The Unusual Suspects, #FreeBSD Vendor Summit 2013

I was fortunate enough this year to be able to help the FreeBSD Foundation host the 2013 Fall Vendor Summit at my workplace, Yahoo.  Our facilities in Sunnyvale are very first class and I like to help out with my non-technical resources whenever possible (because, frankly, if you’ve seen my code, you would prefer it that way).

George Neville-Neil of the FreeBSD Project and FreeBSD Foundation had asked if Yahoo could host again this year and we agreed to a one day presentation and get together at the main campus.

Lots of folks who don’t normally go for conferences showed up to this invitation only event, and for once it felt like we had a strong showing.  I had booked a conference room for 55 people and we had close to 70 show up.  It was really close to bordering on overflow into the hallway at one point.

I think my biggest takeaways this year was the fact that “FreeBSD Doesn’t Have Visualization” is now just a myth and doesn’t really match reality.  The Bhyve project has taken a good direction and now can spin up other o/s instances, like Linux, via the ACPI framework implemented during the Google Summer of Code projects.  It was also very good to see VMWare and Google Compute folks showing up and asking for “what we need to help you folks support FreeBSD in our cloud things.”

Instead of the hallway track at normal conferences, we had the “back of the room on the floor” track this year where there was much debating over the validity of git as a FreeBSD source management tool.  The thing is, the project already exports FreeBSD SVN src to a self hosted git repo (http://git.freebsd.org) and a github instance (https://github.com/freebsd).   The debate swirls around the archaic “email patches to mailing lists” mentality instead of the “send pull request” things that the git world now has.

Interesting point from this discussion, perhaps we should now take the time to assign people who are more involved to important sections of kernel and source code.  The FreeBSD ports system has direct maintainers and a system to timeout maintainers who are AFK.  The FreeBSD base system has a more liberal approach as any committer can and does commit to any aspect of the tree.  Its common practice to not do this without review, but its no a true formal review process.  This leads to some cases where patches go to mailing lists and never get picked up and reviewed.

Otherwise, a fine time was had and I certainly look forward to the next conference, AsiaBSDCon 2014.