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I just updated my page on Free Embedded Linux Training and wanted to mention this here as well, in case you haven’t heard yet.

The Yocto Project is providing a full day of embedded Linux training FREE OF CHARGE in Barcelona, Spain, the day after the Embedded Linux Conference Europe, on 8 November, 2012. More information here or contact me in the comments below.

(Full disclosure: I am the community manager for the Yocto Project)

Catching up on education opportunities a bit:

Along with some free resources, like this white paper on getting started with embedded Linux and this short video of Jerry Cooperstein introducing embedded Linux, the Linux Foundation has announced three paid embedded Linux training opportunities:

Back on the free-as-in-beer side, Michael Opdenacker and the other fantastic folks at Free Electrons just announced the availability of three sets of videos from the Embedded Linux Conference 2010 and Gstreamer Conference 2010 last fall in Cambridge, UK. This is an excellent way to participate and learn without actually needing to travel to the events:

For more free education opportunities, check out this page on free embedded Linux training resources (and please suggest more!).

Newcomers to open source often want to dive in and help as soon as they figure out just how cool open source really is. Unfortunately, one of the main barriers to entry is the projects themselves – not only are there thousands to sift through, it is a very large task just to find one that welcomes contributions from newcomers. Wouldn’t it be fantastic if there were an automated way to find bite-sized bugs to work on in welcoming communities for grateful open source projects?

Well, now there is.

My friend Asheesh, who gave a great talk at the Teaching Open Source Education mini-summit at LinuxCon last month, has invented something seriously cool called OpenHatch. I have been meaning to write about it, and since he has a student hack-a-thon and introduction to OpenHatch planned for the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia this weekend, this is a great opportunity to share some thoughts about OpenHatch. provides an automated way for connecting interested developers with projects. Moreover, it matches up the project’s needs with the developer’s skills, and it doesn’t stop with just developers. Documentation, marketing, and other non-coding skills are just as vital to the success of open-source projects as software coding, and there are categories for these. One of the best features of the site is the integration with Google maps, so if a new developer wants to find a local project where they can meet someone face to face, they can do so.

Asheesh has created an unprecedented win-win-win situation with OpenHatch:

  • Newcomers win because the barrier to entry into the open-source community is lowered considerably – and this applies to documentation writers, marketers, and other less-technical or non-technical contributors as well as software developers.
  • Open-source projects win big because they can finally source the help they need for small bugs, especially for well-established projects in which the regulars are usually out solving big problems.
  • The open-source movement in general wins big, as OpenHatch not only makes it possible to easily find bite-sized bugs, it legitimizes the whole process and makes it friendly rather than daunting.

The full schedule for the Philly event shows that it is a 2-day exploration of open source for 20 lucky students, who must register by email. In addition to a free lunch on both Saturday and Sunday, September 25-26, participants will receive hands-on learning sessions with OpenHatch, a guided presentation of open-source concepts and precepts, demonstrations, and a guide to participating in the open-source landscape. Sunday is a full-scale hack-a-thon, with representatives from several projects on hand to help.

This no-cost event is a fantastic opportunity for Philadelphia-area students to get their feet wet with open source, with a real education in community development.

In my opinion, it is not possible to find a better way to dive into open source. Go to this event if you can.

I just returned from LinuxCon, the Linux Foundation’s premier conference, held this year at the warm, muggy Boston waterfront. There were many interesting items to report, these are only a few:

  • MeeGo is emerging as a powerful alternative to Android, partly due to its excellent user interfaces (albeit highly Intel-centric driver support) but, in my mind, mostly due to its adherence to open-source standards. In opposition to Android’s divergence from mainline, MeeGo‘s central philosophy is very much in line with the Open Source Way, and that is a very good thing to see in embedded Linux. I am hopeful that they will adopt much of the incredible work being done by the Linaro folks in bringing ARM support to Linux in general. Note as well that MeeGo has been selected by GENIVI as the reference software for future in-vehicle infotainment (IVI) systems, and MeeGo certainly looks up to the task. I may be forced to revise my prior opinions about netbooks as a result of the demos I encountered.
  • Oracle had a large (though relatively ignored) table at the conference, and Oracle SVP Linux & Virtual Engineering Wim Coekaerts gave an interesting keynote the first day explaining some of the Linux-based work going on inside Oracle. This, however, was immediately overshadowed just after the conference when Oracle sued Google over the use of Java, a suit which appears to be not only baseless but outright hostile. News like this confirms the worries many of us have about Oracle’s stewardship of the valuable open projects they have acquired along with Sun Microsystems: Java, VirtualBox, and of course MySQL, which some have opined was the reason for acquiring Sun in the first place. (Personally, I tend to think it has more to do with Sun’s enterprise server customer base.)
  • Speaking of MySQL, Monty’s excellent team has countered with a new fork called MariaDB, which looks remarkably like MySQL under the hood. They have also started a community:, a meeting place for open database enthusiasts. is the central point for MariaDB and provides downloads, a blog, and a developer wiki.
  • On Monday, Teaching Open Source gave an education mini-summit that I was honored to help organize. Between 20 and 30 interested folks – educators, administrators, students, entrepreneurs, and industry professionals – came together to discuss the best methods for teaching open source and getting students involved in the processes and communities early. Many fantastic ideas were explored. Video and audio should be available soon, and Fedora hero Máirín Duffy has written up an excellent set of notes on the day.
  • Yours truly gave a resounding talk (standing room only!) on the subject of desktop Linux entitled Desktop Distribution Showdown. The slides are available [PDF], and look for an article on the subject very soon be sure to read the exciting companion article.

All in all, LinuxCon and the Education mini-summit were intense, informative, and highly community-oriented. I was glad to meet new friends and see old ones, and I am already looking forward to next year.