I, Colin King, apply for universe-contributor upload rights for package fwts.


Colin King

Launchpad Page

Wiki Page

Who I am

I am a Canonical employee and currently working as an OEM Kernel Engineer in the Hardware Enablement Team. I have worked on various parts of the kernel subsystem, covering unionfs, audio, wifi, ethernet, suspend/resume and in particular I sort out weird BIOS/ACPI issues.

I've also contributed to grub by adding UUID support in Intrepid and ext4 support in Jaunty. I have worked on SSD tweaks and analysed boot I/O operations of Karmic using QEMU.

I work a lot with BIOS vendors to make sure that Ubuntu works correctly with firmware shipped with new hardware. My latest project is fwts ( the Firmware Test Suite, a tool for validating BIOS/ACPI firmware. I am the upstream source and debian package maintainer of fwts.

I keep a Ubuntu related blog regularly up to date, with regular postings on kernel and system related hints and tips.

My Ubuntu story

I've been working with Linux since the early 2.0 days, and in previous work I've worked in bringing up Linux on MIPS and ARM systems. I've even ported Linux (kernel + basic userspace tools) to a VLIW architecture without the luxury of using GCC, so I'm well versed with low-level kernel and user space porting. I was introduced to Ubuntu in mid-2006 and became a kernel team member in 2008 where I worked on Hardy 8.04. This gave me exposure to working on low level gnarly bugs and I got involved in resolving various ACPI and firmware related bugs. I've also tinkered with low level user space tools, such as grub where knowledge of hardware, x86 assembler and BIOS is useful in solving issues. I like working on low-level hardware related bugs where knowledge of a processor architecture and hardware is essential to resolve issues. My aim is to try and improve over all system quality by catching bugs early on using intelligent automated tools. Since a lot of my time is dealt with fire-fighting issues, I probably don't get exposure and experience with getting to grips with the nitty-gritty details of debian packaging, but my work on fwts has help with this.

My involvement

I currently work on anything firmware related, such as ACPI, BIOS, UEFI, WMI hotkeys, reboot, suspend/resume, hibernate/resume. I also get involved in bugs which are low-level, such as CPU or chipset specific bugs (C states, timers, TLB, caching etc). I work a lot with BIOS vendors ironing out bugs that make Ubuntu work on new platforms - lot of this work is unseen since I deal with closed firmware.

Examples of my work / Things I'm proud of

I put a lot of my spare + free time into developing the Firmware Test Suite which is a swiss-army-knife tool to diagnose firmware (BIOS/UEFI) related bugs. This is helping to make Ubuntu work better on hardware and slowly we are improving quality of Ubuntu at the BIOS/kernel interface through use of this tool.

I also contribute patches to the kernel across a variety of subsystems, such as WMI drivers, chipset workarounds, and general bug fixes.

Areas of work

Anything to do with low-level hardware and firmware. I'm constantly finding new ways to test and diagnose BIOS issues, and hence I'm regularly adding new tests to the Firmware Test Suite. It's helpful to me if I can upload fwts at a regular interval as we are finding lots of corner cases where bugs need addressing in fwts. A lot of recent changes in fwts in Natty have been bug fixes where broken firmware can produce false positive test results or unexpected automated testing behaviour which needs fixing.

Things I could do better

I'm basically a kernel engineer and low-level systems hacker at heart, so I find debian packaging rather a high-level task. I am still learning best packaging practices all around - I've had a lot of help from community and team members and I realise I have a lot more to learn, but with practice I will get there!

Plans for the future

Continual kernel and BIOS work, and developing and maintaining the Firmware Test Suite.


What I like least in Ubuntu

Debugging S3 and S4 issues. I'm working on a strategy to help automate the debugging of this, but it's proving hard to get the full time to get this implemented.


If you'd like to comment, but are not the applicant or a sponsor, do it here. Don't forget to sign with @SIG@.


As a sponsor, just copy the template below, fill it out and add it to this section.

Tim Gardner

Colin has been producing and uploading the fwts package to a PPA for a couple of cycles, as well as sponsored uploads to universe. It is typically the first debug method that we (the kernel team) recommend when encountering suspected BIOS related issues. He's shown a dedication to quality and improvements with regular enhancements to the package. I heartily endorse granting Colin the ability to upload this package to universe.

Kamal Mostafa

I wholeheartedly offer my endorsement of Colin's upload rights for his 'fwts' package. Having reviewed Colin's build system and Debian packaging for fwts, I can attest to its robustness and high quality. Granting Colin upload rights for this important test tool will benefit the Ubuntu community, and the kernel and hardware enablement teams. -- kamalmostafa 2011-03-29 18:11:24


=== General feedback ===
## Please fill us in on your shared experience. (How many packages did you sponsor? How would you judge the quality? How would you describe the improvements? Do you trust the applicant?)

=== Specific Experiences of working together ===
''Please add good examples of your work together, but also cases that could have handled better.''
=== Areas of Improvement ===

ColinKing/DeveloperFirmwareTestSuite (last edited 2011-03-29 18:11:24 by kamalmostafa)