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Today marks the 10th anniversary of the articles of incorporation of the company who arguably started the real-time embedded Linux movement, MontaVista Software.  Jim Ready and a small band of hopefuls saw that Linux was a suitable operating system for an embedded environment, and over the years have contributed thousands of lines and many thousands of hours to make Linux real-time, small, and fast.  From the first release of the Hard Hat Linux distribution to current editions, MontaVista has provided an excellent real-time system that has succeeded in revolutionizing the embedded systems industry.

Full disclosure:  I work for MontaVista.  In the past, I also worked for MontaVista partners, ISVs, and, yes, competitors.  I really like it here.

Webinars, seminars held over the Internet, are a great way to attend a very directed class on a specific subject without leaving your desk.   I love these things because they are rarely longer than an hour, and they are usually cached so you can go back and watch them anytime if you miss the original presentation, or if you want to catch something you missed.

This week, MontaVista‘s Klaas van Gend gave an excellent presentation addressing the top 5 pains in Linux system build and design.  The webinar is already archived on MontaVista’s site, along with many other interesting presentations.

Coming up from TimeSys is a 4-part series on basic embedded Linux skills (thanks to LinuxDevices for the news).

Some webinars are a little more commercial, though still informative, like Wind River‘s Mike Deliman  exploring RTOS design for space robotics from July 2008.  I have a personal interest in this one, as I worked at Wind River in 1996 and 1997, when VxWorks became the first RTOS on a different planet—a heady time for humanity, and for embedded systems as well.  RIP, Sojourner.

Also be sure to check websites after important conferences, like CELF’s Embedded Linux Conference or MontaVista’s Vision 2008.  These sites usually catalog at least the slides from most or all sessions, if not video recordings of the actual presentations.

Take advantage of these offerings.  It’s like going to college for free, or at least going to a conference for free (without the travel or the shwag and shmoozing).  And don’t forget to look for other free training materials, including documentation, white papers, and even events.  This is one way these loose “communities” feed back into the public sphere, which benefits everyone involved.

I am pleased to announce that I have also been accepted to speak at CELF‘s Embedded Linux Conference in April.  This conference is co-located with the Linux Collaboration Summit in San Francisco.

The presentation at ELC will be much more focused on embedded Linux communities and how they can collaborate effectively.

I have been accepted to speak at this year’s Linux Collaboration Summit, sponsored by the Linux Foundation.  I will be co-presenting with Joerg Bertholdt, VP Marketing at MontaVista.  This summit will be held in San Francisco in April, co-located with CELF‘s Embedded Linux Conference, where I will also be presenting.

I will be talking about online communities and collaborative development, which is nothing new in the open-source community, but which is sort of new in the embedded space, where I work.  Historically, developers of embedded devices have been less open to collaborative projects.  The community I am helping to build hopes to change that by enabling developers to collaborate on the difficult parts of development, and differentiate their products at a different level.  This kind of collaboration has been key in other markets that have experienced widespread Linux adoption, particularly servers and clusters.

I am seriously excited about the opportunities this kind of community can generate.