Category Archives: BSD

Trip Report from USENIX ATC 2013

I spent half of the week at USENIX ATC in San Jose. I previously attended in 2000, 2001, 2002, and 2004, and I have been to other more academic USENIX conferences in the intervening years such as FAST and OSDI, but I have not made it back to Annual Tech in nearly a decade.

The conference is very familiar but has also definitely changed since '04 (no more terminal rooms and the BoF board was nearly empty!) I was very happy with the caliber of the accepted papers in the main conferences as well as in many of the workshops of Federated Conferences Week (HotStorage, HotCloud, etc.). There is less industry and open-source participation now, but still a variety of really interesting talks about storage, networking, operating systems, virtualization, and more from academia and (a smaller subset of) industry.

As I've previously noted on this blog, I think the BSD conferences are great, but that it is very important for the FreeBSD community to also present work at some of the broader open-source and academic systems conferences. I would be much more likely to attend EuroBSDCon if it were held adjacent to EuroSys or FOSDEM, for example. And would be more likely to attend a U.S.-based BSD conference if it were held adjacent to a USENIX or O'Reilly Strata event.

On Wednesday my team presented one of our main projects of last year, Janus: Optimal Flash Provisioning for Cloud Storage Workloads. This work describes a method for automatically segregating hot and cold storage workloads in a large distributed filesystem, formulates an optimization problem to match the available flash to different workloads in such a way as to maximize the total reads going to flash, and then places that hot data on the distributed flash devices instead of distributed disk devices.

There were a number of other really interesting talks about flash, virtualization, and distributed storage systems, but I wanted to highlight two short-papers that I think would most appeal to the FreeBSD audience here:

  • Practical and Effective Sandboxing for Non-root Users, Taesoo Kim and Nickolai Zeldovich, MIT CSAIL
    This was a nice practical short paper about interposing system calls, using unionfs in a clever way, and taking some revision control ideas for a nice little tool.
  • packetdrill: Scriptable Network Stack Testing, from Sockets to Packets, Neal Cardwell, Yuchung Cheng, Lawrence Brakmo, Matt Mathis, Barath Raghavan, Nandita Dukkipati, Hsiao-keng Jerry Chu, Andreas Terzis, and Tom Herbert, Google
    Another practical short paper about a portable tool, which works on FreeBSD or Linux, that enables testing the correctness and performance of entire TCP/UDP/IP network stack implementations, from the system call layer to the hardware network interface, for both IPv4 and IPv6. This tool was instrumental in identifying 10 bugs in the Linux network stack and enabling the development of three new features: TCP—Early Retransmit, Fast Open, and Loss Probes.

I'm not sure if I'll go to FAST, or USENIX ATC, or both next year, but it's likely I'll attend at least one. What other industry conferences outside of the BSDCan/EuroBSDCon circuit does the FreeBSD community congregate at these days? For folks that have been in industry 10+ years, do you go to more or less industry conferences now than in the past?

BSD in Malaysia

Hi.

Few days back I’ve met up with Mohd Fazil Azran for a small talk about *BSD at Starbucks coffee. I was interested to know why Malaysian *BSD community is so inactive, and from the discussion, I’d say that the reason is more likely caused by too much of politics in the group, financial issues, lack of interest to share knowledge and blablabla..

So now, I would like to suggest for a complete rebuild of a *BSD open group. It will be a group where everyone shares the same right, and the freedom of speech. No politics, no financial problems (go dutch all the way ), no hidden agenda. Just a group where everyone can share their knowledge freely. Hopefully with this group, we could attract more users to *BSD, as well as building back the trust for *BSD .

The kick off of this new group will be on the 3rd March, where I will give my first talk about FreeBSD - what is FreeBSD, why FreeBSD, FreeBSD ports and who use FreeBSD. My talk will be around 30 to 45 minutes, and afterwards I will be free for questions and discussion, and of course, coffee .

Date: Saturday, March 3, 2012
Time: 2 PM till 5 PM
Location: Old Town White Coffee, Bangsar South (KL)

You should be aware that this would be my first experience, so don’t expect for any professional talk. Everyone is welcome :)

So long.

PS: Help me to share & rt it & and follow me on twitter :)

Submit Your Real World pf.conf

As some of you may know, fwbuilder.org is a cross-platform, graphical firewall management utility that supports iptables, ASA, PIX, FWSM, Cisco router access lists, pf, ipfw, ipfilter, and HP ProCurve ACL firewalls. Vadim Kurland and Mike Horn, the lead fwbuilder developers, have begun work on providing complete pf.conf import functionality, the last piece that was missing to provide 100% pf support. This work is a direct result of several customers expressing interest in the addition of pf configuration import and they expect the work to be completed by this summer.

Submit Your Real World pf.conf

As some of you may know, fwbuilder.org is a cross-platform, graphical firewall management utility that supports iptables, ASA, PIX, FWSM, Cisco router access lists, pf, ipfw, ipfilter, and HP ProCurve ACL firewalls. Vadim Kurland and Mike Horn, the lead fwbuilder developers, have begun work on providing complete pf.conf import functionality, the last piece that was missing to provide 100% pf support. This work is a direct result of several customers expressing interest in the addition of pf configuration import and they expect the work to be completed by this summer.

First PC-BSD 9.0 Alpha Snapshot Available for Testing

Kris Moore has just announced that the first testing snapshot is available for download (both 32 and 64 bit versions). You can help us make 9.0 an awesome release by trying out the snapshots (there will be many between now and the first beta some time next spring) and providing feedback about any bugs you find. Since these are testing snapshots, it is recommended that you try them out on a spare system or using a virtual environment such as VirtualBox. If you're planning on trying out all of the new desktop environments, you should use a virtual machine of at least 2

First PC-BSD 9.0 Alpha Snapshot Available for Testing

Kris Moore has just announced that the first testing snapshot is available for download (both 32 and 64 bit versions). You can help us make 9.0 an awesome release by trying out the snapshots (there will be many between now and the first beta some time next spring) and providing feedback about any bugs you find. Since these are testing snapshots, it is recommended that you try them out on a spare system or using a virtual environment such as VirtualBox. If you're planning on trying out all of the new desktop environments, you should use a virtual machine of at least 2

EuroBSDCon Presentation on pc-sysinstall

There was a lot of interest about the changes to the pc-sysinstall backend during Kris Moore?s presentation at EuroBSDCon. For those of you used to FreeBSD?s sysinstall, you?ll appreciate some of the features which are available in pc-sysinstall. For those of you new to pc-sysinstall, it is a scriptable command line utility which drives the PC-BSD GUI installer (and can also be used for system administrators to script custom installs). It has been totally redesigned for PC-BSD 9 and supports modern FreeBSD filesystems (ZFS, UFS+J), gpart, and geli.