Monday, December 28, 2009

Google Summer of Code Mentor Summit 2009

Brooks Davis recently reported on his trip to the Google Summer of Code Mentor Summit 2009. The Foundation assisted in some of his travel costs to this event. Brook writes:

The Google Summer of Code Mentor Summit was held at the Google campus in Mountain View October 24th and 25th. I represented the FreeBSD project at the event along with Tim Kientzle who was one of our other program admins.

Google runs the Mentor Summit as an un-conference which means that attendees pick topics they want to discuss, others indicate interest in them, and then rooms are allocated based on demand. Sessions were about things including general open source process issues, education, technical collaborations, and individual project meetings.

One of the highlights of Saturday was a session on multi-core and other acceleration technologies like GPUs. The session didn't come to a strong consensus other than incorporating these technologies is difficult. The most concrete thing that came up was the idea of putting the technologies behind widely used APIs so they automatically provide benefit. Another topic of discussion was debugging tools and
techniques. I think that is an area where FreeBSD is sometimes ahead with technologies like witness and now DTrace.

The other session of interest was an impromptu session of non-Linux OSes including DragonFlyBSD, FreeBSD, Haiku, and NetBSD. It was mostly people talking about current status. One thing other projects seemed to want was a way to take advantage of FreeBSD network drivers by providing more common interfaces. In concept this was interesting, but probably isn't some thing that would make a whole lot of sense for FreeBSD given that we're rethinking and redesigning the interfaces we have to meet modern performance requirements.

The most useful session on Sunday was when Tim and I grabbed a small conference room and started reviewing our GSoC admin materials for next year. Based on that information, we plan to start engaging with FreeBSD developers in January in anticipation of a 2010 program.

Over all the conference was interesting and fun. It was good to talk to
people from other projects that don't often attend the BSD conference.
I'm not sure anything concrete came of those interactions, but it was
probably useful nonetheless.

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