This year for the 11th time the "Linux Tage" were organized at the university of Chemnitz. Each year in March this means two days devoted to the topic of open and free software. It means an event that is very well organized by a pretty professional team of volunteers.
For the third time the FSFE had its booth at the event - this time run by Rainer Kersten, Uwe Zemisch and me. Recurring questions at the booth were
- "What the hack is FSFE and in which ways do you actually support free software?"
- "I am already fellow, you keep telling me there are these great fellowship meetups. Do you know whether there is one near my town? How do these events start? How are they organized?"
It was interesting to see that FSFE is one of the few organizations that try to fill the gap between those writing open source software and those actually making decisions that are relevant to the developers but know nothing of writing software whatsoever.
Besides running the booth there was some time left for a few talks. I decided to go to the OpenMP talk. The idea is to develop a highlevel API for marking code passages for parallel execution. It is not designed for parallel programming on clusters but on multi core machines. Somewhat related to the Java concurrency package but far more high level.
The second talk I went to was on personal data protection laws in Germany. One funny piece of information: Even the ministry of justice was sued sucessfully for storing to much information on the visitors of its webpage.
Last talk I went to was on Google Android. To me it looks like a nice mix of completly open source (like Open Moko) and completely closed source. If you need a phone you can use for making phone calls but still want to play with it and be root on the phone (399$ for the dev phone, sim unlocked, only available for registered developers, registration is 25,-$), Android G1 propably is the way to go. The phone is highly integrated with Google applications. The assumption when building it seems to have been, that people are online all the time with that phone.
For coding: Only a Java API is available, no C or C++. SDK is available for Lin/Mac/Win. The emulator does work, only thing it does not reflect is the real speed of the device itself. Each app gets its own VM, Dalvik supports process memory sharing that makes that less expensive. In case of memory shortage apps are killed in order of user impact (empty/precreated, background, service (mp3 player), visible apps, foreground apps). Idea is to kill those apps that are least visible to the user. The programmer needs to take care that apps constantly store state so restarting them gets them up in the same state they were in when killed.
More information online: http://www.htc.com; adoid.git.kernel.org;
All in all: Really nice weekend. Looking forwared to return next year.