OSSG Events

Category for OSSG related events, that appear in the calendar.


Open Source Hardware Camp 2018 — Lincoln, 30/06 + 01/07

30th June 2018, 09:00 Saturday morning – 16:00 on the Sunday afternoon at The Blue Room, The Lawn, Union Rd, Lincoln, LN1 3BU, [map].

Open Source Hardware Camp 2018 will be hosted in the historic county town of Lincoln — home to, amongst others, noted engine builders Ruston & Hornsby (now Siemens, via GEC and English Electric). This year OSHCamp will feature a total of 10 talks on the Saturday, with 7 hands-on workshops on the Sunday.

Lincoln is well served by rail, reachable from Leeds and London within 2-2.5 hours, and 4-5 hours from Edinburgh and Southampton.

There will be a social at the Wig and Mitre on the Saturday evening.

Tickets are priced at £10/day and this includes lunch.

To register visit: http://oshcamp2018.eventbrite.co.uk

Saturday :: Talks

Introduction to cycle-accurate Verilog simulation

Developing hardware designs in Verilog is tricky, for both FPGA platforms and ASIC hardware targets. Understanding the behaviour of a design, testing it, and debugging are made much easier by simulating in software. There are a variety of simulation approaches with different trade-offs in what properties of the design are accurately modelled and how quickly they run. This talk starts by giving a brief overview of the approaches, then focusing in more detail on cycle-accurate modelling, which is a relatively fast approach that is robustly implemented in an open-source tool called Verilator. The main focus will be on working with CPU designs, but the software and techniques are generally applicable to other areas.

A brief overview of how to use Verilator to simulate a design, to develop testbenches, and to visualise simulation output using GTKWave will be given. The software and techniques discussed in this talk will be put into practice in the “Open-source RISC-V core quickstart” workshop on Sunday.

Dr Graham Markall has a background in languages and compilers for scientific computing, and is well known for his work on the Numba project. He is part of Embecosm’s GNU tool chain team, where his current projects include the implementation of security enhancements to the GCC and LLVM compilers for RISC-V and ARM, and the development a GCC-based toolchain for a customised RISC-V processor.

LoRaWAN at 100,000 feet & 10mW with High Altitude Ballooning

High-altitude balloons are manned or unmanned balloons, usually filled with helium, that are released into the stratosphere and generally attaining between 18,000 to 37,000 metres (59,000 to 121,000 ft; 11 to 23 mi). In 2002, a balloon named BU60-1 attained 53.0 km (32.9 mi; 173,900 ft).

The advent of cheap open source electronics & suitable GPS chips has allowed hobbyists worldwide to build fly & (usually) recover these balloons since the mid 2000’s with modest budgets compared to professional weather balloons. Indeed, the Raspberry Pi Foundation ran a few Skycademy events aimed at helping school teachers. There is a wealth of information available from the United Kingdom High Altitude Society (UKHAS), their website HabHUB.org and Dave Ackerman’s website.

Ofcom limit the power of any airborne transmitter to 10mW, which whilst tiny isn’t a practical problem since the line of sight is usually superb. The community stated using RTTY initially but latterly has begun to use LoRaWAN to transmit the telemetry and some of the pictures taken during a typical 2 to 3 hour flight. The Civil Aviation Authority will grant permission for such flight via their system, NOTAMs. It’s normal to be asked to contact air traffic control before launch to make sure commercial aviation traffic isn’t hindered.

Tony Brookes is a member of the Derby Makers who is leading a project to launch such a balloon (or more if funding permits) over the summer. Derby Makers are now resident in the Radio Communications Museum of Great Britain in Derby following their tenure in the Derby Silk Mill museum which is now undergoing HLF funded refurbishment.

Machine Vision

Machine Vision is one of the fastest growing disciplines in robotics and automation. In the past, discrete vision processing tasks have been both complex and brittle requiring a great deal of specialisation and practice. Now however machine learning (ML) inference is becoming practical at the edge, Machine Vision is one of the emerging ‘edge applications’ of ML inference technology. Machine Vision is much less brittle than earlier approaches and promises much wider and simpler applications. This talk (and hands on workshop) will explore the landscape of Machine Vision and its applications for robotics and automation.

Alan Wood has been working with parallel distributed programming for several decades. His recent work includes smart grids, 3D printers, robotics, automation and biotec diagnostics. His current research is focused on machine learning for embedded automation using FPGA, CSP and Neural Turing Machines. He is a long term advocate of open source communities, a moderator (aka Folknology) for xCORE, the co-founder of myStorm open hardware FPGA community, as well as a co-founder of Surrey and Hampshire Makerspace.

