The Kids are not all right: Open Source Mayhem and the Avr-Gcc Toolchain.



I would like to talk about my experiences in porting and maintaining open source software that doesn't originate from the linux community and how awry things can get in this case.


The official source for the gcc-toolchain is very conservative as it is the backbone of open source community. Targets such as the Atmel avr are required to keep up with new processors as they are released.

The resulting process of patching the compiler and updating the target libc creates a scenario where the code officially released into the gcc toolchain may be years out of date and not include a good many of processors in use.

Fortunately a very dedicated group of individuals package regular stable releases of the toolchain for FreeBSD, Windows, and OSX in that order. Unfortunately when it gets to the linux community it completely breaks down.

In this talk I will discuss packaging systems including freeBSD ports, packages on Solaris and HP-UX, and OSX in relation to their linux counterparts. Using the avr-toochain as an example of what goes wrong when a piece of software doesn’t have a name.

Speaking experience


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    Donald Delmar Davis


    Donald Davis has been an artist computer programmer unix systems administrator and a musician for twenty years and yet remains fresh and open to exploring new ideas and artforms. In the 80s as part of a small community of Artists in Spokane Donald built kinettic sculptures, synthesizers and sequencers and commited several acts of performance art in addition to painting. After 6 years in Eugene during which he Welded for a living and completed the bulk of his BA in history (with an infant in one arm and a book in the other) He committed himself to the art world again. While painting large format mixed media works he turned to building a series of machines that draw. This work continues to evolve and expand into other forms of kinettic sculputre and collaborative work with other artists.

    As part of his work with microcontrollers in artistic projects Donald maintained a packaged avr-gcc toolchain for several years. He currently is very active in working with the avr-gcc, avr-libc, and several others teams in updating the tools to include several new processors with integrated usb controllers

    He currently lives in downtown portland and is VP of the Portland Area Robotics Society, and active in the formation of Portlands Dorkbot Group. To this end he has created the open source hardware, software, and curriculum needed to teach over 100 artists and hobbiests to use microcontrollers as part of his arduino cult induction workshops.


    B. A. — History, University of Oregon, 2004

    Associate of Applied Arts — Software Engineering Technology, Spokane Falls Community College, Winter 1991

    Fine Arts Studies, Spokane Falls Community College, 1983-85, 1992-1993