Conversation

Lorenzo Stoakes

Happy to announce that I will be joining Oracle to work on Linux kernel memory management full-time from July :)
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@vbabka haha yes yes I will be deleting all your slub code soon
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@ljs
Congrats on finding something that suits you.

The link between mm and databases is obvious, but it's interesting that Oracle cares *enough*.

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@ljs NAK!

But for real, big congratulations ;) can't wait for your vma_merge() patches.
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@vbabka Yes finally I can have time to do these. Plan to finish 1st draft of book first too so that'll be put to bed as well...
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@dougmerritt @ljs oh they do employ quite a number of people in that area actually.
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@dougmerritt Oh it's very very important and smart for Oracle to focus on this.

And they have some amazing people working there on the kernel, so extremely humbled and excited to join, genuinely and truly.

Just working out current very long notice period first :)
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@ljs congratulations :) at least that notice period is almost over now!

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@sven yeah, about another month or so to go (got a couple weeks off between jobs too), plus lsf so it's not much left.

Honestly that 2 week break is very much needed!
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@oleksandr but I like cheese.

Actually wait - helps the diet
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@ljs Congratulations! still working on mine, some ideas are emerging but nothing locked in yet. My contract with the university ends in the end of September so there is luckily also some time to consider :-) Took a 1.5 years from the industry and now looking for coming back.
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@jarkko thanks man, wishing you the best of luck!

This whole thing was totally unexpected on my part, feel very humbled for it to have happened.

I do think that continuing to contribute as a hobbyist (as I have been on and off since 2015) is the best way for sure!
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@ljs i'm in half-hobbyist mode. i'm working on riscv soc's and doing maintainer stuff on side but yeah getting full-time to kernel would be great :-)
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Lorenzo Stoakes

Edited 1 month ago
@jarkko The funny thing for me is that I was in no way looking for a job, I went back into mm out of genuine interest (that's what got me started) and to challenge myself to write this book.

The book was intended to teach me about mm (as backwards as that might sound) in real depth, and from doing that I had patch ideas naturally.

At no point did I think about a job, I just wanted to see how far I could take it with an intent to do this stuff as a hobbyist if I couldn't professionally.

And then an opportunity came up that I couldn't say no to...

My natural tendency is to feel massive imposter syndrome so I try to keep that at bay but generally am just so happy and like it doesn't quite feel real haha!

Anyway, I guess my advice is just to keep doing what you love with this stuff.

Open source is incredible in that you can make your own luck with things if you're just bloody minded enough and refuse to give up.
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@ljs agreed, this is true and more or less what i've been doing :-) i rejected industry job to be able to study new things like riscv-architecture. and also now i'm doing some collaboration with ethereum foundation as it seems interesting and fun (do not own any of that currency btw but tech is fun in general). so i'm not actually worried that this would not lead to something but still doing a bit of seek to see what there might be for me.
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@jarkko there's a ton of value in seeking, especially if you're young. I spent a long, long time seeking and trying different things.

From 2011-2014 I contributed to chrome and golang too before finding the kernel.

And even then it was bursty, as I got a job at IMG doing kernel GPU driver code and it was hard to do more kernel stuff in evening.

Then I wrote a toy kernel and got the bug again and back into mm :)

Experimenting and trying different roads in life is important and people don't value it enough.
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Jarkko Sakkinen

Edited 1 month ago
@ljs I'm not young, I'm middle-aged and have also done bunch of non-kernel things :-) 43 now and been in industry since 2003 starting from Symbian OS and doing even one full 3D engine and bunch of things. In 2010-11 I did for fun initial bits of WebGL for QtWebKit and then Research in Motion contacted me and wanted me to come to visit in Canada. But then Nokia clash happened and I ended up to Intel and have been working on kernel since (there I implemented TPM2 and SGX support and some other stuff). After Intel I went to a startup called Profian where I implemented SGX backend and some other bits for https://enarx.dev/.

I took the researcher job and rejected factors better paying industry job because my juices were gone after startup madness. Also there was chance to learn RISC-V (see e.g. https://www.sochub.fi/).

So somehow I've converged into the "hardware TEE jack-of-all-trades-but-master-of-none" type of person in Linux :-) Do not mind and I always find some new endeavors like connecting with ethereum foundation (they paid me a trip to Tallinn where I spent weekend and brainstormed ideas for better Linux support).

