Category Archives: Haxx

Three years of Haxx

Haxx logoAt October first, another full year of work at Haxx has been spent since I last summed up the past year (my previous posts about Haxx’s first year and second year). Three years working for Haxx full-time, and it has been another great year with lots of fun, challenges and us enjoying being independent.

During this year I ended my previous engagement with that large chip company and got a new assignment for the same customer both Björn and Linus were working for at the time. It has been a big adventure for me as I dove straight into unknown territories and I’ve spent my work days since then as a product manager, making an embedded Linux distribution. In this role I’ve travelled to US, China and South Korea during the year and I’m serving as a member of an advisory board in a related organization on behalf of my customer! I recently agreed to extending this contract to at least April 2013. Partly due to this new assignment I’ve not worked very much on foss-sthlm activities recently, but after the summer I’ve really made an effort to get this back up to speed.

Birthdaycake

Later during the year, Linus changed assignment to a new customer when we signed a sort of partnership contract with a leading global embedded software company and he then continued to do a whole series of little projects for them. After the summer Linus has grabbed a couple of curl related projects, partly still in progress.

Björn stuck around at the same customer during the entire year, and he’s been working as an engineer and developer in the team that actually makes the product I am a manager for.

Haxx towelThis year we made more Haxx merchandise. Towels, stickers and jackets have now been sent out in the world to make our name more visible in a few weird corners of the universe.

We visisted FSCONS 2011 and FOSDEM 2012, two really nice conferences for FOSS fans like us and we got to meet a lot of friends and like-minded people there.

We continue to see a demand on the market for highly skilled embedded developers, including embedded Linux and open source related activities. We wouldn’t mind extending our merry team, so we decided to document a list of requirements of what to have in order to get hired by us. So far not a single person has applied…

Snaxx 27

A pint of guinnessGoing strong after 12 years in the making. For the 27th time we’re gathering friends in the Stockholm Sweden area who are interested in technology, open source, beers, slightly inaccurate Monty Python quotes, reverse engineering electronics and similar very important topics. We might also have a beer or two and talk rubbish.

On October 31st 2012 we invite all and every of our tech oriented friends to visit

Snaxx-27

We figured the 27th time would be the perfect time to do something new, so we now host the information on the fine snaxx.se domain.

Travel for fun or profit

As a protocol geek I love working in my open source projects curl, libssh2, c-ares and spindly. I also participate in a few related IETF working groups around these protocols, and perhaps primarily I enjoy the HTTPbis crowd.

Meanwhile, I’m a consultant during the day and most of my projects and assignments involve embedded systems and primarily embedded Linux. The protocol part of my life tends to be left to get practiced during my “copious” amount of spare time – you know that time after your work, after you’ve spent time with your family and played with your kids and done the things you need to do at home to keep the household in a decent shape. That time when the rest of the family has gone to bed and you should too but if you did when would you ever get time to do that fun things you really want to do?

IETF has these great gatherings every now and then and they’re awesome places to just drown in protocol mumbo jumbo for several days. They’re being hosted by various cities all over the world so often I deem them too far away or too awkward to go to, also a lot because I rarely have any direct monetary gain or compensation for going but rather I’d have to do it as a vacation and pay for it myself.

IETF 83 is going to be held in Paris during March 25-30 and it is close enough for me to want to go and HTTPbis and a few other interesting work groups are having scheduled meetings. I really considered going, at least to meet up with HTTP friends.

Something very rare instead happened that prevents me from going there! My customer (for whom I work full-time since about six months and shall remain nameless for now) asked me to join their team and go visit the large embedded conference ESC in San Jose, California in the exact same week! It really wasn’ t a hard choice for me, since this is my job and being asked to do something because I’m wanted is a nice feeling and position – and they’re paying me to go there. It will also be my first time in California even though I guess I won’t get time to actually see much of it.

I hope to write a follow-up post later on about what I’m currently working with, once it has gone public.

I’m interviewed by foss-magasin

foss-magasin

Claes at foss-magasin.se asked a bunch of questions about me, my commitments within the FOSS community and related matters recently over email. This Swedish interview just now went public: Daniel Stenberg – cURL, Rockbox och FOSS-Sthlm.

For my international friends who don’t understand the Swedish: I am quite happy with the questions and being allowed to answer them at this lengths etc, so I am considering doing a full translation of it and posting it at a later date.

Haxx, the second year

Last year I posted my report of what I and my fellows did at Haxx after the first year of true and real independence. As I probably mentioned before, we registered our company 1997 but it was just a side project for over a decade.Haxx logo

Now, when we’re slowly approaching two years it is time to look back and what we’ve done during the past twelve months and what we’re doing right now.

