BSDCan 2018 Trip Report: Dhananjay Balan

07/09/2018

With the sponsorship of the FreeBSD Foundation, I had the good fortune of attending BSDCan 2018.

I have been a happy user of FreeBSD for quite some time.  All of my personal infrastructure runs on FreeBSD, including my laptop. When I found that the software I use was missing from ports, I began to contribute back by maintaining these ports.

BSDCan is the second BSD conference I have attended since EuroBSDCon 2017. I knew the conference was going to be good. I was also looking forward to learning more about the community that builds and tends to the FreeBSD operating system.

After some initial hiccups, I was able to obtain a VISA for Canada and I arrived in Ottawa on the 5th of June.

This was the first time I attended the devsummit (Thank you Philip for inviting me). The presentations were  informative, but the the Core update stood out to me. After the talks, devsummit participants split into working groups (more or less focused discussions around a specific proposed topic). I attended “Clearing Deadwood”, a working group that cleaned up old bits from the code. The discussions were very specific, and some didn’t make any sense to me (I have never heard of some of the old tech). I was very impressed by the discussions – everyone listened to all sides and arguments were very concise and to the point.

I believe that BSD conferences usually set the bar high in quality; I was not disappointed by BSDCan 2018. The opening key note, “The Tragedy of SystemD” was quite thought provoking. Other talks that stood out to me included: “OpenBSD/x-ray” presented by Henning, and “Running Linux Applications on FreeBSD” presented by Chuck Taffli. This last presentation discussed the implementation of Linuxluator and detailed the quirks posed as a personal journey – I felt it delivered more than the title implied: BSDCan style.

A lot of my time was also spent doing the hallway track! I put a lot of faces to the irc nicknames and mailing list names. A sufficient amount of time was also spent socializing and having drinks.

I am very grateful to the Foundation for sponsoring my trip. I have a better understand how the project works and what workflows are used to get a change accepted. Between beer and the hallway track, I got most of my questions about FreeBSD answered. They were very helpful in moving forward with some of the software I wanted to add to ports.

– Contributed by Dhananjay Balan

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