The LinuxCon 2016 Experience

Hi !

Within this post I will relate my experience of attending LinuxCon 2016 Conference.

As a former Outreachy Linux Kernel intern is part of the program and, of course, open source mindset to present my work in front of the community. Which better opportunity to do so than the great annual Linux conference LinuxCon ? This year LinuxCon Europe took place in Berlin on 4-6th of October.

Ought to be mentioned that this is not the first technical conference I attend but it’s the first time I attend LinuxCon and even so, as a speaker.

First day:

The Outreachy program report was in the first day. I got the chance to meet all other participants as well as our program coordinator Julia Lawall in the morning. During our presentation we briefly presented the technical details of each project but the auditorium was especially interested the experience of our interaction with the Linux Kernel community. To be honest, I have only good things to say about my interaction with them since they have always been helpful offering constructive feedback.

Next, I continuously had to take tough decisions by choosing which presentation to attend since there were always more than just one which sounded attractive.

 I have always come across the notion  of cgroups as a solution for resource management of processes but I didn’t really have time to check out how it works. So, the first presentation I attended was an obvious choice.

An Introduction to Linux Control Groups (cgroups) – Michael Kerrisk [slides]

This presentation offered a very wide view over cgroups, starting with the basic definition and continuing with showing  the available features and the configuration commands which enable the above mentioned features. What I liked about it is that here and there high level concepts and corner cases were presented. cgroups is a bit of an abstract, intangible concept so attending this presentation clarified it for me.

The next presentation offered me a quick overview of the technologies used behind the organization of Linux Kernel project:

From git tag to dnf update: How Linux Kernel Gets Released – Konstantin Ryabitsev, The Linux Foundation

During my internship, I have brought contributions to the code itself but never really thought about the technologies behind the project itself. This presentation serves as great general knowledge since I intent to continue working on Linux Kernel. A complete diagram summarizing the presentation content: link

The first day ended with a speaker party in which I got to meet one of the Linux Kernel legends: no other than Greg Kroah-Hartman. Not to brag but… there is a picture 😀 :


It was so fun when Linus Torvalds photobombed us:


Neah, I’m joking. I didn’t see him 😦 . It would have been fun tough.

Next days:

Linux-Kernel Memory Ordering: Help Arrives At Last! – Paul E. McKenney, IBM [slides]

Discusses the importance of memory models in kernel development along with some technical examples out from latest researches.
entry_*.S: A Carefree Stroll through Kernel Entry Code – Borislav Petkov, SUSE [slides]
This one was highly technical but very cool. Basicly, it explained how the memory content changes when switching from user space to kernel space.
What’s Up in the Land of the Linux Kernel – Thorsten Leemhuis, Heise Medien GmbH 
Unlike the previous one, this presentation offered a very general overview of the current developments of the Linux Kernel

Linux Kernel Security Update – James Morris, Oracle [slides] In the same generic tone, and iteration of the security developments of LK, such as updates on the LSM API, SELinux, Smack and AppArmor.

lguest: A Journey of Learning the Linux Kernel Internals – Daniel Baluta, Intel How to miss my mentor’s presentation ? Lguest is a small hypervisor running over Linux on X86 and it’s easy and comprehensible, ideal if you want to learn about virtualization and Linux Kernel Internals.

What Kind of Crazy Person Uses a Full Linux Distro for IOT? – Jim Perrin, CentOS showing how to create hardware support for a OS distribution.

Adding CPU Frequency Scaling for Your ARM Platform to Linux Kernel – Bartlomiej Zolnierkiewicz, Samsung Electronics Polska Sp. z o.o. [slides] Another extremely techincal presentation about the implementation of CPU scaling in ARM processors.

Using Static Checkers to Find C Language Security Vulnerabilities in the Linux Kernel – Vaishali Thakkar, Linux Foundation [slides] showed some tools useful to perform static annalists over kernel code.

Last but not least, I attended Julia’s CocciBoF, introduction to Coccinelle. I have worked with Coccinelle before, when applying to Outreachy, but now I got to see more complex examples with that specific syntax.

Summarizing, the Outreachy program represents for me a great start of career. During the working period I gained  precious technical knowledge and attending LinuxCon conference gave me an overview about what happens in this field right now. Most of the presentations were highly technical thus, very captivating to follow and I got in contact with companies that I had no idea that contribute to open source.

Lovely speaking to you, as usual 🙂 Until next time !


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