About Sarah Sharp

Sarah Sharp is a curious explorer of complex hardware and software systems. She is a meticulous crafter of operating systems and 3D graphics code, with over 10 years experience with Linux and open source. Sarah is a collaborative senior developer that mentors junior engineers and shares knowledge through documentation, tutorials, and presentations. She has been both a team lead and a software architect.

Sarah is an expert in Linux, open source, USB, C, and git. She is currently focusing on 3D graphics, OpenGL, and Intel GPUs. Sarah is experienced in C++, Java, Python, and shell scripting.

Sarah is a published technical writer and photographer, with articles in Wired, Linux Journal, and She is an accomplished international speaker who delivered a 2016 keynote at Southern CAlifornia Linux Expo (SCALE), and numerous talks at Linux Conf Australia, LinuxCon Europe, and LinuxCon North America. Sarah is a volunteer coordinator for Outreachy, a paid 3-month internship program that increases participation of underrepresented people in open source.

Opportunities for Sarah

Sarah is currently looking for full-time, part-time, or contract work starting in September 2016. Sarah has 8 years experience working with remote teams, and is also available to work with local teams in the Portland, Oregon metro region. Sarah loves to deep dive into systems-level Linux or RTOS projects. Sarah is also passionate about documentation, mentoring, and sharing knowledge. She cares deeply about customer needs, and prefers to work on high-impact consumer products. Sarah is curious about exploring careers in technical writing, developer advocacy, and project evangelism.

While Sarah no longer works directly with the Linux kernel upstream community, she is available to debug Linux kernel device driver and power/performance issues. Sarah is willing to send an occasional patch or coach others in sending large Linux kernel patchsets. Sarah is happy to provide recommendations for former Outreachy Linux kernel alumni who are available to work on the Linux kernel full-time.

Contact Info

  • Email – Sarah’s personal email address is sarah at SPAMFREE the sharps dot us.
  • Google+
  • LinkedIn
  • Blog
  • IRC – Sarah can be found #outreachy on and #xorg on
  • Slack – Sarah hangs out in the invite-only channels Women In Tech, and Gals in Tech Portland.

Sarah Sharp’s Linux Work

Linux Gaming FTW

Since 2015, Sarah Sharp has been contributing to the userspace Linux 3D graphics community, Mesa. She has implemented OpenGL API extensions and enabled graphics for new Intel platforms. Sarah has written several introductory blog posts on Intel GPU architecture and the Linux 3D graphics stack:

Creating tiny embedded systems: Wearables and IoT

In 2014, Sarah Sharp spearheaded the effort within the Intel Open Source Technology Center to launch Intel into the IoT and Wearables technology sector. As software architect for Zephyr, Sarah built a nine-person team from scratch to work on the embedded operating system. The team was geographically diverse, with team members in Oregon and California, USA, and Mexico.

Sarah worked with external partners, as well as Intel principal engineers and marketing, to understand customer requirements, architect solutions, and plan team development of new features. Sarah also coordinated the efforts of the Intel Open Source Technology Center’s communications team to create a Bluetooth LE stack for extremely memory-constrained embedded systems.

Zephyr was successfully launched in February 2016. It includes support for both x86, ARM, and ARC platforms, as well as support for I2C, SPI, Bluetooth LE, FAT32 filesystems, and USB device controllers.

Connecting Linux users with USB 3.0

In 2009, Linux became the first operating system to support the new USB 3.0 standard, even before Windows. Sarah Sharp architected the Linux kernel xHCI host controller driver to support the USB 3.0 host controller standard. Sarah convinced Intel management to allow the driver to be released in time for Linux Operating System Vendors (OSVs) like Ubuntu, SUSE, and Red Hat to have out-of-the-box Linux support on the first Intel USB 3.0 platforms.

“First Driver for USB 3.0” profiled by Anika Kehrer, June 2009 in Linux Magazine

“Intel’s USB 3.0 for Linux” profiled by Britta Wuelfing, December 2008 for Linux Magazine

Sarah was the xHCI Linux kernel driver maintainer, and worked with vendors and community bug reporters to ensure support for a wide variety USB devices. She worked directly with the original authors of the next-gen USB attached SCSI standard to ensure good UAS support in Linux. Sarah also worked to debug issues with the first USB 3.0 cameras from Point Grey. Sarah gained a wide variety of experience with a number of device drivers, from v4l2 webcams, USB serial converters, USB bluetooth and wifi adapters, input devices, printers, scanners, SD card readers, USB CD and DVD drives, and esoteric devices like a DJ scratch sound system and insulin pumps.