Making Electronic Tesla Coils – Keeping in the Magic Smoke

This talk will give an overview of designing and building an electronic Tesla coil from off the shelf or easily modified components. It will cover the safety, construction methods and some of the theory of operation. It will also present details of the controls and methods needed to prevent the Tesla coil from destroying itself when power is applied.

Derek Woodroffe has been building Tesla coils as a hobby for over 20 years. He has constructed over 30 different Tesla coils, from 30mm to over 1M tall and of many different types. He runs both the Nottingham Gaussfest and Cambridge Tesla coiler meet-ups and has worked a number of times on TV to assist with Tesla coil and high voltage demonstrations to programs such as the Royal Institute Christmas Lectures and Dara O Briain’s Science club. Derek also has a keen interest in all other uses and generators of high voltage and has built working examples of many. His projects are detailed on www.extremeelectronics.co.uk.

Amazingly, he is still alive.

Turning your hobby project in to a business for fun and profit

Designing hardware is the easy part. Turning it in to a business is where it gets interesting. This talk will cover some of the things needed to take it to market, including stock, marketing, shipping, support, cash flow.

Spencer Owen like many kids in the 80s, loved his ZX Spectrum and other 8 bit computers. This set him up for a career in IT, and he worked as a server engineer and network engineer for many years. In 2013, in a bid to see if he really understood how computers worked at the lowest level, Spencer went back to his roots built a simple Z80 based machine on a breadboard. This was to mature in to the RC2014, which Spencer started selling in his spare time in 2015. Within a few months it was clear that the RC2014 was taking up more time than he had spare, so he quit network job and started a retro computer kit company. Spencer is now the largest supplier of Z80 computers worldwide.

MakerNet Alliance

A brief presentation of ideas the MakerNet Alliance is working on with E-nable.org for a Design Ecology Interface, to visualize the evolution of open source designs for prosthetics (and ultimately any hardware designs) and help users find the design version with the features they need. The presentation will be followed by discussion session with the audience to get feedback on the ideas and input on requirements.

Anna Sera Lowe has always been fascinated by how things are made and how they get to the people who need them. As a manufacturing manager and later a supply chain consultant, she made a career of finding great excuses to visit manufacturing facilities around the globe; from multi-million dollar automated factories to informal waste-processing operations on dumps (sometimes next to each other) – and everything in between. She has consulted for clients as diverse as Johnson & Johnson, the state electricity monopoly of South Africa, and the Global Fund to Fight Aids, Tuberculosis, and Malaria. Over the last few years her interest has been caught by ideas around grassroots innovation and distributed manufacturing networks. She co-founded Kumasi Hive, a makerspace in Ghana, and is leading work on MakerNet, an initiative to explore business models and digital tools for local manufacturing of useful goods for development.

EMC for IoT

Often the last thing on your mind when working on an exciting new project are the regulatory hurdles that come with getting a product ready for sale in the European market. These afterthoughts suddenly become pressing priorities as you approach your launch date. Electro-Magnetic Compatibility (EMC) is the study of how all electronic devices and phenomena interact and, in our increasingly electro-dense society, these requirements become all the more important. Without EMC and radio regulations we would suffer interference to the wireless infrastructure we so depend on.

This talk will give a tour through the EMC and radio regulations for a typical IoT type product (equally applicable to any electronics product), why they are required and look at some of the risks and pitfalls involved in the process. If you’ve got a product that you want to start selling, have limited experience or are merely EMC-curious then this talk will be extremely useful. Questions often asked include: Why do I need to do EMC testing? What about if I have a radio module in my product? What sort of certificate should I have? Do I even need to do anything? You’ll find some of the answers here.

James Pawson, Unit 3 Compliance. Having a broad background of electronics experience (and also a beard), James found himself drawn to the field of EMC partly because of the interesting variety of work and partly because no one else wanted to do it. Twelve years later, now with his own test laboratory and consultancy business, he has found his vocation in helping solve people’s EMC problems. He’s also found more grey hairs in his beard and worries that the two are related.

