Flock 2017

| categories: fedora

Last week was Flock 2017 in Hyannis, MA. I was there!

I ran a session on kernel process for Fedora. This was designed to be an open session for discussion of whatever topics people wanted. We spent quite a lot of time on the future of Fedora kernel testing. Fedora has been discussing continuous integration across the project as a way to improve overall quality. The kernel has a set of tests that get run on every kernel build. There's interest from within Red Hat (my employer) to expand on this further. Red Hat recently publicly released one of their basic test suites for kernel testing. The ultimate goal is to use this plus other tests cases to run a service similar to the Intel 0-day testing for upstream kernels. This way, bugs can be found and hopefully fixed sooner.

There was some discussion about a potential increase in bugs with a move to CI. There are only two people full time on the Fedora kernel vs. a lot more bugs and reporters. How do we make additional reports scale? This has been a problem with Fedora for a long time and there still isn't a good answer. Trying to turn all contributors into kernel developers isn't very practical. What is practical is supporting contributors who do have the time and skills to bisect and report bugs to the upstream community. The hope is also that bugs which do get reported from the CI effort will be of high enough quality to reliably solve, or at least report.

The kernel session was very productive. One of the items that came out of it was the idea for a kernel test day. Details about this will be coming as soon as they are arranged.

Apart from my own session, I went to a couple of talks about ARM given by Peter Robinson and Robert Wolff. Peter gave his usual "State of Fedora on ARM" talk. The state is pretty great, thanks to his hard work. More and more boards are enabled with each release and hardware features continue to be added. There's an ongoing project to make installation more 'boring' by adding support to uBoot. Robert Wolff talked about supporting Fedora on 96boards based devices. As more and more devices get hardware support upstream, it gets more plausible to support them in Fedora. I expect support will only continue to improve as newer versions of the hardware specification come out.

I spent most of the rest of my time in the hallway track. Highlights there:

  • Chatting about Outreachy. The next round is coming up shortly so look for the CFP soon.
  • i686 kernels. The i686 SIG is slowly getting started. Justin and I gave some suggestions on what it might take for them to be successful.
  • Syncing up on a couple of ongoing bug reports.
  • Stories about hardware older than me.

Thanks to all the organizers for putting together a great conference and giving me an excuse to eat delicious Cape Cod food.