Friday, October 30, 2015

Faces of FreeBSD 2015 - Michael Dexter


Back by popular demand we're again sharing a story from someone involved in FreeBSD with our Faces of FreeBSD series. It may be a story from someone who’s received funding from us to work on development projects, run conferences, travel to conferences, or advocate for FreeBSD. Or, it may be from someone who gives back to FreeBSD financially or in another way. But, it is always from someone who is making a positive difference in the FreeBSD world.

Here’s a chance to get to know your fellow FreeBSD enthusiasts. Sit back and enjoy the next 2015 Faces of FreeBSD story.

Michael's Story

Tell us a little about yourself.

My name is Michael Dexter and I first used BSD Unix in college in January of 1991. I am very grateful that I had a glimpse of the Unix world before the announcement of Linux and the modern BSDs. This was also years before the World Wide Web became relevant, when the Internet was characterized by console-based e-mail, telnet, FTP and the flame wars on Usenet news. Thinking back, the single most flashy Unix-related thing was either the xv splash screen or whatever you could come up with in raw PostScript and ship over to the laser printer. There were very clear hardware, software and network limitation and I am glad to have studied computer science in that environment. What was missing though was a clear sense of software freedom, particularly because the term "open source" would not be coined for another seven years. The Free Software Foundation was alive and well but everything it did seemed radical given the more or less source-only environment I was in at college. While exciting and educational, it was also all very frustrating.

When I finished school I knew the Internet was the industry for me but the computer industry was a strange era characterized by a floundering Apple Computer and the Windows NT drumbeat. I confess that Windows NT sounded great on paper and I admired its support for MIPS, Alpha, PowerPC and x86 but I could never afford it and it is arguably still struggling to deliver on its countless promises. I knew I wanted a Unix environment and between Coherent, UnixWare and RedHat 5.2, RedHat was source-friendly and offered a simple X11 environment like I had access to in college. For a moment it was clear I had found what I was looking for but then an unfortunate thing happened: RedHat 6.0 introduced the then-primitive GNOME environment in a concerted effort to go from an elegant Unix clone to a stunningly-bad Windows clone. If I were to fault the community for one thing back then, it was the notion that all open source applications should be bad clones of decade-old commercial software for Windows and Macintosh.

One thing lead to another and I worked briefly at MandrakeSoft SA, the developer of Mandrake Linux. I dropped everything to take that job and when they ran out of money, I simplified my life and moved to Latvia to clear my head and re-investigate if better Unix environments existed.

How did you learn about FreeBSD and/or when were you first exposed to it?

I remember receiving the Walnut Creek CD-ROM and similar catalogs and reading about FreeBSD but I was clearly in a RedHat town. I had asked about BSD and received the somewhat snide comment, "I have seen just as many misconfigured BSD systems", which I found confusing but discouraging none the less. In around 2003 I read about FreeBSD jails and they sounded like a plausible solution to the "RPM Hell" I had experienced on RedHat and with FreeBSD I once again found the no-nonsense Unix environment I was looking for. FreeBSD 4.8 proved fast, elegant and logical. Inspired by a BSD user in Latvia I wrote an rc script to build and manage jails, unknowingly laying the groundwork for everything I do today with FreeBSD. Like clockwork though, this era was to be cut short: a user discouraged me from experimenting with compat_linux jails and the flashy new FreeBSD 5.0 release with its new jail management tools like jls and jexec proved frustratingly unreliable.

Once again mired in frustration, I continued my research and turned to OpenBSD and NetBSD on which mandoc developer Kristaps and I explored virtualization options with the systrace-based SysJail and the mult pluralized NetBSD kernel. I later went on to use NetBSD/Xen to assist with mult development and all in all, I could see the potential of all these tools but none of them were exceptional. To this day I run OpenBSD on my web server but my FreeBSD involvement has picked up in rather unexpected ways.

What is your involvement in FreeBSD?