Non-Standard Computation — From Bits to Pulses to Spikes

Taken together the rise of parallel distributed processing and the end of Moore’s law has brought a renaissance in alternative views of computation. This talk is a journey through the rapidly changing area of non-standard computation: from GPU’s, tensor and neuromorphic processors to stochastic, temporal and quantum computation. The main aim of the talk is to describe the tremendous opportunities that currently exist for radical change in computational paradigms, and crucially for the open source community, in the delivery of these architectures.

Jonny Edwards is the CEO/CTO of Temporal Computing – the first business in the UK to focus on temporal computation methods. The work on temporal computing started in the Non-Standard Computation Group at York University, via several Unconventional Computing Conferences, and has since attracted VC and IUK funding to support long-term commercial exploitation.

It’s the people, stupid! (But the people aren’t stupid) — Hardware as an enabler to Heating as as Service

Why are clocks slowing down over western Europe like halving your heating bills at home?

Remember when at the start of the year a row in one corner of what used to be Yugoslavia caused clocks across Europe to slow down and eventually lose six minutes? Nothing technical was broken, and it’s a reminder that people issues can’t just be ‘fixed’ blindly with tech.

When a purely technical fix for energy efficiency is installed, for example a better boiler, savings tend to persist for many years, maybe for a decade if the tech lasts that long.

Solutions that may make as big a difference but rely on the people around it continuing to do something to assist, tend to have much shorter persistence. Maybe between one and four years.

We already have a smart radiator valve called “Radbot” that can knock 20–50% off your heating bills and pay for itself in a year. It requires very little input if any to do its job. But it won’t work if people open all their windows in winter and expect magic to happen. Yes, some people do.

We just finished an Innovate UK project “Heating as a Service – Lite”. We are more convinced than ever that while the technical and financial elements are probably easy to find solutions to, the social part, making things that work with real people for a long time, is intriguing!

Damon Hart-Davis created the OpenTRV project following his 2012 presentation to DECC’s smart heating workshop. He has freelanced in technology for over 30 years, delivering mission-critical products from design to production in the City for more than 20 of those, and has founded and been involved in several start-ups over that time with his creations seen on TV, the Web, and his pioneering Internet Service Provider helping crack open that market more than 25 years ago. A previous virtual/on-line credit-card company start-up that he co-founded as CTO, Ixaris, turns over ~GBP13m.

Bela, an embedded platform for ultra-low latency audio and sensor processing

Bela started off as a research project at Centre For Digital Music (Queen Mary University of London) and is now a commercial product, mainly aimed at makers, programmers and researchers that work with audio. The platform is based on a BeagleBone Black with a custom expansion cape and a dedicated software environment. The board runs Debian Linux with Xenomai as a real-time co-kernel. The combined use of Xenomai and the BeagleBone Black’s on-board PRU microcontroller allows to achieve sub-millisecond latency for audio and sensor processing, while node.js is used to provide a user-friendly web-based IDE. The project is entirely open source, hardware and software.

Giulio Moro is a PhD student in the Centre for Digital Music at Queen Mary University of London. A sound engineer by training, he is now researching in the field of performer-instrument interaction. He is one of the inventors and core developers of Bela.

Note that this talk was originally given at OSHUG #63 in London and is being repeated at OSHCamp as a refresher and to serve as an introduction for the workshop on the Sunday.

Compered by:

Dr Jeremy Bennett is founder and Chief Executive of Embecosm, a consultancy specializing in the development of open source compiler tool chains.

Sunday :: Workshops

Open-source RISC-V core quickstart

An introductory workshop for getting starting with simulating RISC-V cores using Verilator, which is an open-source tool for generating cycle-accurate models of hardware designs written in Verilog. Although this workshop focuses on simulation, the cores can in general be instantiated on FPGAs for use in real applications (and higher performance!)

The workshop will use two or three different RISC-V implementations (including Clifford Wolf’s PicoRV32 and Ariane from the PuLP platform). Loading and executing programs onto these bare metal systems through a testbench and also through a debugger (GDB) will be covered, along with some examples of interacting with the cores, and inspecting their state. Gathering accurate performance measurements is also possible, because the simulations are cycle-accurate.

The tutorial materials will provide enough implementation that it is possible to follow this workshop without having had prior experience of hardware design or Verilog specifically – however, some understanding of programming and the organisation of computer hardware will be required.

The workshop should be of interest to people with a background in software who would like to tinker with open-source processor core development, and people with a background in hardware who would like to tinker with software toolchains.

