It has now been almost exactly five years since kernel development community tentatively started using the git source code management system with the 2.6.12-rc2 commit. That was an uncertain time; nobody really knew how long it would take the development process to get back up to speed after an abrupt core-tool change. As it turned out, git was almost immediately useful, and has only become more so since. Making the development process work is git’s main claim to fame, but, as a side benefit, git also makes it possible to learn a lot about how our kernel is developed. And that, as it turns out, includes taking a look at the code which is not changed.

The speed of the development process is impressive; the nearly-released 2.6.33 kernel is the product of nearly 11,000 individual changes affecting nearly a million lines of code (look here for more 2.6.33 statistics). Those numbers are boringly normal for a three-month development cycle; things are always moving that fast.

Given that, one might think that, by now, very little of that 2.6.12-rc2 kernel which was first committed to git would remain. After all, over 500,000 lines were deleted in this development cycle alone. I got curious, and decided to look a bit deeper. The result was the creation of some brutally hackish Python scripts, the expenditure of about a week of solid CPU time, and some statistics on the age of the kernel code base.

It turns out that, of the approximately 12 million lines of code and documentation that make up the 2.6.33 kernel, about 31% dates back to that 2.6.12-rc2 commit. A third of our current kernel has not been touched in the last five years.

Some parts of the kernel (including the network stack, the filesystem layer, and, alas, the documentation directory) have higher-than-average amounts of old code. Over 40% of our documentation is at least five years old. Some of that documentation covers things which haven’t changed – how to configure old hardware, for example, and Klingon language support – but much of the rest is just … old.

The newest code can generally be found in the core kernel, which is much more aggressively improved and updated. But, even there, 25% of the memory management layer dates from 2.6.12, as does about 13% of the “kernel” directory.

Does this mean that we have a lot of old and unmaintained code sitting around? In places, that will certainly be true; no body of code this large can be without the occasional cobweb-filled corner. But I also think these numbers show that we have built this kernel to last. The development community’s focus on code quality and maintainability means that, even in a rapidly-changing kernel with contributions from thousands of developers, a third of our code works so well that it has not even needed a dusting-off in the last five years.

Microsoft today issued a news release to announce a patent cross-license agreement with Amazon. And, the news release, in the lead, explicitly calls out a set of technologies covered by the agreement: the Kindle, which employs open source software, and Amazon’s use of Linux-based servers.

Companies reach broad cross-license agreements all the time, never disclose the patents involved and don’t often issue press releases about it. Amazing how despite the “broad range of products and technology” covered in their cross license, Microsoft chose to focus on Linux and open source – distinctly calling it out from “proprietary software” and wasn’t specific about any patents.

It is worth noting that most technology companies have invested heavily in patents and that a cross-licensing agreement is a non-news event. The fact that two entities with expensive stockpiles of outdated weapons felt the need to negotiate détente is not surprising.

Let’s avoid second-guessing and implication. There’s nothing to see here. We have real code to write.

So I was in Costco waiting for a car tire rotation and check yesterday. Wasting time, I blew three bucks on a slice of pizza and a sundae, and looked around for a place to sit down and pig out. The place was packed, and it was the middle of the day.

So I sat down next to this group of people, and realized that one reason it was busy was that apparently people use the Costco foodcourt as a lunch place. Fair enough. A couple of bucks gets you a long way there.


At 9:00 AM EST today, the parties to Jacobsen v. Katz filed a settlement agreement with the U.S. Federal District Court for the Northern District of California. In doing so, they brought an end to one of the most important legal cases to date affecting the continued success of Free and Open Source Software (FOSS). The terms of the settlement mark a complete victory for Jacobsen.

More importantly, the rulings in the case establish several important FOSS license terms and remedies for the first time in the U.S.: the right to prevent a developer’s copyright and authorship acknowledgements from being removed from their code, and the right to collect damages if the terms of a FOSS license are violated. Absent the ability to collect damages, as a practical matter there would be little to prevent commercial software vendors from incorporating FOSS software into their proprietary products in violation of FOSS license terms.

