December 13, 2016
After perusing www.distroswatch.com for new operating systems to install and work on, I came about the latest version of FreeBSD, then 10.1. I quickly fired up the BSD Wikipedia page to see more about what the FreeBSD OS is all about. Having heard of it several times, I always thought that the operating system is also a part of the Linux family. The Wikipedia page showed that it is a derivative of the BSD 4.4 OS family, which is a deviant of Unix rather than Linux. This strikes my curiosity, I thought to myself, in Nigeria all we do is Linux, I would love to be different and unique by doing what not so many are doing. I later came across the EuroBSDCon 16 travel grant and applied, luckily my application was granted. Preparations towards attending the conference then started.
I packed my bags and headed for the Murtala Muhammed International Airport in Lagos, Nigeria with my ticket, going to Nikola Tesla Belgrade, Airport. But unfortunately, upon getting to the airport, I was refused boarding with complaints that I do not have all required documents to board. On the 23rd September 2016, I was able to book the next available flight going to Belgrade, it was an Etihad Airlines Flight connecting at Abu Dhabi. I finally arrived at Nikola Tesla Belgrade Airport on the 24th September, 2016. I took a taxi to my hotel room, freshened up and headed straight to the conference venue.
Walking into the conference venue seeing a stream of developers, hackers, creators and mentors I have only read about, but admired for their work got me so elated; I almost jumped out of my skin. I went ahead to the registration desk to get my tag and registration materials. While there I met Deb Goodkin, someone whom has always been there to help me through every bit of my hurdles, always providing assistance and support over emails. I was fascinated to finally meet her in person after having exchanged tons of emails with her.
I arrived at lunch, grabbed some snacks and food to eat, found my way to the lobby and sat down. There I met Kurstof Provost, Brad Davis, and a couple others discussing something on TCP/IP and packet fragmentation or some sort. I later met Momadou Bah, a system admin working with a firm in Belgium, we exchanged pleasantries (him being black). He told me about himself and his work at the firm he works for. I told him I just started using FreeBSD operating system couple of months ago.
Later during the break period I had a chat with Leon, a system admin from Germany, he was trying to fix some firewall issues, we had a little chat where I told him this was my first time attending a BSD conference and that I just started using FreeBSD couple months ago. He showed me some stuff that will help ease my use of FreeBSD. He told me about using Ansible, jails, ZFS, how to run virtualization and optimize IO and network operations in virtualization using PIC pass-through.
On the second day of my arrival (Sunday 25th September, 2016) I walked into the conference venue, and went to some sessions. During lunch, I met Xaon Vilas and Horst Kapfengerber. Horst runs his own consulting firm in Austria. We talked about his job, family, BSD, food, countries, culture, etc. Later that day I went to the IP Fast Forwarding session, what Nana delivered during that session was totally mind blowing and intriguing. Discussing her work with IP Fast Forwarding on FreeBSD using VALE and DXR. Also, another mind blowing delivery was given by Gert Doring during the closing keynote speech. During the questions and answers section of the keynote speech, I left for my hotel to pack my things and head home.
I really commend the FreeBSD Foundation for their work in trying to bring not just experienced developers and hackers, but also beginners into one room to interact and share ideas. I believe this will not only strengthen the community, it will also make it grow very fast.
Now that I have learnt so much from my attendance at the EuroBSDCon 2016 conference, I will possibly start a local BSD user group in Nigeria. Also, I will start to orientate and introduce my friends and colleagues at the Federal University of Technology Akure (FUTA) Linux Users Group and the Python Users Group Akure about this amazing and robust BSD OS family.