Ever seeking an "Ah Ha!" moment, by somewhat dumb luck and without an invitation, I found myself in Neel Natu and Peter Grehan's BSDCan 2011 presentation where they introduced the BHyVe hypervisor. I instantly recognized that this was a new, plausible option that was worth tracking. What I did not immediately realize was that it was the direct result of the 2010 MeetBSD UnConference where just about everyone concluded that BSDs needed their own hypervisors given that NetBSD/Xen was both obscure and incompatibly-licensed. A few months later I finally asked Neel and Peter how things were going and if I could try BHyVe. They kindly responded and helped get me up and running. The rest as they say is history: a few hundred hours and kernel panics later I had a simple framework for helping people try BHyVe and I offered Neel and Peter every suggestion I could imagine. Fast forward to today and bhyve (mercifully no longer BHyVe) supports most BSDs, GNU/Linux, Illumos and Windows. My work here is finished, or possibly has just begun. Looking back, my single biggest contribution to bhyve was helping it land in FreeBSD release 10.0, rather than 11.0 or 12.0.

Why do you like FreeBSD?

Obviously I have sought a personal workstation Unix environment for nearly 25 years. I started with genuine BSD and while OpenBSD delights the Unix purist in me, FreeBSD's bhyve and OpenZFS allow me to finally have a BSD Unix day job. I have been working with iXsystems to provide FreeNAS support for several years and this experience plus my time with bhyve and OpenBSD have forced me under the hood of FreeBSD in wonderful ways: I creatively connect what works and report what doesn't. The FreeBSD community has been amazingly responsive to input and somehow I have 40 mentions in despite my having at most a login. My bhyve experience led me to recently push for FreeBSD Xen DomU packages to be built, along with Docker packages in with the hope of making it easy for people to try these technologies.

As for what I like most about FreeBSD on a high level, it would be its flexibility. Tools like NanoBSD convinced me early on that FreeBSD is designed to be pushed around but always within the structure that one unified source tree provides. I see this approach as avoiding vast duplication of effort and its community is large enough for new ideas to get reasonable reviews before becoming incorporated.

Have you worked with or been helped by the FreeBSD Foundation?

The Foundation has been great about providing travel grants when for one reason or another, I could not attend a key conference or event such as BSDCan. The BSDCons already provide the best speaker travel and accommodations in the open source community and the Foundation is key in both supporting those events and individuals who need help attending them.

How did our funding you help FreeBSD?

The Foundation's travel assistance directly helped bhyve arrive in FreeBSD and now that bhyve supports Windows, fasten your seat belts.

Final thoughts? 

I find it funny that FreeBSD developers still often think of me as "an OpenBSD guy" and OpenBSD developers now think of me as "a FreeBSD guy". I still see myself living in the early 1990s before these distinctions arose and I profoundly appreciate efforts like Kristaps' work on mandoc which has replaced groff in FreeBSD, OpenBSD, NetBSD and Illumos. Portable efforts like mandoc, LibreSSL and bhyve are what will re-establish the BSDs as authoritative sources of definitive Unix software.

At OSCON this year, the cracks started to really show in the various Linux and cloud-related vendor consortium foundations as their participants jockey for position and influence. Joyent's Bryan Cantrill did a great job of illustrating this point in his talk and I just sat there thinking "yep, you want a public-benefit foundation like the FreeBSD Foundation" and "yep, you indeed want to start with an open source system rather than trying to de-proprietarize one."  The FreeBSD project and the Foundation get this right in countless ways. I encourage everyone to support the FreeBSD Foundation with a donation, even if you prefer a different operating system. Their efforts, such as supporting clang/LLVM, benefit far more than just FreeBSD users. 

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Conference Recap: Grace Hopper Conference 2015

The 2015 Grace Hopper Conference was held in Houston, TX, October 14-16. The conference is for women in computing and most of the attendees were female computer science majors, female software developers, and college professors. A few men that attended as well, but of the 12,000 attendees, the majority were women. 

Arriving in Houston
I think everyone attending the conference arrived at the same time. The transportation services sure weren’t prepared for so many people needing rides into the city. It was a long wait for the shuttle, but it gave me a chance to meet other women in computing. Groff the BSD Goat was there as well and became very popular.

Made friends while waiting at the airport in Houston
I continued networking once I got on the shuttle. I started talking to the only man on the shuttle, who happened to be sitting next to me. We realized that we knew each other over email, but had never met in person. He was the Director of Engineering at Juniper. Juniper is a FreeBSD user and a Foundation donor. I had his undivided attention for more than an hour! It was a great opportunity to talk about what our companies are doing, and he told me he wanted to hire two FreeBSD committers. 