Read the rest here

I don’t usually post twice a day, but today was opening day in Barcelona of the Mobile World Congress, the biggest mobile show of the year, and the announcements were popping thick and fast.  One of those announcements unveiled a new mobile platform called MeeGo – a new open source contender in the race to power the broad array of devices that are rapidly proliferating in the mobile marketplace.  And, I’m happy to say, MeeGo will be hosted by The Linux Foundation.  We’ve been working for some time on this,  and we’re very pleased that the project has now gone public.

Read the Rest Here

Bringing the Magic to Linux with MeeGo

A few weeks ago, I wrote that the Linux Foundation was going to put its money where its mouth is in order to create more “magic” on Linux. Today the Linux operating system market just got a lot more interesting with the announcement of MeeGo.

MeeGo combines Intel’s Moblin and Nokia’s Maemo projects at the Linux Foundation to create one open source uber-platform for the next generation of computing devices: tablets, pocketable computers, netbooks, automotive IVI and more.

Why should you pay attention to this announcement? With MeeGo you have the world’s largest chip manufacturer and the world’s largest mobile handset manufacturer joining forces to create an incredible opportunity for developers who want to reach millions of users with innovative technology.

Thinking Bigger

Two trends are shaping the need for MeeGo: First, the ubiquitous internet where there is constant connection regardless of location. Second, the ability to access that connection through a variety of devices: in your pocket, in your car or your kitchen, in the living room through your television and so on. No single device will fit every need, but they will all be connected in some way.

Many client Linux efforts to date have focused exclusively on desktop or smartphone segments. The time is now for a platform that is exclusively built to be used across a wide variety of devices, and that takes full advantage of the superior computing power of each device category – longer battery life, better screens, location services, touch, 4G broadband, new vehicle technology and stronger processors.

MeeGo is not an OS designed for a legacy purpose that is being crammed or expanded into a new device form. In other words, this isn’t a square peg in a round hole — MeeGo is a next generation mobile operating system designed for the next generation of mobile devices.

Thinking Broader

Luckily Intel and Nokia understand true innovation in computing is not restricted to private silos, no matter how big. They are opening up this platform to the broader community. MeeGo, as a project of the Linux Foundation, will use standard open source ingredients, like the Linux kernel, to optimize adoption by their many partners, and will encourage participation in its development efforts.

MeeGo isn’t just an important project at the Linux Foundation, it is also helpful for Linux as a platform. It combines mobile development resources that were recently split in the Maemo and Moblin projects into one well-supported, well-designed project that addresses cross-platform, cross-device and cross-architecture development. Android, ChromeOS, the Palm Pre, Bada, and dozens of traditional Linux desktop efforts use many of the components in MeeGo. They all benefit from the increased engineering efforts on those components. This is the power of the open source development model.

MeeGo is good news for network operators who want ways to add value to their networks without being locked into a single vendor. Meego is good news for device makers who want to create a unique experience across an array of device categories. Meego is good news for software developers who want consistent ways to develop apps for the “next big thing.” And, Meego is good news for consumers who will get incredible new ways to connect to the internet at increasingly lower costs.

Second “IBM moment” for Linux

There is history repeating itself here. A decade ago several computing industry giants pooled their resources behind one open platform: Linux. IBM, Intel, HP, NEC, Fujitsu, Hitachi and others worked in an open and collaborative fashion to develop the technology and market the platform. Linux became a truly disruptive force in the enterprise, unseating the last generation of proprietary operating systems and their high margins.

With Nokia and Intel’s might behind MeeGo, combined with Linux’ open source momentum, we are witnessing the launch of a new disruptive force for a new class of computing devices. These two organizations are not only the largest players in their respective fields but also have a history of building broad coalitions and reinventing themselves. Intel couldn’t be who they are today without their partners, and Nokia might still be in the paper business if they hadn’t reinvented themselves to capitalize on new markets.

What’s so Different About MeeGo?

I’d like to point out four key advantages to MeeGo:

* MeeGo was built for powerful next generation devices from the ground up; instead of a cell phone system trying to work in netbooks or a desktop system trying to work on phones, MeeGo has powerful computing in its DNA and will take advantage of new hardware form factors the industry hasn’t even dreamed up.

