MeetBSD 2016 Trip Report: Domagoj Stolfa


The FreeBSD Foundation has sponsored my trip to MeetBSD 2016, which took place in Berkeley, CA. I attended the FreeBSD developer and vendor summit on November 10th and MeetBSD on November 11th and 12th of 2016. I would like to use this opportunity to thank the entirety of the FreeBSD Foundation for making it possible for me to attend with the travel grant. I would also like to thank Michael Dexter for his aid in finding a roommate for me and providing information.

I arrived in Berkeley on November 9th around 10 P.M. with Sam Gwydir. We checked in at the Hotel Durant, where Michael Dexter, Allan Jude and Rod Grimes were having a conversation in the lobby. I spent the night in the lobby, discussing some tech topics.

I arrived at the first day at the developer and vendor summit, where I met everybody and had discussions about bhyve with Peter Grehan, to whom Michael Dexter introduced me to, and DTrace with Robert N. M. Watson, Arun Thomas, James Mcllree and Samuel Lepetit. The talks kicked off with a talk from Intel on rapid testing via netbooting. Following that, a Have/Need/Want session was carried out by George Neville-Neil and John Baldwin. I found the session very informative as it gave me a better idea of where the project is heading and how to adapt to those changes. After lunch, there were two sessions, one on storage and one on networking. There were plenty of discussions to be had about ZFS and UFS, as well as many of the TCP congestion control algorithms. I was mostly interested in the networking side of things, as I have experimented a little with the CAIA Delay Gradient. This led to my discussions with Hiren Panchasara, which were very interesting to me and helped me understand it better. At the same time, Peter Grehan has also reviewed my paravirtualization code and suggested some changes that would have taken a lot longer to convey over email.

The second day began with the introduction circle, where everyone introduced themselves and what they love about the BSDs. It was great to see the diversity of the people attending the conference and how friendly the community is. Not long after, Devin Teske gave her talk on stable use of jails with vnet. Having used them for network emulations, I have learned lots of useful things in that talk. After that, I met up with Ed Maste in order to help me with patching amd64 assembly code using linker sets and made some further progress on the paravirtualization code. After that, we had breakout sessions, and I was with the security group. We discussed trusted operating systems, cryptography and randomization. Following that, Krste Asanovic gave his talk on the RISC-V ISA, which I was personally very curious about. It gave me insight on designing my code in a way that is easily portable to RISC-V and introduced some new concepts to me. Another talk I found very intriguing was Michael Dexter’s talk on bhyve, which showed some of the history of bhyve’s development and some very interesting use cases that I was not aware of. After the conference, we headed to the Hillside Club, where we had some enjoyable conversations. Marshall Kirk McKusick talked about the history of the Hillside Club and his own experiences.

On the third day, Rod Grimes opened up with his talk about the history of FreeBSD. After the talk, I met up with Ed Maste again to finish up the work he’d helped me with the day before. We both headed to Jordan Hubbard’s talk when we were done. During lunch, I had a chat with Robert N. M. Watson about some of the details regarding DTracing bhyve guests and further collaboration. Kris Moore then gave a talk on TrueOS and talked about OpenRC on TrueOS. Following that, I’d joined Robert N. M. Watson, Benno Rice, and John Baldwin on the discussion for a new IPC and RPC mechanism. Nearing the end of the conference, we took group photos taken outside and gave short talks about our experiences at the conference.

With the closing of the conference, we socialized in the hacker’s lounge and talked about further meetings.

Attending MeetBSD has further motivated me to contribute to the FreeBSD Project and was a great learning experience, as well as an opportunity to meet people that I had previously talked to only over email or IRC. I am very much looking forward to the next conference that I will be able to attend.


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