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Extensive Coverage of Ottawa Linux Symposium 2006 90

Posted by timothy
from the fries-and-gravy dept.
cdlu writes "LWN and NewsForge both extensively covered the goings-on at this year's OLS. NewsForge: day 1, day 2, day 3, and day 4. LWN (subscription required for most): article 1, article 2, article 3, and article 4." I especially enjoyed the description of reverse engineering a USB device from cdlu's coverage of day 3; one day wireless USB devices will really work with out-of-the-box Linux! Update: 07/25 04:57 GMT by T : Eric Preston, who delivered that talk on reverse engineering USB devices, kindly linked to both his slides and the accompanying screenshots.
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Extensive Coverage of Ottawa Linux Symposium 2006

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  • Yes but.. (Score:2, Funny)

    by vancondo (986849)
    How long can this event be held in canada? I mean, sure its the right environment for penguins now but what about global warming?
  • by Anonymous Coward
    I can think of a hundred different places I'd rather go for a symposium before Ottawa.

    Obviously, they must have not be expecting a lot of out-of-towners.
    • Obviously, they must have not be expecting a lot of out-of-towners.

      No. However, they *were* expecting you.
    • There is a mall attached to the convention center. Go to the food court. Proceed to the Japanese place. Eat.

      Warning: do not forget to smuggle real Mountain Dew into the country. Canada banned caffeine in drinks that are not brown, and Pepsi chose color over content.
      • Tea has caffeine, and isn't always brown. And who do they think they are, regulating caffeine? It is what makes software development possible! They need to do a protest at this Linux Symposium.
        • Tea looks rather brown to me.

          Actually, tea escapes anyway because the caffeine isn't added. If you can find a heavenly plant that grows fruit containing Mountain Dew as the juice, you'll have solved the problem. I don't know if genetic engineering counts.
          • I accept your second point, and begin working on it. I'll upload the changed source code for the plant's DNA on sourceforge.
            I must argue your first point.

            Black tea is red. You could call it brown, but you could also call GNU, Unix.

            White tea isn't brown at all.

            Green tea isn't either.

            Oolong tea isn't and has a respectable amount of caffeine.
      • Mt. Dew cheated, it has been re-branded as an "energy drink" to get around such silly restrictions, and is not "dew fuel", with more caffeine then regular mountain dew :). I should know, I once made a 18 hour round trip drive to montanna to buy ~500 lbs of mt dew, before dew fuel came along :p
  • We Suck! (Score:3, Insightful)

    by JamesP (688957) on Monday July 24, 2006 @07:35PM (#15773077)
    The best presentations, IMHO:

    Killing Kittens (David Arlie)
    LuserSpace sucks (DaveJ)
    Myths about Linux (Greg KH)

    OK, not the exact names, but you get the picture.

    The first one adresses graphic vendors that think their closed driver has fairy poo on them.

    The second adresses brain dead programmers that keep mistreating files AND the general OS.

    The third has the coolest last slide I've seen in a presentation.
    • Re:We Suck! (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Fractal Dice (696349)

      The "Open Source Graphic Drivers - They Don't Kill Kittens" talk was very entertaining, but was it any good? There was a fairly lengthy debate in the halls afterwards over whether it was productive or not to rant about ATI and Nvidia.

      Yes, it got across the point that the video card vendors are not playing nice, but is whining about it going to get the community anywhere? I'd have liked to have seen a counter-presentation from the vendors listing their concerns in their own words and what is required for

      • by Lost+Found (844289) on Monday July 24, 2006 @09:46PM (#15773478)
        You know, I used to think just like this -- though I didn't consider it 'whining', I worried about the practice, thinking it might just put the vendors off.

        And then I watched the OpenBSD project flame the hell [theaimsgroup.com] out of a Hifn representative for asserting that his company provided 'open documentation' (when in fact acquiring said documentation required registration that the OpenBSD developers felt violated their privacy). When I first read the systematically harsh response to the Hifn representative (including Theo's threat to drop the free driver from the OpenBSD tree), I was absolutely stunned that a group of free software developers would be so reckless.

