Ask Me Anything w/ @ahkok, 6/19 @ 1PM PST

We are kicking off a series of ‘AMA - Ask Me Anything’ interviews. Auke (@ahkok) is our first interviewee. \o/

Auke is a typical Linux Distribution guy and has been doing Linux distribution work for Intel since 2008, and much longer if you count personal distribution work before he joined Intel. Auke currently wears the Software Architect hat but remains to be an approachable guy who likes to make small changes that have a big impact on usability.

Auke’s focus areas are boot time and systemd, having worked extensively in the past to change the way that Linux boots and prove that the limits of the hardware are much higher than you think they are.

Aside that Auke enjoys making the OS useful to everyone, in the hope that everyone gets
what they need.

He will be answering your questions live June 19, 2019 1-4 PM . Feel free to start posting a question below.

Some guidelines during AMA:

  • Please only ask one question per reply. Use the ‘Reply button’ at the bottom of each post to do that 15%20AM
  • Please do not reply to anyone else’s post. The only purpose of replies here in this topic is to ask @ahkok one question. If you’d like to discuss a related topic in more detail, create a new topic.
  • It’s also helpful to scroll to the bottom while reading the topic to make sure nobody else has asked the same question

Posts not following these guidelines might be removed to keep the AMA setup.

Very excited that we are starting this series!!! I’ll open up a thread for future interviewee suggestions. Any questions, send me a message (in a new topic :stuck_out_tongue: )

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Fedora’s implemented flicker free boot on when using Intel graphics. Opinions on this? Is this something we’ll eventually see on Clear? Thanks!

How did you start contributing to open source projects?

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Is it possible to dual Windows 10 and Clear from the same SSD?

I found the instructions to be somewhat confusing, I installed Windows then Clear Linux and it found no safe partitions to install to, no matter what I did with the partitions. It seemed like doing a full disk install is my own option.

I’m sure I could get another SSD, Install Windows on it, then Clear on the 2nd SSD (as a full drive install) but this seems clunky. Do I have a better option?

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When it will be possible to install offline, very useful for unstable connections. Regards

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What are some lesser known projects you’d like to see grow?

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Does Intel envision Clear Linux being a leading option for “normal” Linux desktop users in the future, or will the focus strictly remain on developers / enterprise / etc?

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Clear Linux have pulled in projects like linux-steam-integration under their Github umbrella. What’s the plan for the project going forward?

Hi everyone! I just logged on just now - from my daycation at the beach here in Oregon! I’ll be answering questions for the rest of the afternoon as time permits - probably in 30min sessions!

I’ll pick this as a first!

I was “tinkering” for a very long time as a kid - I had bought a Commodore 64 myself when I was 15 or so and immediately gravitated to learning Basic and Assembly. When I managed to get a PC, programming really was where I spent most of my time. It took a long time before Linux came around but in '96 someone passed me an old computer with it and that was what got me started learning about Open Source. It took me a few years but around 2000 or so I posted my own first GPL program (a perl based parser). From there on I quickly started rolling my own Linux. Nothing was really a defining moment - I just gravitated towards this type of software development and more and more OSS was becoming mainstream and I immersed myself into it :slight_smile:

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I really like this question!

You may know that Arjan and me have been working on solving fundamental problems like stability and performance for a very long time, and you may have ran into our “5 second boot” presentation we did at Linux Plumbers conference in 2008(?) or so.

One of the key learnings from our initial technology spurt at the time was that we could boot significantly faster if the UEFI BIOS would initialize the frame buffer and the Linux kernel would just reuse it. The thinking is in general that the Linux kernel can setup hardware the fastest, but, you need a screen to work from the BIOS otherwise you can’t interface with it. So, all we want the firmware to do is setup the frame buffer and then pass it over.

We spent lots of time getting the i915 drivers to properly accept the frame buffer (Thanks to Jesse Barnes!) and … well it sometimes works. Unfortunately we see that on many systems the display doesn’t initialize properly or the driver has issues with it, and most of the time this is what causes the i915 driver to reinitialize the frame buffer - and thus likely waste a second of boot time (doh). Some of it is fixable, sometimes it’s just stupid stuff like missing EDID data.

In any case, what Fedora’s flicker free boot is doing is a continuation of this effort, so, I applaud it. I do have to mention that I’m not in it for the “flicker free” part where the screen has to look like it’s gone through post production at Universal Studios ( :stuck_out_tongue: ), I honestly do not like splash screens since they essentailly waste time for … aesthetics :). Nonetheless the efforts overlap and that’s great.

For Clear Linux, we still need to revisit this topic and see what we can do about improving it - but it will be from the boot time perspective and not from the aesthetic angle :wink:

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You know, you didn’t have to wait to ask this question - this is an entirely relevant question.

I do not have an answer - personally, I feel like we should make CBM capable of handling the windows 10 bootloader so this is much more smoothly than current. Same for grub2 support. I’ll try to put more of my time into CBM and see if we can knock some of these pain points away.

As for “what’s possible” - well, everything is already possible right now, it’s just manual setup work, and this is not feasible for most users because it’s too complex. I’ve almost entirely given up on attempting to understand grub2 myself - the time investment to learn yet another bootloader is non-trivial :wink:

Honestly, every time we visit this topic, I’m probably the person to bring up that Clear Linux is fundamentally an “online OS” to begin with. I understand it though, network transfers are costly and especially for people with bad internet connections this is a problem.

I don’t have an answer, though. Maybe we will do this at some point, but, it’s just entirely uncertain IMHO.

Oh gosh, that would be a very long list. I collect “potential” like crazy, and only a fractional part of my projects ever come to completion. My list of “honey-do” items at home is already fairly large, I have OSS projects outside work that I’d like to experiment with or build something sizeable from (as I’ve done in the past and continue to do). There’s even a few “community” projects that are non-code / volunteering, like teaching chess for instance. And my list of OSS projects I want to devote work time for under the Intel umbrella is… well, let’s just say if you want to help out let me know :wink:

At the moment I seem to really be enjoying doing projects to get educators and teachers involved in teaching kids about software and computers. Some of these projects are really simple and trivial and I’ve written some code to help these teachers already in the past. Projects like that are highly rewarding and it’s great to see kids use them, and I would encourage everyone to look into doing projects like that!

Well, you can look at it from two angles: First, one of Intel’s motto’s is “x86 everywhere”. That’s the first clue. Second, from the people who work on Clear Linux, we really don’t want to “switch” to a different distro once we’re done working, so, there’s the second hint.

There are a few applications where we know we just won’t see Clear Linux get used, and that’s OK, but most generic purpose - yeah, we want to support it. That totally includes gaming, office, etc…

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Projects like that existed because there was both a major drive to tackle problems like that and we had the resources to do so. Unfortunately that always changes and at the moment we just don’t have the resources to commit to lsi that the project needs - it doesn’t even work properly at the moment, and getting Steam installed properly for it is also broken. We need to find a better solution for this - for sure. Maybe lsi needs to become integrated with a proper 3rd-party software addon. Or maybe someone from the community starts sending us patches :wink: .

I’m gonna take a little break right now and get my feet wet in the (cold) Oregon ocean water! I’ll be back in a while for followups and other questions!

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