The Foundation was a Silver Sponsor of the conference. As we mentioned in our earlier blog post, we provided a travel grant for Shonali Balakrishna to help represent and promote FreeBSD at our table. Shonali was a Google Summer of Code student two summers ago and attended BSDCan this past summer. She’s currently a master’s student at University of California, Irvine.

Our Booth
We had a great location for our table. Dru Lavigne, who attended the conference last year, gave me the heads up that we needed a sign to make us stand out amongst all the large corporations with their big booths. Anne Dickison, our marketing director, came up with two sign designs: one focused on getting people involved in the Project, and the other highlighted what the Foundation does. 

Wouldn't you want to stop by this table?

Above is a picture of our booth. We were on a corner, next to a big aisle, so we had a lot of exposure. We were across from a large Go Daddy booth, which was next to a humongous Cisco booth. It took some thought to come up with a welcoming layout to make sure we didn’t get overshadowed.  

We Were Busy!
The Career and Community Fair opened Wednesday at 5:30pm and was open until 10pm. We were bombarded with students, professionals, and professors from the time the doors opened, and we stayed busy the whole night with people constantly stopping by the table.  In fact, we spoke with more people than I ever expected. Our bright red sign seemed to help draw people in who didn’t know FreeBSD. They’d see our table, then read the sign and ask us about FreeBSD. Most were students looking for internships and jobs. People were also curious about our grant program. It may have helped that we had Groff (with his pink collar and own Grace Hopper badge) drawing people to our table. I also had my BeagleBone Black sitting on the table, and various people stopped by to ask about that too. I wasn’t surprised that people loved Groff, but I was pleased with how many people came by to ask about the BBB. That led to talking about BBB and RPI, and the opportunities with using FreeBSD on those platforms. I also want to thank iXsystems for sending us copies of PC-BSD to hand out.

View from our booth. It was always crowded.
On Thursday,  Shonali and I attended the Keynote that was given by YouTube CEO, Susan Wojcicki, then we worked at our booth from 10am-5:30pm, finishing with the Plenary by Sheryl Sandberg. Both talks were interesting and inspiring. Afterwards, Shonali and I attended the NCWiT member party, where we sat down to review the "getting started" page on Based on earlier conversations with attendees at events like womENcourage and OSCON, it seemed that people might be confused and intimidated by trying to find out how to get involved with the Project.  We came up with some ideas on how we can make getting started with FreeBSD an easier process. We will work with the Project and community to implement some of these ideas.

In the mean time, we sent people to this link:

Waiting to hear the last talks of the conference
On the last day of the conference, we worked at our table from 10am-2:30pm. We still had people stopping by our table after we were closed, and we made sure we talked to everyone. At that point we had three fliers and a couple of CDs left. We didn’t have a lot to bring home, except for all the cool t-shirts we collected. We then attended the last Plenary session with Groff, and listened to Janet George, Isis Anchalee, and Miral Kotb discuss diversity in tech. I was impressed with all speakers, especially Isis who was behind the hashtag #ILookLikeAnEngineer. But, who most impressed me was Miral Kotb. She simultaneously got a Computer Science degree from Columbia University and a Dance degree from Barnard College. Then, after working as a software engineer, combined her love for computer science and dance and created the dance company iLuminate. We were treated to a performance by the dance company, with all their high-tech costumes. 

While at the conference I talked to many students about getting involved in the Project. Some already knew about FreeBSD, some just wanted to get involved in an open source project, and some were looking for internships. We talked to all about the benefits of working on FreeBSD and told the students looking for internships that working on FreeBSD can be similar to working on an unpaid internship.

I also talked to many professors about including FreeBSD in their curriculum. We had a lot of interest in this and I told them about the website, which should be updated soon.

I was excited when a woman came up to our booth wearing a badge that read Computer Science Department, University of Colorado, Boulder.  The Foundation headquarters is in Boulder, and I’ve wanted to make connections with that department for a while. This is our local university and I’ve been eyeing them as a test site for our FreeBSD Bootcamp. After talking to her, I found out they have more opportunities for us than I expected. I’m excited to start working with them, and creating FreeBSD classes that we’ll be able to video and document for others to use.

