New LXR website

I am pleased to announce that our http://lxr.free-electrons.com website is back on line.

As some of you probably noticed, our service had been down for several months. When it was working, it was based on LXR 0.9.5. This version had nice improvements over the stable release (0.3.1), like better display of the kernel sources, but on the other hand, it also had ugly drawbacks. In particular, it stored data in an SQL database. This made the server consume more CPU resources, and made it very long to index a new kernel version (about 10 hours instead of just a few minutes). Disk space was also multiplied by 3 or 4, if I recall correctly. Anyway, the major problem was that that version didn’t scale: the service was getting slower each time a new version was added. Apparently, the bigger the database, the slower the server got.

Eventually, that 0.9.5 based server just died. I didn’t change anything before this happened and everything looked all right. I checked configuration files and packages, but there seemed to be no way to make it run again. The only solution left was a brand new install from scratch.

I first evaluated the LXRng, a new fork of the software on the http://lxr.linux.no website. This new version looks nice. In particular, though it’s still using a database, this new branch seems to withstand a greater number of kernel source versions, as http://lxr.linux.no answers pretty fast now and indexes a pretty long list of versions. However, I found its interface confusing and not as convenient as it was in the original branch, especially for identifier search. It could be because this new version is not mature enough yet, or just because I was too familiar with the original interface. The best is to try by yourself!

I also tried to make a new installation of the latest CVS sources of the main branch. However, this didn’t work as expected, as I wanted to run the new service on a recent distro with long term support (Ubuntu Gutsy Gibbon). Gutsy Gibbon only supports MySQL 5.0, but LXR-CVS proved to be only compatible with MySQL 4.0. I did apply some patches, but still got SQL query errors with MySQL 5.0.

I eventually decided to go back to the good old 0.3.1 stable version, and I don’t regret it:

  • This version is extremely simple. You just need a web server with CGI scripts. No trouble with Apache2, no need to make modperl work. No need to install database software.
  • This version is extremely fast too. It just takes a few minutes to add a new version, and serving identifier searches is very fast. Just try with a widely used function, like outb. With LXR 0.9.5, it could take up to 1 minute to display all the files in which the symbol was found.
  • This version scales by design. Each supported source version has its own index files, and there is no central blob getting bigger and bigger. This simple design also makes it very easy to remove or to update source versions (like upgrading 2.6.28 sources to 2.6.28.1). With LXR 0.9.5, you had to make your own SQL queries to remove a version from the database!
  • This version lacks a few features (like direct links to C include files, or like file descriptions), but hey, the main features are there: source navigation and identifier search. The only significant feature that is kind of missing in our site is freetext search. Version 0.3.1 only supported a proprietary searching tool, so we decided to rely on Google’s search instead. This is not perfect as we won’t have version-specific search, but freetext search is a secondary feature for us anyway. We wanted to have this service back on line, with at least its main features.
  • Note that I had to make minor changes to make the website XHTML 1.0 Transitional compliant and pass the W3C Markup Validation Service checks I also fixed a bug in the diff markup script. Here is an archive of our install. Don’t hesitate to compare it with the original code and templates, and reuse our modified templates if you like them.

Thanks to this, the code hyperlinks in our kernel training slides work again at last! Every time we mention the name of a kernel source file or quote example code, you can click on the file name or on each function or structure type name, and you will be taken to the corresponding page on our LXR site!

Don’t forget that other valuable LXR websites exist for the Linux kernel. See our LXR websites list. Don’t hesitate to post a comment if you know other useful ones.

Conference videos and report

27 free videos from the ELC and FOSDEM 2008 conferences. Extensive technical report from ELC 2008.

After participating to the Embedded Linux Conference (ELC) in Mountain View, and to FOSDEM in Brussels, we are pleased to release the videos that we managed to shoot.

These videos should be useful to anyone interested in the multiple topics covered by these very interesting conferences, either to people who couldn’t join these conferences, or to single core participants who couldn’t attend more than one presentation at once. These videos are also interesting opportunities to see and hear key community members like Andrew Morton, Keith Packard, Henry Kingman, Tim Bird and many others!

While we’ve been releasing free technical videos for a few years now, ELC is the first conference for which we are also offering an extensive report, written by Thomas Petazzoni, one of our kernel and embedded system developers. This report is trying to sum up the most interesting things learned at this conference, at least from the presentations Thomas could attend. This way, you shouldn’t have to view all the videos to identify the most interesting talks.

