Monday, August 17, 2015

BSDCan 2015 Trip Report: Koop Mast

I have been to two EuroBSDCon conferences and now I can add my first BSDCan to the list. The trip to Ottawa was just as interesting as the conference itself, it was the first time I stepped aboard an airplane. Purely by chance I found out, after I booked my flight, that I shared the same flight with Ed Schouten and Massimiliano Stucchi so they could help me with the confusing ant hill that is your average airport.

We arrived the 9th in Ottawa and after dropping off our stuff at the residence, we went to the Royal Oak for drinks and social activities.

During the dev summit or the actual BSDCan you can meet people you’ve only heard of before and have a conversation. In some cases, you can also find out they have heard of you before too. That happened to me during lunch on Wednesday, when I met Michael W. Lucas at Cora’s.

While I mostly work on FreeBSD ports, it was interesting to see how a company like Isilon uses at least part of the Project you work on in their product and how they’ve changed their policy over the years to keep up with all the shiny new stuff.

The hacking lounge was a mixed bag of what people were doing: talking with other people attending the conference about different subjects, discussing future projects, doing some code hacking or taking a soldering iron to “harmless” wireless routers. During one of the hacking lounges, Johannes Jost Meixner ask me to do a simple test with a few new ports to see if the skype4 port worked on HEAD. I also put the inspiration I got during a presentation into solving a segfault in PulseAudio that was bugging me for a while.

On Friday June 12th, the conference kicked off with the Keynote by Stephen Bourne, about Unix history and the Bourne shell. After, I attended the "Package building via QEMU" session by Sean Bruno and Stacey Son, on how we use QEMU to build arm packages on an amd64 box a “bit” faster than would be possible on a native box. I also attended “a stitch in time: jhbuild” since I was involved with this project. Jhbuild is a build software that GNOME uses, that takes code right out of git and tries to build it. So portability issues get caught in a few days instead of 6 months later when the author of that code moved on to shinier features. And, some features GNOME glib people would like to have in FreeBSD. The LLDB talk was interesting and it made me actually start using lldb when I need to debug something.

In the evening,  I accidentally ended up in the Doc sprint. Which turned out to be good thing, since I learned some mandoc things and I got some help with thinking about how to write some documents that still need writing.

Saturday June 13th,  had some great talks like CloudAPI where we have a binary from a virtual Operating System and that could in theory be run on any OS. And, the ZFS talk by Kirk McKusick about how ZFS works “magic” in more ways than one. I'm probably not the only one that is looking forward to having the FreeBSD base system in packages.

Free Time
On Sunday the 14th, we had time to do some tourist type things before our flight back to Europe. I saw Parliament Hill and the National Gallery of Canada.

While a few presentations went over my head technically, (ZFS I'm looking at you).  I'm from Europe so jet lag is supposed to be a thing, if you got long plane flights across time zones. Either my sleeping habit is already beyond hope, or I'm one of those people that isn't that affected. Though personally would bet on the former choice.

I'd like to thank the FreeBSD Foundation for giving me the possibility to attend, and Dan Langille and his team for making my first BSDCan a smooth experience.

Koop Mast

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