Interesting Talks For Linux Plumbers Conference 2011
Written by Michael Larabel in Linux Kernel on 23 August 2011 at 02:02 PM EDT. Add A Comment
Besides XDC Chicago 2011 for Linux graphics developers, coming up in just two weeks in Santa Rosa, California is the Linux Plumbers Conference. Here's some of the interesting talks expected at this event that's largely targeted for Linux kernel developers.

Here's the talks I find to be most interesting based upon the LPC2011 schedule. (My list is in no particular order.)

Coreboot - The Coreboot software project will be talked about and their efforts to replace proprietary BIOS/UEFI/firmware with this fast open-source code that's designed to initialize the hardware and boot the system in a lightning fast manner. The talk abstract mentions that Coreboot currently supports around 230 kinds of motherboards and can get to booting the kernel in as little as a half second. The Coreboot project has been around for a while known -- previously it was called LinuxBIOS -- and is supported well by AMD, especially with the promise of supporting Coreboot on all future hardware.

Systemd - Lennart Poettering will talk about the milestones achieved with systemd for this very young software project that's already taking a critical role in desktop Linux distributions.

Thunderbolt - As already mentioned on Phoronix, the Intel Thunderbolt / Light Peak Linux support will be discussed. Intel will be dropping some code to enable this new standard in Linux and other open-source operating systems.

Writing and testing device drivers without hardware - An Intel engineer will talk about using QEMU to develop and test hardware Linux drivers under QEMU without hardware access -- whether it be for a future hardware model that's not yet been fabricated or other reasons. Doing this isn't limited to creating Linux drivers, but could also be used with Windows and FreeBSD virtual machine targets.

OpenGL and Friends - A talk about OpenGL and other graphics APIs in the future. "In OpenGL’s 20-year lifetime, the API, and how it’s used has changed drastically. This talk highlights the changes in the API brought about by hardware evolution, and how those changes have impacted graphics driver stacks. Additionally, this talk will briefly discuss other changes brought about by OpenGL ES and OpenCL, and the changes brought about those APIs interacting and sharing data."

Hardware Accelerated Multimedia - This is a talk about how the kernel can help the user-space make the best use of hardware for multimedia acceleration. VA-API, VDPAU, OpenGL, GEM/TTM, and OpenCL are among what's to be talked about during this presentation.

GPU Kernel and User-Space Border - Jerome Glisse will talk about building an efficient and maintainable API for allowing user-space programs to talk to graphics processors.

VFIO - This talk is by a Red Hat engineer on using FVIO to allow exporting PCI devices to user-space drivers. User-space PCI drivers will be important for future KVM functionality. "PCI device assignment has long been a wort on the side of KVM; a marriage of convenience, filling the gaps left by PCI-sysfs and lack of sufficient PCI user-space I/O driver support. The new VFIO driver changes the game, allowing full featured, high performance, PCI drivers in user-space, providing the perfect basis for virtual machine PCI device assignment. This talk will discuss how current KVM PCI device assignment works, how VFIO is better, and discuss some of the obstacles left to kernel integration and cross platform support."

x32 - Developing a new ABI for x86 that combines the memory foot-print of a 32-bit process with the enhanced capabilities of the x86_64 ISA. "This talk presents a work-in-progress 32-bit native ABI for x86-64 that aims to combine the performance of 64-bit mode with the memory footprint of a 32-bit ABI. It will discuss the performance of the new ABI and how to get the enabling done with minimal resources."

Due to the 2011 X.Org Developers' Conference, that I am the organizer of in Chicago, taking place following LPC2011 I will not be at the Santa Rosa event. There's also lots of other work I have to get done in the next few weeks due to leaving for Oktoberfest 2011 the day after XDC2011 ends. Phoronix should at least have remote coverage of the Linux Plumbers Conference.

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Michael Larabel is the principal author of and founded the site in 2004 with a focus on enriching the Linux hardware experience. Michael has written more than 10,000 articles covering the state of Linux hardware support, Linux performance, graphics drivers, and other topics. Michael is also the lead developer of the Phoronix Test Suite, Phoromatic, and automated benchmarking software. He can be followed via Twitter or contacted via

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