Sunday @ Fosdem
This Sunday, I attended only two talks. These talks were in the embedded track since I was with my brother who is interested in this. The first talk, “SH-2A Linux kernel” by Yoshinori Sato, was very difficult to follow since Yoshinori did not tell us what is the SH-2A microprocessor (it is apparently used in cars, a.o.) and his English was very bad. In the second talk, Vitaly Wool introduced XIP, a way to directly run portions of software from where it’s stored in a type of Flash memory (instead of being copied to RAM first). With XIP, you can reduce boot time (or at least the “time to splashscreen”, especially interesting in handheld devices where you want to quickly be “productive”). But you can have other occasions where speed of execution is more important than price (because the type of Flash memory used is more expensive than standard RAM). Yesterday, Jim Gettys said the OLPC laptop can boot very quickly but it was thanks to the use of LinuxBIOS (and maybe XIP?). I also liked when he took a pen to show us something on a slide and said that it’s “because my wife is here and she said it’s bad manners when I point at things with my finger”.
During the afternoon, I was moderator for the Lightning Talks where people has 15 minutes to introduce their projects. This afternoon, it was about SIP Communicator (an open source VoIP and Instant Messaging client), OSSIE (a free radio software project), the OpenOffice.org port for Mac OS X, Mapyrus (a software for creating vector elements – mainly for cartography – and output them in various formats), PSPP (a free replacement for the commercial statistical package SPSS), OpenEmbedded (about how to make their porting task easier) and Mozart-Oz (a “multi-paradigm programming language”). It was nice to see all that life around free software (moreover, nearly all the speakers respected the time limit).