2016 BSDCan Trip Report: Trent Thompson

07/18/2016

Spending a week in Canada with a large group of BSD hackers was not what I had expected, but in a good way. I have gone to a few information security conferences in the past, but they do not compare to the knowledge gained, and fun I had that week. Instead of speakers inflating their egos telling audiences how they used the “zero day of the week” to get access to sensitive data, BSDCan had speakers that spoke to their audience in a way that made me want to go home and try out what they were talking about. There were two talks in particular that stuck out to me, and both from gentlemen that have been apart of the FreeBSD community since the early days. These were Kirk McKusick’s talk on the history of UFS, and Rod Grimes’ talk about the early days of the FreeBSD Project. Listening to them explain how the operating system has evolved over the years really hits home at how stable and great FreeBSD is, and shows it’s here to stay. 

I also spent some time outside of the conference halls making friends, and meeting the friends I’ve made in IRC and Twitter. I got the chance to finally meet two people I look up to in the community, Shawn Webb of HardenedBSD, and and Mike “Shirkdog”, who also helps out with the Hardened Project. In my day job, I work in infosec, and unfortunately don’t use too much of UNIX, and when I do, it’s usually some Linux Flavor. In talking with them, I started to find ways to mix my infosec day job, and BSD hobbies into a career path where I will be able to utilize both skills. I also spoke with Shawn and Bernard Spil about what it takes to manage a ports tree and building packages, specifically in the HardenedBSD fork. With my work in BSD Virtualization, I hope to help out  in creating more mirrors and repo’s for the project. After helping Shawn with virtualization related ports now in their tree, I am now a “HardenedBSD Ports Committer!” Hopefully one day I can take those skills and help out in the FreeBSD Ports Tree as well!

I could go on and on about some other things, but I think these were some highlights of the trip that will stay with me for a time. I am still trying to write out a full report for my blog at pr1ntf.xyz, but there is just so much to sift through. 

I tried to personally thank members of the Foundation when I was there, but I’d like to thank you all again for the opportunity you gave me. The last day of the trip in the airport, I submitted a talk about my iohyve project to EuroBSDcon, and my significant other and I are planning on saving up for a trip to a BSD con next year. You can say I’ve definitely been “bit by the BSD bug.” If you have any questions or comments, please feel free to reach out. I hope to see some of you at a COBug meeting sometime this year!

-Trent

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