LCA day 2

January 19, 2012 Technical, General

Bit of a quiet day today, the highlight was probably the presentations on btrfs and xfs. Btrfs has been developing nicely, and Avi Miller got up to spruik some of the newer features of the filesystem. A bit like ZFS (which isn’t compatible with Linux licensing terms), it pulls in a lot of smarts that are usually the domain of your RAID controller/subsystem. This means more flexibility in how you handle your data, but a lot of new complexity too.

It’s exciting stuff, but we’ll be waiting a bit longer to consider it robust enough to use in production. We’d kill for the integrated snapshotting (great for backups) and data integrity checking (store CRCs with your data) features.

Meanwhile, XFS reports steady progress and positions itself as the filesystem of choice for Really Big systems. Not that anyone would admit to it, but it was clear there was a little bit of rivalry between the two, especially since both talks were back-to-back in the same room. 🙂

Dave Chinner talked about how they’ve spent a lot of time working through the metadata performance issues that have caused headaches for scaling-up in the past, and reckons XFS should scale linearly, unlike the competition. Probably not something you’ll lose sleep over when deciding how to format your root filesystem, but definitely important for databases and big filestores.

In lieu of other diversions, let’s have a look at the LeoStick, which was included in the bag of goodies for LCA attendees, alongside the requisite stubby coolers and mousepads.

Unless you’ve been living under a really big rock, the Arduino is the go-to platform for hackers wanting to build embedded systems. This is thanks to ease of programming, fast prototyping, and expansion options (need a thermal probe? fingerprint scanner? CCD camera? there’s probably a single shield module with all of those things). The Leostick is particularly cute in that it comes in USB thumbdrive form-factor. As this is a pre-release board, the more cynical amongst us will note that this is a stroke of marketing genius that should result in some free beta-testing. Heh.

I know a couple of my fair colleagues are handy with a soldering iron; just quietly, this thing may or may not have had something to do with requests from the LCA organisers to stop messing with the exposed USB ports on the electronic door locks around campus.