June 15, 2010 posted by Marc Balmer
pkgsrcCon 2010, the technical conference for people working on pkgsrc, took place may 28 - 30 at the Departement Informatik, University of Basel, Switzerland. Packed with interesting talks and in-depth discussions about the matter, the confence was a great success.
This year's conference brought a new aspect to pkgsrcCon: The discussion of packing third party software in general. Not only the usual suspects attended this years conference, but also ports maintainers from OpenBSD and FreeBSD. From the OpenBSD team Jasper Lievisse Adriaanse and Landry Breuil joined, Erwin Lansing and Beat Gätzi represented FreeBSD. Jasper and Landry had registered for pkgsrcCon quite a while ago, Jasper even gave a presentation on how the OpenBSD ports system and team works and what the differences to pkgsrc are.
While attending a FreeBSD ports session during BSDCan in Ottawa and being an OpenBSD ports veteran of many years myself, I realized that all three teams have similar goals, but try to solve them in very different ways and all face more or less the same problems (e.g. patches not being accepted by upstream). So I asked Erwin Lansing, a FreeBSD portmeister, if he would like to join pkgsrcCon to start a discussion among all three teams. There is always something you can steal from the other groups and be it only the diffs to make a piece of software run on BSD.
During the conference, I moderated a panel session to figure out the current state, goals, and problems of the three projects, which was a highly interesting and lively discussion. In fact people so much liked the idea of inter-project discussions that this will continue somehow. One idea was a BSD third party software session during EuroBSDCon or to hold a pkgsrcCon right after an OpenBSD ports hackathon.
Of course pkgsrc specific topics were on the agenda as well and we got some deep insight and status updates on our favourite packaging system. NetBSD developer Michael van Elst presented even one more packaging system, OpenPKG.
All in all we spent three interesting days in Basel and we have to thank Vera Hardmeier for the excellent organisation, Petra Zeidler for putting together an interesting conference program and, last, but not least, Prof. Dr. Christian Tschudin for letting us use the rooms at his institute.