is always booked for a major event of our community: the FOSDEM conference in Brussels. With several hundreds of talks over two days, this completely free event is one of the biggest event, if not the biggest of the open-source world.

For embedded Linux developers, FOSDEM has quite a few interesting tracks and talks this year: an embedded track, a graphics track (with many embedded related talks, such as talks on Video4Linux, the status of open-source drivers for 2D and 3D graphics on ARM platforms, etc.), and several talks in other tracks relevant to embedded developers. For example, there is one talk about the Allwinner SoCs and the community behind it in one of the main track. Our engineer Maxime Ripard is the Linux kernel maintainer for this family of SoC.

Two Bootlin engineers will attend FOSDEM: Maxime Ripard and Thomas Petazzoni. Do not hesitate to get in touch with them if you want to discuss embedded Linux or kernel topics!

Also, right after FOSDEM, the Buildroot community is organizing its Developers Meeting, on Monday, 3rd and Tuesday 4th February. This event is sponsored by Google (providing the meeting location) and Mind (providing the dinner), and will take place in the offices of Google in Brussels. Ten Buildroot developers will participate to the meeting in Brussels, as well as a number of others remotely. On Bootlin side, Thomas Petazzoni will be participating to the meeting. If you are interested in participating, either physically or remotely, do not hesitate to contact Thomas to register. For more details, see the wiki page of the event.

Videos of the Embedded track at FOSDEM 2012

Better late than never: we finally found the time to update our video encoding scripts, and therefore encode and upload the videos we had taken of the embedded track at FOSDEM 2012. Amongst many other interesting talks, you’ll notice two talks given by Bootlin engineers: one by Maxime Ripard on the IIO subsystem, a kernel subsystem for Industrial I/O devices, and another by Thomas Petazzoni about the usage of the Qt framework for non-graphical applications in embedded Linux systems.

Cédric BailVideo capture
EFL the upcoming embedded UI toolkit
Slides
Video (51 minutes):
full HD (337M), 800×450 (138M)

Julius Baxter, Olof KindgrenVideo capture
OpenCores.org
The OpenRisc Project
Slides
Video (28 minutes):
full HD (184M), 800×450 (74M)

Jeremy BennettVideo capture
Embecosm
Open Source Software Meets Open Source Hardware, OpenCores and the OpenRisc 1000
Video (28 minutes):
full HD (165M), 800×450 (71M)

Vasilis GeorgitzikisVideo capture
PMH: Home Automation made right
Slides
Video (27 minutes):
full HD (187M), 800×450 (81M)

Thomas PetazzoniVideo capture
Bootlin
Using Qt for non-graphical applications
Slides
Video (47 minutes):
full HD (307M), 800×450 (129M)

Jean PihetVideo capture
Texas Instruments
Linux (SoC) power management
Slides
Video (39 minutes):
full HD (268M), 800×450 (117M)

Maxime RipardVideo capture
Bootlin
IIO, a new subsystem for I/O devices
Slides
Video (35 minutes):
full HD (211M), 800×450 (97M)

Arnoult VandecappelleVideo capture
Mind
Safe upgrade of embedded systems
Slides
Video (47 minutes):
full HD (320M), 800×450 (138M)