Once a year, Ottawa (in Canada) becomes the hottest place to be to discuss BSD-related projects, at the event unsurprisingly named BSDCan. Hidden within this event is the FreeBSD developers' summit which is itself a great opportunity to see all the people I've communicated over the year, talk and exchange ideas. This year's BSDCan / DevSummit was one of the better ones, measured in terms of ideas and projects presented; it was definitely a success!
For those who have not (yet) been to BSDCan, here's how it looks, from a developer's perspective. First, the conference itself is preceeded by two days of tutorials which are also used for the developers' summit. This basically means the developers divide into groups by interest, settle in classrooms and discuss technical issues.
All the days of BSDCan / DevSummit are ended in dinner and drinks but before, after and during these festivities, the developers can (and do) join common "hackers lounges" with free discussion, often to early hours in the morning.
As the "real" BSDCan starts, some of these talks are also presented to the general public, alongside a large numeber of new, conference-specific talks. One of the stars of this year's BSDCan was Neel Natu, preseting a new hypervisor for FreeBSD which will be published soon.
Of course, the conference would be very difficult to hold without the help of sponsors! One of these is iXSystems which also develops PC-BSD and a large number of interesting solutions.
The conference usually hosts some interesting guests to the project. This year, Eric Allman, author of Sendmail and many other early Unix programs, gave a talk about the insights learned from developing Sendmail through the decades. Apparently, he has the same (low) opinion on clouds as I do :)
One of the most interesting semi-technical talks was given by Kirk McKusick who was one of the very early developers, a true grandfather of the project. He described the superpages implementation in FreeBSD which can have a huge positive impact on performance in some cases.