        But it got me thinking... we can't all bend over and ask for it from the vendors forever. Linux marketshare is growing in every segment, and we do have an increasing amount of support from giants like IBM. If it were possible for the projects to take a unified stance (across Linux and the three *BSDs) and persistently demand programming specifications from the vendors, what's going to happen -- they're going to say "fuck you for asking" and drop their binary drivers too?

        Something tells me that giving your customers the finger, even if it's only an operating system or two only represent 6-10% of your desktop market, isn't the sort of thing you do to appease shareholders. So while they might not respond immediately, it's not like we're losing anything.

        I'm thinking we should start a unified petition to AMD now that they're acquiring ATI - form an online petition to AMD that says "We are NVIDIA customers who will eBay our GPUs tomorrow and buy ATI if you release open drivers".
        • I've just read the thread you linked to, and clicked on the Hifn link. There were only a few replies in there that I would class as flames, and they got jumped on pretty quickly. The upshot? I revised my intention to buy a (Hifn-chip-based) Soekris VPN board to go in my OpenBSD embedded firewall. I have no intention of stopping using OpenBSD, but Hifn have lost a customer until this is resolved.

          I am glad to see some people in the Linux community standing up for open documentation, for a change. The

  • by Lost+Found (844289) on Monday July 24, 2006 @07:35PM (#15773078)
    Almost 1,000 pages of very interesting whitepapers from the event can be found in the first [linuxsymposium.org] and second [linuxsymposium.org] PDFs.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    I read the papers and listen to radio here in Ottawa. I run Linux on my machine and have helped my girlfriend and her little daughter switch as well, we're the sort who'd like to have known that this was going on. But not a peep.

    Was there advertising in 'trade' papers that I just didn't see? Or is this basically a convention for out-of-towners with no seats for 'off the street' folks? More of a 'Linux Symposium' (held in Ottawa) than an 'Ottawa Linux Symposium' I'd say... heh.

    Kevin
  • How long until we have one of these in the Cincinnati area? Nothing ever happens here except shootings.
  • by SuperBanana (662181) on Monday July 24, 2006 @07:56PM (#15773152)
    one day wireless USB devices will really work with out-of-the-box Linux!

    Getting a driver into Linux is so full of road hazards because the "community"(read: the loudest mouths) is too idealistic, eccentric, and inflexible...and as a result, most companies go "fuck that 2% of the market" and release Windows drivers that, long as they work, nobody complains about, ever. Even MacOS X is easier; it's a much more stable "target" hardware/software-wise, and the community doesn't mix politics with purchases.

    Not to mention most likely Brand X wireless card came complete with drivers from OEM company Z, just with Brand X silkscreened on the PCB...and Brand X couldn't "release" the drivers or write open-source ones if they wanted to.

    • What, you mean like we require source code?

      Investigate the causes of the Free Unix kernels having the reputation for stability. This isn't fucking WinXP - it actually has to function properly.
      • by kscguru (551278)
        The stability of a driver is a function of how many useful bug reports get into the hands of the developer who wrote the driver. Linux survives because Linux has far more developers - any kernel hacker can fix a problem, but almost no end-user problems ever get fixed (hence, mom and pop hate Linux because their grips don't get fixed, nor even heard). On Windows, there are fewer developers, but Microsoft (despite their faults) has done much better about getting error reports to the people who can fix the b
        • The stability of a driver is a function of how many useful bug reports get into the hands of the developer who wrote the driver.
          Sorry, we don't support the binary blob for your kernel/device anymore, please install Linux Vista/buy new expensive device with no useful features added.
        • Bullshit. It has everything to do with source code. Why has OpenBSD had one hole in 8-10 years?

          The whole point of the FOSS method is that there's a huge ammount of peer review. The multi-month wait time is put to good use. The vast majority of third party driver code is utter shit. Many people have seen, first hand the poor quality of third party drivers. In fact, they're a largeish factor in why Windows crashes so much. You notice with home users that aren't fussy about what they install on their
    • by Anonymous Coward
      Nobody wants vendors to release drivers. We don't want them, and we never will want them. Simply supply the docs they already have, and let us make drivers. We will support their hardware for them, for free, and it will always be up to date, always work out of the box, and always be consistant with other similar hardware for users. Quit re-hashing the same stupid excuses that have nothing to do with reality.
    • Right only if those fucks would just shut up and sit down all the hardware manufacturers would write drivers.

