Linaro Connect US '15

| categories: kernel, fedora

One of the items that came out of Linux plumbers for me was discussion on the future of the Ion memory manager for Android. While not as relevant to my day to day work anymore, I still have a lot of background knowledge and input to give. Linaro Connect happened a little over a month after plumbers and I was up there for the week, mostly for Ion and other ARM talks. (Non-technically, being at Linaro Connect also meant I could avoid the chaos in my apartment from an impending move. Yay for convenient excuses!)

Most of my time was spent in a hacking room doing regular Fedora work and chatting with people. I made some good progress on the bisection scripts. A few sessions I attended:

  • There's on going work on getting a generic driver for ARM Trustzone merged into the kernel. This is what Linaro is really good at: figuring out what's common between existing platforms and turning it into something generic. The end result should be something which makes communication between the secure and non-secure world more standard. The base design is currently based on the OP-Tee secure environments. Hopefully this will be a good base for others to expand into.

  • In more OP-Tee work, Linaro is working on DRM (not the graphics) for end to end encryption. This more standardization work on Linaro's part. Some of my previous worked on Ion ended up overlapping with this although most of the discussion went over my head.

  • My favorite keynotes were probably the last day. Karen Sandler talked about open source compliance and her story. I've seen her give a variation of this talk before but she's an excellent speaker. It's always good to be reminded of exactly why compliance is necessary.

  • There was also a group panel discussion on security. The panel echos a lot of themes that are popular these days. Everyone agrees that security is good but security is hard. There's been a big push in the kernel to "elimiate entire classes of bugs" (to borrow a phrase from Kees in the video). Convincing everyone to have the right security mindset can be difficult though (and even the best need to be reminded to think a bit deeper). The Internet of Crap^WThings is another can of worms. Most cell phones are vulnerable because they are running old version of software. Imagine that on every object in your home. Here's hoping the security conversation not only continues but is productive.

  • I did have quite a few meetings about Ion and related work. I'll discuss those in a later post.

  • I didn't end up in any of the ARM server topics this time because of some schedule conflicts. There's been both some skepticism and hilights of the future of the ARM server. Linaro connect is always thoroughly in the "We will prevail" camp for obvious reasons. It's nice to drink the Kool-Aid sometimes. When the rose colored glasses come off though, ARM servers only make sense as a long term prospect. Building an ecosystem takes time. Getting hardware that correctly conforms to standards and convincing manufacturers to get stuff upstream is a long term proposition. The market likes competition and anything that might put pressure on Intel long term is going to be something to watch.