EuroBSDCon 2019


September 25, 2019 posted by Kamil Rytarowski

Submitted by Maciej Grochowski.

This year EuroBSDCon took place in Lillehammer Norway. I had the pleasure to attend as a speaker with my talk about fuzzing the NetBSD filesystems.

Venue

Lillehammer is a ski resort, nestled amid very beautiful scenery between mountains and lakes, just two hours from Oslo. The conference took place in the Scandic Lillehammer Hotel, a little bit away from the downtown of Lillehammer, close to the Olympic Ski Jumps.

View from the Olympic Ski Jump

Talks

Every year, EuroBSDCon has a lot of interesting talks. Unfortunately, it is hard to attend all the interesting seminars, as many of them take place at the same time, so I won't be able to highlight all of them; accordingly, I gratefully acknowledge several organizations for handling the live streaming from every session.

Keynote: Embedded Ethics

The conference started with an excellent Keynote from Patricia Aas (ex. Opera/Cisco/Vivaldi, cur Turtlesec), about the Ethics in the IT industry. As a person who is familiar with the issues with the privacy and many different threads of abusing user data by the company, I have to say that this talk started the avalanche of different thoughts and reflections in my mind. To my surprise, I was not the only one to have such thoughts. This topic arose quite often during the rest of the conference through many conversations between different people. For those of you who didn't see it yet, I highly recommend that you do. The key takeaway is that we, the people who are building today's digital world, need to think about the implications of our work and decisions upon the users of our services. This topic is getting more complicated even as we think about it. However, Patricia come here with the strategy "Annoying as a Service" that can be simply used in every situation to at least not makes things worse...

Conference Talks

During the first day, there were a couple of interesting talks about NetBSD: "Improving modularity of NetBSD compat code", and mine, on "Fuzzing NetBSD Filesystems" [+ Taking NetBSD kernel bug roast to the next level: Kernel Fuzzers (quick A.D. 2019 overview) by Kamil Rytarowski]. As it turns out, there was another interesting talk about foundations of kernel fuzzing by Andrew Turner, in which he presented the connection between sanitizers, tracing modes and fuzzers. After the break, I attended the excellent talk "7th Edition Unix at 40" by Warner Losh -- if you love the history of Unix, this is a must-see. The first day finished with the social mixer. The second day started with one of my favourites of the entire conference: "Kernel TLS and TLS hardware offload" via Drew Gallatin and Hans Petter Selasky. In another room was also a very interesting seminar on Rust for System Programmers. The next session via Netflix folks was about NUMA optimizations in the FreeBSD Network stack, another interesting talk about the usage of BSD as a high-speed CDN serving about 200Gbps Video content(!). After that, I attended the session on The Future of OpenZFS via Allan Jude, where he showed the progress done in the collaboration of different OSes on ZFS Filesystem. The last sessions I attended were the "23 years of software side-channel attacks" by Colin, and the last one before the closing notes: "Unbound & FreeBSD: A true love story", by Pablo Carboni.

Highlights

  • Security: We can see clearly that the BSD community continues efforts for making BSDs more secure on various levels. This year we talked mostly about fuzzing, and in this area, it is impossible not to recognise NetBSD for great progress.
  • CDN use-case: Netflix contributions to FreeBSD make it a great system for CDN, year after year innovating and increasing the performance. I hope we will see more companies using BSDs as core for their CDN infrastructure.
  • ZFS: The filesystem has come a long way, despite being a project divided between different communities. Now thanks to the efforts of the developers, OpenZFS as a united community will be able to progress even faster and take advantage of projects that are using it. I believe the OpenZFS initiative is one of the most important steps taken by the community in many years.

Social Event

This year's social event took place in the Open Air Museum in Maihaugen, where we were able to see, preserved in excellent condition, parts of the Norwegian houses from the 19th century through the late 20th century. The fun part was that every house was open and you were able to go inside, some of them with people dressed up in the fashion of the same years, talking about the age. I very much enjoyed it, as it was a great opportunity to learn more about Norwegian culture and history.

The XX century city

XIX century school

Next Year!

The most important key point during closing notes is always: "where will the next EuroBSDCon take place?!" This year the guessing game was:

  • Beer will be cheaper than in Norway
  • [picture of Schnitzel]
  • Photo of...

Vienna!

Hope to see you all next year in Vienna!

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