Tuesday, June 12, 2012

BSDCan Trip Report: Florian Smeets

The next trip report is from Florian Smeets:

I arrived in Ottawa on Tuesday afternoon, together with Giovanni Trematerra who was on the same flight as I. After dropping our luggage off at the Residency one of the first people we met was Beat Gaetzi, my gecko@ companion. After a very short discussion it was decided to go to the Royal Oak. Over the course of the evening lots of developers showed up there. It was good to see some of those again whom I had already met at EuroBSDCon and FOSDEM and it was great to finally meet people I only knew from email/IRC.

Early the next day the first day of the devsummit started. I attended the ports session which went on for almost all day. We talked about a lot of things, spanning from what was done in the last year to new features which we will see in the future. In the evening I attended the vendor summit which was quite interesting. A lot of FreeBSD using companies discussed what they are working on, which features they could share with the community, and what they need. I had to leave the vendor summit a few minutes early as Thomas Abthorpe had scheduled a dinner meeting, to take a few of the ports committers out to try a Canadian dish called Poutine.

The second day started with the Admins session. One of the topics was pkgng package distribution which took quite some time. In the Toolchain session there was a lot of talk about our switch to LLVM/clang. The next session was the working group summaries, where all the session leaders presented the accomplishments of the different groups of the previous 2 days. The last session was brainstorming for the 10.0 release, which was one of the most interesting sessions for me. To see all these features and improvements that should/could be in 10.0.

On day 3 the conference started. After a funny opening session which was started by a bagpiper it went to "An Overview of Locking in the FreeBSD kernel", where Kirk McKusick gave a high level overview of the different locking primitives one can use, and when/how to use them. After that I headed over to the FreeBSD devsummit track and stayed there for the remainder of the day. The topics included Documentation, Kernel debugging, CAM Target layer, an update on 802.11 in FreeBSD, Capsicum, FusionIO and work on callout(9).

Later that evening I sat down with Alan Cox and Attilio Rao and listened to both of them planning their next work on our VM system. This was a great experience. I learned a lot, though i was not able understand all of it.

Inspired by Julian Elischer's talk on FusionIO and FreeBSD (which reminded me of the fact that we have a machine in the FreeBSD cluster with one of those cards), I sat down with Julian to get the card going. I had talked to Beat the day before about the ports migration to svn and he told me that it took almost 2 days to import the converted repository into svn. After some experimenting the result was that it takes only 3 hours on a FusionIO card. We will use this for doing the real migration to keep the outage as short as possible.

The last day I attended Optimizing ZFS for Block Storage, went to the OpenBSD network stack evolution talk to see what they are up to, and as a last talk I went to see the pkgng talk to see if there were any new features I did not know about yet.

It was a great trip. I learned a lot, it was great to put many faces to names (too many to list them here).

I want to sincerely thank the FreeBSD Foundation for enabling me to go to the devsummit and BSDCan 2012.

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