October 20, 2023

This year, I had the great privilege of receiving the FreeBSD Foundation travel grant to attend EuroBSDcon in Coimbra, Portugal.

I arrived in Coimbra on the 13th of September and headed to the FreeBSD developer summit the following morning.
The schedule for the first day of the summit was busy. After attending the opening session and catching up on the latest news from the FreeBSD Foundation team, I met with Mark Johnston to review and commit some leftover patches from this year’s GSoC program. After a short lunch break in the nearby student cafeteria, I attended Sergio’s talk about the new FreeBSD.org website design.

Later, Greg Wallace introduced the concept of SWOT analysis and organized an interactive session. We split up into smaller groups and brainstormed about the project’s strengths, weaknesses, and so on. The last session of the day was Jordan Hubbard’s talk about the early history of the FreeBSD project, intertwined with his personal history with the project. Unfortunately, my talk was moved to the next day, so after the last talk, I had a discussion with Li-Wen Hsu about using the work I intend to present for performance regression testing in FreeBSD’s CI loop.

The next day of the developer summit kicked off with a talk about my ongoing effort to build a performance benchmarking framework meant for testing kernel patches. The idea was well received, and the subsequent discussion with other developers was insightful. Afterward, I attended Ruslan’s talk about hwt, a hardware performance tracing framework for FreeBSD. After the talk, I met up with Ruslan to discuss the steps for adding Intel Performance Tracing support to hwt. This marked the end of the lightning talks, and after a short lunch break, I paired up with Christos Margiolis for a hacking session that lasted well into the afternoon.

The following day started with a keynote from Paula Alexandra Silva.
After the keynote, I attended the talk by Walter Belgers to hear various stories and anecdotes from the early history of the BSDs. The next session was by Otto Moerbeek on OpenBSD’s malloc. It was a great honor to attend a lecture by the pioneer of secure heap memory allocators, and the talk was packed with details and insights on mechanisms that heap allocators use to prevent malicious abuse of common C memory management mistakes during runtime. After taking the family photo outside the venue and taking a short lunch break, I attended Hiroki Sato’s session about USB Debug Capability.
The talk was excellent, and I’m excited about having a new way of debugging live machines since the usual way of doing this using serial ports is no longer possible on modern hardware. After the talk, I paired up with Christos for a short hacking session. Then I attended Toshaan’s talk on running FreeBSD on the POWER architecture. The day ended with a great social event at a nearby venue.

The second day started with Phillip Bueller’s excellent talk about EuroBSDcon’s history. Afterward, I attended Eirik Øverby’s talk to hear about Modirum’s latest adventures. The next session was Christos’s talk about kinst, a new DTrace provider that allows tracing arbitrary instructions.
He described the general architecture of his approach, and some common use cases, and stirred up an interesting and lengthy technical discussion with the audience.
After this, I attended Kirk’s talk about gunion. The talk was really interesting as it provided a great overview of GEOM and several useful applications of gunion. The next session I attended was Yan Ka Chiu’s talk about his ongoing work developing an OCI-capable FreeBSD container runtime. The talk was packed with great short demos that showcased the runtime’s features.

I am deeply grateful to the FreeBSD Foundation for enabling me to attend this conference. It was a great experience that allowed me to connect with other members of the FreeBSD community and discuss future work.