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sthbrx - a POWER technical blog: OpenPOWER Powers Forward

Mon, 2016-02-15 13:23

I wrote this blog post late last year, it is very relevant for this blog though so I'll repost it here.

With the launch of TYAN's OpenPOWER reference system now is a good time to reflect on the team responsible for so much of the research, design and development behind this very first ground breaking step of OpenPOWER with their start to finish involvement of this new Power platform.

ADL Canberra have been integral to the success of this launch providing the Open Power Abstraction Layer (OPAL) firmware. OPAL breathes new life into Linux on Power finally allowing Linux to run on directly on the hardware. While OPAL harnesses the hardware, ADL Canberra significantly improved Linux to sit on top and take direct control of IBMs new Power8 processor without needing to negotiate with a hypervisor. With all the Linux expertise present at ADL Canberra it's no wonder that a Linux based bootloader was developed to make this system work. Petitboot leverage's all the resources of the Linux kernel to create a light, fast and yet extremely versatile bootloader. Petitboot provides a massive amount of tools for debugging and system configuration without the need to load an operating system.

TYAN have developed great and highly customisable hardware. ADL Canberra have been there since day 1 performing vital platform enablement (bringup) of this new hardware. ADL Canberra have put all the work into the entire software stack, low level work to get OPAL and Linux to talk to the new BMC chip as well as the higher level, enabling to run Linux in either endian and Linux is even now capable of virtualising KVM guests in either endian irrespective of host endian. Furthermore a subset of ADL Canberra have been key to getting the Coherent Accelerator Processor Interface (CAPI) off the ground, enabling more almost endless customisation and greater diversity within the OpenPOWER ecosystem.

ADL Canberra is the home for Linux on Power and the beginning of the OpenPOWER hardware sees much of the hard work by ADL Canberra come to fruition.

Michael Still: Sydney Developer Bugs Smash

Mon, 2016-02-15 08:28
The OpenStack community is arranging a series of bug smash events globally, with one in Sydney. These events are aimed at closing bugs related to enterprise pain points in OpenStack, although as self guided events there isn't anyone in the room ordering you to do a certain thing. There will however be no presentations -- this is a group working session.

The global event etherpad is at

The Sydney event is being hosted by Rackspace Australia, and has its own signup etherpad at

Please note this event is not aimed at end users, deployers or administrators. It is aimed at developers of OpenStack. So, if you're an OpenStack developer please consider coming along!

RSVP is on the Sydney event etherpad.

Tags for this post: openstack mitaka


Binh Nguyen: Shadow Government, Key Players, and More

Sun, 2016-02-14 00:18
As indicated in my last post, one of the things that constantly gets alluded to (by conspiracy theorists and Russia, Iran, and other countries is the notion of a so called 'Shadow Government' operating in the US and Western countries. Whether or not it's evil or not I'll leave that up to you and your personal research (

OpenSTEM: People of ENIAC: early digital computer programmers

Sat, 2016-02-13 11:29
Without any real training, they learned what it took to make ENIAC work – and made it a humming success. Their contributions were overlooked for decades.

ENIAC, one of the world’s early digital computers (Colossus in the UK was earlier, for example), unveiled 70 years ago Sunday at the University of Pennsylvania, had six primary programmers: Kay McNulty, Betty Jennings, Betty Snyder, Marlyn Wescoff, Fran Bilas and Ruth Lichterman. They were initially called “operators.”

In this video, Kathleen McNulty Mauchly Antonelli talks about her time in the 1940’s learning about the ENIAC. She was one of a group of 6 women who were recruited to program this electronic computer.

Please note that the referenced article’s title incorrectly declares ENIAC to be the world’s first electronic computer. This is historically incorrect, with Colossus at Bletchley Park in the UK used for code breaking during WWII, and Konrad Zuse’s Z2 / Z3 in Germany.

Chris Neugebauer: Talks from 2016

Fri, 2016-02-12 21:25

I spoke at 2016 in Geelong! Once during the main conference, and once during the conference close.

Welcoming Everyone

My main conference talk, Welcoming Everyone: Five Years of Outreach and Inclusion Programmes at PyCon Australia, a five-year retrospective of how we’ve done outreach and financial assistance at PyCon Australia. It’s important that we share knowledge about how we run programmes that increase the diversity of our communities, and PyCon AU’s example shows how to build and grow such a program.

lca2017 handover talk

During the conference close, I gave our handover talk for 2017, sharing what we think Hobart has to offer for the conference, and our vision for the conference. If you want to find out, in 6 minutes, what we’re planning on doing next year, this video is a good way to do just that.

Chris Smart: Trusting a self-generated CA system-wide on Fedora

Fri, 2016-02-12 12:29

Say you’re using FreeIPA (or perhaps you’ve generated your own CA) and you want to have your machines trust it. Well in Fedora you can run the following command against the CA file:

# trust anchor rootCA.pem

OpenSTEM: Gravitational waves have been detected, Einstein was right | Science Alert

Fri, 2016-02-12 09:30

After 100 years of searching, an international team of physicists has confirmed the existence of Einstein’s gravitational waves, marking one of the biggest astrophysical discoveries of the past century. It’s a huge deal, because it not only improves our understanding of how the Universe works, it also opens up a whole new way of studying it.

Craige McWhirter: LCA2016 Revisited - Fuzz all the things

Fri, 2016-02-12 07:50

I actually saw this talk by Erik de Castro Lopo but didn't write about it as I arrived late and ended up sitting within arm's reach of the lectern... that and to be honest it's taken me this second viewing for it to sink in anyway.

With focus a on C / C++ Erik used his experiences with libsndfile and FLAC to provide examples of fuzzing.

The fuzzing technique provides:

  • A method to test a program with random input.
  • Provide a great leap forward in effectiveness.
  • Allows you to find bugs before they're reported.
  • Recommends AFL (American Fuzzy Lop)
  • Spends some time walking through how AFL works and how to use it.
  • Walked through sanitizers.
  • Provides a demo you can clone from git and use.
  • Covered the pro and cons rather extensively.
  • Took a walk through some SSH code as example of code not designed to be fuzzed and to underscore coding with fuzzing in mind from the start.
  • Provided a live demo and other cases.

An excellent talk, well worth watching if this is your field of endeavour.

Craige McWhirter: LCA2016 Revisited - Using Linux features to make a hacker's life hard

Thu, 2016-02-11 08:18

This talk by Kayne Naughton was the most talked about talk that I did not see while at LCA2016 in Geelong, so naturally it's the first talk I've watched revisiting the conference.

The allotted 40 minutes was clearly not long enough for Kayne to delve into his obviously deep knowledge of security in general and specifically the Linux space.

What resulted was a faced passed, informative, insightful and humorous take on Linux security, how to do it properly and how to effectively deter most would be hackers.

There's some genuine laugh-out-loud moments and plenty of 'oh's as Kayne drops the penny for us more than once.

A great talk that lived up to it's at-conference reputation.