Participants should bring:

  • Their laptop

Run by: Dr Graham Markall

An introductory workshop to NetBSD on embedded platforms

An introductory workshop to NetBSD in the context of developing embedded platforms. NetBSD is a fully featured operating system with great agility that has been around for many many years. This workshop is intended to introduce some of the features which are available in the operating system as standard. We’ll explore how to go from obtaining the source code to building the operating system, cover features which simplify working with the system, how accessible it is without resorting to installing third party software or writing any C.

Topics we will cover:

  • Cross compilation support with build.sh
  • File tamper detection / execution prevention with Veriexec
  • High-level access to subsystems e.g exploring GPIO via Lua
  • Rapid development with Rumpkernel

Participants should bring:

  • A laptop (Macos, Linux or Windows (windows 10 specifically))
  • ARM board (BeagleBoneBlack preferably or a Pi and such)
  • USB UART for serial access

Sevan Janiyan is founder of Venture 37, which provides system administration & consultancy services. As a fan of operating systems and computers with different CPU architectures, in his spare time he maintains builds of open source software on a variety of systems featuring PowerPC, SPARC and armv7l CPUs. He hopes to own a NeXTcube & OMRON LUNA-88K2 one day.

High Altitude Ballooning

An in-depth look at the help and advice available online, likely costs and technical issues for those wanting to build, fly and recover a HAB. If our project has some spares available, I’ll try and bring them along so people can see what’s being discussed.

If we’re lucky there may be a balloon launch somewhere in the world that we can follow during the session!

Participants should bring:

  • Their laptop

Run by: Tony Brookes

Machine Vision

A hands-on machine vision workshop – further details TBC.

Participants should bring:

  • Their laptop

Run by: Alan Wood

Soldering Workshop

A soldering workshop where novices get to assemble and program the Cuttlefish, Arduino-compatible, kit.

Chelsea Back is a trainee engineer and is working towards a degree in Electronic Engineering. She enjoys building microcontroller projects and teaching people how to solder, is a student member of the IET and a STEM Ambassador.

Build a Z80 based retro computer

A step-by-step build of a RC2014 Mini Z80 Retro Computer. Approx 2 hours should be enough time to assemble a computer running BASIC.

Participants will need to purchase a (heavily discounted) RC2014 Mini. Some soldering experience is assumed.

Participants should bring:

  • Their laptop
  • A soldering iron, wire cutters, FTDI cable and laptop if you have them

Run by: Spencer Owen

Bela: an embedded platform for ultra-low latency audio and sensor processing

This hands-on workshop introduces Bela, an embedded platform for ultra-low latency audio and sensor processing. Bela is useful for creating digital musical instruments and other interactive projects, which can be developed in C/C++, Pure Data (Pd) or Supercollider. The platform features an on-board browser-based IDE for getting started quickly. In this workshop we will guide participants through connecting sensors and accessing them from C++ or PureData and use them to control the generated sound. On Bela, sensor inputs are sampled at audio frequency and with high resolution (16bit), in order to allow for detailed, nuanced interactions. The hardware and software architecture allows sub-millisecond latency, allowing for expressive musical performances, as well as feedback control of physical systems.

Participants should bring:

  • Their laptop

Run by: Giulio Moro

Travel & Accommodation

For travel and accommodation details please see the OSHUG website.

Registration

To register vist: http://oshcamp2018.eventbrite.co.uk

Sponsored by:


Yanking the Chain: Open Source Software Compliance in the Supply Chain – London 22/3/2018

09:00-17:00, Thursday 22nd March 2018 at BCS London, 1st Floor, The Davidson Building, 5 Southampton Street, London, WC2E 7HA, UK.

The event is free to attend, however registration is required:

https://ossg220318.eventbrite.co.uk/

Bookings close on Wednesday 21st March 2018 at 8:30AM and none will be taken after this date.

Introduction

With the ever increasing complexity of embedded device software stacks, coupled with the proliferation of new mechanisms for distributing complex server software stacks, open source compliance has never been more important — or indeed more of a challenge.

Fortunately, there are growing number of tools and methods at our disposal to support open source software compliance efforts. This 1-day event will feature talks and hands-on workshops covering a number of these, with insights into practical experiences and lessons learned.

Hosted by the BCS Open Source Specialist Group in partnership with the Open Source Hardware user Group.

Talks

Introducing OpenChain

OpenChain is a scalable, flexible compliance programme, developed by the Linux Foundation. It provides a great foundation for businesses of all sizes to adopt appropriate practices and procedures in place to control development and supply chain risks. Already adopted by companies like Qualcomm, Toyota and ARM, it’s equally applicable to SMEs.

