[talk] the next con: content (2 of 2)

George Rosamond george at ceetonetechnology.com
Thu Aug 13 10:27:45 EDT 2015

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

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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