So You Can’t Find Yocto People

Yocto Project logo

I have been somewhat hounded since February, perhaps as late as March about a project that needs yocto skills. Like most embedded systems people who are professionals, I dabble in yocto when a project requires it. I don’t do “kernel mods” and I don’t write device drivers but I will work on recipes to change out device trees and add our custom software.

Some of the newer tools from Toradex make yocto builds a bit easier. If you can deal with all the excess baggage that comes in a standard Torzon Core image the Torizon Core Builder may be all you need. I have real misgivings about how they override the device tree for that tool. Personally I believe it opens the device up for a Chameleon type attack since a text file of a known name in a known location will override the default device tree at a time when there is no protection, but that might just be me.

Since I do yocto more and more now I even picked up a Z820 with 128GB of RAM and 20-core to make from scratch yocto builds get done in just over three hours. Yes, I’ve written about it before.

Featured image courtesy of Yocto Project, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

What do we know about Yocto People?

To start with, they are professionals. They went to a real school and endure all of the boring IT fundamentals classes like:

  • Program logic sans any programming language
  • Data Processing Math – all of the binary, hex, and octal manipulations. Such joy.
  • Systems Architecture – not just “here’s an x86” but real computes all the way down to x86
  • At least one Assembly language
  • C programming

Enduring the fundamentals made it possible for them to endure yocto builds. Script-kiddies aren’t going to sit there for a 24-hour build. See previous link for rough build time ideas for various machines.

Yocto People don’t hack on the fly. Many of today’s shops embrace hacking on the fly with gusto! They call it AGILE. Professionals won’t touch AGILE with 100 mile pole.

stickers from

If you like those stickers you can find them here.

Many of today’s Yocto People came up on real computers back when you had to submit a compile to batch and minutes/hours/days later the system printer would spit out a listing. Sometimes you had to wait for people to bring it to you because you weren’t allowed in the machine room. This also helps them endure yocto builds.

Some of the younger Yocto People work for companies that lease massive server farms. We are talking thousands of core. They use build monitoring tools and tend to work on Yocto builds for six to fifteen customers at a time. While they are a bit more prone to “just try something” they still cannot hack on the fly because the delivery date isn’t moving.

Why can’t you get Yocto People?

It’s quite simple, you’re an AGILE shop!

Somewhere someone bought into the bullshit that you could save a ton of money by not writing specs up front. That somehow a dozen developers all surfing the Web and hacking on the fly stumble into the appropriate architecture for a system.

You see, to do Yocto (or any kind of system build) right, you have to have actual SDLC documentation and an actual Systems Architect riding roughshod over the development team. A project simply can’t risk someone slipping something in.

You, person who can’t hire Yocto People, really need to read this book.

You can order it here.

Yocto People aren’t going to live with you giving them “the same machine as the developers” so they endure 24+ hour builds and have you changing the system requirements with every sprint. Even if you give them the exact machine they want they aren’t going to tolerate the shifting sand that is your trash can of “User Stories.”

You won’t get Yocto People until you dump the false methodology known as AGILE.

Roland Hughes started his IT career in the early 1980s. He quickly became a consultant and president of Logikal Solutions, a software consulting firm specializing in OpenVMS application and C++/Qt touchscreen/embedded Linux development. Early in his career he became involved in what is now called cross platform development. Given the dearth of useful books on the subject he ventured into the world of professional author in 1995 writing the first of the "Zinc It!" book series for John Gordon Burke Publisher, Inc. A decade later he released a massive (nearly 800 pages) tome "The Minimum You Need to Know to Be an OpenVMS Application Developer" which tried to encapsulate the essential skills gained over what was nearly a 20 year career at that point. From there "The Minimum You Need to Know" book series was born. Three years later he wrote his first novel "Infinite Exposure" which got much notice from people involved in the banking and financial security worlds. Some of the attacks predicted in that book have since come to pass. While it was not originally intended to be a trilogy, it became the first book of "The Earth That Was" trilogy: Infinite Exposure Lesedi - The Greatest Lie Ever Told John Smith - Last Known Survivor of the Microsoft Wars When he is not consulting Roland Hughes posts about technology and sometimes politics on his blog. He also has regularly scheduled Sunday posts appearing on the Interesting Authors blog.