Slides from the Embedded Linux Conference

Two weeks ago, the entire Free Electrons engineering team (9 persons) attended the Embedded Linux Conference in San Diego. We had some really good time there, with lots of interesting talks and useful meetings and discussions.

Tim Bird opening the conferenceDiscussion between Linus Torvalds and Dirk Hohndel

In addition to attending the event, we also participated by giving 5 different talks on various topics, for which we are publishing the slides:

Boris Brezillon, the new NAND Linux subsystem maintainer, presented on Modernizing the NAND framework: The big picture.

Boris Brezillon's talk on the NAND subsystem

Antoine Ténart presented on Using DT overlays to support the C.H.I.P’s capes.

Antoine Tenart's talk on using DT overlays for the CHIP

Maxime Ripard, maintainer of the Allwinner platform support in Linux, presented on Bringing display and 3D to the C.H.I.P computer.

Maxime Ripard's talk on display and 3D for the CHIP

Alexandre Belloni and Thomas Petazzoni presented Buildroot vs. OpenEmbedded/Yocto Project: a four hands discussion.

Belloni and Petazzoni's talk on OpenEmbedded vs. Buildroot

Thomas Petazzoni presented GNU Autotools: a tutorial.

Petazzoni's tutorial on the autotools

All the other slides from the conference are available from the event page as well as from Wiki. All conferences have been recorded, and the videos will hopefully be posted soon by the Linux Foundation.

Slides from Collaboration Summit talk on Linux kernel upstreaming

As we announced in a previous blog post, Free Electrons CTO Thomas Petazzoni gave a talk at the Collaboration Summit 2016 covering the topic of “Upstreaming hardware support in the Linux kernel: why and how?“.

The slides of the talk are now available in PDF format.

Upstreaming hardware support in the Linux kernel: why and how?

Upstreaming hardware support in the Linux kernel: why and how?

Upstreaming hardware support in the Linux kernel: why and how?

Through this talk, we identified a number of major reasons that should encourage hardware vendors to contribute the support for their hardware to the upstream Linux kernel, and some hints on how to achieve that. Of course, within a 25 minutes time slot, it was not possible to get into the details, but hopefully the general hints we have shared, based on our significant Linux kernel upstreaming experience, have been useful for the audience.

Unfortunately, none of the talks at the Collaboration Summit were recorded, so no video will be available for this talk.

Seminar “Porting Linux on an ARM board”, materials available

Porting Linux on an ARM boardOn December 10th 2015, Free Electrons engineer Alexandre Belloni gave a half-day seminar on the topic of Porting Linux on an ARM board in Toulouse, France. This seminar covers topics like porting the bootloader, understanding the concept of the Device Tree, writing Linux device drivers and more. With ~50 persons from various companies attending and lots of questions from the audience, this first edition has been very successful, which shows an increasing interest for using Linux on ARM platforms in the industry.

We are now publishing the 220 slides materials from this seminar, available in PDF format. Like all our training materials, this material is published under the Creative Commons BY-SA 3.0 license, which allows everyone to re-use it for free, provided the derivative works are released under the same license. We indeed re-used quite extensively parts of our existing training materials for this half-day seminar.

We plan to give this half-day seminar in other locations in France in 2016. Contact us if you are interested in organizing a similar seminar in your area (we are happy to travel!).

New training course on Buildroot: materials freely available

Buildroot LogoLast year, Free Electrons launched a new training course on using the Yocto Project and OpenEmbedded to develop embedded Linux systems. In the selection of build system tools available in the embedded Linux ecosystem, another very popular choice is Buildroot, and we are happy to announce today that we are releasing a new 3 days training course on Buildroot!

Free Electrons is a major contributor to the Buildroot upstream project, with more than 2800 patches merged as of May 2015. Our engineer Thomas Petazzoni alone has contributed more than 2700 patches. He has gathered an extensive knowledge of Buildroot and its internals, being one of the primary authors of the core infrastructures of Buildroot. He is a major participant to the Buildroot community, organizing the regular Buildroot Developer Days, supporting users through the mailing list and on IRC. Last but not least, Thomas acts as an interim maintainer when the main Buildroot maintainer is not available, an indication of Thomas strong involvement in the Buildroot project.

In addition, Free Electrons has used and is using Buildroot in a significant number of customer projects, giving us an excellent view of Buildroot usage for real projects. This feedback has been driving some of our Buildroot contributions over the last years.

