Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Cambridge DevSummit Trip Report: Aleksandr Rybalko

The next trip report is from Aleksandr Rybalko:

I recently returned from an exciting trip to Cambridge, United Kingdom, to attend the FreeBSD Developer Summit. Very warm and old town, and at the same time, one of the most historic academic centers in the world. Great support by the FreeBSD Foundation helps to make it realizable for me. It was a very interesting developers summit, even if some talks were difficult to understand because of English-to-English differences.

The main reason why I attended the DevSummit was to introduce the updated newcons project. Now, newcons works with i915 KMS and with the shiny new Radeon KMS too. Many thanks to Jean-Sébastien Pédron for that.

From the developers' reaction, it seems the most exciting part of newcons is a 2-color FreeBSD logo splash screen. Even though there's a lot of work in the underlying infrastructure, everything else is just letters and more letters on the screen.

While giving my demo, I found one more bug: connecting an SVGA projector produced a kernel panic (which was at least displayed nicely on the screen).

Anyway, the Cambridge Devsummit was a very good event. I met with many interesting people, including Adrian Chadd, my mentor (finally). He told me about PMC problems and points to me every time anyone asks about drivers for MIPS and ARM hardware. With Baptiste Daroussin and Vsevolod Stakhov, we discussed pkgng and ports problems and problems related to ports cross-building. I discussed a bit the lack of supported ARM features (like LPAE) with Andrew Turner.

Spent some free time hacking on Exynos4 based device together with Ruslan Bukin. Exynos4 has an interesting problem, but we still have not found a solution/workaround for it.

From the list of summit sessions I can highlight:

  • lldb - New, and I can say, more correct way to debug things. Thanks a lot to Ed Maste for that great work.
  • Capsicum by Pawel Jakub Dawidek. Exciting tool to limit everything you want.
  • pkgng - And of course I still don't understand how Baptiste got such a complex thing to work.
I enjoyed the devsummit a lot. Environment of the city of Cambridge is best for such activity, so developers are able to concentrate on things they need.

Many thanks to Robert, David, Jonathan, Bjoern and everyone involved in the devsummit organization. And of course, a huge thanks to the FreeBSD Foundation for sponsorship!

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Cambridge DevSummit Trip Report: Mariusz Zaborski

The Cambridge DevSummit was held at the University of Cambridge Computer Laboratory Cambridge, UK August 24 - 28, 2013. Mariusz Zaborski writes about his experience:

I'm a GSoC student who was invited to the Cambridge DevSummit. Cambridge University is closely related to my GSoC project because this is the place where Capsicum was born and the initial implementation created by Robert Watson and his team.

We arrived late (around 7pm) on a Friday so we managed to only eat some dinner and go to sleep. We were accommodated in Sidney Sussex College. This is a very impressive College which is more than 400 years old. If you ever go to England, you should visit Cambridge and at least one of its colleges.

The first two days were devoted to the integration of the group. We had lunches and dinners together. Jonathan Anderson took us for a walk around Cambridge and to the Cambridge Museum of Technology. In the museum we saw a lot of steam engines and some very old printing machines.

The lightning talks and working groups started on Monday. We had a short talk by Ed Maste and Robert Watson about the FreeBSD Foundation. They told us how the Foundation works and its plans for the near future.

Next, David Drysdale, Pawel Jakub Dawidek and myself had a working group about capabilities and Capsicum in FreeBSD. Pawel talked about some new features and the problems he faced during the project.

After that, I attended the security discussion about /dev/random which was conducted by Mark Murray. I must admit that it was my favorite session. Mark told us how /dev/random works now and what he would like to change in the /dev/random algorithms. People attending this session proposed very useful ideas. That was a very educative and substantive discussion. If you are interested in learning more about this session, I recommend this link.

On Tuesday, we had a few more sessions. I again attended to the security discussion where we talked a lot about security in pkgng. After that we had some talklets. My favorite talklet was about lldb and about X86 Binary Code Analysis. The first presentation was given by Ed Maste. He has convinced me to give the lldb a try as a replacement for good old gdb. Now I think this is very promising project and I would like to examine it more closely. The presentation given by Warren Hunt was very very impressive. He told us about formal proofs in computer science on binary code level. After few talklets we had Pawel's presentation about Capsicum and Casper. He presented his last few months of work in this project. He also mentioned some of my work.

On Tuesday evening we had an official English dinner in Christ's College and this was a very exciting experience. After the dinner, we also managed to see old Darwin's office.

On Wednesday there were some more sessions, but unfortunately I had to return home. The DevSummit was a very intensive five days. I met a lot of very interesting people from all around the world and I came to home even more motivated and with a lot of new experiences.

I want to thank the the FreeBSD Foundation for sponsoring my trip to the Cambridge DevSummit, and my GSoC mentor Pawel for inviting me to it.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

OpenZFS Project

The OpenZFS project was announced today. According to Justin Gibbs of the FreeBSD Foundation: this is a cross-platform effort to ensure the continued evolution of the ZFS file system. For developers and users of FreeBSD, the formation of OpenZFS clarifies the future of ZFS support for our platform.  The FreeBSD project is now an equal partner in defining the course for ZFS. OpenZFS combines the man power of the FreeBSD, Illumos, Linux, and MacOS communities to provide a level of test coverage, feature development, documenation, and support that wasn't possible with our separate efforts.  Most importantly, OpenZFS will improve platform interoperability and reduce fragmentation of ZFS implementations. Today is an exciting day for ZFS and the FreeBSD platform.  I encourage you to browse http://www.open-zfs.org and to get involved. You are officially invited to help make the future of OpenZFS!

I had a chance to listen to Matt Ahrens, co-founder the ZFS project at Sun, describe the OpenZFS projects goals during his session at LinuxCon. One of the interesting resources provided by OpenZFS will be Office Hours, a regular opportunity to chat live with a ZFS expert. The first Office Hours will be held the week of October 7 and the expert will be Matt Ahrens.

For those attending EuroBSDCon, Matt Ahrens will co-present with Martin Matuska "Open ZFS: Upcoming Features and Performance Enhancements with Illumos and FreeBSD joining Forces".

For those in the San Francisco Bay area, there will be an OpenZFS Day on November 18 and 19.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Glen Barber Interview in Today's Episode of BSD Now

Today's episode of BSD Now features an interview with Glen Barber from the FreeBSD release engineering team. Glen will discuss how FreeBSD release engineering works and what his role is on the release engineering team, the new features in the upcoming 9.2-RELEASE, and his new role with the FreeBSD Foundation.

This episode can be streamed live at 2:00PM EDT, 18:00 UTC. Afterwards, the episode will be archived on the same web page.

Monday, September 9, 2013

Foundation at OLF

Several members of the Foundation will be attending Ohio LinuxFest, to be held in Columbus, OH from September 13-15. We're excited that Kirk McKusick will be delivering the closing keynote on Saturday, September 14. The topic of the keynote will be Building an Running an Open-Source Community: The FreeBSD Project.

There will also be a FreeBSD booth in the expo area on Saturday, September 14. Donations to the Foundation will be accepted at the booth. If you're at the conference, drop by and say hi!

Registration is required for this event, but registration is free.