Thursday, June 9, 2016

ELC 2016 Trip

I had already recently been to one conference, Linaro Connect 2015 in Bangkok. I hadn't really been able to convince myself that would be useful. But it turned out that it was quite helpful to meet in person with my project mentor. We learned more about each other, which was helpful to continue our work on the project even after the internship.

Arnd recommended the Embedded Linux Conference, because it is attended by a more general sampling of kernel developers. Linaro is focused on the ARM ecosystem.

I later figured that if I spoke to people at the conference about the patches, it would be helpful. This was necessary because the patches I submitted were still under discussion on the linux kernel mailing list. The problem of transitioning VFS to 64 bit timestamps involves many other tiny problems. So it was getting difficult to convey the big picture effectively to everybody. Longer patch series usually tend to be ignored. I shared this with Arnd, and he agreed it would be a good idea, so we made a list of people that would be interested in the project.

I still had some funds on offer from the Outreachy internship, so in the end I decided it would be a useful expedition to visit San Diego.

Each evening, I made a plan for the next day to choose what sessions I might attend the next day.

It was interesting to observe different kinds of talks. Some were very popular, while others seem to have very narrow user base.

I tried to attend talks which are aligned with my work and interests. Some of the talks that I attended were about memory barriers, kernel debugging, and static analysis.

Arnd introduced me to various kernel maintainers, linux developers, and former colleagues. One person pointed out that people would want to talk with you and learn your name so that they could look out for your patches. So it helps wearing the name tag :).

We met tglx and did some code review, then discussed a plan for how to upstream the supporting VFS patches. We also gave Linus a brief update about the status of the problem.

Arnd and I also did more code reviews to streamline the patches.

So it was a good trip because we made progress on the project.

I also met many other interesting people. Lunches were fun, too. I went with Arnd's family one day. I also ended up going to lunch with Karen Sandler and my old lead, and we were discussing various interesting topics.

All in all it was a wonderful and productive trip.

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