[CDBUG-talk] The next NYCBSDCon

Brian Callahan bcallah at devio.us
Thu Aug 13 12:09:49 EDT 2015

Hey CDBUG --

I'm going to inline two emails sent to the NYC*BUG talk list earlier
this morning.

Just because the con is in NYC doesn't mean we can't have Capital
District people involved! It would be a great opportunity to have some
upstate people (besides me) at/with the con.


Informally, there has been a lot of discussions about our next
NYCBSDCon. Normally, this type of discussion would start on admin@, but
we need to break that routine.

Conferences are lot of work, and that needs to be understood. It's
essentially a second (uncompensated) job to carry for a number of
people, and it's exhausting.  Yes, the rewards are great, and we are
proud of what we've done, but that point needs to be comprehended.

On that note, the last one in February 2014 was easier than in the past
for a few reasons. A lot of people took on responsibility for the event.
In particular, Patrick M and Mike N completely dealt with a/v to the
extent that everyone else was out of the loop.  Additionally, doing a
day-long event focused on the NYC area, and avoiding the hassles of
coordinating hotels, etc., was an enormous relief.

So arrive today in August 2015.  It's been a year and a half since our
last con.

There are a few spots I've looked at recently that could be ideal. And
yesterday, I looked at a new space at 150 Broadway that just opened
called LMHQ, which is one of those privately funded startup/hangout tech
spaces.  NYI is a founding member, and they are happy to enable us to
use the space.

LMHQ's main area fits up to 140 people with two screens, plus has a
bunch of conference rooms.  It's an ideal spot and right next to the new
Fulton Street station downtown.

At this point, it's worth considering something, say, at the end of
February, assuming all the pieces can move into place.  That includes a
lot of people engaged in making it happen and taking responsibility for
it as in the past.

The next email will be about content...


February 2014's con was focused on the "BSDs in Production" and was
themed broad enough to allow us to choose content while feeling

And like last con, our audience is not the BSD scene local and remote,
but rather the non-BSD people in the metropolitan area. No one can take
anything away from the current BSDCons' importance, but we are doing
something different here, again. Our con is not an opportunity for the
'usual suspects' to meet at different cities around the world. Rather,
our con is about talking to the broader community around NYC.

There are two theme ideas I'm personally thinking about that have been
discussed.  Yes, the term "beyond" is purposeful.

1. The BSDs Beyond x86: ARM, MIPS

The obvious connection for people on this topic is the Raspberry Pi, but
I can imagine that will barely be mentioned.

There is very significant work happening on armv7 and what is now known
as aarch64 (64-bit ARM). It's not just about small hardware, but about
powerful, low-energy consuming hardware that should begin creeping into
data centers soon. The big firms are working on it, and even Amazon
acquired an ARM hardware firm a while back.

There are other angles. There is some *really* cheap hardware that is
useful for testing network drivers, porting to the Chromebook, etc.

Ideally, we'd get some hardware manufacturers to bring in some gear to
make this a more hands-on event.

2. The BSDs and Security: Beyond the Obvious

IMHO the security angle is way overplayed, and we should be angling this
outside the box.

There are a few topics that come to mind.

OCAML being one. Capsicum/tame (fbsd/obsd, respectively). ASLR.
Interesting lessons in porting Tor Browser (essentially Linux software)
to OpenBSD in regards to portability, footprints (er, bloat).
Upstreaming portable BSD code, specifically thinking about OBSD's
arc4random and libressl (libretls now? .

Another topic might be on entropy. In light of the FBSD breakage in the
fall in -current and the critiques of Linux RNG, how do we know it's
working?  What is good entropy? How do we know it's good? How many
stupid ways do bad non-crypto developers try to replace a system's RNG?

Finally, as always, we are going to work hard to keep the event as "BSD
agnostic" as possible. All the BSDs should be represented, but also
having more general speakers not tied to one project or another is a

Anyways, please feel free to jump into this topic.


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