Tag Archives: Open Source

开源是一种深怀于心的信仰

消息来源:http://www.intel.cn/content/www/cn/zh/education/case-interview/open-source.html

“开源是一种文化;开源是一种理念;开源是一种信仰;Come together,让我们一起在开源的环境中不断成长!”这是兰州大学开源社区的标语,也是兰大信息科学与工程学院周庆国教授所践行的理念,“希望通过与英特尔这样的企业深入开展开放式合作,共同推动开源,与更多人分享开源带来的便利”。

“我们是一所在祖国西部的高校,资源相对匮乏,部分学生家庭条件不好。这些都促使我们着眼现实,探索有特色的计算机教学”,访谈开始,周老师的寥寥数语,即让人感受到他内心浓浓的教育情怀和对这片土地的热爱。

1996年,周老师从兰州大学物理系专业毕业,而本科到博士一直都是物理学专业的他,因为在科研中需要了解和运用计算机、信息通讯等知识,硬是凭着一股韧劲,在完成博士学位的同时,也成为计算机领域的专家,“这在外人看来简直是不可思议,但是我是一个非常乐于接受挑战的人,做研究就是要有这种探索未知的勇气”。博士毕业后,周老师执教于兰州大学网络中心,跨学科的经历也让他对科研和教学的视野别样开阔、思想分外开放。

从2004年开始,周老师开设Linux课程,从2006年开始教授嵌入式Linux,为有效解决教学资源匮乏问题,周老师充分运用了开放、共建等开源思想,积极寻找外部支持,并结缘英特尔,“2008年第一次与英特尔合作是参加了‘英特尔多核技术大学合作项目’,英特尔公司捐赠了多核设备和软件,并提供了相应技术资料。之后,我们又参与到‘英特尔嵌入式大学计划’,并从2009年成为嵌入式大学计划深度合作院校。”

为了让英特尔提供的凌动开发板等资源普及每个参与嵌入式学习的学生,周老师的开放型思维再次发挥作用,“在我们的VLab实验室中,我们将英特尔凌动、ARM、SPT等开发板上机架,同时做了登陆服务器和相应的调试环境配站,学生便可以从远端登陆,远程在开发板上调试程序。为方便学生操作,我们在Vlab上安装了摄像头,学生通过摄像头看到状态针,从而知道系统的运行状态”。周老师说,通过开发板的集成应用,既解决了学生多板子少的问题,又方便学生远程操作,提高了学习效率;自己在中美高端论坛谈到这一方式后,许多老师对其赞赏有加。

开源思想、开放的思路为周老师带来的不仅仅是通过与英特尔等企业合作,解决了教学实践平台问题,还为嵌入式教学融入了新意,创出了特色。“我们的教师团队依托互联网开源社区,为教学设计了开源项目管理计划,用全新的方式,解决了教材编写和学生学习、实践等多方面的问题”,对于利用开源社区,支持教学活动,周老师颇有心得,“依托开源社区,将网络最前沿的技术信息和知识灵活编写成讲义,并利用英特尔开展的定期教师培训,吸纳嵌入式技术创新,结合产业需求,让讲义内容紧贴产业发展和实践需求,还很好解决了嵌入式技术更新速度快、与国际前沿脱节的问题。”

周老师和他的同事们一路求索,在嵌入式教学方面已经形成了体系。2006年,将嵌入式技术与Linux相结合形成嵌入式Linux开发课程,同时将嵌入式硬件、软件与嵌入式系统开发技能相结合,帮助学生解决软硬分离的问题。由于嵌入式最初应用于工业控制领域,因此在2008年周老师邀请RTLinux GPL版本维护者奥地利Nicholas Mc Guire教授合作讲授安全计算课程。之后,又相继开设了接口和通信、网络存储和安全等课程,在西北地区的嵌入式教学中,做出了自己的特色。

在不断完善嵌入式教学的基础上,开源信仰促使周老师和他的同事们积极分享经验和资源,帮助更多兄弟院校完善嵌入式课程的教学。兰州大学已经在在西北地区做了两期培训班,共有五十所高校参加了培训。谈到分享,周老师说,“我们和英特尔的理念一样,都希望用自己的行动将开源、分享的理念传播给更多学校和师生,以推动西部计算机教育更快进步。”

