vBSDCon 2017 Conference Reflection


September 13, 2017

The third biennial vBSDCon was held in Reston, VA on September 7-9. vBSDCon is a sister conference to MeetBSD, running on alternate years on the East Coast, while MeetBSD runs the other years on the West Coast. Verisign organizes and is a main sponsor of this conference. They see it as a way to give back to the FreeBSD community as FreeBSD is an important component of their global infrastructure.
In addition to being a Gold Sponsor, iXsystems was well represented at the conference. Michael Dexter flew in from the West Coast to give the opening presentation. Ash Gokhale and J.T. Pennington attended from the local area and Dru Lavigne and Warren Block drove up from the iXsystems South office in Tennessee. Several active members from the community were also in attendance, including DrKK and m0nkey from the FreeNAS community and VulcanRidr and RodMyers from the TrueOS community.
The conference began with a one day FreeBSD Developer Summit, followed by 2 days of presentations. Michael Dexter opened the presentations with his talk about automatically provisioning virtual machines to test applications against numerous versions of FreeBSD.

George Neville-Neil talked about the realities of Dtrace on FreeBSD, and Michael Shirk spoke about using security tools on FreeBSD. Paul Vixie presented an interesting and funny talk about the flaws of basic libc routines like gets() and how the community can and should respond. Benedict Reuschling gave the closing talk on using Ansible to provision FreeBSD servers remotely.

As usual, the “hallway track” was popular, during which attendees discuss relevant issues in the hallways. Verisign provided very nice meals, including consideration for vegetarians, and their hosting of the event was top notch.
Once again, the organizers of this conference did a great job in attracting speakers and attendees from around the world and ensuring that the content and the venue were conducive to making new connections. There were quite a few first time attendees and each remarked on how easy it was to swap stories with other attendees, even if they felt initially intimidated when approaching a “famous” name in the BSD community. If you’ve been thinking about attending a BSD conference, we highly recommend that you do so. You’ll be glad that you did!

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