Sunday, December 21, 2008

Open CFPs for USENIX, OSCon, and BSD Conferences

Just a quick note to point out that there are calls for papers for at least 3 BSD conferences, O'Reilly OSCon, and USENIX open at the moment. The first up is AsiaBSDCon. The official Call for Papers period has just ended but if you missed the deadline and need a little more time, the organizers will still consider talks. The USENIX CFP notes that submissions are due January 9 and may take the form of full papers up to 14 pages, or short papers of at most 6 pages. BSDCan and EuroBSDCon are also accepting submissions for 2009.

I'm a big fan of the BSD conferences, but I think its really important to also present work at some of the broader open-source and academic systems conferences.

Monday, December 15, 2008

End of Year Bugbusting

As often proves to be the case, I recently found an old problem report from 2005 asking for exactly the same feature I recently became interested in. While my first patch was out for review, I spent some time looking through the open problem reports to find other issues I could address while waiting for a review on the first item.

A blog post by Greg Stein today pointed out the importance of dealing with user issues better than any graphs ever could. Greg's post includes a link to this USENET post from Larry Page in 1996 asking for help for his Java based web crawler. I don't know what kind of responses he received to that query, but I can take a guess that the responses were relevant to the technical decisions made about the language of choice used for the early Google search infrastructure.

How many Fortune 500 companies make a major platform decision based on the help they receive from open source mailing lists or problem reports each year? This may be impossible to quantify, but I'm willing to bet that its more common than we might think. This is something to keep in mind before summarily closing a problem report just because it doesn't include a patch or is otherwise imperfect in some way.

Friday, December 5, 2008

6 New BSD Videos Posted, swfdec support, traffic analytics

There's been a lot of activity in the 2 days since we unveiled the new BSD Conferences channel on YouTube. Technical content from MeetBSD 2007, MeetBSD 2008, and NYCBSDCon has been uploaded, with more on the way. The newest videos now available are :

The early traffic data seems to indicate a 99% male audience and strong interest from Ukraine and Russia, probably due to the large BSD user base there and effective forwarding/announcement on Russian Forums.

It occurs to me that we don't have a good description of using YouTube on FreeBSD anywhere in the FreeBSD Handbook. Does anyone want to take a shot at adding something to the multimedia chapter? Perhaps about using the swfdec package on FreeBSD?

Thanks to Tomasz Dudzis for posting the MeetBSD 2007 videos, and Jason Dixon for posting the NYCBSDCon videos.

Update: 10 Dec 2008 2:30pm: The graph above is scaled by popularity of all YouTube videos in that country, so it just shows that relative to other YouTube videos in Russia and Ukraine, this channel is very popular. In absolute numbers, most of the views are coming from the U.S. Apologies for misinterpreting the YouTube Insight graphs.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

New Channel on YouTube for BSD Technical Content

Thanks to help from the Open Source Program Office at Google I was able to setup a new channel for technical BSD content without the 10 minute limit for uploaded videos. This allows us to upload high quality full hour-long videos of talks and tutorials from BSD Conferences. I've added the first four videos that Julian Elisher taped from the MeetBSD 2008 conference we recently held in Mountain View. You can view these videos at

Back in April I posted here about my desire to see our video content from technical conferences available on YouTube to reach a broader audience. At the time I was impressed that we had over 10,000 views for the FreeBSD vs Linux TechTV clip, but in 8 months that number of views has reached nearly 30,000. We would be hard pressed to reach that many people by hosting the videos with the FreeBSD web site. Hosting on YouTube also brings the advantage of having clips from these videos show up in the search results for related queries, which you may be able to see with a query such as [freebsd linux techtv], and which will presumably soon be visible with queries like [freebsd clustering meetbsd].

If anyone has additional video content from previous BSD conferences that they would like to upload please let me know. I'd particularly like to see some of the talks from recent BSDCan, AsiaBSDCon, and EuroBSDCon that I missed. Thanks again to Julian for video taping so much of this content.

I leave you with Brooks Davis on Isolating Cluster Jobs for Performance and Predictability :

- Murray