开源的思想不仅体现在课程、教材方面,更潜移默化渗透到周老师对学生学习管理的方方面面,“从06年实验室启用起,我们指导学生用开源项目管理工具GIT记录自己的学习过程,每学期提交项目计划书,每周上传自己的weekly report,并将设计文档存储在数据仓库,让老师都可以随时了解其学习和实践状况,让学习成为可追溯的过程。”

“同时,我们与国际开发社区紧密结合,开发自己的开源社区,引导学生们投身开源建设,激发同学们学习开源软件技术的兴趣”,周老师在谈到开源社区建设时颇为自豪,“在2006年5月10日,兰州大学开源社区正式对外发布。在这个社区,每个人都有自己的想法,或许是一个瞬间的灵感,他们都能够在这里将他们实现,尽情地享受开源带来的 OPEN,FREE,SHARE”。周老师作为开源社区创始人和指导老师,见证了这个社区从无到有、从默默无闻到一鸣惊人的发展历程。

深怀开源信仰,面对嵌入式技术发展的广阔未来,周老师对教学又提出了新的目标,那就是培养软硬兼施的人才,并在嵌入式国内外研讨会上,和参会老师、专家进行了交流,希望通过与英特尔开展开源硬件的合作,打破硬件和软件的界限,培养学生软硬一体化的系统思维;同时希望通过合作研究,开发出一种成本更低的开发板,能让学生从入学到毕业可以一直使用,让更多学生从中受益。周老师的这一想法,或许在近期就可以得以实现——就在访谈之后几天,润色稿件之际,英特尔宣布与开源硬件平台公司 Arduino 达成合作,推出基于英特尔架构全新兼容 Arduino 的可开发电路板。

开源是一种信仰,需要坚执开放精神的人去倡导,更需要有开源精神的公司去推动。对此,周老师说,“虽然与英特尔的合作时间还很短暂,但其开放、分享的企业文化给师生们带来深刻影响”。这种精神也给周老师和师生们更大信心,激励着他们定能在开源路上越走越远。

China Friendship award for 10 years of Free-Software/Open-Source development at Lanzhou University

China Friendship award for 10 years of Free-Software/Open-Source development at Lanzhou University

Prof.Nicholas Mc Guire

mcguire@lzu.edu.cn

Distributed & Embedded System Lab (DSLab)

School of Information Science and Engineering

Lanzhou University .P.R.China

  After receiving the honor of the friendship award, and much being said about what I have been doing, I would like to remind that a friendship has two sides – in this short note I would like to present the “second side”, the many people I met in China and there contribution to this work. Thus, I allow myself to take on this friendship award for all of DSLab, the many people that havesupported it and the free software community of Lanzhou University in general.

A little more than 10 years ago I got an e-mail from a student of Lanzhou University, Qingguo Zhou, posted to the RTLinux mailinglist and asking some questions about MiniRTL – a small Free Software RTOS distribution that I maintained. At that time I was not even aware of Gansu being a province in China let alone that Lanzhou existed – in fact I was completely ignorant of China as a whole. This was going to change quite wildly over the next years!

The first e-mails were quickly answered, discussion started, and quickly the details of the Mossbauer spectroscope became quite interesting, we decided that this work should be presented at the annual Real Time Linux Workshop, the next one was scheduled for November 2000 in Orlando, Florida, USA – but we underestimated the problems of getting a visa and finally had to give up this first presentation – but this exhibited one property of the students in Lanzhou to me, that was to become very important for my work in
Lanzhou – they don’t easily give up! So one year later, Qingguo Zhou makes it to RTLWS3 in Milano 2001.

From then on things developed rapidly, the first personal meeting made it clear that there are a few students interested in free-software and they are eager to learn – the Nerd Lab idea was born and quickly a room was found where interested students could collaborate – lab1213.lzu.edu.cn – also called the NerdLab was set up. The name stems from the work I was doing in Austria under the name ThinkingNerds.com.

