The shift from feature phones to smart phones has hit every corner of the technology industry. Broadcom is no exception. Their Cellular SoC group has made the transition from supporting proprietary operating systems to the wildly popular Android operating system. As part of this transition, Broadcom needed to re-train software engineers in their Cellular SoC group to support Linux and Android. They turned to the Linux Foundation to provide customized, in-house training services to get their engineers up to speed on Linux quickly, efficiently and with low costs.
Cellular SoC is the centerpiece technology inside a smartphone, which runs an application operating system with all kinds of applications like Android, provides connectivity to the cellular networks, and drives all the peripherals on the phone. Broadcom has engineers around the world supporting their cellular SoC. Last year they contracted with the Linux Foundation to provide custom training courses for engineers in three locations in California, as well as a development team in Bangalore, India. The Linux Foundation created a hybrid course to suit Broadcom’s needs that combined their Developing Linux Device Drivers and Linux Kernel Internals and Development classes into one five day course.
Why did they choose the Linux Foundation? “Word of mouth was that the Linux Foundation training was very good. And we quickly realized that other training providers weren’t able to customize the courses the way we wanted,” said Matthew Cheng, Software Development Director in the Mobile and Wireless Group at Broadcom Corporation. “Also, Broadcom is a member of the Linux Foundation so there were some discounts associated with our membership.”
The engineers trained by the Linux Foundation had little experience with Linux. At least at the start. “After taking the training course, our engineers are now more comfortable with Linux. For a lot of them it was new. They haven’t even used it at home or in personal time. This training removed the fear factor of Linux.”
The Linux Foundation worked closely with Mr. Cheng to customize the two training courses to suit their needs, specifically making the material ideal for ARM-based mobile Linux providers. “For instance, we took out all the PCI and Ethernet network driver info. You don’t need that with mobile phone development. The willingness of the Linux Foundation to customize the course to our needs was the biggest determining factor for choosing them.”
Broadcom realized that their costs and the productivity of their engineers would both be optimized by having one expert instructor travel to their location, instead of sending engineers to classes at external locations, especially when the team is distributed at points as far apart as San Diego and Bangalore. According to Mr. Cheng, after the course the engineers could now navigate Linux source code, know where to find the information they need to solve problems and have a good understanding of a Linux system to optimize their code for Android-based systems. This is hugely valuable in a rapidly growing market.
What was the best part of the Linux Foundation’s Linux kernel and device driver training for Broadcom? “You get an experienced instructor with truly hands-on experience in embedded Linux. Someone who has worked in the field and not just read books,” said Cheng. “This was important to us. We want our engineers to learn from hands-on, experienced developers who teach them best practices. The Linux Foundation provided that.”
About LFD420 Linux Kernel Internals and Development
Learn the basic methods the Linux kernel is built upon, grasping the theoretical and practical underpinnings. View the complete Linux Kernel Internals and Development course overview.
LFD430 Developing Linux Device Drivers
Learn how to develop device drivers for Linux systems. View the complete Developing Linux Device Drivers course overview.