I made some great connections with people from the White House, research labs, students from around the world, people working in industry, and professionals from Microsoft, Google, Apple, and Amazon (just to name a few). I’ve already received emails from some students who want to get involved in FreeBSD.

We had our share of students stopping by to give us their resumes. Many companies were there recruiting and interviewing, so it took me awhile to realize when a young woman walked up to our table giving us her name and shaking our hands, she was looking for a job or internship. We always told them about the opportunities that the Project offered and included information about the GSoC program.

Next year the conference will be held at the same venue. How many places can handle 12,000 attendees? Even though it made for long lines for everything from the bathrooms, to Starbucks, to getting into talks and presentations,  it was fantastic to see that many women in computing together at one venue. I connected with people in the Starbucks line, on the shuttle, and walking around on the expo floor, which was so big that was easy to get lost in. I was amazed at how many people stopped by our table, given that we were competing with huge companies, in giant, decked out booths. But, people saw our signs, Groff, and the friendly people staffing the table and came over. 

Attendees loved taking their photos with Groff

I believe this was a good investment for the Foundation to raise awareness of the Project, help recruit more women,  and get more professors to include FreeBSD in their curriculum. We had a lot of interest from attendees wanting to find out how they can get involved. We also had a lot of professors saying they want to add something new to their curriculum and hands-on projects for their students. There are a lot of opportunities for FreeBSD to grow and expand. We'll be working with the community to help get some of these in place. 

Of course, we can't do it without you. We need your help to continue funding these efforts. Please consider make a donation today, to help us further our work in recruiting and creating FreeBSD educational material for events like these and beyond.

Thank you again for all you do!
Deb Goodkin
Executive Director,
FreeBSD Foundation

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

From the Foundation: Celebrating Ada Lovelace Day and an Update on Outreach

Today, October 13, is Ada Lovelace Day and we’re joining people around the globe in celebrating the achievements of women in science, technology, engineering and maths. There are a number of events taking place today. See here to find an event in your area.

In keeping with today’s celebration, we’d like to share more about the Foundation’s efforts to recruit more women to the Project. If you’ve attended any of the Foundation presentations over the last few months you’ve heard us talk about this, and we’re currently working with other members of the community to further these goals.

As we mentioned in our last newsletter, we sponsored and presented at WomENcourage 2015 in Uppsala, Sweden. The first day of the conference was a job fair, and we were the only open source project to participate. Even though this was a women in tech conference, there were many men who attended the conference too, and we had both women and men stop by our table to talk about opportunities in the FreeBSD Project. Though we weren’t there to offer jobs or internships, we did showcase how the FreeBSD Project offers great opportunities to gain job skills by working on a software project as a developer, coder, writer, administrator, and other areas that someone might want to get involved in. We focused on the fact that working on the Project allows you to work on what interests you; have great mentors to help you; find your own niche; and offers the opportunity for your work to be publicly available for companies to see.

The second day of the conference we were on a panel covering Careers in Open Source, All the panelists and the moderator were members of the FreeBSD community. We had a great turn out, and could have talked about the opportunities on an open source project way past our allotted hour. After our panel, we had a table in the conference hall, so people could stop and talk to us. Professors were interested in the FreeBSD curriculum and a few wanted to host FreeBSD events at their universities.

This week, we’ll be joining thousands of other women in computing at the Grace Hopper Conference in Houston, TX. I’ll be joined by former FreeBSD Google Summer of Code student, Shonali Balakrishna, who will help me introduce attendees to the Project and share with them her experiences and the benefits of being involved with this community.

In addition to attending conferences, we’re also working with Dru Lavigne and others in the community to create a FreeBSD Bootcamp aimed at introducing FreeBSD to young women ranging from middle school to college age. This follows on the heels of our first FreeBSD middle school class, currently being taught by Justin Gibbs and me in CO.

We’re very excited to take these first steps towards reaching our recruitment goals. We will continue to work with others (both women and men) within the Project and outlying communities to discover more areas for outreach, improvement, and growth to help make working on the Project a positive experience for everyone involved. Stay tuned for more updates from the Grace Hopper Conference as the week goes on.

