path: root/2018/osmodevcon2018-2017_retrospective/osmodevcon2018-2017_retrospective.adoc
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authorHarald Welte <>2018-04-11 21:52:49 +0200
committerHarald Welte <>2018-04-11 21:54:01 +0200
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osmodevcon: welcome, SD-E1, retrospective
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+Year 2017 Osmocom retrospective
+:author: Harald Welte <>
+:copyright: 2018 by Harald Welte (License: CC-BY-SA)
+:backend: slidy
+:max-width: 45em
+== 2017 - a year of change
+Osmocom CNI (Cellular Network Infrastructure) has changed a lot:
+* software changes
+* team / developer changes
+* sysmocom company focus changes
+== 2017 - CNI Software changes
+* OsmoBSC migration from SCCPlite to 3GPP AoIP
+* OsmoMGW as integral part of both BSC and MSC
+* NITB split into separate MSC, HLR, BSC
+* 3G (IuCS, IuPS) goes mainline
+== 2016/2017/2018 - Team changes
+* Q1 2016: Jacob Erlbeck leaves sysmocom
+** unfortunately a complete loss to Osmocom, particularly OsmoPCU
+* 2017: Holger Freyther leaves sysmocom
+** unfortunately also shift of focus away from Osmocom :(
+** immense loss to the project in terms of skill and capacity
+* Q1 2018: Max Suraev leaves sysmocom
+** another loss of lots of Osmocom knowledge
+== sysmocom changes
+* we used to have to do lots of non-Osmocom work to cross-subsidize Osmocom
+** big distraction of resources in 2014/2015, now gone
+* we used to cross-subsidize Osmocom development by hardware sales
+** not happening as much anymore
+* we now work almost 100% on Osmocom
+** R&D projects, support contracts and grants
+== split NITB aftermath (the good parts)
+* biggest architectural change since we started in 2008
+* lots of good reasons and design improvements
+** finite state machines with proper timeouts / clean-up
+** proper 3GPP AoIP with interoperability tesing
+** no synchronous HLR database access
+** HLR access from OsmoMSC and OsmoSGSN
+** 2G/3G authentication over GERAN and UTRAN
+== split NITB aftermath (the bad parts)
+* never-ending list of breakage
+** actual regressions of things that used to work before
+** things that were _known omissions_ during the restructuring
+* some commercial users stuck with SCCPlite and thus old @osmo-bsc-sccplite@
+** almost none of the new features or bug fixes there
+** no automatic testing
+** back-ports time-consuming
+== split NITB aftermath (lessons learned)
+* overall complexity of Osomcoom cellular is quite stunning now
+* absence of proper functional testing has caused massive fall-out
+* the split architecture allows for betteer testing of smaller parts of the system
+* my personal main focus of the last 5+ months:
+** testing, testing, testing, testing
+** testing, testing, testing, testing
+** some more testing
+** even more testing
+== Osmocom CNI testing (1/2)
+* unit test (autotest, like we always had)
+** test individual functions / APIs of libraries / programs
+** executed during "make check" and hence before any patch can get merged
+* automatized functional tests in TTCN-3
+** test _external_ visible behavior on interfaces such as Abis, A, GSUP, GTP, MNCC, PCUIF, CTRL, VTY, ...
+** executed nightly by Jenkins (could be more frequently)
+== Osmocom CNI testing (2/2)
+* osmo-gsm-tester
+** tests entire Osmoocom network with BTS/BSC/MSC/HLR/PCU/SGSN/GGSN/...
+** uses real BTS + MS hardware (over coaxial cable)
+** automatic execution multiple times per day
+* interop tests
+** against NG40 RAN + CN simulator from NG4% (A / Gb / Iu level)
+** not fully automatized yet
+== Osmocom project health (CNI)
+* lots of funded developments, *but*
+** primarily _enterprise features_ required by professional users
+* dominance of sysmocom is problematic
+** sustainable FOSS has no single point of failure!
+* we need more contributions from third parties
+** particularly those that benefit commercially from Osmocom
+== Osmocom project health (other projects)
+* OsmocomTETRA dead since 2012, occasional small fixes
+* No OsmocomBB ports to other PHY/chip yet
+* OsmocomDECT completely dead
+* Erlang core network projects dead
+* Smalltalk projects dead (AFAICT)
+* SIMtrace dead for years, about to be resurrected
+== Osmocom project health (other projects)
+* gr-osmosdr very low commit ratio
+* rtl-sdr no commits in 2015-2017
+* but it's not that bad... (see next slide)
+== Osmocom project health (other projects)
+* gr-gsm, fake_trx and trxcon a welcome change in OsmocomBB
+* osmocom-analog (jolly to the rescue)
+* osmo-fl2k (soon! now! this year!)
+== Osmocom status (CNI)
+* CS RAN (BTS, BSC) is quite strong/complete these days
+** ready to be used with 3rd party CN
+* PS RAN (PCU) suffers from lack of attention
+** lack of automatic testsuite with decent coverage
+** lack of uplink multi-slot any many EGPRS features
+** in halthy state, but lack of TCAP/MAP interface limits us to non-roaming networks
+** in good health, now with IPv6 supoprt and kernel GTP acceleration
+== Osmocom outlook (CNI)
+* 2G still in demand by lots of use cases (rural, maritime, ...)
+** if we had TCAP/MAP interface, many more deployments possible
+* 3G has some users but lack of FOSS RNC limits us to femtocells
+* 4G is deployed in parallel to 2G in many scenarios
+** Osmocom 2G stack needs 2G-4G integration (SGs, DIAMETER)
+** Osmocom needs to contribute to FOSS 4G projects (nextepc, srsLTE)
+* irony: Now that it's possible to do properly funded Osmocom development, we have less people involved than in the early days :(
+If we don't manage to focus on 4G soon, interest in 2G will diminish soon
+== Osmocom outlook (other projects)
+* activity of original/traditional Osmocom developers decreased
+* without attracting more developers, a lot of projects will remain dormant and/or never realize their potential
+* I'd love to work on TETRA, DMR or other mobile communications technology
+** but lack of developers and contributors even for 2G makes me stuck in 2G CNI land :(
+== Personal Request
+* Osmocom needs you!
+* we've lost too many friends already
+* please don't leave Osmocom; please don't leave me
+== Further Reading
+See my detailed 2017 review:
+== EOF
+End of File
personal git repositories of Harald Welte. Your mileage may vary