Sunday, March 10, 2013

"Gentlemen, you had my curiosity. But now you have my attention."

It's been almost a year, but what year it was! I couldn't find time (or motivation) in order to write anything. Today I decided to resurrect my blog. So let's see where I left off last time, I'll try to be chronological.
  Firstly we moved to live in the Czech Republic, in Brno to be specific, because I got an offer from Red Hat for a kernel developer position which I couldn't pass up. They "moved" us to Brno and for the past 8 months we've been living there. The "moving" itself was very interesting because we made it into a small EU trip, coming by car and going through many countries on the way. We slept in Budapest which I have to say is one of the most astonishing looking places I've ever been to. I really liked it there and will definitely repeat that. Since it was during the summer, the weather was perfect and we had a lot of fun while moving. Why Brno you might ask ? Well, it turns out that many IT companies are residing here and are building huge support/development centres. I think that Red Hat's development centre here is the largest one they have. By the way it was fun when we were speaking on the phone with my future team because everyone kept asking me about why I would want to work on the Linux kernel (since most of my projects, and 90 % of the kernel ones, are on BSD-based OS), but I'm not some zealot who blindly believes in the supremacy of one operating system, it is kernel development and it is one of the primary subjects I'm interested in, that is enough for me. By the way in case you didn't know - everything that gets developed for the RHEL kernel has to be included in the official upstream kernel first, so Red Hat gives back a lot to the community (and the various communities are in the heart of RH's operations). I think there was a slogan in RH saying "Innovation through collaboration", and since we were named the 4th most innovative company by Forbes this is actually working out pretty well. I won't divulge much into technical details - for now I'm working on SolarFlare's 10G drivers, QLogic's netxen 10G drivers, Marvell's sky2 gigabit adapters and most importantly (and most fun for me) on the bonding module. Of course in the meantime there're many other smaller issues in other areas that I have to work on.
 Anyway next came up my birthday and I turned a square age which I celebrated accordingly with many friends and family members (I think we made it up to 50 people on the party), it was great! On the other front in the ISP in Sofia, there's a new IPTV distribution system based on BSD which is SMP-aware and I'm very pleased with the performance, I've been looking into porting some of my routing/QoS software to the Linux kernel in my free time, but we'll see where that goes. I also wrote a small Linux kernel module which is used for chain debugging (netdev, inetaddr, inet6addr), I've used it actively while working on multiple patches related to the chains and had to trace events. It is publicly accessible at where I decided to create an account finally. I've got few other small projects which I will upload in the coming months (ifwatch - interface statistics/flags monitoring software which supports ncurses/text modes and works on Linux and *BSD and some ported software I mentioned earlier).
 After spending a couple of months here an interesting position opened up in RH for a technical writer with very good English skills, and I obviously thought of Yoana as she's got Cambridge's proficiency certificate and recommended her. The ECS team liked her and since last December we're colleagues :-)
I think she's enjoying the work a lot, she's always learning new stuff and going to courses organized by co-workers on various IT topics. She even went to Python programming classes! Her team's great I got to say, we've been going out for couple of months with them now and it's been quite fun.
 Last week we were at DevConf 2013, which is one of the largest open source conferences in EU I think, it was very well organized! One of the most pleasant surprises was that they were giving away Red Hat gloves with conductive threads so you could work on touch devices in the cold outside. That was a great idea, and let's not forget the conference party after the first day which was also very well organized!
 On the phone front (saga still not over!) I moved to HTC One S last summer, and now I've migrated to Nexus 4 which I have to say is the best Android handset I've seen so far, I'm very pleasantly surprised. I hope to stay with this one for a long time. Although on the tablet front I had to get an iPad because nothing comes closer to usability and battery life, and I wanted to turn it into a detachable laptop (Zaggfolio's keyboards are awesome!). I've jailbroken it and with the camera usb kit one can open USB flash storage, and has the freedom to do whatever one wishes. I've got even git and vim installed on the iPad now, so here's my mini-laptop which goes 14 hours on battery and has resolution higher than 99 % of the devices out there. Intel announced an ultrabook which has the same idea a couple of days ago (with detachable screen and all) but it is running Windows 8 and I don't know how compatible it would be with anything else, I guess time will tell.
 Oh yeah, I almost missed it, we spent new year's eve in Vienna with some friends from Bulgaria in a Bulgarian restaurant there (of course when it got close to midnight we went to the centre). I really enjoyed it and we stayed until 5 a.m. this time I think. Although the fireworks weren't very good, the show was nice and we got ourselves hats with pigs with piercings, it was good that we brought a bottle of whisky there with us and it turned into a decent party :-) I have to thank Radush for organizing everything.

Well, I guess that's all folks! I've probably missed a lot but I'll sum it up and say that we've been exploring the pubs in Brno (of which there are many) and they all have something unique to offer which is enough to go back for.

P.S. The title is a quote from the new Tarantino movie called "Django Unchained", needless to say the movie is very good in its own way :-)

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