Ted Ts'o led the final session of this year's Kernel Summit (KS), which was
targeted at discussing the
summit itself. Over the years, there have been various changes to the
format and this year was no exception. The summit was co-located with and
overlapped one day of the Linux Plumbers Conference (LPC); the minisummits were
moved into the middle of the summit as well. Ts'o and others wondered how
well that worked and looked for input on how the meetings should be
structured in the future.
Putting the minisummits on day two (Tuesday August 28) turned that day into
an "all-day hallway track" for those who weren't participating, Ts'o said.
both good and bad points, but was in general well-received. The all-day
hallway track and minisummits both got a boost from the early arrival of LPC
The topic choices for day one were good, according to H. Peter Anvin and
others. A little more notice of the schedule would have been useful, Anvin
said, so that participants could prepare for the discussions. Mel Gorman
said that the summit was "sedate" overall, though he thought the topics
were well selected. It was not very "entertaining", though, because there
wasn't any fighting. Christoph Hellwig noted that the people "we fight
with" weren't invited.
James Bottomley wondered if it would have been better to have a "cage
fight" on the first day over the two competing NUMA scheduling approaches.
Linus Torvalds noted that some may have avoided the memcg minisummit (where that
discussion took place), even though they were interested in NUMA
scheduling, so they "didn't have to hear about memcg". But Gorman said
that particular problem may have been best handled "relatively privately"
in the smaller
memory-management-focused group at the memcg minisummit. Opening the
discussion up to larger participation might have "made a bad situation a
hell of lot worse".
Torvalds had his own complaint about the minisummits: their
schedules. He would rather have had shorter sessions, rather than all-day
meetings, because it made it harder to switch between them. He sat in on
the PCI minisummit but felt like he would have been coming into the middle
of the ARM minisummit by switching to attend the AArch64 discussion. He would rather see
two-hour pre-announced BoF-like sessions.
Ts'o said some of the minisummit schedules came out quite late, which left
no time to negotiate changes to reduce conflicts. Hellwig said
that what Torvalds was suggesting, perhaps, was the elimination of the
minisummits and instead to roll those discussions into longer LPC
sessions. That might mean that KS and LPC should always be combined,
Bottomley said. But, Arnd Bergmann was not convinced that the influx of LPC
was helpful for the ARM minisummit, which was already too big, he said, and
got overrun with the additional people.
Others saw few problems in the overlap with LPC, to the point where
juxtaposing KS and LPC each year was discussed. One problem with that is
that LPC is a North American conference, whereas KS
moves around the
globe. Next year, LPC will be co-located with LinuxCon in New Orleans,
while KS will either be in Edinburgh with LinuxCon Europe or somewhere in
Asia, possibly Hong Kong. But, it doesn't matter what the conference is
called, Hellwig said, but that the format remains and the same types of
attendees are present.
Anvin cautioned against tying LPC to KS, noting that it can be
bad for the other conference in the long run, citing the KS/Ottawa Linux
combination as an example.
It might be possible to see if LPC had any interest in moving to locations
outside of North America, or setting up meetings like LPC wherever KS is
being held. Chris Mason noted that KS can be a draw for plumbing layer
matter where it is held. Dirk Hohndel thought that the same kind of KS/LPC
meetings could be set up anywhere and draw in developers from afar as well
as those nearby, noting that Korea or Japan would be good candidates. Ts'o
agreed that these kinds of meetings bring new people into the community. He
said that Hong Kong is under consideration to draw in more Chinese
developers, for example.
While the co-location with LPC was seen to be mostly beneficial, the
addition of LinuxCon and CloudOpen was a bit much. Those conferences started on
Wednesday, which resulted in a large influx of people. That led to some
confusion: the rooms where meetings
had been held the previous two days were no longer available, it was
unclear where to get
the lunch available for KS attendees (and there was confusion over who was
eat), and so on. Most in the room were not in favor of doing quite that
much overlap in the future. Hohndel noted that the Linux Foundation staff
were going "insane" trying to make it all work, so it is unlikely something
like that will happen again.
In answer to a question from Bottomley,
most present were in favor of moving the KS location each year,
and there were suggestions of other possible venues down the road. Some
were less likely (e.g. Cuba), while others seem quite possible (e.g. South
or Japan again). Changing the usual (northern hemisphere) summer to fall
dates for KS was discussed, but the logistics of moving to spring were
considered difficult. It would have to be done in stages so that the
distance between summits was kept to roughly a year. That also means, for
example, that co-locating with linux.conf.au sometime (which was suggested)
would be hard to do because it is held in January.
The largely minor complaints aside, the general sense from the discussion
was that this year's summit had served its purpose. It got kernel hackers
together to discuss areas where the kernel development process could be
improved. There will undoubtedly be more tweaks to the format over the
years, but the summit itself—like the kernel development
process—is working pretty well.
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