Linux Plumber's Conference Day 1

Ray Strode
Yesterday I attended the Linux Plumbers’ Conference in Cambridge, MA.

State of the Kernel

First there was an opening talk by Jonathan Corbet, which was a report on the current state of the kernel. Some take-aways I got from the talk is we have about 1100 kernel developers currently, 300 are very active, and the pace is very fast. There isn’t any concern over attracting additional kernel developers as there is a steady influx. Jonathan went over various new features in the kernel, including a few long-term cleanup efforts that are finally getting finished up.

Boot & Init Mini-Conference

Harald Hoyer
Next I attended the Boot & Initi mini-conference. We had a bit over 2 hours, and many people got up and talked about their systems and/or experience working with those systems. I tried to take some furious notes on the mini-conference’s etherpad, so check them out. Here’s a quick overview of the talks that happened:

  • Remote Boot using SAN protocols – iSCSI and FCoE (Supreeth Venkataraman, Intel)
  • A generic initramfs infrastructure – dracut (Harald Hoyer, Red Hat)
  • Bootchart 2 – what you see under the hood (Michael Meeks, Novell)
  • Plymouth – graphical boot splash and logger (Ray Strode, Red Hat)
  • Beyond init: systemd (Kay Sievers, openSUSE; Lennart Poettering, Red Hat)
  • Gentoo + SystemD – troubles, solutions, and future (k-s Gustavo Sverzut Barbieri / Profusion)
  • Debian’s init system – past, present and future (and some numbers) (Michael Biebl, Debian)

For more details on these, see the mini-conference’s etherpad.

Desktop Mini-Conference

After a great vegan lunch (major, major kudos to the conference organizers for providing these), I headed over to the Thomas Paine conference room for the Desktop mini-summit. There were a bit fewer talks, but still the talks took up pretty much all the time we had. Here’s the sessions, with links to their original proposals and my one-line summary:

  • EGL and GLES1/2 on Linux (Kristian Høgsberg) – Kristian is working on EGL, a platform-dependent API – almost a graphics rendering API hub – that provides a way to convert to a common object format between different rendering API object types, and also to platform-specific windowing system native types – a windowing system isn’t required to work with it though.
  • multi-card/gpu – can we fix it? (David Airlie) – David talked about some work he’s done to combine randr & xinerama, and walked through 4 different multiple-video-card scenarios and the work that needs to be done to make those scenarios much smoother (or in some cases, possible0 for users.
  • systemd and the desktop (Lennart Poettering) – Lennart mainly talked about wanting to redefine what a session means and a proposal to involve systemd in managing it. He seemed to be looking for opposition to the idea and nobody posed any.
  • GNOME OS (Jon McCann) – Jon proposed we work together on a distro-neutral operating system, that we need to look holistically to build an OS with a great user experience. He gave some examples on how we’ve worked holistically together before from the bottom of the stack to the user-experience (e.g., udev) and pushed us to try for more. He presented a proposed roadmap from GNOME 3.0 (core UX) to GNOME 4.0, with some interesting milestones along the way (developer experience, application store.)

For more information on the talks in this mini conference, check out the miniconference Etherpad session.
I’m really looking forward to day 2. 🙂
p.s. Here’s all my photos from day 1.


  1. anonim says:

    Thanks for the summary. I'm interested in the gnome os talk. Does the idea included discussions on providing UX for things other than the desktop? (mobile, netbook, etc)
    thanks again,

    1. The netbook experience is intended to be the same, but phones aren't really planned in the design. (This is from Jon who's sitting right next to me now. 🙂 )

  2. Thanks for your coverage! Are the talks being videoed? Will they be available somewhere to watch, for those of us not able to attend?

    1. Hi Duncan! All the mini-confs have etherpads and wiki pages. I haven't noticed many of the mini-confs being filmed. I know the audio one this morning was filmed, but I don't know who was filming it; he asked the moderator for permission to film at the beginning so I am guessing is was not with the conference. For the talks in the main ballroom there is a quite large video camera in the back but during Benjamin Otte's video talk this afternoon it didn't appear anyone was operating it.
      I'm not officially with the conference though, just an attendee. I will ask the organizers about the plans for video the next time I see them and post back here.

  3. I'm curious about where the "100 developers" number came from. I'm pretty sure I didn't say that…? A typical release has contributions from about 1100 developers, about 1/3 of whom put in a single patch. We have a lot more than 30 highly active developers.

    1. Ah okay I'll fix the numbers. Sorry about that… !

  4. Eckhart says:

    "systemd and the desktop (Lennart Poettering)" seems to link to the wrong page.

    1. Good catch, I just fixed it. Sorry folks, I pushed this one out without proofreading it too well.

  5. Rob Marti says:

    –> (or in some cases, possible0 for users.
    Random typo I noticed. Thanks mizmo.

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