About the Speaker

Andrew Katz is a lawyer and former programmer who advises extensively on free and open source software and other opens. He is head of the technology department at Moorcrofts LLP, a boutique technology law firm, which is one of the 5 OpenChain pilot partners in the world, and has been involved in drafting many of the OpenChain materials.

SPDX: Describing Software and Licenses

Software Package Data Exchange (SPDX) provides a standard format for describing the components and licenses associated with software packages. The SPDX standard helps facilitate compliance with Free and Open Source Software licenses by standardizing the way license information is shared across the software supply chain. SPDX reduces redundant work by providing a common format for companies and communities to share licensing data, thereby streamlining and improving compliance. The presentation will introduce the standard, describe common use scenarios, and provide details on the other deliverables of the SPDX working group, like tools and the authoritative License List.

About the Speaker

Alexios Zavras, PhD, is the Senior Open Source Compliance Engineer of Intel Corporation. He has been involved with Free and Open Source Software since 1983, and is an evangelist for all things Open. He has a PhD in Computer Science after having studied Electrical Engineering and Computer Science in Greece and the United States.

Eclipse SW360 – Open Source Management with Open Source

SW360 manages software components with their license compliance documentation in SPDX and allows for setting up bills-of-material to provide comprehensive documentation for products and projects.

Organizations can use SW360 as a one-stop shop for sharing component information, tracking their usage in projects or products. This involves the handing of compliance information, but also, as an example, matching for vulnerabilities from data providers.

As an EPL-1.0 licensed Open Source project (see https://www.github.com/sw360), it is highly customizable, letting organizations keep their confidential product development data on premises, and prevents them from becoming dependent on a single vendor. This presentation shows briefly features and a walk through the application to demonstrate capabilities and use cases of SW360.

About the Speaker

Michael C. Jaeger is one of the maintainers for the projects, FOSSology and SW360, both of which are in the area of license compliance and component management with open source software. At Siemens Corporate Technology in Munich, Germany, Michael manages the Siemens contributions to SW360 and FOSSology. Michael is a certified software architect and received a German PhD degree from the faculty of electrical engineering and computer science at TU Berlin.

How License Compliance Engineering Can be Simplified

When people are confronted with license compliance for the first time it feels overwhelming because there are many aspects to it: license scanning of hundreds of thousands of files, complete and corresponding source code, derivative works and code clone detection, and so on. Clients often say that they simply do not know where to start.

However, experience demonstrates that license compliance does not need to be overly complicated, as there are short-cuts that can be taken and have zero risk, but that will vastly speed up compliance processes. This talk will highlight a few best practices learned from compliance work with clients and explain how information from upstream projects can be used to make the license compliance processes quicker, predictable and more standardised.

About the Speaker

Armijn Hemel, MSc, is an expert in open source license compliance engineering. From 2005-2012 he helped enforce the GPL license in Germany several hundred times as part of the coreteam of gpl-violations.org. Since then he has assisted companies to come into compliance (including in recent troll cases in Germany) and is actively involved in advancing the field of compliance by exploring new topics and tooling.

Compliance Tooling using Build Time Analysis

The Quartermaster project aims at building industry standard tooling that supports the open source license compliance workflow. It’s open source workflow engine integrates existing scanning and reporting tools, and integrates into continuous integration/development processes. It offers API endpoints against which toolmakers, communities and service providers can integrate their products, while maintaining an open source and open data model for the elemental toolchain.

The presentation will explore a number of key findings from the development of Quartermaster so far. For example, that focusing on whole source packages alone to identify and convey license information may be insufficient, and that the product build process may be the most suitable time to create compliance documentation. The presentation will introduce the Quartermaster project, the novel approach it takes on implementing open source compliance tooling, and how the lessons learned from the prototype influenced the Quartermaster toolchain architecture.

About the Speaker

Mirko Boehm is a Free Software and Open Source contributor, primarily as a software developer and speaker. He is the founder of the Quartermaster project, and has been a contributor to major Open Source projects including the KDE Desktop since 1997, including several years on the KDE e.V. Board. He is a visiting lecturer and researcher on Free Software and Open Source at the Technical University of Berlin, a fellowship representative in the FSFE general assembly and a Qt-certified specialist and trainer.

The Open Invention Network protects the Open Source ecosystem by acquiring patents and licensing them royalty free to all participants. As director for the Linux system definition, Mirko is responsible for the technical scope that defines the field of use of the patent non-aggression agreements.