Creative commons In agreement with the speakers, these videos and the report are released under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 license.

We hope that sharing this knowledge will attract new contributors and users, and will bring our community one step closer to world domination…

Embedded Linux Conference, Mountain View, Apr. 2008

Don’t miss our detailed report on the below presentations!

  • Keynote: The Relationship Between kernel.org Development and the Use of Linux for Embedded Applications, by Andrew Morton (Google):
    video, slides (55 minutes, 240 MB)
  • UME – Ubuntu Mobile and Embedded, by David Mandala (Canonical):
    video, slides (30 minutes, 145 MB)
  • Appropriate Community Practices: Social and Technical Advice, by Deepak Saxena (MontaVista):
    video (thanks to Kevin Hilman, MontaVista)(44 minutes, 139 MB)
  • Adventures In Real-Time Performance Tuning, by Frank Rowand:
    video,slides (50 minutes, 251 MB)
  • Shifting Sands: Lessons Learned from Linux on an FPGA, by Grant Likely:
    video, slides (44 minutes, 262 MB)
  • Disko – An Application Framework for Digital Media Devices, by Guido Madaus:
    video (27 minutes, 190 MB)
  • Keynote: Tux in Lights, by Henry Kingman (LinuxDevices.com):
    video, slides (44 minutes, 139 MB)
  • Back-tracing in MIPS-based Linux Systems, by Jong-Sung Kim (LG Electronics):
    video, slides
    (54 minutes, 160 MB)
  • Making a Phone Call With Phase Change Memory, by Justin Treon (Numonyx):
    video, slides (28 minutes, 159 MB)
  • Building Blocks for Embedded Power Management, by Kevin Hilman (MontaVista):
    We couldn’t film his presentation, but we already shot a similar presentation he gave at Fosdem 2008: video ((56 minutes, 183 MB)
  • Using Real-Time Linux, by Klaas van Gend (MontaVista):
    video, slides (53 minutes, 263 MB)
  • Every Microamp is Sacred – A Dynamic Voltage and Current Control Interface for the Linux Kernel, by Liam Girdwood (Wolfson Microelectronics):
    video, slides (35 minutes, 71 MB)
  • Power Management Quality of Service and How You Could Use it in Your Embedded Application, by Mark Gross (Intel):
    video, slides (57 minutes, 401 MB)
  • OpenEmbedded for product development, by Matt Locke (Embedded Alley):
    video, slides (49 minutes, 141 MB)
  • Kernel Size Report, and Bloatwatch Update, by Matt Mackall (Selenic Consulting):
    video (49 minutes, 146 MB)
  • Leveraging Free and Open Source Software in a Product Development Environment, by Matt Porter (Embedded Alley):
    video, slides (45 minutes, 220 MB)
  • Using a JTAG for Linux Driver Debugging, by Mike Anderson (PTR Group):
    video, slides (113 minutes, 694 MB)
  • DirectFB Internals – Things You Need to Know to Write Your DirectFB gfxdriver, by Takanari Hayama ():
    video (43 minutes, 200 MB)
  • Linux Tiny – Penguin Weight Watchers, by Thomas Petazzoni (Free Electrons):
    video (thanks to Jean Pihet, MontaVista), slides (32 minutes, 140 MB)
  • Keynote: Status of Embedded Linux and CELF Plenary Meeting, by Tim Bird (Sony):
    video, slides (49 minutes, 112 MB)

Slides are collected on http://www.celinux.org/elc08_presentations/.

Fosdem, Brussels, Feb. 2008

  • Modest, email client for embedded systems, by Dirk-Jan Binnema (Nokia):
    video (34 minutes, 121 MB)
  • Design a Linux robot companion with 8 bits microcontrollers, by David Bourgeois:
    video (54 minutes, 211 MB)
  • Linux on the PS3, by Olivier Grisel:
    video (47 minutes, 272 MB)
  • Xen for Secure Isolation on ARM11, by Jean-Pihet (MontaVista):
    video (41 minutes, 207 MB)
  • Building blocks for Embedded Power Management, by Kevin Hilman (MontaVista):
    video (56 minutes, 183 MB)
  • Emdebian Update: Rootfs, GPE and tdebs, by Neil Williams:
    video (47 minutes, 226 MB)
  • pjsip: lightweight portable SIP stack, by Perry Ismangil:
    video (55 minutes, 194 MB)

Additional video

  • Roadmap to recovery – pain and redemption in X driver development, by Keith Packard:
    video (44 minutes, 168 MB)