In the last week of September 2013, thanks to Foundation funding. I flew to Malta to partake in the FreeBSD DevSummit and EuroBSDcon. I spent a total of six days in Malta, experiencing the lovely weather, quite British culture, and food that on my first night included one of my favourites – rabbit – which turns out to be a national dish.
As a documentation committer, my main reason for attending the conference was to attend the documentation session and meet face-to-face with many people who have, for the last eighteen months, been just names, email addresses and IRC nicks. That session was productive as we used the time to hack on PRs and Handbook chapters. After all, it’s important to have a balance between discussion and working on problems in-person in order to get things done. There was a discussion about the pressing and frustrating issue of the FreeBSD website design, where the pros and cons of frameworks such as Ruby on Rails were mentioned.
In the DevSummit track of the conference on the Saturday, the Google Summer of Code students’ presentations of their stunningly complex work were great. At the end of the Saturday came the long awaited beach social event, which for some involved swimming at 11pm in the pleasantly warm sea. I can’t swim, so I just paddled! On the Sunday, the keynote seemed scaremongering, all about how “nothing is secure”, but it was nevertheless interesting. In the afternoon, as Netflix is a service I use, I attended one of their sessions. I was only just able to find a seat due to it being so popular and me being late due to the “hallway track” during the coffee break, but it was worth it – the statistics of the amount of US Internet traffic they account for were almost unbelievably high. Kirk McKusick’s talk was one of three that ended the conference, and it was very informative for me because it seemed to touch on a lot of the basics.
I have come back and noticed how cold it is, but armed with a list of things to do on the documentation side, a new found love of learning interesting things, a wish to get involved in other areas of the FreeBSD project, and have more contact in terms of work with some other developers who I talked to at length over the dinners.