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How can we make Linux functionally safe for automotive?

By Ambassadors, Blog

Written by Jeffrey “Jefro” Osier-Mixon, ELISA Project Ambassador and member of the TSC and Senior Principal Community Architect at Red Hat

This blog originally ran on the Red Hat website. For more content like this, click here.

The automotive computing world, like many other industries, is going through a transformation. Traditionally discrete computing systems are becoming more integrated, with workloads consolidated into systems that look remarkably more like edge systems than embedded devices. The ideas driving this shift come from open source, but will Linux be part of this future, given that the existing standards for functional safety do not currently accommodate Linux-based operating systems?

Red Hat safety expert Gabriele Paoloni will present our safety methodology to the Automotive Linux Summit as an update to the presentation given at the recent ELISA Workshop. This methodology outlines the path Red Hat is taking toward creating an in-vehicle OS that incorporates modern ideas around workload orchestration, secure process isolation, and consolidation of mixed-criticality workloads, field-updatable and continuously certified for functional safety. We recognize that this is a huge task, but we believe it to be possible by adhering to these development pillars:

  • Open methodology development within ELISA
  • Participation in the ISO 26262 update process
  • Open code development within the CentOS Automotive SIG

ELISA (Enabling Linux in Safety Applications) is a vital part of the Linux universe, and it provides a community where those of us who care deeply about functional safety can address the challenges of certification and create solutions to resolve those challenges. ELISA is the cornerstone open source community for functional safety, and automotive is a big focus as the industry is clamoring for transformation and advanced computing facilities within the car. Red Hat recognizes that value and has emerged as a leader in the community.

ISO 26262 was originally developed in a time when automotive computing was managed through Electronic Control Units (ECUs), black boxes that had a deterministic output when given specific inputs. The standard is notably lacking support for pre-existing complex systems, including Linux. Red Hat is a member of an ongoing effort to update ISO 26262, known as ISO-PAS 8926, which has been accepted as a new working item proposal to the ISO committee.

Finally, Red Hat continues its commitment to work transparently as well as upstream first by forming an automotive special interest group (SIG) within CentOS. This Automotive SIG meets twice a month to collaboratively discuss automotive issues, including safety, and to produce a reference automotive OS based on CentOS Stream. We hope you will join us on this journey.

You can view Gabriele Paoloni’s “Functional Safety certification methodology for Red Hat In Vehicle OS” video from Automotive Linux Summit below.

ELISA Ambassador: Elana Copperman

By Ambassador Spotlight, Ambassadors, Blog

ELISA Ambassadors are technical leaders who are passionate about the mission of the ELISA Project, recognized for their expertise in functional safety and linux kernel development, and willing to help others to learn about the community and how to contribute. 

Each month, we’ll put a spotlight on an ELISA Ambassador. Today, we’re excited to highlight Elana Copperman, PhD, ELISA ambassador, Chair of the Linux Features for Safety-Critical Systems (LFSCS) Working Group and TSC voting member.  Elana works as a System Safety Architect in Mobileye, an Intel company, designing features to support safety as well as security features in Mobileye vision products for the automotive domain.

Background Details:

As a System Safety Architect at Mobileye, Elana provides support for designing critical system features in Mobileye products, including system boot; drivers; and Linux infrastructure. Before working at Mobileye, she worked as a Security Architect for Cisco-Il (formerly NDS) and more recently as a security consultant for major European automotive concerns on behalf of various Israeli startups.  Most recently, merging with safety constraints in the automotive domain, to deploy secure as well as safe systems.  Her research interests focus on software engineering methodologies and security engineering.  

Q&A

How long have you been active in open source?

I have been involved in “open source” before it was formalized as we know it today.  During my time as an undergraduate student, online software source code was commonly shared as freeware.  In fact, even early Unix versions were provided at no cost to academics, and collaborative efforts were supported to some degree.  

My PhD research focused on Object-Oriented Programming, including some investigations on Java source code and features.  Open source software development, Linux in particular, has evolved since then, including many new challenges and opportunities.  For example, setting up and working with Apache Server over Linux OS in the early 1990’s.

Over the last 15 years, Linux has grown to what we know & love today, with its amazing powers.  As a system architect, I have been designing systems that empower Linux in embedded systems, first in Set-Top Boxes (for digital broadcasting) and currently in Automotive.

Tell us about your favorite open source project and what problems did it aim to solve?

My favorite open source project focused on security code review with ST (chip vendor) engineers for the optee code, which had been released to Linaro.  To see first-hand how open source aligns vendor, kernel and user requirements with features to resolve complex security challenges was mind-blowing. 

How long have you been active in the ELISA Project? 

I have been active in ELISA  for more than 2 years, with active participation in each of the Workshops since joining.  I have also presented talks related to Linux kernel features such as CRC pitfalls, eBPF verifier, isolation techniques, and kernel configurations related to safety.

What roles and/or working groups do you have or participate in?

I was the Chair of the Kernel Development Process Working Group, and am currently the new Linux Features for Safety-Critical Systems WG.  I am learning from the safety experts on board, and my primary contribution is to represent the viewpoint of the application designers and developers who will build Linux-based safety critical systems.  

