Pengutronix at FOSDEM 2022

"FOSDEM is a free event for software developers to meet, share ideas and collaborate. Every year, thousands of developers of free and open source software from all over the world gather at the event in Brussels." -- FOSDEM

Sadly in 2022 we, again, gathered online instead of in Brussels. But this did not stop us from searching local supermarkets for Belgian beers and baking our own waffles. (What would FOSDEM be without beer and waffles!)

We want to thank the FOSDEM team, all volunteers, devroom staff, speakers and guests for this great event. We hope to meet in Brussels in 2023!

In this post we want to recommend a few talks that we think are especially interesting.

Jan's Suggestions

What's coming in VIRTIO 1.2 - new virtual I/O devices and features

Stefan Hajnoczi's excellent talk gives a concise overview of VIRTIO in general and the many improvements added in version 1.2 of the standard. From the embedded perspective, especially the new specifications for GPIO, I2C, SCMI, RPMB and sound are interesting, as they also allow moving the direct control of the physical interfaces to isolated co-processors on the same SoC for safety-related scenarios.

Even if you're new to VIRTIO, this talk is a well worth your time.

Arm CCA enablement through the Trusted Firmware community project

With the introduction of the Confidential Compute Architecture (CCA) in the ARMv9 architecture, some changes are coming: in addition to the normal world (Linux) and secure world (TrustZone/OP-TEE), the new CPUs support multiple "Realms". A Realm is protected against access from other contexts by default and can optionally allow access to parts of it's memory for communication with the rest of the system.

In their talk, Charles Garcia-Tobin and Matteo Carlini explain how the different software components will work together to allow use of these new hardware features.

If you are currently using OP-TEE on ARMv7/8, this is a must-see.

ply: lightweight eBPF tracing

On servers, bpftrace and BCC are powerful tools to analyze how the system (or just the kernel) behaves while under real-world load. As these tools use the LLVM toolchain to generate the eBPF bytecode, they are not very lightweight when seen from an embedded background.

In his talk, Frank Vasquez gives an introduction to the ply tracing tool. It just needs the libc and a modern kernel, while supporting aarch64, arm, powerpc and x86_64. The trace probes are written in a custom language (describe by Frank as awk-like). It can probe kernel function entry/return, any kernel tracepoint and also any instruction (via dynamic probes). Optionally, maps can be used to aggregate results.

PlayStation 3 emulation - (re)implementing the impossible

Alexandro Sanchez Bach gave a highly information-packed one-hour talk about the PlayStation 3 and how it is emulated by RPCS3. RPCS3 was started more than 10 years ago and is now capable of running about 65% of the games in a playable state. The PS3's unique system architecture (CPU with 1xPPE+8xSPE and a discrete GPU) makes for a challenging emulation target, but also a very interesting story of how the project continues to improve.

Chris' suggestions

KiCad project update

KiCad is the open source PCB design tool for professionals. At Pengutronix we use KiCad for all electronics development such as the USB-SD-Mux.

Like every year at FOSDEM, Wayne Stambaugh talked about the state of the project. And like every year the KiCad developers have delivered a lot of useful new features for the KiCad 6 release.

This talk is a must-see if you use KiCad!

Advanced PCB simulation with KiCad - introduction to IBIS and FEM-based simulations

At the moment, KiCad has support for SPICE simulations using ngspice as the backend. SPICE simulations allow us to model time- and frequency- domain behavior of electronic components. This is a great tool if you want to develop, for example, an analog circuit around an OpAmp.

In this talk Fabien Corona presents his work on two more simulation approaches for KiCad:

First: integrate a FEM (finite element model) simulation into KiCad. He shows a prototype based on KiCad, Gmsh and Sparselizard that allows us to do current density, voltage drop, plane capacitance analysis and more on a KiCad PCB.

Second: the integration of IBIS-models into the SPICE simulation in KiCad. IBIS-models contain an electrical description of the properties of an input or output pin of an integrated circuit. With IBIS capabilities, the KiCad SPICE simulation would not only be able to simulate simple analog circuits but also complex mixed signal ICs in their circuit.

These functions currently only exist in a fork of KiCad and are not yet ready for production. But his talk lets me really hope that these features will be available in KiCad in a few years!

A brief history of spreadsheets - from LANPAR to VisiCalc to Lotus to LibreOffice

Ever wondered why spreadsheets look like a relic from the 1970s? That is because a lot of their properties are based on software from the last century...

In this talk Jim Hall traces the origin of modern office software back to 1969. He even does live demos using the original software.

This talk is not so much about open source, but it is a good opportunity to grab a cold beverage and relax. 🙂

Weiterführende Links

Tutorial: Evaluating RAUC on QEMU - A Quick Setup With Yocto

RAUC is an update framework for safely deploying verified updates on your embedded Linux devices. It ensures atomicity of the update process to protect from sudden power outages, hardware failures, etc. So, why would one like to run RAUC on an emulated platform?

Konferenzen 2021: Ein Rück- und Ausblick

Neben den Verbesserungen rund um Embedded-Linux-Software und der Weiterentwicklung des Linux-Kernels hat das Team von Pengutronix im letzten Jahr die Gelegenheit genutzt, dass viele Konferenzen vom eigenen Schreibtisch aus erreichbar waren. Dadurch konnten wir unsere Erfahrungen und Ideen noch breiter mit der Community teilen und auch an Konfrenzen Teilnehmen, die für uns sonst Flugstunden entfernt lägen.

Pengutronix at FOSDEM 2021

"FOSDEM is a free event for software developers to meet, share ideas and collaborate. Every year, thousands of developers of free and open source software from all over the world gather at the event in Brussels. In 2021, they will gather online." -- FOSDEM

Chemnitzer Linux-Tage 2024

Pengutronix war auch in diesem Jahr wieder auf den Chemnitzer Linux Tagen dabei. Wie jedes Jahr sind die CLT eine willkommene Gelegenheit Freunde zu treffen und sich über Linux, Open Source und den Rest der Welt auszutauschen.

FrOSCon 2023

In ein paar Stunden beginnt die 18. FrOSCon an der Hochschule Bonn-Rhein-Sieg. Pengutronix ist wieder mit einem kleinen Team vor Ort. An einem der Partner-Stände zeigen wir wieder einige unserer Aktivitäten in der Open Source Community. Dafür bringen wir unseren labgrid Demonstrator und die FPGA Demo mit.

Embedded Linux Conference Europe 2023: Our Recommendations

Last month Pengutronix was present at the Embedded Open Source Summit (EOSS) in Prague. Thanks to all to all speakers for sharing your knowledge! In this blog post we want to shine a spotlight at a few talks that we found especially interesting. (Links to recordings will be added once the recordings are available.)

Pulse Width Modulation (PWM) is easy, isn't it? - Turning it off and on again

Part of Uwe Kleine-König's work at Pengutronix is to review PWM (Pulse Width Modulation) drivers. In addition, he also sometimes refactors existing drivers and the Linux kernel PWM subsystem in general.


Die Pengutronix Crew ist wieder mit einer größeren Gruppe auf dem Weg zur FOSDEM in Brüssel! Und auch in diesem Jahr sind wir wieder auf der Suche nach vielen spannenden Diskussionen mit den Entwicklern der verschiedensten Open Source Komponenten - vom Linux Kernel über Debian bis hin zu KiCAD, FreeCAD etc...