Finally, thank you to everyone who has donated to the Foundation to help us move forward with our goals. Your support allows us to continue our mission to advocate for, improve on, and grow the FreeBSD Project.

Deb Goodkin,
Executive Director
FreeBSD Foundation

Friday, October 9, 2015

EuroBSDcon 2015 Recap

Photo courtesy of iXsystems
We just returned from another successful EuroBSDCon, which was held in Stockholm, Sweden, October 3-4. There were around 250 attendees from around the world, representing the major BSDs. The Foundation was proud to be a Platinum Sponsor for the conference.

The FreeBSD Developer Summit was held two days prior the conference. The developer summit was very productive and successful. Foundation board member, Benedict Reuschling helped organize the summit. Init AB, sponsored the whole event. We had over 60 people attend. There were many great sessions and smaller groups working together. In fact, Deb ran a session on Recruiting to FreeBSD. We had 28 people attend this session, and almost everyone in the room contributed to the discussion on what we, as a Project, need to do to attract more people to FreeBSD. There were a lot of great suggestions, and the Foundation will be working with the Project to continue this momentum of making some positive changes, helping us to move forward and grow.

Photo courtesy of iXsystems
As usual, we had a table at the conference for taking donations, handing out swag, and talking to people about the work they are doing and where we can help with. We also talked to a few companies about making donations, as well as, providing testimonials. We accomplish so much when we attend these conferences, because we have the opportunity of talking and working with people face-to-face. We know it's the same for the attendees. During the day, people attend different talks on subjects that interest them. At night, everyone hangs out in the hacker lounge socializing, but mostly working together solving problems. It's pretty amazing to watch the collaboration going on.

From the Foundation, we had Dru Lavigne, Deb Goodkin, Kirk McKusick, Erwin Lansing, Ed Maste, Hiroki Sato, and Edward Napierala attend the conference. Deb and Ed gave a presentation on how the Foundation supports a BSD project. Kirk gave a presentation on "a Brief History of the BSD Fast File System," and he taught the two-day tutorial "Introduction to the FreeBSD Open-Source Operating System."

We had over 70 people stop by our table to make a donation. NetGate generously donated a NetGate RCC-VE 4860, which is a low-cost, low-power modern communications platform. Michael Dexter was the lucky winner!

Photo courtesy of Ollivier Robert
In the closing session, we recognized people who have made significant contributions to help further FreeBSD. The people we recognized were:

Dr. Colin Percival: For his contributions as FreeBSD Security Officer 8/2005 - 5/2012, tools he authored that are used daily by thousands of FreeBSD users to keep systems up to date (FreeBSD Update and Portsnap), and his efforts in having FreeBSD supported on Amazon's EC2. 

Michael Dexter: For his FreeBSD advocacy work and support of bhyve and Xen into FreeBSD, and for advocating for FreeBSD at the many conferences he's attended and presented at outside the usual BSD ones.

Shteryana Shopova: For her development work on the SNMP agent, as a GSoC mentor, and organizer of major BSD conferences.

Allan Jude: For his advocacy of FreeBSD and BSDNow which highlights work being done in the FreeBSD and other BSD Projects. Many people have joined FreeBSD because of this program. He has also contributed to ZFS advocacy, documentation, and polishing the FreeBSD end-user experience.

Paul Shenkeveld (Posthumous): For his commitment to the BSDs by co-founding and chairing the EuroBSDCon Foundation in 2011 and being one of the biggest BSD advocates, including running his own consultancy company that supported FreeBSD for 25 years.
Photo courtesy of Ollivier Robert

We look forward to EuroBSDCon 2016 in Belgrade, Serbia!

Thursday, October 8, 2015

Trademark Usage Terms and Conditions Update

It was recently brought to my attention that when I updated the Foundation's Trademark Usage Terms and Conditions on February 17, 2015, I didn't update the date of the change or post a notification about the change on our website. I apologize for this unintentional oversight. The terms and conditions date has been updated to reflect today's date and this is a formal notification of the change in section 3 which specifically states that it is a violation to incorporate any of our Marks in a username. 

I'd like to remind the community that permission is required to use the Foundation's trademarks. Please refer to the Foundation’s Trademark Usage Terms and Conditions to get information on how to get permission to use the Foundation's trademarks. 

