Posts Tagged ‘FreeBSD’

Our team arrived in green and cloudy (haha get it?) Portland on Tuesday afternoon. We dropped by the Oregon Convention Center in the evening to attend the Opening Expo Hall Reception. The crowd of attendees waiting for the reception to start was impressive. Free drinks and food were served everywhere as people mingled among the Expo floor.

Bluehost was the sponsor of the night. Their booth, featuring a ping-pong tournament as the main attraction, was one of the first ones we encountered as we walked through the doors. They are a large web-hosting company based in Utah, hosting over at least 1.9 million domains with its associate companies.

The bluehost booth, didn’t get a picture of the super-ninja player though.

They had a super-ninja ping-pong player on staff. He started the game down 8 points, and if anyone could get 3 points off of him, they would win one year of free web hosting from Bluehost. No strings attached, that was how confident he was. I couldn’t resist, and challenged him. In less than five minutes, I was thoroughly beaten, but still walked away with a cool T-shirt.

Our first full day of the conference began the next day at the FreeBSD table. I had the honor of meeting board members Justin Gibbs and Deb Goodkin of the FreeBSD Foundation. They’re both very nice and good-humored people. We chatted about a variety of topics, from the nine board members spread out across the world to the chemical BPA compound and its effects on aquatic ecosystems.

Justin Gibbs and Matt Olander in front of the FreeBSD Foundation table.

Throughout the day, FreeBSD fans and BSD newcomers stopped by our table. Denise and I passed out FreeBSD horns, DVDs, and stress balls while Deb helped take donations to support the FreeBSD Project. Matt booted a demo of the latest BETA1 release of PC-BSD 9.1 from his VirtualBox and enlightened all about the joys of PC-BSD.

We also had the pleasure of chatting with our fellow open-source neighbors. PhpBB, a popular open-source bulletin board, had a table right next to ours. PhpBB is a user-friendly, flat-forum that has a strong following of community members. Check out their main site: http://www.phpbb.com

Now what about a raffle for a free iPad? ;D

They had a raffle by the end of the show, and my name was one of the ones chosen! Denise and Matt joked at this rate I’ll win the lottery. I’m not holding my breath. Steve Atkinson from their support team presented me with an adorable customized phpBB teddy bear. They’re an awesome team who are passionate about their project, and I hope we will get to see them again next year.

That’s the schedule… for one day! O.o

OSCON is a huge conference. Attendees were constantly on the go. If they were not running to and from the many talks and keynotes, then they were amassed at the coffee shops or the lunch line to recharge themselves. For those who could not leave the Expo Hall or did not have time to go to all the talks, the talks were conveniently streamed onto video screens throughout the convention center and also posted online on the OSCON website.

On another note, I really liked Oregon’s conscious efforts to be eco-friendly. There were plenty of billboards with green messages, automated hand-dryers, numerous recycling bins, and even taxis with environmentally-safe emissions. What was really cool was our first-hand encounter with TaxiMagic, an online mobile app for booking taxis on the go. TaxiMagic, as I soon found out, is an iXsystems customer and runs on FreeBSD.  So people know their payment information is safe. ;D

This is actually a pic of TaxiMagic I took in LA, but same idea.

In addition, OSCON featured pictures of the “O’Reilly animals” in their conference materials. Fun trivia: the idea of using animals was inspired from quirky designs on 19th century wood engravings. Sadly, most of the animals on the O’Reilly book covers are now endangered. Within the main convention hall, there was an O’Reilly table designated to spread awareness of endangered animal species. Which brings me to my next topic:

FreeBSD is helping to save the gorillas!

Koko thanking Penny for introducing her to FreeBSD. Or that’s what we would like to think. ;D

It is true. Verified by our own Matt Olander and Larry Maloney, Koko, the famous gorilla who understands more than 1000 signs in ASL, uses FreeBSD. In fact, the Gorilla Foundation, founded and led by Dr. Penny Patterson, has a main site: http://www.koko.org, that runs on FreeBSD. If you’re not already a member of the Gorilla Foundation, we encourage you to sign up and support their noble endeavor.

Now, if that doesn’t convince people to try FreeBSD, I don’t know what will.


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On an early Friday morning, we departed from San Jose International airport. After two flights and one extended layover, we arrived in a lush, green town otherwise known as Bellingham, Washington. The team had an early dinner together, and because we all woke up at an ungodly hour, everyone decided to turn in early for the night.

The exhibit floor was jam-packed and in full swing by the time we checked in the next morning. By noon, LinuxFest NorthWest checked-in over 700+ registrations on their Twitter feed. As trade shows go, LFNW is known to be small and have a more intimate, laid-back atmosphere. However, Jakob Perry, the event organizer, told Denise that this year they had over 1000 check-ins in the first day- a record number of attendees since the first show in 2004!

The gals at Deaf Inter-Link showing us some love.

The team had the latest stable release of FreeNAS set up at our FreeBSD booth. James demonstrated how to stream music video via FreeNAS, and Ben, Annie, and Denise handed out FreeNAS CDs and PC-BSD 9.0 DVD’s while talking to attendees.  Daemon horns were passed out and soon circulated all across the floor, even extending to the kitchen staff.

Our influence extends to the kitchen staff as well. Serving up grilled salmon with a generous helping of FreeBSD!

