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Kernel 5.13: Growing team and KernelCI hackfest

Gabriel Krisman Bertazi avatar

Gabriel Krisman Bertazi
July 08, 2021

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As many developers in the northern hemisphere start to dream about their quickly arriving summer vacations, the increasing pace of kernel development gives no sign of taking a break any time soon. In fact, 5.13 was a record breaking release in the number of developers: exactly 2,062 developers contributed to this release - 336 of them for the first time. This was also the first kernel release with over 2,000 unique contributors. Collabora is, of course, the proud employer of a small, but very active, fraction of these developers.

As usual, our team is working all around the kernel, fixing bugs and writing new features. In this release, Boris Brezillon fixed some hard-to-track bugs in the Panfrost DRM driver, improving the overall support for the platform. Ezequiel Garcia continued to improve the VP8 stateless codec and this time he moved part of the driver out of staging. Sebastian Reichel, who is on a quest to organize the device-tree description of drivers on the Power-Supply subsystem that he maintains, converted most of the DT descriptors to use the DT schema, such that they can be checked for compliance automatically. Dafna Hirschfeld and Enric Balletbo i Serra worked on MediaTek devices, fixing DRM/multimedia bugs and improving power management support, respectively.

Not all of our current projects were ready to merge in time for 5.13, though. Our teams have been working on some very exciting features that are getting close to merge, but not quite there yet, like a push notification mechanism for file system errors based on fanotify, the complex futex2 interface, and the H.264 decoding and VDPU2 core support for the PX30, RK3328, and RK3326 platforms. So, stay tuned for these and many other awesome features landing in a future kernel release!

During this release, our kernel team joined some Google developers on the first ever KernelCI hackfest, which happened between May 27th and June 4th. Kernel developers from both companies pressed pause on their day-to-day activities to write tests for KernelCI and improve its core infrastructure. Among Collabora's contributions, we added libcamera tests, improved the crypto testsuite coverage and much more

Before we dive deep in the details of our contributions, let's talk a bit about our team at Collabora. Much like the pace of the kernel development itself, our kernel team also doesn't stop growing. Since the beginning of this year, 6 developers joined Collabora to work on many areas of the kernel, from the core kernel like the scheduler to the drivers controlling some of the most exciting next generation hardware. If you'd like to become a part of our team, check out our Careers page. We still have some open positions to fill in the kernel and related areas.

Now, let's take a more detailed look on some of the highlights of features we merged, and some of what we are planning for the near-future.

Multimedia hardware enablement

Linux support for Hardware CODECs continues its steady progress. On this release, an important milestone was achieved by moving the VP8 stateless controls out of staging, becoming first-class V4L2 controls. As usual, this is accompanied by a corresponding GStreamer patch.

Meanwhile, work continues to progress on the VP9 and HEVC fronts. Stay tuned!

Mediatek improvements

For a few releases now, the display support for the MT8173-based Chromebooks boards, like the Acer Chromebook R13, has been completely broken. In 5.13, we landed the fix to bring-up the display again. As expected, the backported fix should be landing soon on the affected stable kernels.

The Mediatek devices have a Media Data Path block with some registers that needs to be set up properly for the display and media to function correctly. Setting these registers became quite complex in the new Mediatek SoCs recently. In this release, we worked on a generic mechanism for configuring these registers. Now, when adding a new device, a per-SoC table is enough, which makes the code more portable and cleaner.

One of the often forgotten details when adding support for new platforms is the defconfig file. Of course, one can set up their own fragments to enable the kernel config option for a piece of hardware, but having a generic, upstream config just makes our lives much easier when building the kernel. For this reason, we added the arm64 defconfig support for support for some of the Mediatek boards we're working on. As part of this effort, we helped to add support for two Kukui-jacuzzi boards, the Acer Chromebook Spin 311 and the ASUS Chromebook Flip CM3. 

Below is a full list of contributions made by Collaborans for the 5.13 release, as recorded in the git commit history:

Authored (96):

Andrzej Pietrasiewicz (1):

Boris Brezillon (4):

Dafna Hirschfeld (10):

Daniel Almeida (1):

Emil Velikov (2):

Enric Balletbo i Serra (8):

Ezequiel Garcia (16):

Gaël PORTAY (1):

Nicolas Dufresne (1):

Sebastian Reichel (52):

Maintainer Committed (59):

Enric Balletbo i Serra (9):

Sebastian Reichel (50):

Signed-off-by (24):

Enric Balletbo i Serra (2):

Ezequiel Garcia (1):

Sebastian Reichel (21):

On behalf of (24):

Bhaskar Chowdhury (1):

Bixuan Cui (1):

CK Hu (2):

Dmitry Osipenko (2):

Ian Ray (1):

Jiapeng Chong (2):

Joseph Chen (1):

Krzysztof Kozlowski (3):

LI Qingwu (1):

Martin Ashby (1):

Qiheng Lin (2):

Ricardo Rivera-Matos (1):

Roman Kiryanov (1):

Xiaofeng Cao (1):

Yang Li (1):

dongjian (3):

Reviewed-by (16):

Enric Balletbo i Serra (6):

Ezequiel Garcia (6):

Pekka Paalanen (2):

Sebastian Reichel (2):

Acked-by (16):

Alyssa Rosenzweig (1):

Enric Balletbo i Serra (5):

Gabriel Krisman Bertazi (1):

Helen Koike (1):

Pekka Paalanen (1):

Sebastian Reichel (7):

Tested-by (4):

Corentin Noël (1):

Enric Balletbo i Serra (2):

Ricardo Cañuelo (1):

Reported-by (4):

Corentin Noël (1):

Guillaume Tucker (3):


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