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At BSDCan 2012 in Ottawa
Jeremy C. Reed
BSDCan is a great opportunity to learn while socializing with other BSD users and developers. The conference, held at the University of Ottawa and now currently in its ninth year, provides one hour lectures for programming, system administrators, and also non-coding developer tasks all with a focus on the family of BSD operating systems derived from the original Berkeley Software Distributions.
The conference also provided a couple days of multi-hour to full-day tutorials, such as on IPv6, using advanced features of SSH, and other topics. Developers also met early to discuss specific items in their projects.
On the first day of the regular conference tracks, we were all awakened with a loud bagpipe player in the opening remarks. I attended Brett Lymn's introduction to NetBSD's veriexec which provides a kernel-based method of file integrity checking, Warren Block's presentation about documentation proofreading and his tool (igor) for helping this, Bjoern Zeeb's presentation about improving kernel debugging by using better error messages, Colin Percival's lecture about paying for bug bounties, and sat in on Matt Thomas's remote presentation about current state of MIPS hardware support in NetBSD. I also gave a lecture introducing DNSSEC, where I quickly explained signed zones with various examples and introduced many problems.
I plan to try veriexec, patch igor for my documentation formats, and propose a bug bounty for some projects I work on. I was also able to meet in person several developers that I have had emails with over the years.
The lunches were a light box lunch, but most of the developers meet up for dinners. The conference organizer, Dan Langille, also suggests tourist activities and helps coordinate other social offerings. An ongoing participant of multiple BSD conferences said this conference (and other events) is a good way to keep up with the "extended family".
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