The Yocto Jester

The most notorious *non*-official Yocto Project resource ever!

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Happy 10th anniversary, Yocto Project!

Hard to believe, but the Yocto Project is already in existence since 2010! Time for a look back. And this will be a very, very personal one. So couple of notes before we get started:


This is the year YP was announced - and did not take notice at all.


I attended my first ELC-E in Prague where I got introduced to Koen Kooi who already was an OpenEmbedded “elder” to me back then. Mind, it was a different time beack then: the BeagleBoard had just started the era of affordable development board, the PandaBoard was unobtainium…

What I remember is that Koen gave me an introduction on how to get free shirts out of conferences: he said “Lets get shirts!”, took me along, walked up to the Yocto booth and said “What do we have to do in order to get a free shirt?”, to which the guy behind the booth answered. “You tell me your sizes, and the lovely lady here will get you one.” Which was exactly what happened. So I got my first Yocto shirt without even knowing what this was all about!

When I had a look a couple of days later, I just was like “Meh, thats complicated!”.


This year it was Barcelona for the ELC-E. There I put Koen’s advice to good use, and got a Yocto shirt out of Tracy Erway. It was also the first time I met Lieu Ta - out of whom I also got a Wind River shirt. Looking back I have to say that getting an additional one for my then-girlfriend-now-wife from Tracy was easy, from Lieu was complicated. And she still has the YP one, while the WR one, lets say “faded”.

From a technical perspective, I had a look at the YP a couple of days later, and I was just like “Meh, thats complicated!”


We are getting to the first really important year in my YP-story! In Edinburgh, I finally decided to join the Yocto Project Developer Day. It might sound strange, but it was one of those “Need to have a look!”-things, without a clear objective behind it.

So the day before YPDD, I stepped up to the YP booth again, where I met Jefro. We talked quite a bit, particularly about public radio stations. I don’t think we even discussed the YP. Feel free to ask him about the story!

My first YPDD!

So here we are, I was joining my first YPDD, obviously in the beginners track. Not completely sure, but I think Rudi Streif did the presentations to start out, and Chris Hallinan ran the hands-on. And whoa, that time it really clicked! This is also the reason why I keep telling people to both run and join the YPDD beginners track: once somebody shows you, things fall into place. I also had a coffee with Behan Webster.

So again, I had a final look a couple of days later, and this time I said “This is just what I need.”


Actually, in 2014 nothing much changed besides me being learning and trying to understand things. Just one note: at the YPDD in Düsseldorf I attended the advanced class of the YPDD, this time run by Mark Hatle. He had a wonderful hands-on, basically a hardware-to userspace full stack building a morse application. Unfortunatly his timeslot was about 3hrs, where he would have needed 3 days(!) to show everything properly.


We are already in the YPs 5th year by now, and the shirts given out in Dublin did show that proudly. I think it was the first time I joined the Yocto BoF there…

Noteworthy about this year is that it was also the first time I attended an OEDEM (OpenEmbedded Developers Meeting), and I did not understand a single thing.


Another year that deserves little mentioning besides me catching a massive cold right at the OEDEM that preceded ELC-E in Berlin.


A second time in Prague! And while not yet a year that really brought important changes, it still is at the OEDEM there that I officially became an OpenEmbedded Member. I still pride myself in being the only member who ever was only accepted under the condition that I will continue to bring beer for all OEDEMs that I attend.


This is the year the major changes started! I think the first sign was Jefro being re-assigned and leaving the YP Advisory Board. Then, Intel sold off Wind River, followed by more and more folks being pulled away by other assigments. At least to me, it was the first time that I had the feeling the project seriously needs help. Sure, Texas Instruments also became a platinum member, and others followed, but it wasn’t the same anymore.

It might be my impression only, but at this years OEDEM preceding the ELC-E in Edinburgh again there was a strange atmosphere. It was the biggest meeting we ever had (by number of attendees), and yet it had the sense of us not really knowing where to head.

Also, in this year (due to his reassignment), my somewhat “professional” relation to Jefro ended with him throwing a pair of socks at me. Guess thats the reason why I think of him as a distant, but good friend.

X-Mas vacation 2018-2019

Now it gets really weird. since my youth, I always have had an interest in Magic: The Gathering. No idea why, I’ve always been an extraordinarily bad player, but nonetheless I dabbled with their new online installment a little. And as I had taken a long break (several years), the game had changed so much that I couldn’t understand it at first. Which was how I discovered Twitch, just to watch other folks playing and explaining.


Enter 2019. Some time early in the year I was like “Who says that there can only be gaming on Twitch?”, and I realized that a lot of people actually do run livecoding sessions there. Mostly web things, but it was nothing unheard of. So I stepped up to some friends and asked “What do you think about doing Yocto live coding sessions?”.

The response was somewhat mixed, I would say in retrospective. In the end, we settled on “We’ll just give it a try and hope that you know what you are doing.”


So we got this started on April 30th, 2019, and what can I say? Judge for yourself but I would call the series a huge success. After that things started to get a bit crazy. At the ELC-E in Lyon a lot of folks stepped up to me with questions, remarks, praise, critics… all is appreciated! It felt like I had instantly become some kind of YP celebrity.

And additionally, in late 2019 the YP announced that the ambassador program will be revived.

X-Mas vacation 2019-2020

Another end-of-year time to think about things. While being convinced that the ambassador program is a very good thing to have, I did and still do not see myself fitting in there. An ambassador is - in my head - a somewhat serious, elder, maybe a bit stern person, with good manners, always nice taking care of all things in a calm and professional way. Is that me? HELL NO!

So what is, keeping the picture, the equivalent that fits me?

And therefore the Jester was born

After some gently nudging by Philip (finally your link!) I agreed to do the social media dance, starting out on Twitter and LinkedIn. It worked. I did more live coding sessions. It worked even better. And so I decided, a couple of days back to really make it a brand that is

when it comes to my take on things about the YP, just like a proper jester should be. And as you are reading this, you are obviously in for the ride. Enjoy!