As founder and CEO of Endocode, an employee-owned, shareholder company based in Berlin, Germany providing professional IT services with a focus on Open Source technologies, Mirko specialises in consulting to and mentoring startups and medium to large businesses. His areas of expertise include complex software development endeavours, the use of Open Source products and methods in organisations, and technology related issues of business strategy and intellectual property.

Workshops

Using FOSSology – License Analysis Hands On

FOSSology is an open source license compliance software system and toolkit. As a toolkit, you can run license, copyright and export control scans from the command line. As a system, a database and Web user interface provide you with user interface and functionality to analyse the licensing situation of open source software.

Hosted By Michael C. Jaeger.

About the organiser:

This event is organised by the BCS Open Source Specialist Group in partnership with the Open Source Hardware User Group. Find out more about the group at http://ossg.bcs.org/.

For overseas delegates who wish to attend the event please note that BCS does not issue invitation letters.


RISC-V, RISC-V, RISC-V – London

Risk-VThe BCS OSSG and the OSHUG are hosting their next event on 23rd November 201718:00 – 21:00 at BCS London, 1st Floor, The Davidson Building, 5 Southampton Street, London, WC2E 7HA, [map] (51.510812-0.121733)

The event will be on the theme of RISC-V, an open ISA which started life at the University of California, Berkeley.

This event is free to attend for both BCS Members and non-members but booking is required. Places are limited; please book as soon as possible.

Bringing up cycle-accurate models of RISC-V cores

The openness of the RISC-V ISA has enabled the development of many open-source RISC-V cores with varying capabilities. Choosing an implementation that meets given requirements can be done to some extent by comparing specifications and other attributes of the cores, but any decision must be based on actual testing. Using Verilator to generate cycle-accurate models enables rapid development of testing platforms. This talk provides a report of our experience bringing up cycle-accurate models of two cores in particular, RI5CY from the PuLP project, and Clifford Wolf’s PicoRV32. For testing, a software ecosystem consisting of a compiler, binary utilities, debugger, and an interface between the model and debugger accompanies the Verilator model. To compare the cores, we used the GCC test suite and the RISC-V ISA test suite for measuring correctness, and the Bristol/Embecosm Embedded Benchmark Suite (BEEBS) to compare performance. All code and scripts used for the implementation are open-source, and can be re-used by others who wish to do similar exercises with other RISC-V cores.

Edward Jones has a background in parsing techniques and works at Embecosm on LLVM and GNU toolchains. He is also involved in research by Embecosm to investigate ways in which the software tool chain can reduce program energy consumption. Edward Jones is a Computer Science graduate of the University of Kent.

FreeBSD/RISC-V and Device Drivers

The FreeBSD port to RISC-V 64-bit ISA was added in January 2016. FreeBSD is the first operating system that officially supported RISC-V in the main repository. Since its introduction, support has evolved, RISC-V privileged architecture has updated a few times. The platform is maturing making it suitable for general, commercial, research and educational use. The GCC v7.0 target for RISC-V was officialy upstreamed and NVIDIA is planning to ship all of their GPUs with RISC-V coprocessor enabled in the future. Several companies have announced the start of RISC-V chip development and many universities are taking RISC-V as a target architecture for doing research. The world first RISC-V microcontroller-class board HiFive1 was released and we are getting closer to the first general purpose board to become available! This talk will describe the current status of FreeBSD/RISC-V, toolchain and supported simulators. The porting process as well as describing the latest changes made to FreeBSD in order to support the latest RISC-V privilege specification (v1.10). This includes enabling by default FDT support and drivers attachment change, SBI interface, compiler flags/built-in definition changes, support for updated BBL boot loader, RISC-V privilege levels, initial page tables build, page table entry flags and other changes. An overview of FreeBSD device drivers subsystem will also be covered describing the device frameworks, buses and kernel-interfaces that exists in FreeBSD (e.g. Newbus, cdevsw, bus_dma, SYSINIT, vt, sound, ifnet, spibus, etc), how to use and configure them and how to debug a device driver. This should answer the question: How to write device driver for FreeBSD/RISC-V?