The 3 days training we have developed covers all the aspects of Buildroot: basic usage and configuration, understanding the source and build trees, creating new packages including advanced aspects, analyzing the build, tips for organizing your Buildroot work, using Buildroot for application development and more. See the detailed agenda.

buildroot-slidesWe can deliver this training course anywhere in the world, at your location (see our rates and related details). We have also scheduled a first public session in English in Toulouse, France, on November 30 to December 2. Contact us at if you are interested.

And finally, last but not least, like we do for all our training sessions, we are making the training materials freely available under a Creative Commons BY-SA license, at the time of the training announcement: the first session of this course is being given this week. For the Buildroot training, the available materials are:

Our materials have already been reviewed by some of the most prominent contributors to Buildroot: Peter Korsgaard (Buildroot maintainer), Yann E. Morin, Thomas De Schampheleire, Gustavo Zacarias and Arnout Vandecappelle. We would like to take this opportunity to thank them for their useful comments and suggestions in the development of this new training course.

Yocto Project and OpenEmbedded training materials published

Yocto Project and OpenEmbedded trainingAs we announced in out latest newsletter, we recently launched a new Yocto Project and OpenEmbedded development training course.

The first public session will take place in Toulouse, France on November 18-20 and we still have a few seats available. We can also deliver on-site sessions at the location of your choice, see our Training cost and registration page for more details.

However, what brings us here today is that we are happy to announce the release of all the training materials of this new course: like all Free Electrons training materials, they are available under the Creative Commons Attribution Share-Alike license.

Fully committed to its knowledge sharing principles, Free Electrons has chosen to publish those materials even before the first session has taken place.

The materials available are:

We of course welcome reviews, feedback and comments about these materials, in order to improve them where needed. Send us your comments!

Free Electrons team back from ELCE and Linux Plumbers

As we announced in an earlier blog post, the entire Free Electrons engineering team was at the Embedded Linux Conference Europe and Linux Plumbers Conference last week in Düsseldorf.

Free Electrons engineering team at the Embedded Linux Conference Europe 2014
Free Electrons engineering team at the Embedded Linux Conference Europe 2014. From left to right, Grégory Clement, Alexandre Belloni, Maxime Ripard, Antoine Ténart, Thomas Petazzoni, Boris Brezillon and Michael Opdenacker.

In addition to attending many talks, meeting developers of the embedded Linux community and therefore keeping us up-to-date with the most recent developments in this domain, we also gave a number of talks, for which the slides are now available:

Boris Brezillon giving his DRM/KMS talk
Boris Brezillon giving his DRM/KMS talk
Maxime Ripard giving his Allwinner kernel talk
Maxime Ripard giving his Allwinner kernel talk
Thomas Petazzoni giving his Buildroot talk
Thomas Petazzoni giving his Buildroot talk
At the social event, from left to right: Grégory Clement (Free Electrons), Kevin Hilman (Linaro), Boris Brezillon (Free Electrons), Maxime Ripard (Free Electrons)
At the social event, from left to right: Grégory Clement (Free Electrons), Kevin Hilman (Linaro), Boris Brezillon (Free Electrons), Maxime Ripard (Free Electrons)

All the slides of the conference are also available on the event site of the Linux Foundation, and all talks have been video-recorded by the Linux Foundation so hopefully videos should become available in the near future.

Slides from the LinuxCon North America 2014 conference

The LinuxCon North America conference was held a few days ago in Chicago.

LinuxCon North America 2014

A number of slides from the conference have been published. While the conference is a general purpose Linux conference, there were quite a few talks discussed kernel or low-level related topics that may be of interest to embedded Linux developers. Amongst them, we noted:

Not all the slides have been posted yet, so be sure to check the slides page regularly for updates!

New training materials: boot time reduction workshop

We are happy to release new training materials that we have developed in 2013 with funding from Atmel Corporation.

The materials correspond to a 1-day embedded Linux boot time reduction workshop. In addition to boot time reduction theory, consolidating some of our experience from our embedded Linux boot time reduction projects, the workshop allows participants to practice with the most common techniques. This is done on SAMA5D3x Evaluation Kits from Atmel.

The system to optimize is a video demo from Atmel. We reduce the time to start a GStreamer based video player. During the practical labs, you will practice with techniques to:

  • Measure the various steps of the boot process
  • Analyze time spent starting system services, using bootchartd
  • Simplify your init scripts
  • Trace application startup with strace
  • Find kernel functions taking the most time during the boot process
  • Reduce kernel size and boot time
  • Replace U-Boot by the Barebox bootloader, and save a lot of time
    thanks to the activation of the data cache.