* It’s truly open, meaning it’s aligned with upstream components (like the Linux kernel, X.org, D-BUS, tracker, GStreamer, Pulseaudio and more) and takes full advantage of the open model. This reduces fragmentation and complexity for ecosystem partners and will make Linux as a whole stronger.

* Qt and application portability. Developers can target multiple platforms (Windows, Mac, Symbian, etc) and devices with a consistent application API and have them run across a broad range of devices. Consumers will want to access the same apps on various devices. Qt and MeeGo make that possible. Because it already reaches so many platforms, Qt is a safe bet for developers. Because it is already well used, it will make it easy to bring many apps from Windows and the Mac over to Linux.

* Cross-device support. Closed platforms (like Apple’s iPad) drive up costs for consumers and limit hardware choice. MeeGo is multi-architecture and can power a broad range of devices from your TV to your car to your pocketable computer to your phone. Consumers can keep their apps and use different devices from different producers.

Why the Linux Foundation?

Everyone who works at the Linux Foundation asks themselves three simple questions every day: Is the work we are doing moving the needle of Linux adoption in a significant way? Does the work we do require broad industry collaboration? Is the Linux Foundation equipped to do this work? In the case of MeeGo, the answer to all three questions is yes.

MeeGo is powerful news for the Linux platform, the Linux Foundation’s members, community developers and users who wish to take full advantage of the next generation of computing devices. We are excited to see what’s next, so watch this space for more MeeGo news in the months to come.

As you may recall, the CodePlex Foundation indicated in January that it expected to name a permanent Executive Director within a few weeks’ time.  That has now happened, and in the “small world” department, the new ED happens to be Paula Hunter – someone I’ve known for years, and worked with several times in the past.  The full press release is below.  Paula is someone I like and respect a lot, and a great choice for CodePlex.

As you’ll see from the announcement, one of Paula’s prior jobs was as the Executive Director of UnitedLinux.  UL was a client of mine, and that’s where I first met Paula.  And if you’ve never heard the saga of UL, it’s a rather fascinating story.

I broke down and bought a Nexus One last week.

I got the original G1 phone from google when it came out, and I hardly ever used it. Why? I generally hate phones – they are irritating and disturb you as you work or read or whatever – and a cellphone to me is just an opportunity to be irritated wherever you are. Which is not a good thing.

At the same time I love the concept of having a phone that runs Linux, and I’ve had a number of them over the years (in addition to the G1, I had one of the early China-only Motorola Linux phones) etc. But my hatred of phones ends up resulting in me not really ever using them. The G1, for example, ended up being mostly used for playing Galaga and Solitaire on long flights, since I had almost no reason to carry it with me except when traveling.

But I have to admit, the Nexus One is a winner. I wasn’t enthusiastic about buying a phone on the internet sight unseen, but the day it was reported that it finally had the pinch-to-zoom thing enabled, I decided to take the plunge. I’ve wanted to have a GPS unit for my car anyway, and I thought that google navigation might finally make a phone useful.

And it does. What a difference! I no longer feel like I’m dragging a phone with me “just in case” I would need to get in touch with somebody – now I’m having a useful (and admittedly pretty good-looking) gadget instead. The fact that you can use it as a phone too is kind of secondary.

The call for participation and registration opened for LinuxCon today signaling the beginning of planning for the 2nd Annual LinuxCon.

To recap on some of the highlights of LinuxCon 2009, which took place in Portland last September, we brought you:

  • A fantastic line-up of speakers including Linus Torvalds, Mark Shuttleworth, Bob Sutor, and many more industry luminaries
  • A packed program delivering content to a diverse audience of business, operations and developers
  • A Technology Showcase & Lounge providing attendees and exhibitors the opportunity to network and learn from each other
  • Exciting evening events including the Intel-sponsored LinuxCon/LPC reception and the Bowling for Penguins Fundraiser
  • The added value of co-located events include the Novell SUSE workshop, LDAPCon and the Linux Plumbers Conference

Check out our video highlights of LinuxCon 2009 here!

