Tuesday, November 27, 2012

EuroBSDCon Trip Report: Alexander Pronin

The Foundation sponsored several developers to attend the EuroBSDCon DevSummit and conference in October. Here is the trip report from Alexander Pronin, a GSoC student who worked on parallelization in the ports collection and pkgng utility.

I arrived in Warsaw on Wednesday. After dropping off my luggage at the hotel Gromada Centrum, I stayed for the rest of the day at the hotel, preparing for the coming devsummit. Unfortunately, I was late to join devsummit participants for dinner and discussion of the coming devsummit.

The next day the devsummit started. The first person I met was Pali Gabor Janos, the devsummit organizer. I also became acquainted with Aleksander Dutkowski, another Google Summer of Code student at The FreeBSD Project. During the briefing part of the devsummit, participants introduced themselves and went to the working group rooms. First, I attended the Ports working group. The working group covered the following topics. Beat described the current state of movement to SVN, and explained problems that he faced and the long period of movement to the SVN repository. Finally, utilities that still work with the CVS repository were covered. Then Baptiste Daroussin discussed the current state and further implementation of the pkgng utility, as well as topics related to build cluster, such as the new portbuild2 script and schedule of building of binary packages sets. Unfortunately, the problem of UNIQUENAME global variable is still open. Finally, the new options framework and default sets of options for various FreeBSD builds were discussed. Kris Moore also took part in this discussion in scope of default options for PC-BSD.

During lunch I met Gavin Atkinson. He kindly offered his help in case of any questions or if I need his help with introduction to somebody in the community.  I also get acquainted with Ulrich Spoerlein. We discussed the current state of mirroring FreeBSD source code to GitHub, the importance and benefits of his work, and the importance of maintaining GitHub repositories for GSoC students at The FreeBSD Project. Then I met Aleksandr Rybalko who works on porting FreeBSD to embedded platforms in the Ukraine.

After lunch I attended the OS Course working group, where we discussed different techniques of teaching FreeBSD at Universities, such as a FreeBSD administration course and FreeBSD system programming course. During this discussion, the most important and interesting aspects of FreeBSD where outlined as well as potential student projects and student materials. I met Andrzej Tobola, with whom I discussed academic research in Poland. After the discussion group I met with Benedict Reuschling (leader of the group) and spoke about the possibilities of teaching FreeBSD at his university, and possible relations between FreeBSD and PhD academic research.

During dinner I talked to Hiroki Sato on usage of FreeBSD in students circles. I met with Eric Allman and Kirk McKusick, we talked a bit on my future talk in the scope of the Devsummit Track.

The second day I attended the Quality Assurance Testing group, where Hiroki Sato presented his Documentation testing framework. Necessary testing environments for ports commiters were also covered. Then went the vendor group, where Alistair Crooks gave a very interesting talk on Netflix and FreeBSD.  Finally I visited the Desktop working group with Kris Moore as leader. After dinner I get acquainted with Baptiste Daroussin, with whom I discussed my GSoC project, and the state of my changes. He also encouraged me to start setting up a roadmap for commiting my changes to the source tree.

The third day of the conference started. Eric Allman gave a keynote talk on the OpenSource project life cycle in comparison with academic research projects and commercial projects. I stayed at the Devsummit Track, where I gave my talk after lunch. After my presentation, I talked to Kirk McKusick on the state of my project, and he also encouraged me to get up to speed and prepare my changes for the source tree. After the Devsummit Track I attended Marc Espie’s presentation dedicated to the packaging system in OpenBSD.

During the Social event Brooks Davis gave me a short talk regarding the current state and future changes in the ports collection and related utilities, and shared his experience with me regarding contribution to the ports source.

On the last day of conference I attended the following talks:

  • The BHyVe Hypervisor In Depth (Michael Dexter)
  • Tips on running a conference for 250 people all by yourself (Dan Langille)
  • OpenBSD and ‘real’ threads (Philip Guenther)
  • Touch your NetBSD (Pierre Pronchery)
  • A Fault Aware Global Server Load Balancer in DNS (Stefan D. Caunter, Allan C. Jude)

And finally, Kirk McKusick gave his overview of different types of locking in the FreeBSD kernel, and discussed where each type of locking is appropriate and why.

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