CELF Open Project Proposal 2010

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Intoduction

The CELF Open Project Proposal is an process whereby members of the public can submit to the CE Linux Forum ideas and proposals for projects that they think should be worked on to enhance embedded Linux.

Each year, CELF spends money on contract work to improve Linux, for use in embedded systems. Some of the projects we have sponsored in the past include Linux-tiny, DirectFB enhancements, smem, and Squashfs mainlining.

Usually, our process involves querying forum members about their desires and building a project list from that. This year, we are opening up the process and asking for your ideas and proposals as well.

Process

Proposal format

Each proposal should include the name of the proposer, a summary, and a description of the bugfix, feature or technology improvement that is being proposed. The description should be brief (it can be as short as 1 or 2 paragraphs), but should include enough information to understand the scope of the proposal. It is important to list the expected benefit of the work.

The proposal should also list related or already existing work, and the expected scope of effort required to accomplish the goal. Finally, if you know of someone who might be interested or willing to work on the project, please include that as well.

The proposal should be in plain text, with URLs where possible to related discussions or existing work.

Sample

Here is a sample proposal:

Proposer: Tim Bird

Summary: Add bootchart boot logger functionality to busybox

Description: It would be nice to add bootchart functionality to busybox.
Most distributions now have bootchart available as a package, which allows an
administrator to see machine resource usage and process startup times, for
the system bootup.  The existing bootchart boot logger, however, is a shell
script, which consumes too much resources when running on an embedded platform.

The Android system includes bootchart boot logger functionality in it's
'init' program.  It would be nice to include similar boot logging functionality
built into busybox.

The feature would be to grab information from various /proc files, and save
them into the files expected by bootchart, for a duration specified as a
parameter to the 'init' applet of busybox.  The duration parameter could be
passed as an environment variable from the kernel, copied from the kernel
command line, or set in a specially-named file.  (Note that the latter
two are used in Android.  It would probably be good to keep compatibility
with the Android method of parameter passing, just to avoid confusion.)

Note that the code for this in Android 'init' is licensed under the Apache
license.  It's less than 400 lines of C code.

The benefit of this is that it would allow easy visualization of embedded system
bootup information.

Related work:
 * Bootchart - http://www.bootchart.org/
 * Android init and bootchart
   * Usage guide: see http://elinux.org/Using_Bootchart_on_Android
   * Code: see http://android.git.kernel.org/?p=platform/system/core.git;a=blob_plain;f=init/bootchart.c;hb=HEAD

Where to send the proposal

Send your proposal to the celinux-dev mailing list, at: celinux-dev@tree.celinuxforum.org. To do this, you need to subscribe to the list. You can do this via the celinux-dev mailing list web page.

An alternative is available (although not preferred), which is to send the proposal to the the CE Linux forum project-proposal mailing list, at: project-proposal@tree.celinuxforum.org.

Sending the proposal to the celinux-dev list is preferred, because other people can review the proposal, discuss it, and make suggestions.

Project Selection

The CE Linux Forum will select the projects that it wants to fund.

Q and A

Q. How is this different from other "open project" systems, like Google's "Summer of Code"?
A. Other systems often require that the submitter of the proposal be the one interested in doing the work. With CELF's Open Project Proposal, anyone who can think of a good idea can submit it, (possibly with hinting about someone who might be a good candidate to perform the work).


Q. How much money is CELF willing to spend on these projects?
A. The exact amount shall remain a mystery. However, usually, CELF budgets a bit more than $100,000 each year for contract work of this nature. This is less than other similar projects, but is still enough to push some interesting projects forward, that make a difference over time.


Q. Are you daft? Why would you let other people suggest ways to spend CELF's money?
A. Hey, it's open source. Good ideas can come from anywhere. Note that CELF still controls what projects get selected, and hence where the money will be spent. That's one of the privileges of CELF membership. However, CELF will publish the list of projects that it will fund, as well as the projects that were not funded. It is hoped that other entities may contribute money or resources to push some of the technologies or features forward, independent of CELF's contribution.