Highlights from Linaro Connect 2023

Monday 6/19/23 10:10pm
Posted By Morris Novello
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Snapdragon and Qualcomm branded products are products of
Qualcomm Technologies, Inc. and/or its subsidiaries.

We recently returned from Linaro Connect 2023, which took place in London, UK, April 26-28, 2023.

For those of you who are not familiar, the Linaro organization contributes to the open source community in a variety of ways, including upstreaming patches and improvements to the Linux kernel, developing and maintaining toolchains and other software development tools, and collaborating with other open source projects and organizations to improve the overall ecosystem.

The Linaro Connect conference brings together software engineers, developers, and technical experts at this annual show devoted to engineering sessions and hacking. This year the conference themes were:

  • Automotive, Industrial, and Edge
  • Client Devices, and
  • From IoT to the Cloud.

During their introductory keynote, Linaro's CEO, Li Gong, and CTO, Grant Likely, highlighted open source, standardization, and interoperability as the key constitutive elements for a successful ecosystem and to power edge, IoT, and automotive applications. These points were echoed in several keynotes from Qualcomm Technologies as well.

Notable Keynotes

Marcus Perryman, Principal Engineer at Microsoft, shared that Microsoft is making huge strides in development tools and performance for native Windows 11 apps running Windows on Snapdragon devices. He also noted that AI, powered by the dedicated NPU as part of the Qualcomm Hexagon DSP, is a game changer for Windows applications running on Qualcomm Technologies processors. This point was illustrated by one of our demos in the hacking room (described in more detail below).

Leendert van Doorn, SVP of Engineering, also keynoted. Leendert announced how we are taking a developer first approach and enabling open source software. "Qualcomm is about to adopt a developer first strategy," Leendert said, and "embrace open source and its upstream contribution model, and industries standards to enable a better developer experience thanks to its collaboration with Linaro, Canonical, and other partners."

Open Source Philosophy at Qualcomm Technologies, Inc.

This message was well received by the developers in the audience, as they look for easier learning curves and better standardization. Generally, it's great news for developers across all our spectrum of solutions.

Leendert also noted that Lenovo X13s laptops, powered by the Snapdragon 8cx Gen 3, support upstream Linux and will soon benefit from upcoming kernel releases that will enhance USB performances, audio, video, internal webcam, battery life, and more.

Unified Boot for Qualcomm RBx platforms

On the IoT, edge AI, and robotics side, Linaro and Qualcomm Technologies teams have worked on the unified build for the Qualcomm RBx AI Robotics platforms (Qualcomm Robotics RB5 Development Kit and the newly-announced Qualcomm Robotics RB1 Development Kit and Qualcomm Robotics RB2 Development Kit) with better support for upstream Linux.


We also showed two demos in the event's hacking room.

AI capabilities on Qualcomm Robotics RB5 development kit

TurtleBot 3 navigating its environment

The first demo showcased the AI capabilities of the Robotics RB5 Development Kit running on the latest upstream Linux kernel from Linaro and ROS 2.0, mounted on a TurtleBot 3. The robot was equipped with LIDAR, a camera, and wheels. With this setup, the robot could follow a path marked on the floor while avoiding obstacles, recognize a stop sign, and react accordingly. The first image above shows how the robot analyzes the surrounding environment in real time and instantly recognizes the stop sign. This is done by taking advantage of the efficiency of the Qualcomm Hexagon DSP. The second image shows the robot in action.

The second demo showcased Windows 11 running on the Snapdragon 8cx Gen 2. It demonstrated how the platform's Hexagon DSP could increase the speed and efficiency of AI model inference to unblur an image by approximately ten times faster than the CPU.

U-Boot demo from Linaro

The last demo performed by Linaro's team showcased the unified boot (U-Boot) on the Qualcomm Robotics RB1 development kit and the Qualcomm Robotics RB2 development kit. This demo showcases the ease of development on our robotics platforms, as echoed earlier by Leendert van Doorn.

To conclude the event, we hosted a great reception with almost everyone in attendance, and allowed attendees to network further and discuss their next innovations.

Additional Resources

For additional information about Linaro Connect and some of the solutions we showcased, be sure to check out the following resources:

Snapdragon and Qualcomm branded products are products of Qualcomm Technologies, Inc. and/or its subsidiaries.