Projects start to emerge, mailing lists set up, the web-page and the NerdLab starts growing and the activities start becoming better organized (I’m a slightly chaotic person my self – so this really helped), and that was maybe the second characteristic that should become important, the ability to organize things. The NerdLab continued work on RTLinux related ideas, clustering ideas (we actually wanted to build a RTLinux cluster, specified some RT-NTP protocols, etc.) – soon we realized that to further strengthen this work we
should get together and build up the core know-how on embedded and real-time Linux – the idea of holding a summer school popped up and we quickly agreed to do so.

In 2004 I travel to Lanzhou for the first time, for the summer school, 3 weeks of intensive works on clusters – of course GNU/Linux based clusters. I did not expect to find 38 students interested in such a specialized topic – but the class is packed full and we start digging into GNU/Linux, Clusters, MPI… At this first summer school I meet a lot of students that I’m still working with today, some of them PhD candidates, some of them working for companies in China (on GNU/Linux and open-source … I hope) and the one that learned most in this summer school turns out to be me – it changes my view of China quite substantially. The students not only work hard, but they are very pragmatic in there solutions, many of the solutions presented are absolutely not what one would expect from a European student – this exposure to different ways of thinking is very enriching to me.

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Heading: Free-software / Open-Source in action

  After the summer school completed, it was not really a question to me that I would be back for another summer school, we start discussing possibilities of collaborating even more tightly and the idea of moving the NerdLab to a more scientific Distributed and Embedded Systems Lab is born – DSLab is started and we get to work on embedded and real-time Linux systems. Many of the students involved in these projects
have contributed important ideas to our work, and I think this open-minded environment is the most important thing to me personally. Not only the students proof to be open-minded also the administration of Lanzhou University. Most notable without the continuous support and encouragement from Prof. Li Lian I think most of this would not have happened – I sometimes wonder if this development would have ever
been possible at a European university – I doubt it.

DSLab quickly starts moving; we submit some of our ideas to the IBM Power Challenge, first time we don’t make it, but as mentioned students don’t give up easily, they try the next year and this time we go into the finals.

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Heading: Team work is the essence to success

  This is maybe the starting point were we actually had the confidence that we know what we are doing – a series of publications starts to emerge from DSLab, more and more students join in – from many different disciplines. In this atmosphere of interdisciplinary work on free-software/open-source not only do many ideas get realized but also my understanding of the way things work in China improves (though slowly).

In 2006 the Real Time Linux Workshop came to Lanzhou University, with quite a few foreign experts joining in. This not only was a great motivation for DSLab but hopefully showed to all of Lanzhou University what potential lies in Free-Software and Open-Source. The Free-software community around GNU/Linux is an open-minded and patient (…well most of the time) group of developers that are open to Chinas academic researchers and students joining in. I hope that DSLab and my work there can contribute to China’s creative potential being unleashed in the form of FLOSS contributions.

20100104013438

 

Heading: The key to the future is communication and discussion

  I have met many people in China – quite a few of which I now refer to as friend – what started out with a few e-mails about RTLinux embedded systems, and a Mossbauer spectroscope has moved on to a team at DSLab, supported by SISE, and providing a creative academic environment for ideas to be born and perused. I enjoy ever stay in Lanzhou, in the mean time I have been there more than 20 times and I hope that there will be an opportunity to stay there for a longer time and work intensively with this hard-working (hard-headed) bunch at DSLab and Lanzhou University.

One thing that really struck me here in Lanzhou was the enormous diversity one can find here within the student body. After summer school 2006 had completed Dr. Zhou told me that we had students from almost all provinces in the class room – and that really explained to me why so many different characteristics could be observed – taking the size of China into account, that is not too surprising. The creative potential of Chinese students I would speculate really stems from there diverse backgrounds – diversity at the social, ethnic religious level – all of which forms a person on his way through life.

China faces many challenges, ecological, social and economic – I hope that the work of DSLab has contributed to all these fields and we will continue at DSLab to emphasis students ecological and social responsibilities along the way. Chin’s progress in the past 30 years is very impressive, at the same time events like the earthquake in 2008 show how quickly things can change and how brittle a society can become within seconds. If China can manage to transform the tension, that lie between diversity and unity, into creativity rather than conflict, then truly I can imagine that the 21st century will be shaped to a large extent by China.

Finally I would like to express my thanks to Prof. Li Lian and Dr. Zhou Qingguo, without there continuous support, hard work and theenvironment they provided not much of what I have been part of here would have happened.