Jeremy Puhlman is a Senior Product Architect at MontaVista Software. Jeremy is involved in much of MontaVista's product offerrings, but in particular he has provided significant guidance to the development of MontaVista Linux. Jeremy is also active in the Open Source communities around The Yocto Project, OpenEmbedded and BitBake. For additional reading, please see MontaVista's Contribution to The Yocto Project on Meld Bytes.
The following is an interview with Jeremy where he shares a little about his current work and passions.
My name is Jeremy Puhlman. I work at MontaVista Software, LLC, on core product development. My primary role is developing embedded distribution and tools to build embedded distributions. In general, I work across most aspects of product development.
2. Can you describe your history with Linux and Open Source Software?
I have been a user of Linux since 1998 or so. My degree is in computer engineering, with an emphasis on operating system design. Most of my major projects in school were developed on or specifically for Linux.
3. When and why did you become involved with Embedded Linux?
My senior project was a NAS with a sound server I wrote, much like SHOUTcast server that controlled an external disc changer, on a NetWinder in about 2000. My first professional embedded Linux experience was when I joined MontaVista in 2001. From that point it has been developing distributions, testing and producing embedded Linux products.
4. What aspect of hacking embedded Linux and/or embedded devices is the most fun for you, and why?
I enjoy the idea of making open source software run on the various "exotic" processors, often the first time.
5. Do you have a set of favourite tools, both hardware and software that you recommend most frequently?
I am generally a userspace person, so my go to tools are strace and gdb.
6. MontaVista Linux currently supports open SDKs for the BeagleBoard and several other development boards. What's your opinion of commercial Linux companies supporting boards?
It is pretty much a natural thing. COTS boards are never going to be a source of income for OSV, however they are a great place for OSVs to provide a view into the type of software and tools they provide for non-COTS boards. Providing the generic tools is a good thing for the community at large.
7. How important is community in the Embedded Linux world?
Given that it is part of the wider Linux and open source community, very. I don't think it is any more or any less important then any other aspect. The communities are often a bit different given that corporate influence is greater and often times much more important in those communities, than say the desktop arena. I would say that the enterprise end of the spectrum is much the same way.
8. What do you feel is the greatest change in the Embedded Linux ecosystem over the last two years, both for better and worse?
There has been a significant growth in institutional resources in effectively growing a community around development of cross-built applications and distributions. My previous attempts have been largely ham-fisted and following along the field of dreams model, which rarely works.
9. Where do you see the Embedded Linux hardware and software development moving in the next 12 months? For example, will the trend toward build systems continue?
More or less this has been a trend for the last 10 years between various companies and projects. I think it will continue to grow and be refined. Today you have bits and pieces of various projects in the new projects taking old things that work, and Frankenstein them with new things to replace the bits and pieces that don't work as well.