A bunch of the local OpenBSD fans here in Stockholm run this one-day event every year, called Slackathon. I missed it last year, but in 2007 I was there (and I did a little talk about open source management) and this year I was eager to participate again.
This year, the event was scheduled to take place immediately after a bunch of core OpenBSD developers had had their “hackathon f2k9” in Stockholm, so they could now boast with a series of very well known and very knowledgeable OpenBSD kernel hackers. As I am really not more than a distant observer of the OpenBSD project this of course put the lights on a lot of dusty corners I had no previous idea about. I’m not really a stranger to kernels and kernel hacking in general, and I must confess I had a great time and the team who spoke of various very detailed kernel topics are charismatic and put on a great show.
So I learned about the terrors of the VFS layer and hacking it (and how they’re working on making all the involved caches dynamically sized). I learned how to do active-active syncingÂ of pf-based firewalls (basically using two independent firewalls in front of something), or at least how the guys made it work fairly well. Or how the pf firewall was optimized to double its forwarding performance. And I got to hear a few wise words from Theo de Raadt and learn not only about their 6 month release schedules but also their plans and ideas around solving problems with livelocking and more. Not to mention the talk about managing physical memory, or the work to get OpenBSD ported to sparc64s with hardware-based virtualization support.
Taken all the hardcore kernel talks into account, I think my own talk on libssh2 (just before dinner) felt like a very light snack to chew and possibly a tiny bit out of the general topic… Anyway, I gave a quick overview of the project, how it started, why it was started, what it is and a bit how it works etc.
The slides from my slackathon talk. I expect to re-use a fair bunch of that, with some improvements and additions, in my libssh2 talk at FSCONS later this year.
Looking forward to Slackathon 2010!
Pictures from Slackathon 2009 by Vladimir Bogodist.