I've been having the pleasure of holding the opening keynote at FOSS.in, where I've been (again) using the opportunity to point out the sad situation of Linux in the Embedded space. I think it was good to get this message not only to the CE Linux Conference Europe attendees, but also to the various FOSS interested Indian developers. Many of those work for companies involved in chipsets for Embedded devices, Embedded Systems development or even BSP development.
Despite that very sad/depressing conference opener, the feedback was overall very positive. Some people mentioned "it was like if you were talking to me personally". So let's see if this kind of grass-roots FOSS lobbying can help to make a bit of a change in those Embedded Linux companies.
After the keynote I was more or less immediately starting my WorkOut on improving Free Software based GSM protocol analysis. Basically we're looking at GSM-tvoid, gssm, gsmdecode, the wireshark patch of gssm, etc. and coming up with a much improved solution.
So far we've added the tun-device support from gssm to gsm-tvoid, but that's only a kludge and a temporary solution. Adding fake Ethernet headers to a GSM Um frame and using a non-registered Ethernet protocol type is not really the kind of "implementation quality" that I'd like to see.
So now I've come up with a 'gsmtap header' similar to what 802.11 solves by the radiotap header. gsm frames including radiotap header can be stored directly as a new linktype in PCAP files, or they can be sent via UDP packets through the regular IP and networking stack, where wireshark can just grab them using the normal network devices.
We've continued to work on those issues on the second day of FOSS.in, and we'll also continue to work on it today. Tomorrow I'll be presenting on my gnufiish project, i.e. the reverse engineering and Linux port plus driver development for the E-TEN glofiish X800/M800 devices.
I personally can't really say yet how well the concept of WorkOuts has worked-out in practise. I really need to learn more about the progress that the other workouts have been making. I think at least for the GSM workout, there were not many people who had the skills or knowledge about the protocols and/or the tools involved - which is not a big surprise. But I'd hope that some of the attendees at least got interested in the subject and will contribute to the respective projects. There are many things to be done, including the somewhat tedious exercise of adding dozens and dozens of new dissector code to wireshark. If anyone else (preferably with some generic understanding about network protocols and wireshark dissectors) wants to help with that, please contact me.