But first, let us open this interview with some good news… Graphene v1.0.1 was just released! The new version contains multiple bugfixes and a long list of sample application integrations - including web servers, databases and more. Download Here.


On this edition of our series featuring the contributors for Project Graphene we’d like to introduce one of the people that played a key part in shipping the September release, Graphene v1.0.  

As mentioned by Mona in her interview, the Intel Open Source Technology Center (OTC) played an instrumental role in transforming Graphene from a project into a product - from its beginnings in the academic world. Today we’re interviewing Isaku Yamahata, one of the most prolific contributors to the project and part of the Intel’s Open Source team.

Q: How did you get started in tech? Would you tell us more about your background?

IY: My background is in open source software engineering, and most specifically OS Kernels and Hypervisor. I started to play with Linux Kernels during the early days, versions 1.0 and 1.2, and then I started to work on open source.

In my early days, I worked on NetBSD and Linux kernel, storage/filing systems and then I moved into working on hypervisor and KVM.

After that, I moved towards networking and later open stack. I joined Intel in 2013, working on the open stack too, and after two or three years I started to work on Graphene.

Q: What brought you to Project Graphene? Mona mentioned the pivotal role that Graphene had when OTC took in the project - what is your role in the project?

IY: My team actively contributes to open source projects and we were approached by Intel Labs to help stabilize Graphene.  Graphene was originally developed by academic researchers,  not really usable in a robust way, and my role is to actually make it deployable.

When Intel OTC joined, many things needed to be improved or redone with good engineering practices. Sometimes there were things implemented in rudimentary or “hacky” ways, just to make it work, or get the benchmarking going - but in practice, they were not really working correctly.  

As my background is in Linux Kernels and detailed kernel implementation, the robustness of Graphene and for it to be correctly built from an engineering perspective is a core task that I have to look after.

There are just a few Library OS projects out there. Graphene is a promising candidate to be one of the most popular ones. For me, this is a chance to implement Library OS sort of “from scratch”. I say “sort of” because many things need to be re-implemented in a clean way.

My contribution to Graphene is basically bringing my Kernel knowledge to the project and make the engineering great, and the project sustainable as an Open Source project. As my background is different than others (Mona is in security, ITL in security as well, Chia-Che and Don are researchers) we complement each other well.

Q: You've been mentioned as one of the main collaborators/maintainers in the projects - what, do you think, comes next?

IY: The Graphene project, for now, it’s an early-stage project going through “growing pains” - this means it’s going through continuous integration processes, and there are many other things to be done for the project to be continued smoothly.

Packaging systems, how to install distribution packages or how to distribute it, are priorities. I’d like to fill those gaps to be able to grow the Graphene user-base. Once we get there, more developers will come. In short, Graphene needs to get to a stage where it’s able to work easily “out of the box”. But we are getting closer every day.

Q: What do you think about the project’s potential?

IY: Graphene has already started to take flight - even if it’s in its very early stages. We have already done the “Heavy lifting” part, so nowadays, I am appointed to the project part-time but the work continues.

Now it’s a matter of growing its robustness with regards to implementation so that we don’t have to scramble to debug something…

Graphene has big potential. In the Open Source sphere, Graphene does not have a competitor, there are only options within proprietary software. I would like to see Graphene become a leader in open source to deploy secure applications.


That’s it for now - as you can see, Graphene is just getting started. Through the efforts of the different contributors and entities in the working group, it will continue its growth. As we look into the future, understanding the importance of having a robust Open Source library OS that can be equaled in quality with the solutions out there, is core to user adoption.

To find out more about Graphene, check the website

Curious about Intel Open Source Technology Center - visit this link