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New Open MPI stable series launched: v1.8

April 11, 2014 at 9:00 am PST

Open MPI logoThe Open MPI project released version v1.8 last week.  This is a major release that heralds the beginning of a new production-ready series, full MPI-3.0 support, and a new OpenSHMEM implementation.

Open MPI is developed in a tick-tock fashion:

  • Odd-numbered series are focused on feature development and expansion
  • Even-numbered series are focused on stability and production usage

The even-numbered v1.8.x series therefore represents a new production-ready series that effectively deprecates the prior production-ready series (v1.6.x).

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The First Open Source Project to Win the Interop Grand Prize…

… is none other than…  (drum roll, please!) … our one year old baby, OpenDaylight! My heartfelt congratulations go to the OpenDaylight committers and contributors, the open source collaborators who have poured their heart and soul into this wonderful project. This is indeed a remarkable event, considering the skepticism surrounding its start just about one year ago, in fact at Equinox. The Interop and OpenDaylight announcement captures the meaning of this accomplishment very well and on behalf of the OpenDaylight partners, I would like to thank the developers and users, to wish them continued success and strong adoption. Know that as long as core open source principles are alive and well our project will do well. Thank you, Interop panelists and conference attendees, and most of all, thank you Cisco colleagues, customers, and partners for building and embracing the base of what promises to be a star project. I am so proud of you!

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In Search of The First Transaction

At the height of an eventful week – Cloud and IoT developments, Open Source Think Tank,  Linux Foundation Summit – I learned about the fate of my fellow alumnus, an upperclassman as it were, the brilliant open source developer and crypto genius known for the first transaction on Bitcoin.

Hal Finney is a Caltech graduate who went on to become one of the most dedicated, altruistic and strong contributors to open source cryptography. We are a small school in size, so one would think it’s easy to keep in touch; we try but do poorly, mostly a very friendly and open bunch, but easy to loose ourselves into the deep work at hand and sometimes miss what’s hiding in plain sight.

He was among the first to work with Phil Zimmermann on PGP, created the first reusable proof-of-work (POW) system years before Bitcoin, had just the right amount of disdain for noobs in my opinion, and years later, one of the first open source developers with Satoshi Nakamoto on Bitcoin, in fact the first transaction ever. There is a great story about Hal in Forbes this week, “My hunt for Bitcoin’s creator led to a paralyzed crypto genius, thank you, Hal Finney for going through with it, and Andy Greenberg for writing it. Sometimes it is very painful, shocking to see how things turn out, I think this is one of those moments when we realize how much this is going to mean to all of us, the brilliant minds of programmers like Hal Finney, who never sought the limelight, but did so much for us without asking for anything in return, who leave behind a long lasting contributions to privacy and security in our society, he is in fact a co-creator of the Bitcoin project. Do you realize that every bitminer successfully providing the required POW, should in fact reach the very same conclusion at the end of every new transaction… forever? You’d better accurately represent who was the very first. What a legacy to remember!

I often go to Santa Barbara to see a very, very close and dear person there, my daughter. But now, there is another reason to stop by and pay tribute to one of the finest there. We will all be in search of the first transaction, eventually.

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ELC: An Introduction to the Video4Linux Framework

During this year’s Embedded Linux Conference in San Jose I will be presenting An Introduction to the Video4Linux Framework. As a long-term kernel contributor (since 2003), author of over 2000 kernel patches and co-maintainer of the video4linux kernel subsystem I have been working on improving that subsystem so it can handle the highly complex video capture and codec pipelines that are available on a modern SoC.

As part of that work a lot of attention was given (and still is!) to the supporting framework provided by the video4linux subsystem to simplify the driver code. Video is complex and driver developers should be able to concentrate on configuring the hardware without the V4L API getting in the way.

This presentation will demonstrate how to make a fairly simple video capture driver using the latest framework features. Using that framework greatly reduces the amount of work required to write a driver compared to what would have been needed just a few years ago.

You are all welcome to attend this presentation! And for those who are interested: on Friday there will be a video4linux mini-summit, see the announcement here.

Finally, if you have any questions about the video4linux kernel subsystem, please don’t hesitate to contact me at any time. I am always happy to answer them as best as I can.

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The Three Mega Trends in Cloud and IoT

A consequence of the Moore Nielsen prediction is the phenomenon known as Data Gravity: big data is hard to move around, much easier for the smaller applications to come to it. Consider this: it took mankind over 2000 years to produce 2 Exabytes (2x1018 bytes) of data until 2012; now we produce this much in a day! The rate will go up from here. With data production far exceeding the capacity of the Network, particularly at the Edge, there is only one way to cope, which I call the three mega trends in networking and (big) data in Cloud computing scaled to IoT, or as some say, Fog computing:

  1. Dramatic growth in the applications specialized and optimized for analytics at the Edge: Big Data is hard to move around (data gravity), cannot move data fast enough to the analytics, therefore we need to move the analytics to the data. This will cause a dramatic growth in applications, specialized and optimized for analytics at the edge. Yes, our devices have gotten smarter, yes P2P traffic has become largest portion of Internet traffic, and yes M2M has arrived as the Internet of Things, there is no way to make progress but making the devices smarter, safer and, of course, better connected.
  2. Dramatic growth in the computational complexity to ETL (extract-transform-load) essential data from the Edge to be data-warehoused at the Core: Currently most open standards and open source efforts are buying us some time to squeeze as much information in as little time as possible via limited connection paths to billions of devices and soon enough we will realize there is a much more pragmatic approach to all of this. A jet engine produces more than 20 Terabytes of data for an hour of flight. Imagine what computational complexity we already have that boils that down to routing and maintenance decisions in such complex machines. Imagine the consequences of ignoring such capability, which can already be made available at rather trivial costs.
  3. The drive to instrument the data to be “open” rather than “closed”, with all the information we create, and all of its associated ownership and security concerns addressed: Open Data challenges have already surfaced, there comes a time when we begin to realize that an Open Data interface and guarantees about its availability and privacy need to be made and enforced. This is what drives the essential tie today between Public, Private and Hybrid cloud adoption (nearly one third each) and with the ever-growing amount of data at the Edge, the issue of who “owns” it and how is access “controlled” to it, become ever more relevant and important. At the end of the day, the producer/owner of the data must be in charge of its destiny, not some gatekeeper or web farm. This should not be any different that the very same rules that govern open source or open standards.

Last week I addressed these topics at the IEEE Cloud event at Boston University with wonderful colleagues from BU, Cambridge, Carnegie Mellon, MIT, Stanford and other researchers, plus of course, industry colleagues and all the popular, commercial web farms today. I was pleasantly surprised to see not just that the first two are top-of-mind already, but that the third one has emerged and is actually recognized. We have just started to sense the importance of this third wave, with huge implications in Cloud compute. My thanks to Azer Bestavros and Orran Krieger (Boston University), Mahadev Satyanarayanan (Carnegie Mellon University) and Michael Stonebraker (MIT) for the outstanding drive and leadership in addressing these challenges. I found Project Olive intriguing. We are happy to co-sponsor the BU Public Cloud Project, and most importantly, as we just wrapped up EclipseCon 2014 this week, very happy to see we are already walking the talk with Project Krikkit in Eclipse M2M. I made a personal prediction last week: just as most Cloud turned out to be Open Source, IoT software will all be Open Source. Eventually. The hard part is the Data, or should I say, Data Gravity…

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