Bill Sconce posted the notes from the MonadLUG meeting of 14-June-2007, one I had to miss due to client projects. It sounds like it was a really interesting meeting. The push to tweak the kernel of Linux to be responsive in a real-time environment benefits us all, as some portions of that specialized work can be rolled into the main-line kernel code. This is one of the great benefits of Open Source, where developers “scratching their itch” – working on their specific needs – can contribute back to the greater community at little or no cost to them.
I heard a similar sentiment voiced at FUDCon ’07 Boston in presentations about the One Laptop Per Child machines: in tracing down some of the code that was running down the batteries on these cute little laptops, the OLPC crowd found entire classes of code that were working fine on desktop and server machines plugged into the wall, but wasting CPU cycles when a different algorithm could be implemented that was more power-friendly. This doesn’t just benefit the OLPC crowd; some of their work goes back into mainline kernels where it makes everyone’s laptop battery last longer, server stacks idle cooler, requiring less AC power and less Air Conditioning power, lowering the heat-disapation requirements of data centers, and slowing global warming. Yet another case of Open Source saving the world.