Saturday, January 1, 2011

EuroBSDCon2010 Trip Report: Lars Engels

Lars Engels recently submitted his trip report for EuroBSDCon. He writes:

This year's annual EuroBSDCon took place in the city of Karlsruhe, Germany in October. As usual there was a Developer Summit the two days before the conference.
Thanks to the help of the FreeBSD Foundation, who sponsored the conference fee for me, I could attend both the summit and the conference.

I arrived on Thursday morning at the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT) where the Summit took place. On my way to the right building I stumbled upon Warner Losh who was also looking for the place of the event. Just after we found the others the 15 minute talks started.

There were some interesting talks about the USB subsystem and USB 3.0 in FreeBSD, the state of FreeBSD's jail implementation and a new virtualization mode called Virtual Private Systems which lets one live migrate servers from one instance to another.

After the talks and lunch there were some breakout sessions. I attended hps' USB session where we worked on some non-working USB devices.

The second day of the Summit again started with talks. The most interesting ones to me were the cooperation with PC-BSD by Dru, FreeNAS by Warner, and Alexander Motin's work on a new event timer subsystem which can be very useful on mobile devices because with it it is possible to reduce the number of interrupts and so let the CPU stay longer in sleep states which consumes less of your battery's power.

After lunch I joined the PC-BSD breakout session where Kris Moore was collecting ideas for the upcoming 9.0 version of PC-BSD. Kris and I were also working out a concept of a new GUI for creating 3G mobile connections for the next PCBSD release. In the evening we had a delicous dinner at a local restaurant and had some beverages at the hotel bar afterwards.

On Saturday the actual conference began with a keynote from Poul-Henning Kamp who provokingly stated that the long tradition of text processing in Unix is dying and needs to get refined to support modern techniques like XML. With his talk he left a thoughtful audience behind.

James Gritton's talk on his ongoing work on FreeBSD's jails was very informative. When the work is finished, the jails will have a complete new way of configuring them with config files and new options.

After the lunch break I attended the longer version of the VPS talk that was already held at the Summit.

As the following talks weren't too interesting to me I worked on patching some ports with Ed Schouten.

In the evening there was an excellent buffet in the hotel followed by a mobile discotheque whose DJ tried to animate a horde of geeks which led to a fire alarm because the smoke machine activated the fire detector. :-)

On Sunday Kris Moore gave a talk on PC-Sysinstall which could replace FreeBSD's time-honored sysinstall installation program. PC-Sysinstall is already used in PC-BSD and seems to be mature. Meanwhile its backend was committed to FreeBSD's source tree but is still waiting for other frontends to be developed because the only existing frontend is a graphical one which cannot be used on devices without a screen.

Martin Matuska's talk on the future of ZFS in FreeBSD was also very enlightening. On the one hand he explained the legal hurdles of ZFS' implementation in FreeBSD and why ZFS's CDDL license is compatible to our BSD license but not to the GPL. On the other hand he gave an outlook on the development of future ZFS versions now that Oracle no longer develops ZFS publicly.

After the talk I continued to assist Kris Moore to develop the 3G part of the PC-BSD network manager.

The last talk was a restrospective of the BSD projects (FreeBSD, OpenBSD, NetBSD and PC-BSD) on their work during the last months. OpenBSD seems to have made big progress in suspending and resuming notebooks while NetBSD concentrated on developing the pcc compiler.

Brooks Davis presented several completed and nearly completed projects like the work on an alternative compiler (CLANG/LLVM) which was committed to FreeBSD base some time ago.

To sum up, I'd like to say that this year's EuroBSDCon was a nice and well organized conference. Thanks to for the organization and to the FreeBSD Foundation for funding my conference ticket.

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