March 30, 2015 posted by Justin Cormack
AsiaBSDCon 2015 was held in Tokyo on 12-15 March. It was my first time attending, and with a big NetBSD community in Japan I was very interested to go. Links to most of the talks and slides mentioned below are on the main NetBSD presentations site.
On Friday we had both a closed NetBSD developer session in the morning and an open NetBSD birds of a feather session in the evening. We had developers from Europe, the US and Canada as well as Japan. The BoF session, with around 25 attendees, had a talk by Kazuya Goda, who is not yet a developer but will apply soon, on Development of vxlan(4) using rumpkernel. Vxlan tunnels ethernet frames over UDP and is often used in datacentre multi-tenant applications and for VPN applications. Using the rump kernel made porting from the FreeBSD code extremely easy, with the code being tested in userspace with a tunnel to a FreeBSD box to test interoperability and no changes needed to make it run in kernel.
Taylor Campbell (riastradh@) talked about the staus of DRM/KMS, the direct rendering framework for graphics that is in NetBSD current and will be in 7.0. He had fixed several bugs in the days before the talk, so now is a good time to try out the code on your hardware before 7.0 is out. Porting to non x86 platforms that have compatible cards (radeon) would also be useful at this point.
Makoto Fujiwara (mef@) and Ryo Onodera (ryoon@) talked about pkgsrc, including how to package up software in github, which is now really easy. With the closure of Google Code an whole lot more projects are moving to Github, so it is useful that packaging is so easy.
Jun Ebihara (jun@) gave an overview of the Japan NetBSD users group, which travels all around Japan to a large number of events with a large collection of mainly very small machines which run NetBSD current. These include new machines like the Raspberry Pi and Cubieboard as well as old favourites such as the Zaurus, Jornada and Dreamcast. These were also on display at the conference, and got rather more attention than the very noisy blade server running FreeBSD opposite.
The conference proper, on Friday and Saturday had many NetBSD related talks. A highlight was Dennis Ferguson's (dennis@) keynote on modernising the BSD network stack, based on his experience building commercial BSD based routers; he was a founding engineer at Juniper. We got some history, as well as some detailed recommendations about structuring the network stack structures to match modern protocol hierarchies.
Still on networking, Ryota Ozaki (ozaki@) talked about the work that IIJ, conference sponsors and home to many of the Japanese developers, were doing on supporting MSI interrupts and multi-queue devices, improving performance on multicore systems. Martin Husemann (martin@) talked about running big endian ARM on new hardware, a platform that is not used much and found some bugs.
On Sunday, Taylor talked about doing cross compilation in pkgsrc properly. FreeBSD has taken the aproach of using qemu userspace emulation, but there are problems with this that have to be fudged around, while almost everything can be cross compiled properly with dedication. Perl and Python are an issue, and need volunteers. I (justin@) gave a talk about the rump kernel, and how to make driver development and debugging easier.
There was also lots of excellent food, interesting talks about the rest of the BSD family, and a lot of conversations about many aspects of NetBSD. I highly recommend coming along next year. The call for papers will be earlier, so start planning now.