Creative commonsAs usual, our training materials are available under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 license. This essentially means that you are free to download, distribute and even modify them, provided you mention us as the original authors and that you share these documents under the same conditions.

Special thanks to Atmel for allowing us to share these new materials under this license!

Here are the documents at last:

The first public session of this workshop will be announced in the next weeks.
Don’t hesitate to contact us if you are interested in organizing a session on your site.

Android seminar slides

Android robotWe have delivered two seminars about Android during the last quarter of 2012. The seminars were held in Belfort and Grenoble, France, and were organized by Captronic, a French public program to support innovation in electronic systems.

This one day seminar targets people who wish to understand the constraints and implications of using Android in embedded products, and know the steps to follow. The seminar is led by Maxime Ripard, Free Electrons’ Android expert. Maxime is also the creator of Free Electrons’ Android system development course.



  • General introduction to Android
  • Opportunities to use Android in embedded systems which are neither phones nor tablets
  • Details on Android’s architecture and how to customize it:
    • Source code and compiling
    • Android changes to the Linux kernel
    • Bootloaders for Android
    • Supporting new hardware
    • Android filesystem layout
    • Android native layers and calling a C program to access specific hardware
    • Introduction to application development
    • Customizing the system
    • Using adb (Android Debug Bridge) for debugging and device remote access
    • Advice and resources


  • Completing the morning presentations (if necessary)
  • Demonstrating multiple aspects of system development with Android:
    • Getting sources and compiling
    • Android emulator demonstration
    • Starting Android on an electronic board with an ARM OMAP3530 processor, using a serial console.
    • Adding support for specific buttons. “Back” button example.
    • Using adb: installing, accessing system logs, accessing a command line interface on the device, exchanging files with the PC.
    • Customizing the system: change the product name, the default wallpaper, add new properties.
    • To access specific hardware (such as a USB device), development of a native library and accessing this functionality from the Android framework through a specific class and JNI library.
    • Describing an application that allows to control a USB device.
    • Questions and answers

Presentation slides

Note: see updates to these materials.

Creative commonsPresentation slides are available in PDF and LaTeX source formats. As usual, they are released under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution – ShareAlike 3.0 license. This means that you can reuse and modify them according to your own needs.

If you are interested in having one of us run such a seminar on your own part of the world, giving the audience the opportunity to ask all the questions they can have on the use of Android in embedded systems, don’t hesitate to contact us.

Embedded Linux boot time reduction presentation for GENIVI

GENIVI LogoI was invited to speak at the GENIVI All Members Meeting that took place on May 3-6 in Dublin, Ireland. This was a very interesting opportunity to meet new people in the In Vehicle Infotainment (IVI) industry and community.

In addition to the friendly social event at the Guiness Brewery, there was also a very interesting technical showcase of products and software using the GENIVI stack. I could observe that Freescale and ARM chips in general dominate this market. I also wore my Linaro shirt and had interesting discussions with several people about partnership opportunities between GENIVI and Linaro.

I gave a presentation about reducing boot time in embedded Linux systems. The slides are available in PDF and ODF formats, and as usual, are released with a Creative Commons Attribution – Share Alike 3.0 license. Here is the description of the talk:

Cheap Linux boot time reduction techniques

By Michael Opdenacker, Free Electrons

More and more feature rich Linux devices are put in the hands of consumers, and the average consumer shouldn’t even notice that they run Linux. To make the OS invisible, the system should boot in a flash.

Multiple boot time reduction techniques are now available, and can be used at the end of a development project, without incurring redesign costs. This presentation will guide embedded Linux system developers through the most effective ones. For each technique, we will detail how to use it and will report the exact savings achieved on a real embedded board.

Author’s biography

Michael Opdenacker is the founder of Free Electrons (, a company offering development, consulting and training services to embedded Linux system developers worldwide. He is always looking for innovative techniques to share with customers and with the community.

Michael is also the Community Manager for Linaro (, a not-for-profit engineering organization working on software foundations for Linux on ARM, to reduce fragmentation between ARM chip vendors, increase product performance and reduce time to market. Linaro currently employs more than 100 of the most active developers in the ARM and embedded Linux community.

I was pleased to have a good number of participants, and to get many questions during and after the talk.

Though GENIVI is about Free and Open Source Software, it is unfortunately not very open to the community yet. You have to become a member to access its specifications, wiki and other technical resources. While collecting membership fees makes sense to operate such an organization, and is acceptable for system makers, it makes it difficult for embedded Linux community developers to get involved. I hope that GENIVI will become more open to the wider embedded Linux community in the future.