The first Linux Plumbers Conference has just been announced. It takes place on September 17-19 in Portland, Oregon, back-to-back with this year’s Linux Kernel summit.
The scope of Linux Plumbers Conference goes a bit beyond the Linux kernel; it spills out to include interfaces with the X Window System and some other userspace features. The list of major topics, which will be the subjects of “microconfs” lasted about two and a half hours each and will be run by leaders in the Linux community, include a number of familiar obsessions in the world of Linux (power management, graphics, audio), plus a couple interesting explorations such as video input and Linux server management.
I talked to organizer Kristen Accardi, who explained that the conference was organized by Linux community members (supported by the Linux Foundation and Portland State University) to meet a need they all felt for a forum where they could focus intensely on deep, future-oriented discussions that they found going on in the hallways at other conferences.
In this sense, the get-together is a bit like the “unconferences” of which O’Reilly’s FOO camp was an early example. The main topics of this conference are laid out in advance, but the organizers are leaving time for last-minute additions and have set aside rooms for ad hoc meetings. There will also be a few tutorials (for which a Call for Proposals is open) such as on writing a device driver.
The microconf topics were left quite broad in order to let developers solve cross-project problems. Accardi described difficulties in the past with the cross-project problem of power management. Suboptimal power usage falls into the “only you can prevent forest fires” problem category. It has to be solved by lots of people working together (and in some cases separately): kernel developers, driver developers, and even userspace application developers. According to Accardi, one kernel representative spent a year going to conferences around the world to teach the proper way to code for low power usage. The Linux Plumbers Conference should now allow such teachers to reach a key segment of their audience in one fell swoop.
Having the Linux Kernel summit co-hosted with this conference should bolster attendance substantially, just as the presence of the summit enhanced the Ottawa Linux Symposium for many years. Summit organizers decided two years ago to start moving the summit around in order to spread around the burden of travel from different continents.
The organizers have already set up an annoucements mailing list, a mailing list to discuss microconf topics, and an IRC channel at oftc.net#linux-plumbers. A wiki will be set up shortly before the conference.