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ARM Linux Developers Gather Under Linaro

More than 150 Linux engineers gathered in Cambridge, England late last month to collaborate on the development of Linux on ARM at the first quarterly Linaro Connect event.

Linaro is a not-for-profit open source software engineering company founded by ARM, IBM, TI, Samsung, Freescale, and ST-Ericsson. The company is said to be currently working on consolidation and optimization of Linux on ARM SoCs (System on a Chip).

The Linaro Connect event is described as a quarterly, week-long engineering event that brings together the Linaro engineering team, Linaro members, and others in the ARM Open Source community to work on the future of Linux on ARM. The events are a mixture of presentations, topic-based summits, and software engineering sessions.

Device Tree, a mechanism for describing hardware configuration for the Linux kernel, was among the many topics covered at the recent event. Members of the ARM Linux community set out to simplify porting of the Linux kernel to the diverse platforms developed by ARM silicon vendors and ODMs.

By the end of the week-long event many patches had been produced that will be queued up for the Linux 3.2 release kernel tree including:

  • Device drivers for Freescale iMX converted to use Device Tree-based discovery.
  • Code developed to bridge between the Device Tree model and TI OMAP's HWMOD, used to describe complex power and clock domains.
  • Initial support for Device Tree added to Samsung Exynos, Qualcomm MSM86, and Atmel AT91 boards, including a serial console described by the Device Tree.
  • Initial skeleton work for Device Tree implemented for the ARM Versatile board.

"We have seen some pretty amazing output from the Linaro Connect," said Christian Reis, VP of engineering at Linaro. "Not only around the Device Tree work, but also including major progress on the Continuous Memory Allocator, DMA mapping, and buffer sharing frameworks in collaboration with the ARM kernel maintainers."

"Linaro has come a long way since a year ago when I first attended a Linaro event in Prague," said Paul McKenney, distinguished engineer at IBM Linux Technology Center and IBM representative on the Linaro Technical Steering Committee. "The question in 2010 was 'Can Linaro become relevant?' The answer in 2011 is obvious as you look at the large number of Linaro patches upstream in a number of projects, the number of users of Linaro's tool chain, the number of attendees, including many developers who are not Linaro assignees, as well as the level of energy in the sessions."

"We're pleased to see Linaro Connect co-locating with the Embedded Linux Conference and the Android Builders Summit," said Jennifer Cloer, director of communications and community at The Linux Foundation. "The Linux on ARM community is an important one and we look forward to fruitful collaboration between Linaro and the broader community of embedded Linux developers who attend our conferences."

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