Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Powerpoint® Karoke contest

Anyone in the Portland area interested in a fun and creative event is invited to the 1st Timbertalkers Powerpoint® Karoke contest on Tuesday 11/24 at noon.

Meeting location is: 9403-B SW Nimbus Ave., Beaverton, Oregon

If you have never done PPTK, here are the rules:

  • Topic is draw from set of 30 topics. Probably 10 to 15 slides
  • Speaker will have 2 to 3 minutes
  • Prizes awarded

In spirit of open source, it will really be a OpenOffice Impress contest, and the slides will be drawn from Creative Commons licensed decks.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Ubuntu 9.10 hates kernel developers?

Ubuntu has never been the easiest distribution to do kernel development, but it looks like with 9.10 it has made things too painful. I need to build and install kernels all the time, and usually just update grub menu manually. But now with grub 2 in Ubuntu 9.10 they have wrapped the grub menu in grub-mkconfig. Why?

It would be great if the system was setup so just doing 'make install' in the kernel source put in the kernel and updated the grub.cfg, but no that would make too much sense.

P.s: they managed to break the sky2 driver somehow, the connection won't come up and negotiates the wrong speed. It turned out not to be a kernel problem; wiring issue (speed), combined with some Network Manager changes

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Japan Linux Symposium

I am giving three talks: 1) routing performance, 2) staging drivers, 3) Vyatta CLI.
So if you are attending JLS please stop by and give me support.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Netconf / LinuxCon / Linux Plumber's Conference

It will be a busy week. The network developer's are getting together at Netconf over the weekend,
then LinuxCon followed by Linux Plumber's Conference. Hope the weather holds out, Portland has a tendency to rain when ever there is a big event.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Congratulations Microsoft

Nice. Microsoft has released the Hyper-V drivers as GPLv2. I know was a hard step for Microsoft to take, since it means acknowledging GPL and respecting the Linux community. The releasing of the drivers is good news for users, developers, and in the end Microsoft as well. Like most GPL related actions, a lot of work was done behind the scenes to get the offending company into compliance.

This saga started when one of the user's on the Vyatta forum inquired about supporting Hyper-V network driver in the Vyatta kernel. A little googling found the necessary drivers, but on closer examination there was a problem. The driver had both open-source components which were under GPL, and statically linked to several binary parts. The GPL does not permit mixing of closed and open source parts, so this was an obvious violation of the license. Rather than creating noise, my goal was to resolve the problem, so I turned to Greg Kroah-Hartman. Since Novell has a (too) close association with Microsoft, my expectation was that Greg could prod the right people to get the issue resolved.

It took longer than expected, but finally Microsoft decided to do the right thing and release the drivers.

Friday, June 5, 2009

Networking at Linux Plumbers Conference

Hey kernel developers, more proposals related to networking submitted for the Linux Plumbers Conference. This is the chance to have in-person discussions about future proposals like receive packet steering, RCU netfilter optimization, unified flow cache, and all those other topics that need need more brainstorming and discussion.

The Netconf 2009 is also being planned to occur before LPC.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Parallelizing netfilter

The Linux networking receive performance has been mostly single threaded until the advent of MSI-X and multiqueue receive hardware. Now with many cards, it is possible to be processing packets on multiple CPU's and cores at once. All this is great, and improves performance for the simple case.

But most users don't just use simple networking. They use useful features like netfilter to do firewalling, NAT, connection tracking and all other forms of wierd and wonderful things. The netfilter code has been tuned over the years, but there are still several hot locks in the receive path. Most of these are reader-writer locks which are actually the worst kind, much worse than a simple spin lock. The problem with locks on modern CPU's is that even for the uncontested case, a lock operation means a full-stop cache miss.

With the help of Eric Duzmet, Rick Jones, Martin Josefsson and others, it looks like there is a solution to most of these. I am excited to see how it all pans out but it could mean a big performance increase for any kind of netfilter packet intensive processing. Stay tuned.