Saturday, October 22, 2011

Trip Report: Niklas Zeising

 The next trip report is from Niklas Zeising:

This year I had the privilege and pleasure to attend EuroBSDcon 2011 and the preceding Developers Summit.  I have had plans to travel to earlier EuroBSDcon conferences, but have never been able to partly because of the cost.  What made this year different was the generous sponsorship from the FreeBSD Foundation which finally made it possible for me to attend EuroBSDcon 2011. My primary reason for attending the conference was to meet and talk to some of the people in the FreeBSD community that I have had contact with over IRC and e-mail.  I was also hoping to be able to contribute to the discussions during the Developer Summit and to listen to the talks and perhaps learn something new.

My travel started in Sweden from where I traveled via Copenhagen to Amsterdam and then on to the conference city, Maarssen.  When I arrived at the hotel, I was just in time to drop my things off in my room and run to the bus to catch up for the Wednesday dinner.

My first day since arriving in Maarssen I attended the FreeBSD Developers Summit, to which I had been invited by Benedict Reuschling.  After arriving at the venue and registering for the conference, the first order of business was eating breakfast, which was served at the venue.  After breakfast and the Developer Summit opening ceremony, I spent the rest of the morning attending the documentation working group.  During this session we had interesting discussions about several topics, including the conversion of the repository to subversion and what was needed to convert the FreeBSD documentation to a more modern markup language.  We also discussed how to get more people involved in the documentation effort and how to make use of all the howtos floating around in the FreeBSD forums and the Internet in general. After lunch I continued the day by attending the Toolchain and Capsicum working groups.  It was very nice to listen to these great minds discussing various aspects of FreeBSD.

The second day started with reports from the different working groups, after which Ulrich Spoerlein led a discussion about using git.  The next topic on the agenda was the vendor discussion.  It was very insightful and interesting to hear from some of the people that use FreeBSD in their commercial and research applications.  I also found it interesting to hear why some companies choose not to use FreeBSD in their IT infrastructure. After lunch, the Developer Summit continued with a discussion on Virtualization. For me it was very interesting to hear about BHyVe, since I was not aware that this project existed.  It is also clear that there still are tasks to work on to make FreeBSD an even more competitive platform in the virtualization market. The developer summit then ended with a brainstorming session on the FreeBSD 10.0 release.

Saturday meant that it was time for the conference proper.  After a very interesting keynote given by Hans van de Looy on the topic of the recent data breach at Diginotar, and other issues regarding IT security, such as trust, I started the day in the hacking lounge where I began working on some of the ideas and suggestions talked about during the documentation working group.  The first talk I attended was about OpenBSD's packet filter, PF, and its history. After lunch I spent the afternoon listening on the devsummit track.  The last talk of the day was by Marshall Kirk McKusick on the topic of BSD history.  I found this talk very funny and it was interesting to hear more about the history of BSD.

The EuroBSDcon social event took place Saturday evening at the railway museum in Utrecht.  I found the museum entertaining and we got a very nice guided tour through the museum.  After the tour, dinner was served in the museum.

Sunday began with a second keynote, this time the topic was reliable systems, which was given by Herbert Bos.  I continued the morning listening to the talk on Capsicum by Robert Watson and BSD Multiplicity by Michael Dexter.  After lunch the Sendmail talk by Eric Allman was on the agenda, which I followed up with the talk on OpenSSH by Damien Miller and ZFS by Brooks Davis.  The day ended with a work in progress session and the closing ceremony.  It was actually a little saddening that the conference was over since I had a very good time.

I am very glad that I went to EuroBSDcon 2011 and really hope that I will be able to go again in the future.  It was very nice to finally be able to meet some of the great persons behind e-mail addresses, commit messages and IRC nicknames and talk to them in person.  I want to thank Benedict Reuschling for talking me into finally going and to the FreeBSD Foundation for giving me the opportunity to attend.  I also want to thank all the other people I met and talked to during the conference and who made me feel right at home.  Last but not least, I want to thank the organizers who made the conference a reality. Hopefully we will see each other next year!

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