Linaro, CTO’s End of Year Report (2012)

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When I was a young lad at school, I loved the Christmas holiday. You could bring your toys into school and play games on the last afternoon. In those pre-electronic days, it was likely to be strategy board games such as Monopoly or card games featuring superheroes. Looking back at 2012, I realize that things are not so different now.

I’m lucky enough to work with superheroes every day. Just look at the engineering that Linaro has been involved with. big.LITTLE, kernel consolidation, UMM, Armv8 and the list goes on. It’s not just hacking code though, Linaro is thinking carefully about itself, re-engineering itself for the next phase in its evolution. “Start up” was 2010, “Establishment” was 2011 and 2012 has been “Growth”. What’s 2013 going to be all about? Just wait and see. It’s a real privilege to be a part of this and to have made so many friends doing it.

In my school days, I’d get a school report at the end of each term. Mine were a bit variable; from the sublime to the ridiculous, including the marvelous statement that “when David joins us on Planet Earth he does some very good work indeed”. If I were to give Linaro marks, I’d give high marks for effort and achievements, with new members and the formation of the Linaro Enterprise Group, LEG. A measure of Linaro’s success can be found in perhaps the most outstanding compliment I have heard. This came from Linus Torvalds when asked what things still get him excited, the said “What makes me happy is when some painful process issue gets resolved. For me, over the last year, it’s been Arm who from a constant headache in every single merge window has become an upstanding citizen in the Linux community” (see here, for the article).

I don’t play strategy board games much any more, I play strategy for real. That strategy has partially been about picking the right technical problems to focus on. That is, those that the members want us to work on and where we are uniquely qualified to make a difference. I don’t particularly think that Linaro is the best place to tune Codecs, but it is certainly the best place to establish a kernel sub-architecture maintainer’s group or help launch a new 64 bit architecture.

Finally, what toys can I bring in and play with? I bought a Nexus 7, this shows that Android has come of age and is a very worthy player in the tablet space. This is a good piece of engineering in a lovely form factor. I use mine all the time, despite having an iPad. My recent new toy, is a Samsung Chromebook. I even managed to contribute some code fixes to Fedora.

So, a very happy new year to one and all. Take time out, relax, hug your loved ones and get ready for an exciting 2013.

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