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Printk(), x86, Unikernals & ftrace: Here’s What You Missed at Open Source Summit Europe

Open Source Summit EuropeEarlier this year, LinuxCon, ContainerCon and CloudOpen all combined for one massive umbrella event: Open Source Summit. After a successful North America launch, Prague hosted over 4,000 open source experts and enthusiasts at Open Source Summit Europe last month. Community members and technologists gathered together for a marathon four days of collaboration, information sharing and learning.

Here’s what you missed at Open Source Summit Europe:

Is printk() More Trouble Than It’s Worth?

As long as Linux has been around, printk() has been the premier tool for debugging the Linux kernel and being the display mechanism for Linux. It’s the first thing one sees as the life of the kernel begins, from the kernel banner to the last message at shutdown.

However, printk() can get you in a pickle. The tool serves many functionalities, and some of them can be conflicting. For example, printk() can actually be the cause of live locks. VMware’s Steven Rostedt tackled the thorny nature of printk() head on with Sergey Senozhatsky, senior engineer at Samsung Electronics. They discussed the history of printk(), how it’s grown, issues that have come about it and, most importantly, why it’s the pain that it is today.

Read some of Steven’s best VMware Open Source blogs here.

Unikernelized Real Time Linux & IoT

Unikernel is a novel software technology that links an application with OS in the form of a library, then packages it into a specialized image that facilitates direct deployment on a hypervisor. Despite this novel utility, unikernels have yet to gain mainstream popularity.

Tiejun Chen, an open source expert and VMware China staff engineer, went to bat for unikernels during his Open Source Summit Europe presentation. Tiejun touched on the challenges unikernels are facing and explored how to convert Linux as unikernel and the role IoT would play in that.

You can watch a recording of Tiejun’s unikernel presentation from Open Source Summit North America below.

x86 Platform Drivers

x86 platform drivers cover the final step of integration for devices like LEDs and radio switches, as well as certain aspects of thermal and power management across all types of platforms. Essentially, these drivers can make or break first-time user experience of a given device.

Darren Hart, director and open source architect of the VMware Open Source Technology Center, delivered a presentation on x86 platform drivers for attendees at Open Source Summit Europe. Throughout his talk, Darren described the nature of this particular software ecosystem and the current development efforts and challenges around x86 platform drivers.

As a final call to arms, Darren invited attendees to get involved with improving the scope of support for x86 platform drivers, highlighting VMware’s efforts to bolster our commitment to community.

Read Darren’s latest blog, What Is Software Made Of? An Open Source Maintainer’s Perspective, here.

What’s New with ftrace?

ftrace is the official tracer of the Linux kernel, and Steven is a regular one-man machine when it comes to developing ftrace features. At Open Source Summit Europe, Steven gave a brief intro overview of ftrace and demoed many of the new features added over the past few years, including:

  • Multiple instance
  • Stack tracing
  • Variable per CPU buffer sizes
  • Improved tracing of forked process
  • A new file system to mount ftrace on

Read more about ftrace in Steven’s blog, When Likely Is Likely to Be Likely, here.

VMware in Conversation with Linus Torvalds

Last, but not least – Dirk Hohndel, VP and Chief Open Source Officer at VMware, participated in one of the event’s keynote discussions with Linux and Git Creator Linus Torvalds. You can watch the entire keynote address below.

For more on VMware’s commitment to open source, stay tuned to the VMware Open Source Blog and follow us on Twitter @vmwopensource.


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