In 2012, Sarah was the team lead for two Linux USB developers and one QA person. The team was geographically diverse, with team members in Oregon, USA, Finland, and France. Sarah quickly ramped the team by providing documentation, resources, and links to previous conference talks and architectural discussions on the Linux USB mailing list. Sarah defined the priorities of features to work on, architected solutions where deep USB knowledge was necessary, and reviewed proposals and code with senior software developers.

Sarah worked closely with Linux OSVs like Red Hat, Canonical, SUSE, and Google’s ChromeOS team. Sarah was extremely focused on customer deadlines, and received a 2013 Division Recognition Award from the Intel ChromeOS team for enabling low-power features and USB performance on Haswell Chromebooks. In 2014, Sarah gave a talk at Linux Conf Australia on USB power management.

Welcoming Open Source Newcomers

Sarah Sharp is passionate about improving the on-boarding process for newcomers in whatever open source community she participates in. Sarah is a coordinator for Outreachy, a program to provide paid FOSS internships to people traditionally underrepresented in open source communities.

Outreachy provides a $500 travel stipend for interns to present their work at open source conferences. Many of the interns had never been to a conference, so in February 2016, Sarah wrote an article for, “First Timer’s Guide to FOSS Conferences”.

During her time as the Linux kernel Outreachy mentor coordinator, Sarah created a step-by-step guide for creating and sending your first Linux kernel patch. The tutorial was so successful that Outreachy interns became the #13 contributor for the 3.11 Linux kernel, with the interns contributing 1.5 percent of the patches for 3.11. The Linux Foundation acknowledged the positive impact of Outreachy interns in its 2015 “Who Writes Linux” report, mentioning that the program brought in 24 new Linux kernel developers.

When Sarah moved from Linux kernel work and joined the Mesa Linux 3D graphics community, she wrote a tutorial on how to compile and use a custom Mesa build. Sarah finds joy in documenting tribal knowledge, so that the next person can ramp up faster.

Sarah is passionate at improving the software developer pipeline at all stages. In 2014, Sarah gave a presentation at the University of Waterloo, “Breaking into Open Source and Linux: A USB 3.0 Success Story”. The talk included tips for college students that want to get jobs in the open source software industry.

When the Intel Open Source Technology Center opened a new branch in Guadalajara, Mexico, they found that many new hires were lacking in open source and Linux experience. Sarah shared her knowledge of how to gain Linux kernel maintainers’ trust, and how to build a good reputation in open source communities. Sarah worked with locals to improve the University curriculum to provide an open source jobs pipeline to the Intel Guadalajara site.

Sarah also loves to share her knowledge of open source tools with newcomers. In 2009 (long before git was widely adopted), she gave a 90-minute git tutorial, including advanced topics like rebasing and server-side hooks.

Increasing Diversity in Tech

Sarah Sharp has been a champion for diversity and inclusion in the technology sector. She co-coordinates Outreachy, a 3-month internship program designed connect people traditionally under-represented in open source software to mentors and jobs. In 2015, Sarah’s technical contributions to Linux and efforts to improve diversity in open source were recognized by Red Hat, who awarded her the first annual Women in Open Source Award.

In 2016, Sarah presented a keynote at the Southern CAlifornia Linux Expo (SCALE) on systematic methods for increasing diversity in software communities, “Improving Diversity with Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs.”

Sarah Sharp’s Hobbies

Blast off with Amateur Rockets

Sarah Sharp volunteers with the Portland State Aerospace Society (PSAS) to help them launch their 14-foot tall open source and open hardware amateur rocket. The rocket includes a Linux-based flight computer and sensor nodes running an open source RTOS. All the rocket parts aside from the motor are build from scratch by PSAS, including the airframe, fin roll control system, on-board camera mount, and cylindrical patch antennas. PSAS was the first amateur rocketry group to use amplified 802.11 (wifi) for their telemetry system, pushing the radio technology past mach 1. Sarah Sharp gave a 5-minute presentation on the Portland State Aerospace society at Ignite Portland.

“How the final frontier just got democratised” featuring rocket photos by Sarah Sharp, June 2015

“Linux Powered Amateur Rocket Goes USB” by Sarah Sharp, May 2009 in Linux Journal

Growing Food with Open Source

Sarah Sharp presented at Linux Conf Australia on a series of tools for open source gardeners:

  • An Ardiuno-based watering system with DIY moisture sensors
  • An Android frost alert app that pulled XML data from NOAA weather service
  • A garden calendaring tool that turned a CSV of seed starting dates into an iCalendar file suitable for import into Google Calendar

Learn more about Sarah Sharp

“Meet Sarah Sharp” profiled by on, July 2015

“30 Linux kernel developers in 30 weeks: Sarah Sharp” profiled by Jennifer Cloer, June 2012 on