KernelTrap is excited to be able to offer live coverage of this year's BSDCan 2008 in Ottawa, Canada on May 16th and 17th. The two day conference takes place at the University of Ottawa, and was organized for the fifth consecutive year by Dan Langille who has also made it possible for me to attend and cover the event on KernelTrap. I spoke with Dan to get some background information on the conference, and learn about some of the upcoming highlights.
The event's webpage explains:
"BSDCan, a BSD conference held in Ottawa, Canada, has quickly established itself as the technical conference for people working on and with 4.4BSD based operating systems and related projects. The organizers have found a fantastic formula that appeals to a wide range of people from extreme novices to advanced developers."
Jeremy Andrews: How and when did the BSDCan conference get started?
Dan Langille: "In 2003, I was unemployed and in Ottawa. I had been to a number of BSD related conferences over the years and now had time on my hands. I was a regular at OCLUG and chatted with Andrew Hutton from time to time. Andrew runs Linux Symposium and the idea for BSDCan sprang from there."
JA: What happens at BSDCan?
Dan Langille: Presentations. Discussions. Social events. Coding. And a lot of fun.
BSDCan is small enough that you'll see or talk to anyone you want. But large enough that it attracts the people you do want to meet. The history and quality of previous years is now allowing us to do things we could not do in previous years, such as the in-house lunches. Such things exist because of the continued support and dedication of our sponsors.
JA:What are some of the highlights of this years BSDCan 2008?
Dan Langille: This year we have Matthieu Herrb talking about X.org and Chris Lattner talking about a BSD-licensed compiler. Plus we have Leslie Hawthorn from Google's Open Source Team.
But I think the most significant highlight is the BSDA. BSDCan is the first BSD conference at which you can take the BSDA certification from http://www.bsdcertification.org/ which is the global certification standard for system administration on BSD based operating systems.
JA: How many people are expected to show up to BSDCan 2008?
MDan Langille: As of yesterday, 220.
JA: Which of the BSD's are discussed at BSDCan?
Dan Langille: Primarily, and in this order: FreeBSD, OpenBSD, NetBSD, and DragonflyBSD. This reflects both the size and the activity within those projects. This ordering of talks from each BSD is dictated by the submissions we received. If a given community thinks they are under-represented, it is their own fault. They aren't submitting.
We welcome talks related to any BSD. Indeed, we have many talks that are not BSD-specific. For example, this year we have talks on Bacula, Google Summer of Code, OpenMoko (Open-Source Cell Phone), What Not To Do When Writing Network Applications, and X.org.
JA: Why is the conference held in Canada?
Dan Langille: Initially, because that is where I lived. However, other reasons have become obvious. Travel. Having the conference in Canada is more appealing to some people who either cannot or do not want to visit USA. That now has become one of the primary reasons for the current location. So much so that so that another conference I run, PGCon (http://www.pgcon.org/) is also located in Ottawa.
In addition, using the same location means people only have the learn the venue once, I can use the same suppliers each year, building up long term relationships. This improves the conference by allowing us to devote resources to primary conference features that would otherwise be allocated to venue and supplier scouting.