So yeah in my work life the only stable thing has been chaos and uncertainty, and I'm used to it, so I never really feel that much pressure or stress even if the platform is not that stable :-)

edit: s/ethernet/ethereum/ ;-)
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@jarkko haha well that's basically my life really... from doing the wrong degree due to crazy family stuff (long story), to trying to rebuild my life and career afterwards with no support, to a back office (i.e. super boring admin stuff) programming job in finance to a startup run by a certified maniac (I don't normally bad mouth but the guy is an open antivaxxer nut so I think it's valid in this case...) to IMG doing GPU kernel graphics driver (c) until apple destroyed them overnight then 2 x front office systemsy c++ jobs until I realised that industry is just not for me.

Open source is really how I could get myself where I wanted, or at least - what matters - try to do what I really care about and am interested in.

And I'm 42 so we're basically the same age... :>)

I am sticking on kernel mm for good, safe to say at this point. Hopefully this will be what I spend the remainder of my career doing. It's certainly what I'll be doing professionally or otherwise anyway.

Being able to just get stuck in and 'messy' and trying things is a big advantage in general in this stuff I think.
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@ljs yeah i actually do enjoy now a lot of working in tee and confidential computing area. at some point i thought i was bored but now i'm feeling confident that it is good place to stay. also it helps that distributions and cloud service provides have seemed to gained new interest to these technologies and they are getting enabled (like TPM2 across the board). So yeah probably also plan to stick on making sure that we can identify software that runs in host and also in the cloud (not just server where the software runs) :-) i don't think this is coming less important at least...
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@ljs it is also nice to get chance to work a bit entities like ethereum foundation (and earlier enarx) because it is at the same time chance to see how all this looks from a perspective of a users and not just e.g. kselftest :-)
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Jarkko Sakkinen

Edited 1 month ago
@ljs if nokia clash had happened maybe few months later i might be living in canada and maybe still working for blackberry, and developing webkit ;-) i'm a kernel dev by accident (sort of).
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@ljs 🍷 but actually 🍻
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@liskin Cheers man :) but also 🍷
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@jarkko @ljs oh Symbian, cool, I'll never forget the 3650 that I won in NokiaGame. Also got N73 (plus the Bluetooth GPS) and 5800 afterwards. Fun times.
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@vbabka @jarkko @ljs I vaguely remember looking at the Symbian SDK when I got the 5800 but me being about 5 years younger than you all, and also maybe not as smart, I was properly scared by there being several other ways to manage memory in addition to stack and heap.

(now, many years later, I'd probably appreciate it, but still would be scared by the compiler not making sure I didn't mess it up)
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@ljs Great, finallly!

Congratulations, Lorenzo.
Wishing you all the best in your career.
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@liskin @ljs @vbabka doing symbian was not all that bad.

i was not in the UI layer. i was in the team doing audio subsystem, which contained resource manager, DSP codecs, audio policy etc. e.g. setting up the correct codecs, managing memory for audio, opening correct streams depending on phone state (like incoming call when you have video playback ongoing).

i also learned basics of ARM CPU's at the time, which is obviously still useful knowledge, JTAG debugging with Lauterbach TRACE32 and stuff like that. so even tho symbian is a relic, all the skills are still useful and can be applied :-) that way i got into middleware and operating systems.

when i started in 2003 symbian phones were larger and had two ARM CPU's separated by a physical bus: the first was for the phone OS and second one was for the application OS (symbian). when series 60 3.0 came along around 2004 the hardware architecture moved into one CPU model and to a real-time kernel called EKA2, which hosted the whole symbian in one of its threads.

One thing that was tedious was the edit-compile-run cycle. If I had to fix a bug, it took about 45-60 minutes to run it on a device, as both compilation and flashing took a while.

Doing e.g. Linux kernel is not that hard if you've worked in any possible operating systems before because in the end it is all about understanding hardware and the domain where you are working and the source code's layout is just like a different legislation and policies in a foreign country.
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@hyeyoo thanks man appreciate it :) I KNOW you will succeed in your's :)
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@ljs congratulations sir
i've tried Oracle Linux recently
and it's very obviously put together by incredibly talented people
also very handsome

🍷

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@liskin @ljs @vbabka do not want to sound like boomer but people should neither "fan" linux nor rust or anything like that. inspiration should come from hardware, domain and stuff like that. they are translatable from kernel to kernel and from language to language, and that is what matter in the end.
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@ljs Congratulations, and look forward for your book about mm.😜

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