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BSDCan 2012 - Day 2

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The second, and unfortunately the last day of BSDCan was filled with interesting talks, again with much overlap. There are …

The second, and unfortunately the last day of BSDCan was filled with interesting talks, again with much overlap. There are simply so many interesting things going on in FreeBSD that all of them simply don't fit in just two days of conferencing! From all of those, I'd recommend (even though I wasn't able to attend some of them) the talks on netmap, ZFS, AWS, pkgng and IPv6 security - don't miss them when the videos go online!

BSDCan is intended to be a all-BSD conference and not really FreeBSD-specific. Of course, since it's run by FreeBSD people and includes the Developer's summit, in practice it is very FreeBSD-centric, which I, and most of the organizers and attendees agree, should change. Every year there's a talk (or three) from one of the other BSD's, which really is not enough. If anyone from the other camps is reading this, consider this an encouragment to apply for next year. So far, absolutely no talks from non-FreeBSD systems were ever rejected for the conference!

As a special note, I'd like to describe a little what is happening in one of the least-perfect areas of FreeBSD, the package system. After years of being barely adequate, the system is getting a big overhaul, lead by some fresh people with good ideas. The whole thing is spearheaded by the pkgng infrastructure for binary packages, which finally aims to bring sane, decent support for non-source-based packaging to FreeBSD. This is not to say that the ports tree is going away (of course it can't go away) but that there will finally be a usable option for those wanting to use binary packages.

I'd summarize the major new features which will be coming in shortly in these few bullets:

  • Binary packages with multi-repo option
  • Digitally signed repo distribution data (instead of per-package signatures)
  • Package sets being built monthly (or even more often) or yearly, with the support to "follow" monthly or yearly builds (or whatever else gets settled on)
  • Finally, a fully automated recursive install / upgrade option (i.e. installing a package a year from now will cause the packages it depends on to be upgraded before the installation proceeds)

The whole system is still very much in the "BSD spirit", in the sense that the packages / ports form a "rolling release". The project still lacks manpower to implement backporting like some other systems do, but the rolling relase approach offers its own benefits: the ability to stay on the cutting edge of new software, and pkgng finally makes this seamless.

Instead of embedding images, this time I'll just link to the BSDCan 2012 photo gallery.

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