foss.in/2007, KVM, Call for Linux Kernel Developers

I will be speaking at the foss.in/2007 conference in Bangalore on the 7th of December. My topic? Virtualisation: The KVM Way.

foss.in is the premier conference in India on Free and Open Source Software, and sadly I’ve not had the opportunity to attend it all these years. And to think, last two years I actually was in Bangalore! So I’m making up for it now. I’m not only going to attend, but am also speaking this time. It’s a big collection of great minds and I am looking forward to meeting several people who work on the software I use daily and finally get a chance to thank them!

As most of you already know, I’m working with Qumranet for quite some time now. Qumranet is the sponsor of the KVM project, which has become the focus of quite a lot of attention these days, and that’s good!

For me, KVM, the Kernel-based Virtual Machine, is the second most thrilling idea since the Linux kernel. I’ve always had many ideas about how to do things with the OS and Linux gave me the perfect opportunity for me to play around. And just when we were thinking there’s not much happening in the OS space that deals with hardware, here come all the virtualisation extensions in the hardware and KVM, which makes the optimal use of the new hardware and all the existing software. And I can’t stop talking about how excited I am to actually be working on it.

By the way, I’d be delighted to talk to you if you’re interested in working on KVM in India. We’re looking out for people with experience of programming in the kernel.

If you happen to be at foss.in, please come up and say a ‘hi’.

Try KDE 4 Snapshots, Updated Daily

The KDE project’s forthcoming release 4 of the K Desktop Environment is something all KDE fans are looking forward to. It promises many enhancements and a redisgn of the desktop to free us of the decades-old desktop interface that we are used to using now. It’s becoming increasingly easier these days to try out experimental versions of such big pieces of software these days with build scripts, Live CDs and distributions bundling alpha and beta releases as development snapshots for users to try out.

Virtualisation brings in a new and exciting twist to this. If you want to stay uptodate on the KDE 4 developments without having to wait for your distribution package maintainers to release the next version or for new Live CDs to appear, you can now use a qemu image to try out KDE4 inside its own OS environment without disturbing any of your existing setup. What’s more, with KVM, you can have the desktop running very fast indeed!

Make Your Computer / Laptop Use Less Power

Making your computer use less power is a necessary but difficult to implement issue… unless you know where to look and what to do. You want to use less power to conserve battery life of your laptop; you want to use less power on your servers to save on electricity and cooling costs. And you want to use less power on your desktops to save electricity consumption, all resulting in lesser pollution, more savings and in the case of laptops, more productive time on battery.

http://www.lesswatts.org/ is the website dedicated to help you with configuring your system to use less power. The developers are also examining and fixing the code of the worst-offending applications, so configuring your system for using less power (when it really should by default) becomes less and less necessary.

For now, you can check instructions at all the websites available as to what to do with your kernel, CPU, hard disk, GPU (yeah, tune them down as well. We don’t do graphics-heavy work to warrant running the GPU at full clock always) among other things. Also, one of the biggest consumers of power, the LCD backlight — that can be tuned without at configuration at all. You just have to adjust it to the lowest visible best.

However, what’s more interesting to me is small things that we can do, like stop cursors from blinking, since they need X to wake up for each time it has to blink. There’s a really nice compilation for the popular applications on one page. Go do it, it’ll help the CPU remain in an idle state (and hence consume less electricity) longer.