June 28, 2017

In mid-May I presented at Rootconf 2017 in Bangalore. Rootconf is India’s principal conference where systems and operations engineers share real world knowledge about building reliable systems.

As always, it was interesting to hear the difficulties people face trying to run reliable systems on less reliable platforms. While many of the presentations were very Linux-specific and not very exciting to me, a couple of talks did catch my eye.

I particularly enjoyed the talk by Aruna Sankaranarayanan, explaining how Mapbox takes advantage of Amazon’s “spot pricing” mechanism by spawning and shutting down machines at different price points to optimize for cost without compromising availability. Their spotswap software has been released under a BSD license. It sounds like it should be possible to port this to FreeBSD with minimal effort.

Other interesting presentations (at least to my mind) were Bernd Erk discussing the state of the monitoring landscape, G. Clifford Williams introducing pkgsrc and Pooja Shah sharing her experience implementing a revision control enforcement bot named Alice. All presentations were recorded. Definitely worth looking through that playlist!

My talk on FreeBSD, “FreeBSD is not a Linux distribution“,  which was originally prepared by George Neville-Neil and previously presented by him in Beijing in December and by me in Singapore in March, was very well-attended. While most of the audience are unlikely to be able to upgrade from Linux to FreeBSD in the short term, I did get some very encouraging questions. ZFS is a major selling-point in this community.

The FreeBSD Foundation sponsored very sturdy laptop bags for Rootconf. They will keep FreeBSD visible in many of Bangalore’s techy startups.

Contributed by Philip Paeps