May 24, 2019

With the 20th Anniversary of LinuxFest Northwest, April 26th-28th, came a great turnout by the FreeBSD community. I had the chance to join our friends in the Linux camp and Open Source community, with three FreeBSD related talks and a large table presence at the conference. Despite LinuxFest Northwest’s somewhat out-of-the-way location, the diversity of talks and the low-stress atmosphere attracted people from all over the world.

LinuxFest Northwest 2019 kicked off bright and early Saturday morning with the opening of the expo hall. Staffing the table was myself and Jason Barbier, both Washingtonians. Joining us from further afield was FreeBSD Foundation Executive Director Deb Goodkin, Core Team member Sean Chittenden, and Oregonians Michael Dexter and Rodney Grimes. Several other community members also made their presence known, and many productive discussions were had. Staffing the table gave me an opportunity to both interact with the community at large and talk to people who were not aware of FreeBSD’s presence in open source. Later that day I had the chance to attend a talk regarding the security repercussions of out of band management systems. No matter how good the security of the operating system is, a chip right on the mainboard of the system can ruin the system is a heartbeat. A link can be found here.  Sadly I missed Jon “Maddog” Hall’s talk titled “Fifty years of Unix, Internet, and more”. I heard the talk was a resounding success and covered several instances of early BSD history. 

 We wrapped up the evening with some great dinner conversations. I turned in early to prepare for my talk the next morning. I gave the first of three FreeBSD talks this year. FreeBSD at Work: “Building Network and Storage Infrastructure with pfSense and FreeNAS” was a resounding success. I had a lot of fun presenting for the first time and the community made it a great experience.  Shortly after came Michael Dexter’s talk, “FreeBSD is Everywhere”, which was extremely well received and covered some great points of the importance of the project.  In the early afternoon came Allan Jude’s talk on OpenZFS: The Best Filesystem for Every OS. This talk covered the wonders of OpenZFS and why it truly is an excellent cross-platform file system. Sadly, this talk filled up extremely fast and I was unable to attend in person. A video will hopefully be posted soon.

My second LinuxFest Northwest as an attendee and first as a presenter was a tremendous experience. The community driven component of LinuxFest Northwest was both humbling and inspiring for me as someone who came straight from the Microsoft world to FreeBSD. I am glad that events like this exist. I would like to extend my thanks to the FreeBSD Foundation for their support in accommodating the attendance of myself, FreeBSD co-founder Rodney Grimes and my friend and mentor Michael Dexter.