How is LinuxCon different than other events?  In a number of ways.  This is an event specific to the Linux community, but within that, it encompasses all matters Linux.  Other events specifically target certain groups in the ecosystem, but LinuxCon is the only event that really brings together a diverse group of all types of industry leaders and contributors – from business executives and end users, to developers (both in the kernel and out), to the systems administrators and senior technology operations leaders. This is the one event the community can attend each year to meet face-to-face and collaborate with all the community players.  In addition to innovative technical content and a great mix of attendees, LinuxCon also offers an unmatched fun, vibrant and intimate atmosphere that is extremely conducive to attendee networking and collaboration.

If you pick one Linux event to attend this year, LinuxCon should be it – you will not be disappointed!

While we could not have been happier with the overwhelming positive response from last year’s inaugural event, we are amped to step up our game and make this year’s LinuxCon a bigger and bolder experience for attendees.

In addition to fantastic, streamlined content geared again towards a variety of attendees (this is the conference for all matters Linux after all!), prepare yourselves for some exciting new speakers, a host of new attendees to network and collaborate with, and some fun additions to add to your conference experience!

Plus, we are happy to announce the co-location of a number of mini-summits/conferences this year, including KVM Forum, Linux Storage & Filesystems Workshop, Virtual Memory Mini-Summit, the Wireless Summit, Power Management Summit and the Linux Security Summit, plus more to be announced.

The registration fee is only $300 through April 15th, so REGISTER NOW.

Stay tuned for more information on all things LinuxCon – and get ready to have a great week in Boston this August!

Article Source Jim Zemlin’s Blog
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Yesterday I watched Apple’s Steve Jobs unveil the iPad. Jobs clearly can create revolutionary products; he can also produce spin like no one else. Yesterday was no exception.

His main message about the iPad was “a magical device at a breakthrough price.” He repeated this many times throughout the pitch and twice at the end. This phrase demands an honest response: how will Linux-based devices compete with the iPad?

You might expect the Executive Director of the Linux Foundation to state with full confidence that Linux-based competitors will crush the iPad. Linux *can* compete in one area. $499 – $829 may be a breakthrough price for Apple and their margins, but it’s no comparison to the price competition Linux-based devices can offer. Vendors creating Tablets, slates, phones or other devices do not have to pay the per-unit pricing of other platforms. Apple products command a premium and Jobs will never cannibalize their pricing power. While I do believe that Linux can compete, and win, on price, I’m left to question: what about the magic?

Apple is unmatched at creating a cohesive experience. While many question the revolutionary impact of the iPad, Apple’s consistent user experience is far closer to magical than most things currently running Linux. It may be easy for us to bash Microsoft every other week, but Apple is a true competitor. They have the polish, the focus on usability and ease of use, the application and hardware integration all to make using their technology a seamless and elegant part of your day, instead of a constant struggle with technology. The Linux ecosystem needs to do better competing on “magic.”

This is not to say that there aren’t projects and products in the Linux that are innovative and focused on creating a magical user experience. A few that spring to mind:

– The clutter UI project is advancing the state of the art in Linux-based desktops
– Android-based phones like the Droid or the Nexus One are getting close to the “magic” of the iPhone
– Moblin-based notebooks and tablet devices that are in development
– The Ubuntu projects recent focus on usability and user experience
– The Palm Pre and their Linux-based smart phones
– Nokia’s Maemo project and the N900

The issue is that while all of these are incredible efforts, Steve Jobs is hardly standing still. We have to do better.

With all this talk about “magic,” there is another important element to consider: freedom. Apple is the most locked down closed system imaginable, from the software ladened with DRM, all the way down to the custom silicon they use for their Apple A4 chip. Commercial success is important, but freedom is also important.

Where the Ipad will really impact Linux-based devices is in the embedded space. Amazon Kindle? It doesn’t look so hot if Apple gets a distribution deal with enough publishers. (Even if they don’t, they will likely freeze the market enough in the meantime to seriously dent Kindle’s numbers.) GPS providers who use Linux? They were already under seige from smart phones but this doesn’t help.

So my question to you: How can the Linux community get better at creating magic? While we’re strong on price, we still have a ways to go to compete. The Linux Foundation isn’t just going to complain about the need for more “Magic” on the Linux platform – we are going to do something about it. Stay tuned over the next few weeks for big news on just how we will accomplish this. In the mean time I would love to hear all of your ideas.