Tuz logo For some background I recommend you catch the earlier postings

Nadia LCASuitably refreshed after our conference dinner, our Thursday Keynote was Nadia Eghbal from GitHub. Her talk Consider the Maintainer looked at some of the issues when projects we all rely on may have a single maintainer or a single committer. If your organisation or project deeply relies on other Open Source projects you need to look at how you can support them, otherwise there is a potentially huge risk if the maintainer walks away.

Day 4 - Thursday 19th January

LCA 2017 DavidMy first session of the day was The Vulkan Graphics API - what it means for Linux (video) David Airlie . Some of David's previous LCA talks are very technical on the specifics of graphics drivers, but this session was very accessible for anyone interested in what Vulkan is and the current state of development across a range of graphics chip-sets.


From a community perspective it was great to see a large contingent from SuSE this year, no doubt helped by team member Tim being based in Hobart. Lars Marowsky-Brée presented a session on Building reliable Ceph clusters (video). This opened with great ground work on how to approach Ceph, before I had to nip out of the room due to a phone call. Thanks to the wonderful AV team I was able to finish the talk later and catch Lars covering some of the challenges they face around firmware and driver conflicts.

Post-lunch, I was intrigued by Rob Landley's session Optimizing a new processor architecture (video). I'd worked on development tools for the SuperH architecture in the UK in the late 90s. This CPU architecture now out of patent and the http://j-core.org project is developing clean room implementations of a sh2 compatible SoC. For anyone into CPU architectures and how to how to modernize older architectures this is a must see talk. I'll warn you though, Rob has a lot of content to cover in a short period.

I intended to attend the talk on Power Management next but got distracted by the "Corridor Track." One benefit of a conference like LCA is the range of speakers, keynotes and attendees from all over the world. Sometimes so much can be learnt about a technology or industry just by joining in a discussion or two. The Wrest Point had some great space for catching up with people, or sometimes simply catching a breath of fresh air on the board-walk. Any opportunity to hear Matthew Wilcox and Paul McKenney "discuss" the Kernel should not be missed

My next talk selection took me a little by surprise as I'd originally intended on submitting around the same topic. About a year ago I changed my car to a Mazda that comes with a Linux based entertainment system. Joel Stanley's /sys/class/gpio/Parking Brake: Hacking my car (video) covered some ground I'd investigated myself, including a very simple process to access the system as root. Sadly Mazda haven't responded to my Source Code Request at this stage, and have even taken steps to secure root access into the device. I have a feeling I'll be collaborating with Joel over the next year.

I closed the day with At-rest Encryption in OpenStack Swift John Dickinson </span>(video). John covered this interesting topic in a very accessible way, and clearly presented some of the challenges they are trying to solve with their approach to encryption within Swift.

To Catch Later

For the videos take a look at https://www.youtube.com/user/linuxconfau2017/videos

No official events so a trip into Hobart with old and new friends and dinner for the evening.

Day 5 - Friday 20th January

R@mlIt isn't often were you are lost for words on how to describe a keynote. I've seen r0ml (Robert Lefkowitz) keynote at OSCON in the past so had fairly high expectations, all of which were exceeded. Watch the video, read the LWN article or take a look at Rodger Donaldson's Blog as I was seriously concerned I'd have a cache full error and flush from my brain everything I'd seen over the previous four days. It makes for a thrilling ride and a session in serious need of a re-watch. I'll warn you though, their might be the odd MacGuffin along the way.

Once again the discussions in the corridor after morning tea proved to be to interesting, plus I had to make sure we had a suitable space for the Jobs BoF at lunchtime.

Lunchtime was also the Jobs BoF, another linux.conf.au regular. Once again co-organised by myself and Tim Serong from SuSE. The first three commercial organizations to speak were SuSE, Red Hat, and Canonical, which was kinda awesome, closely followed by Google, Apple, and Fastmail.

After Lunch I had to see The Business of Community by VM (Vicky) Brasseur (video). Vicky is well respected in the Open Source community and presented perspectives on how to engage / build / develop / improve your relationship with communities and why this matters

My last session from the main program was Designing a Race Car with Open Source Tools by Dave Chinner. Dave traditionally talks about filesystems, in particular xfs, where he is a kernel maintainer. Instead we got a journey on the pain/pleasure of rebuilding his race car and trying to use Open Source tools and principles where possible.

Lightning Talks

Lightning talks (video) are another LCA favourite and this year were schedule just before the conference close. It is hard to choose a out of the very wide range of awesome content, but special mentions to

  • Rusty Russel + Blockchain (see right)
  • Presentation Karaoke
  • Emoji Archaeology
  • Human Language Wats

Conference Close

All good thing must come to an end, but excellent news that LCA 2018 will be held for the 3rd time in Sydney from 22-26 January 2018.

The fund-raising for Outreachy had achieved enough to fund two interns, but wasn't quite enough for three. Thanks to Martin (madduck) Krafft, and a quick work with a borrowed hat, we exceeded AUD $28000, enough to fund 3 interns which was outstanding and over 3 times the original target.

Friday Sessions to Watch Later

  • Adventures in laptop battery hacking Matthew Chapman
  • My personal fight against the modern laptop Hamish Coleman
  • Getting into the Rusty Bucket: Lessons from Integrating Rust with Existing C William Brown
  • The proper care and feeding of communities and carnivorous plants Rikki Endsley
  • Continuously Delivering Security in the Cloud Casey West

Image Credits