Can Linux Cope with Diversity?

Session information has not yet been published for this event.

Scheduled: Friday, September 9, 2011 from 9:00 – 9:45am in Alexander Valley Ball Room

One Line Summary

An exploration of whether hardware diversity and the need to ship product in the ARM ecosystem conflicts with working upstream the whole time


In the PC world, hardware is a commodity with changes rolling out slowly and an emphasis on compatible with existing software. The embedded market on the other hand has incredibly malleable hardware designs that change rapidly and drastically. Worst case, a single device is used in a handful of products and then is never to be seen again. In this world, “innovation” is often code for incompatible hardware design rather than genuine innovation. ARM platform design is coalescing somewhat, but diversity is and will always remain a
hallmark of ARM hardware as “always connected, computing everywhere” becomes true.

So what does this mean for Linux? Seen in this light, Google Android is a symptom of this diversity. Forking, carrying forward large patch sets and never upstreaming some code is the current landscape. Whilst working upstream is the expressed best practise of the Linux community, does it remain true that everything should go upstream? How should we manage the tension between getting a product out the door and working with mainline? In this presentation, we’ll explore these questions and what it means for the Linux development going forward.

Presentation Materials



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    David Rusling



    David always enjoyed mathematics, but America’s space program together with ‘Star Trek’ made him think that computers were really interesting and so he graduated in 1982 with a degree in Computer Science. The future turns out to have less flashing lights than he expected. At Digital Equipment Corporation he got involved in the port of Linux┬« to the Alpha processor. This gave him an abiding respect for the power of open source in general and Linux in particular. He worked on StrongARM before moving to ARM where he added tools experience. He’s an ARM Fellow; which he says, “really means that I’m a techno-dweeb with a wide freedom to meddle.” He’s the CTO of Linaro, a not for profit consortium of ARM companies dedicated to making Linux on ARM easier to use and deploy.