Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Playstation 4 uses FreeBSD 9.0

The operating system powering the Playstation 4 is Orbis OS, which is a Sony spin of FreeBSD 9.0.

FreeBSD's 20th makes the news

There have been several folks writing about FreeBSD's 20th Anniversary, here's an article from Sam Varghese covering how FreeBSD continues to grow in popularity.

Take up on the Rise as FreeBSD turns 20

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

BSDCan Trip Report: Florian Smeets

The next trip report is from Florian Smeets. He writes:

I arrived in Ottawa on Tuesday afternoon. In the evening I went to the Royal Oak to meet other fellow developers.

Wednesday was the first day of the Devsummit. The day started with a presentation about the FreeBSD.org security incident and about how Netflix is using FreeBSD for their CDN.

In the afternoon I attended the ports session where we saw presentations about features that were added to the ports tree in the last year and also about stuff that people will be working on during the next year.

On Thursday I went to the VM I/O Concurrency and Virtualization sessions. In the first session, we talked about all the performance work that is currently happening that should be in the 10.0 release. In the second session, there was a lot of talk about Bhyve and we saw a demo of Linux running in Bhyve.

In the evening I attended the Vendor summit, which I find quite interesting, as you get a picture of the needs of other people and also what they are working on.

Friday was the first day of the actual conference. After talks about dtrace and git, I attended a talk about benchmarking FreeBSD. One of the slides even showed results I posted some time ago.

The next talk I saw was switching from Linux to FreeBSD, which gave some interesting insights into the differences of the two systems from someone else. Which was quite interesting as I've been working for a Linux based company for the last 6 months.

After the FreeBSD Birth to Death talk, I attended the Mozilla on OpenBSD talk. Landry, the OpenBSD Mozilla maintainer, is an OpenBSD and Mozilla committer. He helped us in committing a lot of our patches upstream. At the social event in the evening, I finally had a chance to meet him in person. We talked for a long time and made plans. Now, 4 weeks after the conference, we have a mozilla-central buildbot running in a Bhyve, so we will be informed about breakages automatically from now on. This will be a huge help, as we can try to fix those kind of things before the releases and fix them with our own patches in the ports tree.

On the last day of the conference I attended a talk about using Puppet to manage FreeBSD and about the FreeBSD.org cluster refit. In the afternoon I didn't attend talks, but took the time and sat down with some other developers to discuss future projects.

As my flight was only leaving on Sunday evening, I went into town with a couple of other developers to do some sightseeing. In the evening, the long journey back home started and an eventful and exhaustive week came to an end.

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

BSDCan Trip Report: Warren Block

The next trip report is from Warren Block. He writes:

A two-day developer summit was held before BSDCan itself began.  On Wednesday, there were presentations to the whole group on the security incident last year and how NetFlix uses FreeBSD.  It's interesting to note that somewhere around 20% of North American internet traffic is served by NetFlix systems running FreeBSD.  Individual group meetings began in the afternoon, and I attended the UEFI boot session.  Beyond the topic of UEFI booting and FreeBSD, I found some people to help with creating a man page for gptboot.

That night, we had our first session of the "doc lounge" proposed last year by Dru Lavigne.  The concept was for a doc sprint, but also to be available for users and other developers who either wanted to see a specific correction to the documentation, or to have an introduction to start working on documentation themselves.

Thursday morning, I met with Peter N. M. Hansteen, author of the famous "Book of PF".  Several years ago, he submitted a patch to include a PF tutorial in the Handbook.  He mentioned it to me at BSDCan last year, and this year, we completed integrating it.  It will be committed to the Handbook after the upcoming release of FreeBSD 8.4.

That afternoon, the doc developer summit was held.  The biggest issue was ongoing work on a new print version of the Handbook.  Dru has done a tremendous amount of good work on this so far.  There is more to be done, and technical and social issues to address.  On other subjects, we also talked about important FreeBSD killer features that have not been well-documented or publicized in the Handbook or other documentation. Also mentioned were the need for more doc people and more translators.

On Friday and Saturday, the BSDCan presentations were given.  As usual, there is always a conflict with scheduling where multiple talks are held at the same time. Fortunately, the slides are online.  Even better, the good people of FOSSLC again recorded the talks, and they will be showing up on Youtube.  If you could not attend in person, this is the next best thing.

All the talks were good, but two in particular stood out for me.  The first was Allan Jude's talk on using Puppet to manage multiple FreeBSD systems.  Even if you are a fan of CFEngine or Chef, it's worth seeing for comparison.  If you aren't already using one of these automation systems, it's a great introduction.

The second talk that really made an impression was a summary by Justin Gibbs of what the FreeBSD Foundation has planned for the future.  Besides the phenomenal success of their fundraising in 2012, he detailed plans for the Foundation's expansion with more staff and more projects.  One point that I had not really understood before was what they meant when they said individual donations were needed, no matter the amount.  A few large corporate donors are fine if it's just about the total amount of money needed.  But the number of individual donors is also a way to tell hardware vendors the relative popularity of FreeBSD.  That's why every FreeBSD user should donate to the Foundation, even if it's just $5. Half-joking, I stood near the Foundation table and reminded people walking past without the "I donated" sticker that they should donate. To my surprise, every single person I talked to actually did stop and donate.  There was actually a sort of traffic jam at one point.  The Efika ARM notebook running FreeBSD--another Foundation-funded project--also attracted a crowd to the table.

The Friday night doc lounge was canceled due to a scheduling conflict with a BSDCan social event, but we had another session on Saturday night.  For me, that was the most successful.  Again, we had people with no experience with FreeBSD documentation show up.  The level of interest and the dedication shown was very interesting.  Clearly, people care, and we need to make it as easy as possible to contribute new content or patches for existing documents.

In many ways, I found the doc lounge to be the most valuable and educational part of the trip.  Trying to help a new person get the doc tools installed and working showed places where there is room for improvement, and there is always important feedback when working with people trying to use those tools for the first time.  There is also the "what's that?" factor, where one user sees another using a tool or technique they had not known about before.

BSDCan 2013 was hectic and packed full of content.  As always, it was well worth the trip.

People and groups to thank:

The FreeBSD Foundation, sponsors of my attendance at BSDCan this year.

Dan Langille, the person responsible for BSDCan.

Peter N. M. Hansteen, for his patience and help in getting the PF tutorial section for the Handbook completed.

FOSSLC  and Andrew Ross for their recording of presentations so those who could not be present have a chance to see them.

And finally, thanks to all the great people who attended.