      Who mdded this fool up anyway?
    • Not to mention most likely Brand X wireless card came complete with drivers from OEM company Z, just with Brand X silkscreened on the PCB...and Brand X couldn't "release" the drivers or write open-source ones if they wanted to.

      I'm sure most Linux users are much more aware about who really made their wireless networking hardware, due to the fact that what Linux driver you need depends on the chipset, not the manufacturer or model. In fact, there are often several versions of a wireless network card with
  • Containers (Score:5, Informative)

    by ovz_kir (946783) on Monday July 24, 2006 @08:00PM (#15773169) Homepage
    That's a pity that a few talks about containers (OS-level virtualization, a la advanced Jails, a la Solaris Zones/Partitions) were not covered at all. There were (at least) four of them:
    - Eric Biederman's talk about namespaces
    - Cedric Le Goater's talk about application mobility (a.k.a. live migration of containers)
    - A BOF on containers, moderated by Dave Hansen
    - A BOF on the resource management (one of the components of containers), moderated by Dipkanar Sarma

    There was also a half-an-hour discussion about containers on the Kernel Summit. Let me summarise all these in a few lines:
    1. Containers are a real alternative (or a good addition) to Xen and paravirtualization. In most cases they can be used for same applications, without incurring all the Xen's overhead and dirty hacks)
    2. Everybody wants containers in the mainstream kernel
    3. There are different implementations (IBM's stuff, OpenVZ, Linux-VServer, and Eric's) and their developers need to agree upon them what to submit/push into mainline. This is hard to do, but a required step.
    4. Resource management: User Beancounters from OpenVZ is a good (the only?) candidate for inclusion into mainstream.
    • Xen's overhead may be bigger, but at least it only affects the people who use it.

      Containers hurt everybody.
      • It hurts the same way that multitask operating systems hurt - there is definitely some overhead for task switching. Really, single task OSs gives more CPU to the task and thus are more efficient.

        In multiuser operating systems there are a lot of checks for uids, gids etc.

        Now the question - do we want multiuser and multitask OSs? Do we want ownership and permission checks on files? Do we want resourse limits (such as ulimit, disk quotas)?

        Same answer applies to containers.
        • No, sorry, same answer does NOT apply to containers.

          Ordinary users of all types definitely get real benefits from multitasking.

          Ordinary business users, and to a lesser extent home users (because of malware and accidents), benefit from access controls and resource limits.

          Containers are rarely of use and never important. If I'm isolating something for development, I'll at least use VMWare. That lets me do multiple kernel versions. For serious testing, I'll just buy extra hardware. If it is security I want and
          • No, I am not trying to sell something -- OpenVZ is free software (free as in freedom). By the way, OpenVZ developers fixed a lot of bugs in mainstream, so they are rather fixing your kernel than fucking it up. All of the OpenVZ code is #ifdef'd so if no appropriate options are selected the code is not compiled in. Finally, you do not understand what containers are useable for...hmm I can try and give you some examples if you like. Basically, the same isolation/security that you'd rather use VMware for --
            • For development isolation, multiple kernels is a requirement. I need to run Fedora Core 6 test 1, RHEL 4, Gentoo's latest, SuSE 9, SuSE 10.1, Slackware 10...

              Often, it goes beyond that. Multiple OSes may be a requirement. You don't do Windows XP or OpenBSD.

              As far as I can tell, the HSP/VSP stuff is the only real use of containers. That is very obscure. It's not nice to severely hack up the kernel for something so obscure.

              BTW, you are wrong about VMWare. It lets you migrate live images. (not the free version)
              • Well, you can run different distros in different containers on the same system (yep, the kernel will be the same and in most cases it is not a problem). Really, I do not have problem running all the distros you mentioned (we haven't tried FC6 yet though...but I do not foresee any major problem here).

                Speaking of security - all those HSP would went out of business very soon if VPSs they sell would be hackable. Also - if you have any knowledge about yet unclosed holes - security@kernel.org is a better place fo
                • There are many buyers for undisclosed holes. Probably you'd be amazed at the pay. I don't think security@kernel.org will pay very much. Anyway...