I checked out Krita, a KDE drawing program that is available for many operating systems, including FreeBSD. They had a Wacom tablet at their table, and with my limited artistic capabilities I did a quick test drive. At first glance, the program has similar core features comparable to GIMP and Photoshop. There’s a cloning option that allows you to create a completely symmetrical shape while only drawing half of it.

Checking out the Krita program with a tablet.

We attended the after party on Saturday night, hosted at the Spark Museum of Electrical Invention. Food and drinks were served, and we had a chance to explore the exhibits. Hundreds of inventions and cool gadgets were on display, detailing centuries of technological development. Near the end, the museum staff gave us a live demonstration of the Tesla coil. It was an impressive light show, as 4 million watts were generated and then zapped at a Faraday cage holding a live human being. The volunteer, of course, survived the ordeal without a scratch.

4 million watts? Not a problem...

On Sunday, James gave a talk on FreeNAS, explaining the history, GUI, and many useful features, and answered several questions in regards to the 8.X release. A couple of people came by our booth afterwards to pick up FreeNAS CD’s or to chat it up with the team. The show was considerably more toned down the second day, and we wrapped it up by late afternoon.

It was a fun and peaceful weekend in Washington. It was my first time going to such a close-knit conference and the experience itself was novel and quite an eye-opener.  Everyone was very nice and friendly, and I already look forward to next year’s show.

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Last night’s BAFUG had so many people! We had a record attendance, 28 people congregating in our humble iXsystems lounge. We had a bunch of iX team members too: Josh, James, Denise, Garrett, Peter, Annie, Ben, Val, and myself.

Ben posing with the signs we posted all over to help attendees find their way.

Be our guest, be our guest! Put the pizza to the test! haha

Pizza was ordered, drinks passed around. Conversation ranged from FreeNAS to SVLUG (Silicon Valley Linux Users Group) meetings. One topic that I thought was interesting was the announcement about Amazon EC2 and FreeBSD. It’s been known that a FreeBSD developer has fixed a bug in order for FreeBSD to boot on all Amazon EC2 instances (check out his notes: here). However, it’s not until recently that people have started taking advantage of it.

For those who aren’t familiar with Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud  (like myself), it’s Amazon.com’s cloud computing platform. It provides users with flexibility and control over their virtual machines and servers. It is supported on many different operating systems ( including FreeBSD!), allows for “elastic” changes of capacity by allowing users to create and turn off servers at their discretion, and gives users root access to all the virtual machines so they can interact freely. For more info, visit Amazon ECs’s site.

More pictures of the BAFUG meeting can be found on the iXsystems Facebook and Google+.

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It’s been two fun and amazing days in Los Angeles. The iXsystems marketing team drove down on Friday morning for the show. Traffic was pretty good, and we got to the Hilton in a reasonable amount of time.  After a few minutes to catch our breath, we attended UpSCALE, a quick-fire presentation that gave participants five minutes to speak on a subject alongside twenty projection slides. We heard from Amber Graner on how to go from “0 to Geek In 3 Years”. Jaisen Mathai gave a quick introduction about OpenPhoto, a really efficient and powerful tool to store and port photos. There were also interesting presentations from Todd Trichler of Oracle, Caryl Bigenho from OLPC, Rikki Endsley with “10 Ways to Anger Your Admin”, and of course, our own James Nixon gave a talk on FreeNAS.

On the first day, we got up early to set up our FreeBSD booth.  We had an impressive table of free swag. James set up speakers and rocked out with his live music.  Ben dropped by the OpenPhoto and OLPC booths to follow up on questions he had from UpSCALE.  Dru was also there personally handing out daemon horns. Very soon, everyone became a FreeBSD daemon including Tux, the Linux penguin. Before the day was over, we had given out all of our PC-BSD stickers, daemon horns, and FreeBSD stress balls. SCALE Tours brought a group of kids by our booth, and the PC-BSD coloring pamphlets we made in-house were well-received.

SCALE poker cards! Good times, good times...

A new event SCALE organized this year was a poker game that encouraged participants to visit all the booths. Playing cards containing answers were given to visitors who then had to match them with questions found at different participating booths. The goal was to create the best poker hand possible from completed cards.  Annie and I tried our best to collect and fill out cards. Along the way, we learned some cool trivia: IBM was responsible for the “Peace, Love, and Linux” ad campaign scandal in San Francisco, Coraid’s storage platform was used in the production of the film “Hoodwinked”, and the next input device Inkscape plans to support is the Wii guitar controller. At Game Night, the winners of the poker contest were announced. Unfortunately, the full house we managed to get was not the highest combination, but nevertheless it was still a fun experience.

The second day was more relaxing, so Annie and I attended some of the talks hosted on the second floor. We dropped in on “Pop Culture in OpenSource” by Ruth Suehle from OpenSource.com. She was a very enthusiastic speaker and did a wonderful job connecting various well-known pop culture icons such as Nine Inch Nails, Harry Potter, Disney, and Project Runway to explain the key principles of open source to a general audience. I learned that comic book Iron Man was actually using KDE 3.5 inside his battle suit. Talk about safe and secure!

Iron Man the movie, according to Ruth, is the classic example of classic prototyping: fast development of technology in a cave, enemy stealing technology and making a better model, and then main protagonist develops a final revision of prototype to beat enemy. Classic.

Overall, SCALE was exciting and fun. We met lots of BSD fans and made some new ones. It’s time to go back to headquarters and prepare for the next one!

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