Foss.in

Foss.in/2007 is over and I’m back home. The slide deck on my kvm talk is now available.

This was the first time I went to foss.in and I really liked the experience. More than the talks, it’s the corridor discussions and meeting up with people that’s really the most interesting part. The place was full with people who have contributed immensely to the software I use everyday, and I couldn’t let go of such an opportunity to go and thank them personally. I definitely missed thanking everyone, so I think I’ll go there next year to make up for that. Danese Cooper gets my vote for the best talk: Trekking with White Elephants. It’s a great way to learn how to go about contributing to open source and years of experience in getting the management knowledgeable about free software. I’ve learnt these lessons myself through all these years and I’m sure young people out there will benefit a lot from these tips. (I will update the link once I get access to the final slides)

My talk on KVM turned into a demo session for KVM and explaining merits of the approach as opposed to Xen, as a few people in the audience had already used Xen and they wanted to know why KVM is different or better. Too bad, since I was hoping there would be contributors who would have liked to know how KVM actually works.

I wasn’t also too happy with the scheduling of the talks: there was a gcc talk in parallel with a kernel talk and a filesystem / distributed computing talk in parallel with another kernel talk. To make matters worse, Thomas Gleixner’s talk on the RT patches was added later in the same time slot as I was to speak.

Rusty has to be the most entertaining kernel hacker; in his inimitable style, he provided a grand finale to the event meant to encourage contributors to the FOSS community. He got me up on stage along with James Morris to speak about how we got involved with FOSS and the kernel.

The Linux kernel folks at IBM LTC Bangalore swore they wouldn’t let me go away easily and asked me to visit their office where people would ask me all sorts of questions on KVM. That was a very nice session that I had; they’re mostly interested in the power management and migration issues on kvm, and that got me pretty kicked, as I’m extremely interested in the power management and Green issues of late. Though I couldn’t answer most of the questions related to power management, I’m sure the kvm-devel list can help.

Moreover, quite a few people came up to me and asked about my work on the kernel and kvm and that was quite encouraging.

I’m sure I also caused inconvenience to people at the sponsor stalls asking them in what ways their company contributed to foss software. Most of them were there just to attract talent. I’m hoping the FOSS enthusiasts don’t stop contributing once they’re in those big companies.

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!