Friday, June 1, 2012

BSDCan Trip Report: Brooks Davis

The next trip report is from Brooks Davis:

I arrived in Ottawa on the 7th and spent the 7th and 8th on tourist activities and meeting informally with fellow developers. On the 8th the majority of Dev Summit attendees met at the Royal Oak pub for dinner.

May 9th

The Dev Summit kicked off with registration followed by an intro session by John Baldwin.  I spent some time talking with other developers before attending a research group conference call.  After lunch I attended the network stack session.  We covered quite a bit of ground with major focuses on the need for an improved design for mbufs and on splitting the layer 2 and layer 3 portions of the network stack more cleanly to better manage the overhead at each level and to better align our data structures with the ways FreeBSD is used.  The session was extremely popular with at least half of the developers at the summit attending.  A larger room or more strict attendance control might have been a good thing for the room's climate control.

After a full day of developers summit, a large portion of us stayed on for the vendor summit.  At the vendor summit we produced the now usual lists of things different organizations have contributed, would like to contribute, and needed.  The summit felt productive and upbeat with lots of organizations having things to share and a strong interest in joint projects where practical.

May 10th

On the second day of the Dev Summit I started out in the Admins meeting. It suffered from excessive attendance, probably due to being in the primary room, but was reasonably productive. It was followed by the Toolchain summit which was very well attended. I ran that meeting largely as an open discussion of status and plans. The main short term toolchain issue is that we need a plan and timeline to throw the switch for clang to be the default compiler in 10 for at least i386 and amd64. That depends on more ports being fixed and/or a better framework for a switchable ports compiler. Work is in progress on both, but we're probably approaching the point where we need to set a schedule for the switch to drive the
final cleanups.

The toolchain summit was followed by lunch, working group reports, and a discussion of 10.0-RELEASE.  We then had an excellent communal Thai food dinner.

May 11th and 12th

On the first day of the main conference I attended the talks "An Overview of Locking in the FreeBSD Kernel" by Kirk McKusick, "auditdistd-- Secure reliable distribution of audit trail files" by Pawal Jakub Dawidek, "State of 802.11 in FreeBSD" by Adrian Chadd, "Capsicum" by Robert Watson, "FusionIO and FreeBSD" by Julian Elischer, and "Work on callout(9)" by Davide Italiano. On the second day I attended "Overview of Amazon Web Services" by Randi Harper where she announced an AWS based portsnap mirror, "pkgng - Modernising FreeBSD package management" by Baptiste Daroussin, and the closing session. I would have liked to attend several other talks including "Ethernet Switch Framework" by Stefan Bethke and "Solaris Boot Environments for FreeBSD" by Nikolai Lifanov but several conflicts arose. All in all the talk schedule was engaging and I several times I wished for more copies of me to attend the talks.

BSDCan 2012 was another great experience.  I hope that next year's 10th edition can live up to the past nine years!

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