Ruslan Bukin is a Research Associate at University of Cambridge Computer Laboratory. He has been a FreeBSD user since 2002 and src committer since 2013. His main interests and contributions to FreeBSD are related to computer architectures support, performance monitoring technologies support, hardware tracing technologies (Intel PT), devicedrivers, DMA engines and DMA frameworks, hardware security (Intel SGX, CHERI), heterogeneous computing. Ruslan is the lead developer of the FreeBSD/RISC-V project. He obtained a Computer Science degree in 2008 from Peoples’ Friendship University of Russia in Moscow

Talk #3 TBA

Note: Please aim to arrive by 18:15 as the event will start at 18:30 prompt.

Closing date for bookings is Tuesday 21st November 2017 at 11:30 pm. No more bookings will be taken after this date. For overseas delegates who wish to attend the event please note that BCS does not issue invitation letters


OSSG AGM, Reimagining EDSAC, NetBSD Updates, Semantic and Change Coupling of Software Classes – London 19/10/2017

The BCS OSSG is hosting its next event on 19th October 201718:00 – 21:00 at BCS London, 1st Floor, The Davidson Building, 5 Southampton Street, London, WC2E 7HA, [map] (51.510812-0.121733)

This event is free to attend for both BCS Members and non-members but booking is required. Places are limited; please book as soon as possible.

The meeting this month will start with the BCS OSSG AGM and this will be followed by a talk on recent and planned improvements to NetBSD, a report from Chip Hack EDSAC Challenge, and finally a talk on the interplay between semantic coupling and co-change of software.

BCS Open Source SG – AGM

All members of OSHUG are welcome to attend and OSHUG members are encouraged to put themselves forward to join the committee. In particular we would welcome anyone to join the event organizers who arrange the speakers for each month and the occasional all-day workshops. Currently we have Sevan Janiyan, @ndy Bennett and Andrew Back as event organizers on the committee.

Updates to the NetBSD operating system since OSHUG #57 & #58

NetBSDSince the workshops held earlier this year, numerous changes have been made to the NetBSD operating system to ensure future workshops are easier for users and work smoother from the outset. This talk will cover some of the improvements made so far and what’s currently in the works. From wrestling with the u-boot firmware to new tools included in the os and much more.

Sevan Janiyan is founder of Venture 37, which provides system administration & consultancy services. As a fan of operating systems and computers with different CPU architectures, in his spare time he maintains builds of open source software on a variety of systems featuring PowerPC, SPARC and armv7l CPUs. He hopes to own a NeXTcube & OMRON LUNA-88K2 one day.

Reimagining EDSAC: The ChipHack experience

ChiphackChipHack is an occasional 2 day workshop introducing students and hobbyists to FPGA design. This year, ChipHack was sponsored by the BCS OSSG and Computer Conservation Society. To celebrate the 60th anniversary of the BCS, the workshop was extended by half a day and attempted to reimagine one of the earliest valve computers, EDSAC, designed by the BCS’ founding president, Prof Sir Maurice Wilkes.

Merry Bennett led the team putting together the technical content of the workshop. She will report back on what was achieved, from the three implementations of the computer, to the diverse reimagining of the original peripherals. The result is a legacy of lectures and videos, to allow anyone to run their own ChipHack course.

The Interplay between Semantic Coupling and Co-Change of software classes

During maintenance, developers must ensure that related entities are updated to be consistent with these changes. Studies in the static change impact analysis domain have identified that a combination of source code and lexical information outperforms using each one when adopted independently. The presentation has two aims: first, to compare the effectiveness of measuring semantic coupling of OO software classes using (i) simple identifier based techniques and (ii) the word corpora of the entire classes in a software system. Second, to empirically investigate the interplay between semantic and change coupling.

Dr Andrea Capiluppi joined the Department of Computer Science at Brunel University London (UK), as a Lecturer in Software Development in May2012. Between 2009 and 2012 he was at University of East London, working as a Senior Lecturer in Software Engineering. Before that, he worked as a Senior Lecturer and at University of Lincoln between 2006 and 2009. Andrea’s research and teaching interests focus on Software Evolution and Maintenance, as well as the construction, evaluation and maintenance of Social Networks. Andrea is mostly interested in the use of open technologies and in understanding how they can improve learning and teaching as well as the production of software and other artefacts.

