Wednesday, October 29, 2014

EuroBSDCon Trip Report: Kamil Czekirda

The next trip report is from Kamil Czekirda:

The FreeBSD Foundation sponsored my trip to Sofia, Bulgaria in September 2014, where I attended the FreeBSD DevSummit and EuroBSDcon 2014. I'm a GSoC student and it was my first DevSummit. I would like to thank the FreeBSD Foundation for sponsoring my trip, Gavin Atkinson for an invitation to the DevSummit, Mariusz Zaborski for support during the conference, and the mentor of my project, Devin Teske, for directions.

I arrived in Sofia on Wednesday evening, found my Hill hotel, checked in, and dropped off my luggage. I tried to contact Mariusz, the only person I knew. It was too late for lounging about so I stayed for the rest of the day at the hotel.

The first day of the Developer Summit started with self-presentations and trying to divide participants into smaller groups. It didn’t happen and everybody stayed in the room for one track. It was the first time I could see who is who, because I knew only people’s nicks or names . That day we discussed the future of the 11.0 release, 10/40/100GigE, ports and packages, embedded systems, mainly ARM and MIPS, and tools and support for cross-compilation. That day I met some people: the first was Michał Dubiel from Semihalf. We talked about Network Virtualization, SDN, and OpenContrail. The next person was Daniel Peyrolon, another GSoC student. I showed him my project and he showed me his magic. During lunch break, Mariusz introduced me to Hiroki Sato. We talked about the organization of the conference from the organizers’ side.

The second day of the DevSummit started by dividing groups in two parts. The first track was about developer tools like Phabricator and Jenkins and DNS and DNSSEC on FreeBSD. The second track was about ASLR. I attended the first track. I tried to pass BSDA certificate, so I missed the most important aspects of the DNS session. After lunch break, we had a discussion about crypto algorithms and a documentation session. It was my first DevSummit, so I was only an observer. Next person who Mariusz introduced me to was Gavin Atkinson, but there was no time to talk, just say 'Hi'.

The main conference started on Saturday with Jordan Hubbard's keynote about the past and the future of FreeBSD. I stayed in this track for the next talks. Kris Moore talked about PC-BSD and features based on ZFS, such as snapshots, replication, and encrypted zfs-root with only one pool. Next talk which I attended was about implementation of ZFS. Kirk McKusick made the introduction to internal implementation. After lunch break I joined John-Mark Gurney’s talk about optimizing GELI performance. Results of speed benchmark are amazing. For the rest of the talks, I changed the room and attended Henning Brauer’s talk about OpenBGPD. He talked about the history of the open source implementation of the Border Gateway Protocol. Next, I changed the track the second time and joined Peter Hessler’s talk about routing domains. The last talk was about using QEMU and cross-compilation packages for the ARM architecture. Sean Bruno made a demonstration on how to use those tools. Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to attend the amazing Andy Tanenbaum’s talk. After the last speech, I found Gavin and we talked about my GSoC project, the documentation for it, and what I should do in the near future. He offered me his help and introductions to people from the community who could take a look at my code. That day I met Jakub Klama, who is also from Poland. He said 'Hi' in Polish and I was surprised. Jakub was the third FreeBSD GSoC student attending EuroBSDcon 2014. It was sad as I expected to meet more students.

During a social event I met with Eric Allman and Kirk McKusick. Of course, Mariusz was the middleman. Eric told us a lot of stories from his life, about the first steps of networking and transatlantic communication. He drew attention to students’ bad practices on memory management and how important it is. I talked with Kirk about my project and how GSoC looks from the organizational side.

The second day of EuroBSDcon was less busy for the people after the social event. I started with Baptiste Daroussin’s talk about cross building. I attended  the LibreSSL and ASLR talks. Very interesting for me was the talk about OpenContrail and OpenStack for FreeBSD. Michał Dubiel described software architecture and support for OpenContrail and OpenStack in the FreeBSD world. The most interesting talk was about securing sensitive data at the
University of Oslo. Dag-Erling Smøgrav described the system they use. The keynote was very interesting too. Atanas Chobanov showed us how to use SecureDrop, Tails, and Tor for anonymously submitting documents. During the closing session, Deb Goodkin presented about the FreeBSD Foundation, and Shteryana Shopova and Paul Schenkeveld presented about the EuroBSD Foundation. After the closing session, we organized an unofficial social event.

I think that attending conferences is a huge motivation for work for new people. It was a great opportunity to meet people I had known only from the Internet. I hope I will be able to participate in DevSummits and BSD conferences again in the future.

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