May 23, 2013

The FreeBSD Foundation sponsored 7 attendees of BSDCan 2013. The first trip report is from Eitan Adler, a doc committer, who attended the BSDCan Developers Summit. Eitan writes:

I arrived Tuesday night and met Colin Percival at the airport. After dropping off luggage at the university, I met up with some of the other developers.

The first day, I attended the “Netflix and FreeBSD” session run by Scott Long. It was interesting to see what kind of problems users of FreeBSD ran into when running at scale.

For the afternoon working group, I chose to attend the “ports and packages” session.A variety of topics were discussed but the most discussed topic was cross-building ports across both versions and architectures. This is a topic that came up repeatedly in prior discussion and that would come up again in other working groups, so it was good to know about the latest work in this area.

The vendor summit came next.In the past, the vendor summit focused on kernel work but this one revolved around the user land. This is particularly important to me as I run FreeBSD on my laptop as my primary development machine.

At night I spent some time in the hacking lounge or other shared areas meeting people.It was very nice to be able to meet the people I’ve been talking to for the past three years.

On Thursday I spent my morning in the “Desktop” session.Getting FreeBSD running well on desktops is critical in attracting new developers in the future.Kris Moore, from PCBSD, spoke a lot about the customizations that they made. I pressed to share the improvements that could be committed upstream.Other issues discussed were packaging for the desktop and a graphical boot loader for FreeBSD/PC-BSD.

The afternoon session for me was “Documentation”: a significant portion of the discussion was about the future print edition of the book and what sections need to be updated and improved. In particular, how we could get more source committers involved in writing documentation.We also discussed how to work going forward with other teams that need access to the documentation (e.g., portmgr and postmaster). We also touched on the FAQ, translations, and the new toolchain. The final topic we discussed was the automated QA and statistics tools we have (and don’t have) and how we could improve in that area.

After dinner I did some work at the documentation hackathon. I spent the remainder of the night at the hacker lounge discussing kernel internals with Peter Wemm, Sean Bruno, and others.

Unfortunately, I had to leave prior to the conference itself, but I felt that meeting people at the developer summit was well worth the time spent.