Where do you see the ELISA Project in three years?

My dream for ELISA is to see a community of developers providing kernel modules which may be leveraged for use in safety critical systems.  For example, a suite of memory protection mechanisms derived from well defined requirements that may be deployed to protect safety-critical data.  Another example, which is in our planned agenda, are test suites for concurrency issues such as deadlock and race conditions, focusing on test plans derived from safety requirements.

What is the biggest strength of the ELISA community?

I think ELISA has matured since its early days and we are currently more structured in our analysis and goals.  Our strength is in current efforts to progress and making real contributions to the Linux kernel community.

What is the best piece of advice you have ever received?

Never give up.  Be flexible, adapt, adjust – but keep up the hard work.

What technology can you not live without? Why?

My home coffee machine.  Drop in for a fresh cup and you will know why.

What part of the world do you live in? Why do you love where you live?

I live in Israel, a tiny multicultural nation at the junction of 3 continents (Europe, Asia, Africa). It has also become a major highway for birds – and a pilgrimage site for bird watchers.  A wide variety of species can be viewed making their way south in the fall and back north in the spring.  Thomas Krumenacker (German journalist and photographer) wrote a book on “Birds in the Holy Land”. 

Now is a great time of year to take a trip to the Hula Valley Nature Reserve, to get a view of some of the estimated 500 million migrating birds passing over the Hula Valley and stopping by for a drink of water. This exemplifies the amazing diversity of the people and wildlife of our small fast-paced country.

What’s your favorite quote?

3 Fun facts: 

  • My first computer was a PCJr, with 64 Kb of memory, and with virtually no hardware or software.  I had to install all my own hardware add-ons and get it to work, including etching bit maps for the Hebrew alphabet in memory and getting it to work from right to left.  After adding more and more components to the motherboard, one day it blew up.  But I had a lot of fun with it until that happened.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:IBM_PCB_Jr_Internal.jpg
  • As a grad student at NYU, we had loads of fun playing with early internet protocols and collaboration tools, including gopher and kermit; getting our hands dirty  (“finger”) working with each other’s systems; and Mosaic (an early Web browser).  The crazy things we did over the internet taught me a lot about potential security issues related to networking.  This expertise was the foundation for my more recent work in security and safety engineering.
  • As chair of the Computer Department at the Jerusalem College, we aimed high but with a low budget. Trying to keep up to date with educational (i.e., no support or documentation) versions of closed source software was a real challenge.  I became adept at finding contacts working with major software vendors who were willing to break down the walls, expose the source code and support my customization for our needs.  In a sense, challenging proprietary software in open-source development mode …

To learn more about ELISA ambassadors, please click here

Welcome Jeffrey Osier-Mixon and John MacGregor as new ELISA Ambassadors!

By Ambassadors, Announcement, Blog

ELISA Ambassadors are technical leaders who are passionate about the mission of the ELISA Project, recognized for their expertise in functional safety and linux kernel development, and willing to help others to learn about the community and how to contribute. 

Today, we announce two new ambassadors – Jeffrey Osier-Mixon, Principal Community Architect at Red Hat, and John MacGregor, a thought leader with several decades of experience in software technology. Learn more about Jeffrey and John below.

Jeffrey “Jefro” Osier-Mixon:

Jefro currently focuses on automotive efforts. As a community architect, Jefro is responsible for maintaining Red Hat’s relationship with automotive-oriented communities, and he acts as the current chair for the CentOS Automotive Special Interest Group.Jefro has worked in open source for nearly three decades, having started his career as a technical writer with Cygnus Support working on documentation for the GNU tools. He has worked with Wind River and Montavista/Cavium Networks on embedded operating systems, and spent five years at Transmeta. He switched careers in 2011 and went to Intel to serve as the community and program manager for the Yocto Project, where he was the board chair for 7 years. During that time, he also helped launch Zephyr and Project ACRN. Most recently, he spent two years at the Linux Foundation as a program manager for RISC-V International and LF Energy.Jefro has been on the program committee for the Embedded Linux Conference series since 2010, and he speaks regularly at open source conferences. It’s best to catch him after the coffee kicks in.

John MacGregor:

John is currently spicing up his retirement by participating in various ELISA working groups. He started his long career as a scientific programmer, switched to Unix programmer and system architect, then progressed to project manager in telecommunications. He worked for several decades as Senior Expert for Software Technology in the Corporate Research Division of Robert Bosch GmbH. Among other things, he worked on software process improvement, software reuse, automotive software architecture and IoT technologies. Before retiring, John participated in the SIL2LinuxMP project, which focused on certifying Linux under IEC 61508 at the SIL2 level, and then continued to contribute to the ELISA project.

John holds a Bachelor’s degree in Industrial Engineering, specializing in operations research and information systems, as well as an MBA, specializing in marketing and finance.

Learn more about other ELISA Ambassadors here: https://elisa.tech/community/ambassadors/ Or, if you’re currently participating in the project and would like to become an ambassador, you can apply here.