[coreboot] LinuxTag 2008 Status

Carl-Daniel Hailfinger c-d.hailfinger.devel.2006 at gmx.net
Sun Jun 1 17:45:00 CEST 2008

Hi all,

On 29.05.2008 22:02, Paul Menzel wrote:
> Am Donnerstag, den 29.05.2008, 13:39 -0400 schrieb Joseph Smith:
>> How is LinuxTag 2008 going Peter, Paul, and Carl-Daniel?
> Pierre, who offered his help with the booth and is considered a spammer
> by trac, is also presenting coreboot.

We were a team of four for most of the time. Thanks again to Paul and
Pierre for helping us out, they were a pleasure to work with! There was
some sort of "collateral damage", though: I believe Paul and Pierre now
know a lot more about coreboot. ;-)

>> Are you getting alot of people excited about coreboot?
> So I will try to give a quick summary of the first two days. I was there
> about 70 % of it.
> - Peter is talking a lot to people. As evidence he is gravelly.
> Especially after the workshop/talk he gave today.

His voice recovered. Sort of.

> I would guess that we talk to about 4–6 people in an hour. But since we
> are talking to them about 10 minutes the booth is busy most of the time
> and it would be rather crowded if more people are there.

To be honest, we could have talked to more people if we had been given
more than 2 m^2 booth space with the space available for presentation in
front being 1 m wide.

> There knowledge on coreboot varies. Even more because
> of the name change early this year.

I had multiple companies/public sector institutions tell me to not
bother telling them about coreboot because "we are already investigating
LinuxBIOS". When I pointed out the recent name change, they invariably
asked why we didn't advertise the old name on our flyers/posters as
well. I then pointed out the difficulties we had with "Linux" and "BIOS"
in the name and they understood that. Still, I'd like to keep the old
name around for some time to come, at least on posters (smaller font etc.).

> Some people have already seen the project last year and have quiet some
> knowledge about the hardware. Then I need the help from Peter.

To be honest, Paul is a very fast learner and answered even difficult
questions about hardware support and architecture and he covered the
booth alone for extended periods of time.

> 2. Another guy was thinking about a NAS-Device with a Celeron processor.
> But he will come back some other time, because Peter or Carl-Daniel were
> busy with the workshop then.

That actually sort of worked out. This person will join the list and
inquire further.

> - Although the booth is small and there is not enough room that more
> than four people have room around the booth, I believe that a lot of
> people are passing by, because their are just two bare boards sitting on
> the table and the monitor is displaying a ncurses-menu. The poster has
> also only coreboot on it. So we do not have a real eye-catcher. Maybe we
> should hack a screensaver payload which just displays „Want to boot
> faster?”, „Free your BIOS?” and so on in big ASCII on the monitor or
> write it on the poster.

We need to capitalize further on our instant boot ability. It was the
feature that impressed people the most. It was also a much-praised
feature in the radio interview I did on Friday. The interviewer said
that living directly below the roof in summer was only bearable if one
could turn the computers off to reduce heating and get instant boot on

> When they see the demonstration, they are a little bit more excited. And
> some even want to take a deeper look at it.


> There are also not so many business guys running around—especially no
> mainboard vendors. So I guess the main objective is, to make coreboot
> more known to the world and probably attract some potential developers.

To be honest, a quite sizable percentage of people stopping by our booth
were developers exhibiting with other projects, so I'd say we got some
opinion leaders interested.

> If you have some more marketing ideas or objectives, please tell me/us.
> - Each of Peter (English) and Carl-Daniel (German) gave a talk/workshop
> on flashrom today. I listened to the one of Carl-Daniel and there were
> about 15 people.

Yes, the turnout was way lower than expected, probably due to the fact
that even we as speakers were having difficulties finding the room. The
only advertisements for the workshops I could find were directly in
front of the rooms where the workshops happened, and these rooms were on
floors where nothing else happened.

Advice for anybody considering a speaking/tutorial engagement at next
year's LinuxTag: Submit a talk+paper and don't bother with workshops.

> - Carl-Daniel arrived today. But it looks like he left his alix1c board
> in the cardboard in the workshop room and it was not there anymore when
> we came back. Hopefully we will find it or the one who took it brings it
> to the lost-and-found office, because that was the only presentation
> board, when Peter is leaving tomorrow. And Carl-Daniel is going to have
> a workshop with this board on Saturday.

The board was recovered on Saturday evening. Someone had picked it up
and threw it over the walls of the locked back room of our booth. Thanks
to that anonymous kind finder.

And Peter's flight was overbooked, so he had to stay in Berlin. That way
we could handle the coreboot workshop together. Thanks, Peter!
By the way, the coreboot workshop had even less attendance (~8 persons)
than the flashrom workshop, but at least one person brought a board,
although that board was unsupported (alix.2c2). The great thing is that
we got coreboot to run mostly fine, just some interrupts seemed to be
screwed. Still, that person is going to join the list and probably work
on finishing the port.


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