Deb Goodkin
Executive Director
The FreeBSD Foundation

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Faces of FreeBSD 2015 - Allan Jude


Back by popular demand we're again sharing a story from someone involved in FreeBSD with our Faces of FreeBSD series. It may be a story from someone who’s received funding from us to work on development projects, run conferences, travel to conferences, or advocate for FreeBSD. Or, it may be from someone who gives back to FreeBSD financially or in another way. But, it is always from someone who is making a positive difference in the FreeBSD world.

Here’s a chance to get to know your fellow FreeBSD enthusiast. Sit back and enjoy the first 2015 Faces of FreeBSD story.

Allan's Story

Tell us a little about yourself.
My name is Allan Jude.  I am 31 years old, from Hamilton, Ontario, Canada, and have been a professional FreeBSD sysadmin for 13 years. My day job is running a medium sized video streaming company that I founded with one of my professors after College. This allows me to use FreeBSD (over 100 servers spread across the globe at 38 different sites in 11 countries) and ZFS (over 1000 TB worth of storage) every day, which makes it easy to find ways to contribute back to those projects.

In my theoretical free time, I enjoy reading action/thrillers novels like Tom Clancy, Larry Bond, and Mark Russinovich, baking, and skiing.

How did you learn about FreeBSD and/or when were you first exposed to it?
When I first got on the Internet at home in 1998, one of the first things I really got into was IRC (Internet Relay Chat). After doing that for a while, I got curious about how the server side of it worked, so I downloaded the server software. Being a Windows user at the time, I was confused by the lack of a .exe file in the archive I had downloaded. After some asking around, I was told I would need a "shell account" to be able to run this software, because it was for "UNIX", not Windows.

I proceeded to search around and find a Canadian shell provider. Once I got my account, I successfully logged into a FreeBSD machine for the first time. I had a lot to learn, but there were resources and manual pages. Over the next few years I gained more and more understanding about how TCP/IP, IRC, and FreeBSD worked. It was around this time that the shell provider I was using went out of business. I decided I could do better, and in 2002 bought my first server and installed FreeBSD 4.5 on it. That was the beginning of my career as a professional FreeBSD sysadmin.

What is your involvement in FreeBSD?
For years I was just a quiet user of FreeBSD. In 2004, some of my college courses covered FreeBSD and NetBSD, so I learned a bit more about them. Later, in 2008, I returned to the college and taught those same courses, most revolving around networking and system administration.

Then everything changed. I attended my first conference, BSDCan 2012. Being at an event like that, surrounded by like minded people, having endless discussions you just could not have anywhere else, was the most exhilarating thing I had ever done. Getting to share some of my stories, and hear those of the other attendees was very rewarding. I left the conference very excited to get more involved in the Project, and with definite plans to return the next year, and maybe even give a talk. By the end of the trip home, I had decided that I would submit a talk for next year, then quickly changed my mind. Why wait for next year, so I submitted my proposal to EuroBSDCon 2012 in Warsaw, Poland. The talk was accepted, and I made my first international trip. Since then, I have attended every conference I could manage to get to.

In 2013, Kris Moore and I started a weekly video podcast,, where we discuss the latest news from the BSD family of operating systems and related projects, and interview developers and other community members. This has been one of the most rewarding things I have done, as we get many thank you letters from people all throughout the community, and get new people to join the community. It was a bit strange when suddenly everyone at the conferences knew who I was.

The next year, I started working on documentation for ZFS, and contributed that to the FreeBSD Handbook. This, and other work, resulted in me being granted a documentation "commit bit" at BSDCan 2014, making me officially a member of the Project. Not much more than a year later, my continued work on the installer, universal config files, and various other bits of the OS were rewarded with a src commit bit as well.

This spring, I also co-wrote "FreeBSD Mastery: ZFS" with Michael W. Lucas, who is well known for his line of high quality technical books. It is available in e-book and printed versions from We are currently working on the follow-on: "FreeBSD Mastery: Advanced ZFS".

