BSDCam 2015 Trip Report: Mariusz Zaborski

09/17/2015

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 Miłosz 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

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