At the BSDCan Convention

This entry was posted by on Tuesday, 29 May, 2007 at

I spent two days at the BSD Canada conference with Fitz. In case you weren’t aware, BSD is another open-source Unix-like system, much older than Linux, but today pretty much eclipsed by Linux’s popularity. It’s got a real elegance to it as a “whole system”, and oftens performs best as a super-secure, specialized server operating system. The geeks at this conference are the geekiest of them all รขโ‚ฌโ€ those for whom Linux is too mainstream. ๐Ÿ™‚

We had a nice time, but we were a bit quiet. It’s a small crowd that knows each other very well and have a long history together. Definitely a friendly bunch, but Fitz and I simply aren’t BSD hackers, so there’s not a whole lot of geeky tech conversations we can share.

An interesting talk we watched was about OpenCVS. The OpenBSD guys felt that CVS wasn’t broken enough to justify the pain of moving to new system. Subversion felt too complex and ‘kitchen sink’ for them, and too difficult to secure. However, CVS became unmaintained, and the CVS codebase was a huge mess. Their response was to reimplement CVS from scratch and maintain it themselves! They’re not yet self-hosting, but they’re getting close. There was quite a bit of skepticism from the audience in the Q&A after the talk.

A great part of the trip was getting to meet Poul-Henning Kamp, the guy who (despite his tremendous contributions to open source software) is best known for his bikeshed email, which we’ve mentioning for years in the Subversion community and in our Poisonous People talk. We had a nice long conversation with him about community dynamics in open source, and in particular how different projects tend to organize themselves. We also got a nice photo taken with him, and he’s wearing an excellent t-shirt!

2 Responses to “At the BSDCan Convention”

  1. Well, I primarily recall Poul-Henning Kamp for his beerware licence. Have you bought him a beer? ๐Ÿ˜‰ (I think the Ruby codebase still contains some of his beerware-licensed code) But I’ve been to his homesite before, so I know some other things about him.

    I noticed that that photo was posted to Flickr by FreeBSDGirl, whose blog I was able to find using a Google search on her name as it appears at Flickr. She works for Yahoo, and her blog is full of curses, and bad language. A bit distasteful, but in a funny way. I think (and hope) she’s doing it on purpose. Children, you have been warned!

    Maybe I’ll subscribe…

    I originally thought FreeBSDGirl was going to be Dru Lavigne.

  2. julian Elischer

    one comment on your talk..

    It was fun, and I thought that as a project we (freebsd) are doing ok by your descriptions of what to do..

    One concept that I think could do with being made more concrete by being given a name is the ghost.

    A ghost (I feel) is someone who moans and groans on the mailing list
    at all hours of the day, but when you look in the source code history, you find
    no evidence of their actual existence. No submitted bugfixes, nothing.
    at least, not in living memory.

    We have several ghosts in the FreeBSD project..
    Some of them actually did contribute something,
    maybe 11 years ago.