The PyCon Incident, Lizard Brains, and Bad Jokes

+Peter Senna Tschudin asked (about the Pycon incident):  “What I can’t understand, and I would like help to understand, is how talking about big dongles to a friend in a conference can become a real problem to a women who is listening. Why did she felt uncomfortable about that? Did she felt threatened? How the dongle size talking could turn into something against her? Can the content of the two guys talking be considered a lack of respect? What are the limits to what can be considered offensive?”

I’m going to take you at face value, and assume you really do want to understand how making simple jokes can cause issues for women in tech.  I’m making this a post, because I think lots of my male friends are worried about cracking jokes right now.

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LCA 2010

My Linux Conference AU slides are now posted on my server. The USB 3.0 talk went really well, and I look forward to sharing it when the LCA videos go up in the next couple weeks.

LCA was a total blast! The speakers were wonderful, and I really felt integrated into the conference and social events by the techie women of LCA. Thank you to Sara, Jo, Jacinta, Liz, and all the other Haecksen of LCA2010!

The only downside is the weather. It’s really quite rainy here, although it’s 10-15 degrees warmer than Portland. I think Jamey and I are going to skip the Tongariro Crossing and go straight to the glow worm caves at Te Kuiti/Waitmo. At least we’ll be in a cave while it’s raining!

USB 3.0 support: coming soon to a Linux kernel near you!

#tags usb,usb3,linux,open source

The xHCI (USB 3.0) host controller driver and initial support for USB 3.0 devices is now publicly available on my kernel.org git tree. Greg Kroah-Hartman has queued the patches for 2.6.31, so Linux users should have official USB 3.0 support around September 2009. This is impeccable timing, since NEC recently announced they’ll be producing 1 million xHCI PCI express add-in cards in September.

This means that Linux will be the first operating system with official USB 3.0 support. I’m working with Keve Gabbert (the OSV person in my group at Intel) to make sure that Linux distributions like Ubuntu and Red Hat pick up the xHCI driver. Advanced users can always compile their own kernel on a standard distro install.

I hope that some USB 3.0 vendors who have prototypes will test with my driver. Instructions on how to compile a kernel using my git tree will follow.

This is a giant project that I’ve been working on for the past year and a half. It’s gratifying to see the code finally released, and exciting to know that hardware is on its way.

Advanced Git Tutorial

Back in November, I gave an advanced Git tutorial for Portland’s Code ‘n Splode group. I posted the slides in my public_html dir without any announcement, but Mario (who is featured in the title page picture) managed to find it anyway. If you’re interested in some advanced Git revision control features beyond `”git clone”` and `”git commit”`, you should check it out.

Feedback is welcome. I might present it again at the Open Source Bridge, a new Portland Open Source convention designed to fill the gap that OSCON left when they packed up for San Jose.

USB 3.0 and Linux

USB is getting a facelift!

In the beginning, there was USB 1.1, with the “low speed” and “full speed” devices (at 1 Mbps and 12 Mbps, respectively). Then USB 2.0 came along with “high speed” devices that ran at 480 Mbps. Now the new USB 3.0 bus specification defines “SuperSpeed” devices that run at 5 Gbps (5,120 Mbps).

SuperSpeed Logo - image copyright 2008 Sarah Sharp
Now that the bus specification is public, I can finally talk about the code I’ve been developing at work. I’ve been writing a Linux driver for xHCI (the new USB 3.0 host controller), and changing the Linux kernel stack to support USB 3.0 devices. On November 17th, I got to demo my work at the world’s first USB 3.0 “SuperSpeed” Developers Conference.

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Student Day at Linux Plumbers Conference

For the past couple of months, I’ve been helping organize a student mini-conference for LPC, which will take place on September 16th. So far we only have 9 people registered for student day. We would like at least 15 students to make the student mini-conference a full-day event, and this week is the deadline for conference organizers to decide whether they need to scale back.

If you’re a student, and you’re even remotely interested in open source development, I suggest you take a look at the Linux Plumbers Conference Student Day page and register for the event.

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Dispelling a Linux Myth

Over the past week, I’ve run into two different people who expressed the same thought, “Linux lacks support for a lot of devices.” I told them that this was a myth, and the Linux Driver Project has proven it is a myth.

Today I had an idea for a way to dispel this myth. I think someone should post a video of them walking into Circuit City, buying a random device, and walking out to their car. The video shows them configuring it on a Linux box and testing it. Then they would return the device and buy a new device. Buy, configure, return; repeat as necessary. The devices and configuration notes could be posted on the Linux Drivers Project wiki.

Now to find a decent videographer, buy a GSM data phone plan (for downloading packages and drivers in the car), and find some funding for devices that are non-returnable. In my copious spare time, of course.

Organizing my life

I’ve been slightly side-tracked from my quest to host my own blog by the search for a good calendar and todo list application. It is still sort of relevant, because I’d like to embed my calendar in my blog. It’s really useful to point family members to a web calendar and say, “You pick a free night for us to have dinner.”

My current setup is just not working. I’ve been keeping my todo list and events in a plain text file in a git repository. I usually only check the file when I’m adding a new task or event. This means I’m suddenly faced with the
mountain of undone tasks during a (usually) stressful moment. It’s no wonder I’ve slowly started avoiding looking at that file at all. I need something pretty that I can bear to look at every morning.

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