Embedded Linux Conference & OpenIoT Summit 2017

I attended the Linux Foundation's Embedded Linux and OpenIoT Summit in Portland, Oregon, February 21-23, 2017. My travel was sponsored by FOSS Outreachy and the conference registration fee was covered by a diversity scholarship from the Linux Foundation.

The Linux Foundation has posted video and slide sets here.

Image result for embedded linux conference portland

As an Outreachy Alumni & Mentor, I'll make my diversity & inclusion observation first:

While I felt in the majority as an older attendee, I was certainly in the very small minority as a women.  In some presentations I was the only women in the audience.  I noticed that the posted photographs of the conference contain a lot of women.  You could probably take a headcount of the women present using those photos.

With respect to inclusion, ie. did I feel included during the conference?  Generally, yes.  However, my note to future self is to bring something to share at the technical showcase.  Giving a presentation is certainly a way to get more involved, but I'd couple it with a table at the technical showcase for the best experience!

Here are a few of my favorite things...

Favorite Keynote: Sarah Cooper, GM of IoT Solutions at AWS

Sarah spoke of "Making Experimentation Easy" by applying similar methodologies that have enabled cloud software's rapid rate of innovation to embedded devices.

The conference photographer snapped and posted this photo of Sarah.
Although she was triumphant in her presentation, she did *not* actually
drop the mic!

Two take-aways from Sarah:
1) "Limit the blast radius"
Sarah was referring to carefully selected beta customers and failing fast. The complete quote is: "To fail fast you have to know you have failed, limit the blast radius and shrug it off."  Great principle to apply to everything you do!

2) "You should absolutely come straight to the GM with your resume!!"
This quote came in a private email from Sarah where she responded to my query about job opportunities at AWS. Her assertive "absolutely" resonated with me. As I sort through my contacts from my earlier years in the industry, I tend to skip over contacts that have risen high in management or technical ranks. Sarah's *absolutely* spurred me on to reach out to those old contacts and to make more new, cold contacts.

2 Things that made me go hmmm:

1) There are developers who believe that user space drivers are more efficient than kernel drivers. They don't mean more efficient as in they don't want to bother upstreaming the driver. They actually mean more efficient in that they think the user space driver performs better.  I didn't meet one of those developers...they were only whispered about ;)

2) Android Things (Intel & Google product) will not use our lovely IIO drivers. They will not include any non-essential drivers in the kernel image and there will not be a way to rebuild it. They have set up a git repository for the world to share user space drivers for sensors. 

Favorite Presentation:   Android Things & Android Things Deep Dive

Intel: Anisha Kulkarni, Geeta Krishna, Sanrio Alvares
Yes, even despite the aforementioned IIO driver exclusion.

Favorite PresentationVoice-controlled Home Automation

IBM: Kalonji Bankole,  Prashant Kanal
Demo'd a complete implementation using serverless framework (OpenWhisk) and cognitive services (IBM Watson)

Favorite Sponsor Demo: runtime www.runtime.io

Favorite Sponsor Swag: SUSE  I now feel guilty that I don't use their distro.

Favorite Sponsors: Intel & SUSE & Linaro

Intel's staff at the booth were so knowledgeable I just assumed they were from a development group. I hope they were flattered, and not insulted when I asked. They were marketing.

SUSE's Patrick Quairoli shared insights on development at SUSE.

Linaro & 96boards: Lost his name, but he gave me a very patient tutorial on each board chained to his booth.  Also got lots of stickers to brighten up my clamshell!

Favorite Sponsor Hangout:  Kodi
Felt like home.  A too big TV with too many channels!  Super nice group of developers!

IIO Community Sightings: Matt Ranostay
Matt gave a great IIO Subsystem presentation!!! It contained a live demo of one of his more recent driver additions: heart rate and pulse oximeter. When Matt's heart rate only measured 42, he wrote it off to a loose connection, but I'm not convinced. I may go look for a bug in that driver ;)

IIO Community Hindsight: David Lechner
When I met David displaying his ev3 devices at the technical showcase, I didn't know of him from the IIO community. David has some drivers he wants upstreamed to IIO.  Potential Outreachy projects?  I'm fuzzy on this. Can we add support for sensors that basically have no datasheet, but that David has reverse engineered?

IIO Community Hindsight: Jason Kridner
Jason gave a presentation and also showed off some beaglebone devices at the technical showcase. Jason noted in his presentation that he'd like to see additional sensor support in IIO.