                  If you need to patch many VMWare images in parallel, you just do it. People manage server farms all the time, certainly not involving login on any of them. (You think Google has some dude doing that? Server 765430, server 765431, server 765432, done! Whew! Time to start the next update!) Really, there are tools for this.

                  You can increase the RAM on a physical machin
                  • >There are many buyers for undisclosed holes. Probably you'd be amazed at the pay. I don't think security@kernel.org will pay very much. Anyway...

                    O.K., this looks like an ethical question, and looks like my ethical principles is a bit different of yours. Anyway...

  • Wireless USB? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Karma Farmer (595141) on Monday July 24, 2006 @08:00PM (#15773172)
    one day wireless USB devices will really work with out-of-the-box Linux!


    Has the Wireless USB (WUSB) specification even been finalized yet? Isn't it a little early to get excited about a niche protocol that may never reach the market?

    Or does the submitter not understand the difference between Wireless USB and USB Wireless Networking Adapters?
    • Re:Wireless USB? (Score:3, Insightful)

      by vux984 (928602)
      Or does the submitter not understand the difference between Wireless USB and USB Wireless Networking Adapters?

      IMHO PEBKAC :)

      For most of us, "wireless usb devices", -are- "usb wireless network adapters". Given the notoriety these things have and the context of the sentence... "one day they'll actually work out of the box..." it seemed pretty clear to me what the submitter meant, to the degree that I didn't even think about WUSB.

      I think at this point, "wireless usb", as the "thing that sort of works just like
      • I think at this point, "wireless usb", as the "thing that sort of works just like bluetooth" is enough of a niche that most people, including the submitter might not have even heard of it, so its not really fair to accuse them of not understanding the difference between A and B, when they probably never heard of B.

        Have you forgotten where you are? This is slashdot. If you are geeky enough to submit a story you should know what wireless USB is.

        Plus you should have read about it [slashdot.org], twice [slashdot.org].
    • Yes, specification is finished. Moreover, Linux already has an implementation [linuxuwb.org].
  • by Maelwryth (982896)
    "Corbet says that there's not a firm kernel bug count. As the number of users increases, he noted, so to does the number of bug reports. More code means more bugs, even if the proportion of bugs (bugs per thousand lines of code) drops."

    Oh dear. I can see that being quoted.
  • (Ottawa)(Linux)(Symposium) (2006)
    Hhhm.. something tells me no booth babes were present..
  • I wonder if there will be any protesters shouting "BSD, BSD, DOWN WITH LINUX, BSD, INTEGRATION, BSD, SECURITY, BSD, CODE QUALITY, BSD, TRULY FREE CODE, BSD, BSD, DOWN WITH GNU, BSD, DOWN WITH RECURSIVE ACRONYMS, BSD, BSD, WINE IS AN EMULATOR, BSD, BSD".

    Or if someone insults someone else's text editor. "WHAT DID YOU SAY ABOUT vim? I DON'T NEED AN ENTIRE OS FOR A TEXT EDITOR! OR A BROKEN PINKY!" "HEY YOU, WIMPY VIIMACS USERS, ed PWNS YOU ALL. IF YOU NEED MORE THAN A "?" FOR OUTPUT, YOU ARE TEH SUCK""EMACS CAN
  • I recently bought a Huawei CDMA card. It worked 'out of the box' with Ubuntu. The USB version also worked first time.

    Of course, we had to figure out the wvdial config file to make it do anything, but that didn't take long.
  • Yeah right... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Brandybuck (704397) on Tuesday July 25, 2006 @12:11AM (#15773875) Homepage Journal
    one day wireless USB devices will really work with out-of-the-box Linux!

    Yeah right. That will happen the day after video card manufacturers release Free Software drivers...
    • That will happen the day after video card manufacturers release Free Software drivers

      Intel, the video card manufacturer with the most market share, employs people to work on the DRI project, which releases MIT-licensed drivers.

  • Linux Weekly News' articles are only available to subscribers the first week they come out. After that they are available to all. Kudos to the editor, Jon Corbet, for finding a solution that enables the content that he creates (and that of other contributers) to be available to all. Albiet after a slight delay. :)

If it's working, the diagnostics say it's fine. If it's not working, the diagnostics say it's fine. - A proposed addition to rules for realtime programming

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