After-event follow up

Update from Judith Jones (Embecosm) on behalf of the organisers: Following our recent successful Chip Hack EDSAC Challenge, sponsored by
the BCS, I am pleased to provide you with feedback, as follows:

Of 80 registrations for the Chip Hack EDSAC 2017 event, 67 people attended.  The event was designed to be a collaborative learning experience and brought together 3 expert silicon chip designers, 11 experienced people, 17 people with some experience and 36 complete beginners.  The legacy of the event is a body of materials available under open source licence to enable people to run their own Chip Hack EDSAC events in the future, thereby making silicon chip design accessible to the individual engineer, whether professional, hobbyist or student.  The technical materials are freely available through http://chiphack.org/, myStorm boards will be freely loaned through the BCS (stored at, and managed by, Embecosm) and recordings of the workshops and talks will be available, post-editing, through https://www.youtube.com/user/embecosm.  In addition, Andrew Back is producing a documentary with the working title Chip Hack EDSAC Challenge.  Post-editing, a link to this will be placed on chiphack.org.

Half the workshop delegates completed an online survey geared towards the collection of qualitative feedback that can be used to improve Chip Hack in terms of running future events and the materials that are available.

The survey respondents reported that they understood FPGAs better after the event.   Half found the introduction to, and tutorials on, FPGAs and Verilog aided their understanding and the remainder benefited from being able to fine tune their prior knowledge and skills.  The face to face contact with people was noted as beneficial, particularly for people who were self-taught.  Reported difficulties experienced by some people will serve as guidance to make future chip hack events better, particularly for future delegates with little or no experience of FPGAs, Verilog and programming.  Respondents also identified gaps in the materials that are available on chiphack.org that will enhance people’s ability to run their own chip hack events.  Workshop participants report that they are likely to use the materials to run their own chip hack events and
improve their own understanding and knowledge.

Delegates appreciated hearing the history of EDSAC and anecdotes from people with first-hand knowledge and experience who knew key people from the era.

Feedback on the operational side of the event was not formally collected.  Verbally, delegates indicated their satisfaction with the conference facilities provided by Hebden  Bridge Town Hall and Embecosm’s production of the event, but it was noted that workshop delegates will need greater table space at future events.


ChipHack EDSAC Challenge – Hebden Bridge 6/9/2017

ChipHack

ChipHack EDSAC Challenge is a workshop spanning two-and-a-half days to introduce a new generation to silicon chip design and the historic EDSAC computer.

This workshop is suited to complete beginners, as well as people who are experienced chip designers.

With modern low cost FPGA boards silicon chip design is accessible to the individual engineer, whether professional, hobbyist or student.

This workshop starts from the basics (a chip design to flash an LED), works through more complex functionality (UART transmitter and receiver) and concludes by bringing up a complete processor.

The workshop will be built around a reimagining of EDSAC (designed by BCS founding President, Prof. Sir Maurice Wilkes) using modern technology. The workshop will use the MyStorm FPGA board, a modern low-cost board for educational use. (more…)


pkgsrc Conference 2017 – London 1/7/2017

pkgsrc Conference 2017

On the 1st July 2017, 10:00 – 18:00 at BCS London, 1st Floor, The Davidson Building, 5 Southampton Street, London, WC2E 7HA, [map] (51.510812, -0.121733)

The BCS Open Source SG is this year hosting pkgsrcCon, the annual technical conference for pkgsrc and people working on building and packaging open source software in general. pkgsrc is a framework for building over 18,000 open source software packages consistently across a variety of operating systems running on different CPU architectures.

Read more about the conference here.

This meeting is open BCS and non-BCS members, but registration is required.

Closing date for bookings is Thursday 29 June 2017 at 11:59 pm. No more bookings will be taken after this date.

Update (10th July): the videos & slides and the final report are now available


Getting started with NetBSD on embedded platforms (Part 2) – London 18/5/2017

On the 18 May 2017, 18:00 – 20:00 at BCS London, 1st Floor, The Davidson Building, 5 Southampton Street, London, WC2E 7HA, [map] (51.510812, -0.121733)

Please register to attend and share on Lanyrd.

Workshop scope

Following on from the previous workshop, we will be continuing with the theme of NetBSD on embedded platforms. This time covering GPIO access with lua and rapid development with Rump kernel, which we did not get to in the previous workshop due to the lack of time.

If you did not get to attend the previous workshop, not to worry, notes are available and assistance will be provided on the day.

Participant requirements

You will need to bring:

  • Your own laptop (running Windows, Linux or Mac OS X);
  • A Raspberry Pi or BeagleBone Black;
  • An appropriate SD card for your board;
  • USB card reader to write a new OS image onto said SD card;
  • An ethernet cable to connect board to laptop and/or a USB UART/FTDI adapter to access the board via the serial console.

Windows 10 users

(more…)