We have firmly established ourselves even more as expert developers within embedded systems. We’re over and over again being hired by the teams that themselves are hired by companies to provide services or products. During the last twelve months, we’ve written software and software designs for a huge medical equipment company, a small video equipment manufacturer, a major international telecom, a market-leading embedded systems provider and a global chip manufacturer. We’ve debugged simulation software, designed video streaming servers, done video subtitling magic, poked on Linux kernel code and we’ve done old-school 8051 and 16bit x86 assembly. I’ve also managed to do a Embedded Linux development (in user-space) training course – twice. All this, in just the past year!

Haxx was (and presented) at FSCONS in Gothenburg, we went to (and presented at) FOSDEM in Brussels and we went to the Rockbox devcon in London. We did lots of work within the foss-sthlm community.

Oh, and we’ve revamped our logo and graphical design.

Haxx consists of three full-time employed senior expert embedded systems consultants. We’ve all been in the industry for over twenty years: Daniel Stenberg, Björn Stenberg and Linus Nielsen Feltzing.

We continuously work with partners in the area to reach out to new and existing customers. As we’re very small and rather spend our time on working in our actual assignments we appreciate the help with sales and marketing. If you’re in the Stockholm area and ever end up needing devoted and skilled embedded software hackers, call us!

I’m gonna do my very best to make sure we get another great year! I’ll report back and tell you how it went.

Haxxup – cheap remote backup

The pains and guilty consciences from having a lacking backup concept established are widely common. I honestly don’t know anyone (and I mean it) that can say that they have their (home, private) backup covered with a straight face. We all know we should backup locally and remotely, so that we can do fast recovery for the easy things we mistakenly remove or ruin, and if we get burgled or the house burns down we need to have a backup remotely.

The importance of private computer backups has only increased over time, as these days most of us have vast amounts of family pictures and videos stored as well, things that in the old days were stored (and lost) separately.boom

A growing problem with remote backups is of course that we all have ridiculous amounts of data to backup. Getting a commercial remote backup deal for say 300GB (and growing) isn’t cheap. And we’re also very often at loss when it comes to get a solution that works on Linux.

In Haxx, we also recognized and suffered from these problems. We came up with a scheme to fix a distributed networked backup among ourselves! Getting large hard-drives to use locally is fairly cheap. We all have fairly good fixed-fee no-bandwidth-limit internet connections (although admittedly the uplink speeds are lacking for us typical ADSL users).

We decided that among us 4, each of us gets an account at two of our friends’ servers and we’ll be able to upload our backups to those at our own pace to store whatever we want. We decided on getting two places for everyone to decrease the risk even further, especially if you for example urgently need to get something back and one of us have a network problem (not completely unheard of) or something else.

My current total backup is about 100GB and I have a 1mbit uplink. If I use the entire bandwidth for this, other things get a little sluggish so I’ve capped the rsync job to 90KB/sec… My first run thus completed in roughly 13 days. Luckily I don’t add contents at a very high pace so the ordinary sync jobs from then on should be much smaller and should be able to complete within hours. As long as I add less than ~3.5GB during a 24 hour period, it should be able to keep up to sync to two remote places.

Going to FOSDEM 2011

Fosdem 2011We’re going to FOSDEM again. This year we’ll ship over the entire company (all three of us) and we’ll join up with a few fellow Rockbox hackers and spend a weekend in Brussels among thousands of fellow free software and open source hackers.

During this conference, 5-6 February, I’ve submitted a libcurl-related talk to the embedded-room that wasn’t accepted into the regular program, but I’ve agreed to still prepare it and I then might get a slot in case someone gets sick or something. A bit ungrateful as now I still have to prepare my slides for the talk but there’s a big risk that I’ve done it in vain! I’ve also submitted a suggestion for a second talk in the opensc/security room (also related to stuff in the curl project) but as of now (with but 16 days left) that schedule is yet to be announced so I don’t know if I’ll do a talk there or not.

So, I might do no talks. I might do two. I just don’t know. We’ll see.

If you’re a friend of mine and you’re going to FOSDEM this year, please let me know and we can meet and have a chat or whatever. I love getting faces to all the names, nicks and email addresses I otherwise only see of many people.

Update: My talk in the security room is titled “libcurl: Supporting seven SSL libraries and one SSH library” and will start at 14:15 on Saturday the 5th of February.

Getting a new look

Haxx logo

Recently we have refreshed our logo design, and subsequently we’ve now also refreshed our web site to use this new look and design that already have influenced how our presentations, business cards and more look and will look in the future.

When I say “we” did it, there should be little surprise that we did engage with someone else to do this for us, since all of us at Haxx are quite incapable of doing designs that look tasteful.

We’re quite happy with the new look. We like the cool blue colors. More machine, less human, less colorful. This logo should also work slightly better in grayscale than before and getting rid of the border will also make it easier to use on various merchandise.