Monday, November 25, 2013
Friday, November 22, 2013
The first trip report from vBSDCon is from John-Mark Gurney:
Thank you for the opportunity to go to vBSDcon. vBSDcon was a great conference, and I was immediately and warmly welcomed by the host, Verisign, when I arrived. They ran an exceptional conference and I hope this becomes an annual event.
One of the main reasons I attended the conference was to be able to meet FreeBSD developers I haven't seen for years and to meet new FreeBSD developers. For the first time, I met Luigi Rizzo who I worked with over 15 years ago on FreeBSD's sound system and ISA UPnP code. It was good to meet him and talk about some of his netmap work.
I also met some long time developers, Scott Long and George Neville-Neil, but I also met some that I haven't met before such as Adrian Chadd, David Chisnall (theraven), Ed Maste, Randall Stewart (rrs) and Baptiste Daroussin (bapt). There are many more that I am forgetting, but that's simply because the conference was well attended.
I participated in the embedded BOF. It was well attended and Adrian Chadd was the leader. One of the issues that came up was the issue of how to make ARM and/or MIPS platforms Tier 1. It was discussed how relevant the requirement that a new Tier 1 platform must be able to cross-build packages from an existing Tier 1 platform. There was also discussions on which ARM board should be chosen was a reference platform. The ones that were discussed as most viable were the BeagleBone Black, Raspberry Pi, a ChromeBook or a PandaBoard.
I attended the talk that Verisign gave on how they use FreeBSD to host the .net and .com domains. It was impressive what they are able to do with netmap for UDP traffic, but they are also running issues w/ TCP connection performance on FreeBSD due to some lock scaling issues.
The hallway track is always interesting, and I was able to talk with David Chisnall about ways to possibly support changing functions at kernel load time to choose the best implementation. One use of this would be to choose which AES implementation is best for the machine. If the machine has support for native AES instructions (AES-NI for example) it would use that, otherwise it could fall back to a software implementation.
Though unfortunately the hallway track made me miss Brad Davis's Speed Geeking talk on GELI, but it did allow me to spend time talking with Matt Olander, co-founder of iXsystems, Inc. It was interesting to learn about the history of iX and find out about where they are interested in going with FreeBSD. I may be able to help them with some work on FreeBSD in the future.
I attended the talk that Henning Brauer and Reyk Floeter gave on pf in OpenBSD. The new features that pf has are very interesting and exciting. The features make possible reverse HTTP proxies and other packet steering techniques very easy to do. I do wonder if using DXR for the table lookups that pf/ipfw do could be helpful, though the rule scanning overhead is still probably the largest overhead.
In summary, the conference was great and I was able to meet a large number of people and get some great ideas on how to help move FreeBSD forward.
Thank you again FreeBSD Foundation for providing me with the travel grant.
Monday, November 18, 2013
Tuesday, November 12, 2013
- Funding development projects to improve FreeBSD, including: Native iSCSI kernel stack, Updated Intel graphics chipset support, Integration of Newcons, UTF-8 console support, Superpages for ARM architecture, and Layer 2 networking modernization and performance improvements.
- Hiring two more staff members to help with FreeBSD development projects, security, and release engineering.
- Educating the public and promoting FreeBSD. We are preparing the debut our new online magazine, the FreeBSD Journal. We created high-quality brochures to teach people about FreeBSD. We also visited companies to help facilitate collaboration efforts with the Project.
- Sponsoring BSD conferences and summits in Europe, Japan, Canada, and the US.
- Protecting FreeBSD IP and providing legal support to the Project.
- Purchasing hardware to build and improve FreeBSD project infrastructure.
The FreeBSD Foundation
Friday, November 1, 2013
Aleksandr Rybalko continues to make good progress on the FreeBSD-Foundation sponsored Newcons project. This project will provide a replacement for the legacy syscons system console. Newcons provides a number of improvements, including better integration with graphics modes, and broader character set support.
FreeBSD's introduction of Kernel Mode Setting (KMS)-enabled graphics drivers for X11 produced a regression when combined with syscons: it was no longer possible to switch back to a console after starting X. Newcons integrates with KMS and restores this ability.
Newcons adds UTF-8 support and currently includes Latin and Cyrillic characters; additional ones will be added over time. Aleksandr has an example of Cyrillic display and keyboard input in his blog posting at http://raybsd.blogspot.com/2013/10/newcons-international-keyboard-input.html.
I have switched my laptop, a Thinkpad X220, to a Newcons kernel. In addition to the improved X11 integration mentioned above, a happy side effect is that suspend and resume again works.
Newcons has a small number of outstanding issues which are currently being fixed, with integration into FreeBSD HEAD to follow shortly. More details on the project can be found on the FreeBSD wiki, at https://wiki.freebsd.org/Newcons.