Why do you like FreeBSD?
There are a great many reasons, but the foremost is the community. There is no better group of people I could choose to spend my free time with. The other flagship part of the Project is the documentation. When I was getting started, being able to work through a section of the FreeBSD Handbook and end up with a working system that I actually understood was key. So it was important to me to make sure the handbook covered the newer parts of FreeBSD, like the ZFS file system and bhyve, the new hypervisor.

From a more practical standpoint, my initial usage of FreeBSD was because of its security and stability, which were what was needed most to run a shell provider. In recent years, my needs have changed, but FreeBSD has kept up. Containers (in the form of Jails) have been making my life easier for more than 8 years now. We deploy all of our applications in jails, which in additional to the obvious security benefits, makes it very easy to shuffle the applications between servers as needed. One of the other important things has been the ABI stability. We can run a version of FreeBSD, and know that for 5 years, things will not change out from under us.

My company makes use of a mix of FreeBSD releases, and the development branch. We would like to give a special thank you to the entire release engineering team for their work to get the releases out on time, and for the new release schedule that will get the new features into our hands faster.

Anything else you'd like to add about FreeBSD or the Foundation?
Supporting the Foundation is important, not just to keep the Project going, but to show the rest of the world that there is a thriving community behind the Project. This makes potential new users of FreeBSD, be they users or corporations, more assured of the longevity and diversity of the Project.

Thursday, September 17, 2015

BSDCam 2015 Trip Report: Mariusz Zaborski

I'm a fresh FreeBSD committer who is very interested in security things. I also work for the Wheel Systems company which develops security solutions. So it was natural for me that I should attend Cambridge Developer Summit which, in my opinion, is the most security related event in every committer’s calendar. This was also my third visit to Cambridge. For the first one I also wrote a trip report which you can find here. The conference was held in August 17-20, 2015.

 This year I attended with my two colleagues, Konrad Witaszczyk and MiƂosz Kaniewski. I arrived very early around 10am on a Sunday (unfortunately we had to take different flights), so I had a lot of time to walk around Cambridge. I must admit that there’s something magical in this town. You can see many old buildings. On every corner you can film an old or fantasy movie. There are also big fields of green and the river in which you can go punting. I really enjoy this town every time I'm there.

 This year we also stayed in Sidney Sussex, which is this big, great college. What is also very important is the fact that it sits right in the center of town. We arrived one day earlier and since there weren't any special activities planned, we spent the rest of the evening socializing with other FreeBSD peers.

 The first day of DevSummit was on Monday. This year we decided to walk every day to the Computer Laboratory. The first session I attended that day was about storage, networking and armv8. The storage session which was the closest to me, was led by Benno Rice. The main topic was improving GEOM.

 The second day of the conference was even more exciting than the first one. First I attended the tracing group, in which George Neville-Neil was talking about dtrace. Next we had discussion about Capsicum. In this discussion we also were talking about Ed Schousten’s work called CloudABI. The last group was led by Ed Maste talking about toolchain and LLVM.

 The official dinner was held on this day. This year we had a great pleasure to be guests of the Murray Edwards College. The college has the largest collection of women's art in Europe, and the second largest in the world. Only women can study in this college.

 The last day of DevSummit was spent discussing testing. This group was focused on atf and kyua. Next we had session about teaching in which, Robert Watson and George Neville-Neil, told us about the courses they are teaching in which they use FreeBSD and dtrace. The last session was about security and crypto, and I wasn't disappointed. Mark Murry again (as he did 2 years ago) discussed random number generator with others. It turns out that the Fortuna, a new algorithm for random generating, isn't prepared for multi CPU environments, and further research is needed.

 There is a lot of knowledge in every working group, but there is also a lot of great information from people that we spoke to after or during the conference. I spent a lot of time talking with many incredibly smart people who told me about their recent findings in their research. For example, we were talking about packaging, security, encrypting the boot partition, MIPS processor (cherri project in particular) and much more. Of course we didn’t only talk about work. After one of the dinners I can tell you everything about rugby in French. :)

 Then the unfortunate last day came. We went to see Cambridge for the last time. We spent some time in the botanic gardens and took the flight back to Poland. After this trip I can tell that I learned many things, but I also realize how much I don't know and how much interesting stuff is going on around me. I came back home motivated to work even harder.

 I would like to thank FreeBSD Foundation for making this trip possible for me.

Mariusz Zaborski