KnoxBUG Maiden Voyage

KnoxBUG First Meeting

KnoxBUG had it's first ever meeting and we had a great turnout! There were quite a few attendees from different walks of life and with different skill levels. We had freelancers, consultants, a small team from a software company, as well as some PCBSD and FreeNAS developers from iXsystems. I couldn't have asked for a more ideal first meeting! We kicked things off with a meet and greet session and got to know each other a little bit. After that Kris Moore gave his presentation which lasted for almost an hour.

The Talk

While I did make a video recording of the talk, it didn't make it from my phone to my computer (damn you photos.app). So for this meeting I'll just write a little recap of the talk. Kris Moore's presentation was about all the new features we can expect from PCBSD 11. He talked about how PCBSD is going back to using the FreeBSD bootloader by default (au revoir GRUB), Warden the jail manager is going to be discontinued in favor of iocage via sysadm, and how the Intel graphics driver support is greatly improved . We can expect Haswell support for 11.0 and thanks to rapid progress in the FreeBSD kernel's Linux emulation layer, PCBSD/FreeBSD is expected to get caught up all the way to Skylake by 11.1. This has been a long time coming and will remove a huge barrier for many FreeBSD and PCBSD desktop users on current systems.

The two most exciting features of PCBSD 11 are the new sysadm utility and the Lumina desktop. The sysadm utility is a simple and non intrusive way to administer your FreeBSD/PCBSD system. It provides both GUI and command line interfaces. It doesn't use any databases, it simply works with the configuration files you're already used to editing manually. It can be configured to use web sockets or a REST API. The GUI is being written in Qt which means we can eventually look forward to versions for Linux, OSX, Windows and even mobile devices.

The Lumina desktop is coming along nicely as well. It now has it's own window manager and compositor. We were treated to a demo of Lumina in action. We got to see the Life Preserver utility for managing your ZFS snapshots, a graphical "top" style system monitoring application and the brand new App Cafe rewrite. Lumina and the new PCBSD graphical utilities looked really responsive and well designed. It was a fantastic talk that really showcased what can be accomplished, when a group of talented and motivated individuals leverage the enterprise grade features of FreeBSD for the desktop.

Credit Where Credit is Due

Overall the meeting was everything I hoped it would be. I do want to close by mentioning a couple of things. First off, I want to express my gratitude to the people from iXsystems. They have been great. They helped arrange and covered the cost of the room. They brought snacks drinks and swag. (I finally got some BSD horns!). Most importantly, they have provided us a couple of speakers (Dru Lavigne is our presenter next meeting). Without their help, none of this would have happened.

Final Thoughts

The other thing I wanted to mention is that despite the high profile speakers we have lined up so far, KnoxBUG is still looking for presenters. I invite any of our BUG attendees interested in giving a talk to submit a proposal. I've posted some guidelines for speakers on this site (that I admittedly borrowed from NYCBUG). It's a lot of good info but the core of it is really simple. As long as your talk is BSD related and interesting for attendees, it will most likely be accepted. So if you would like to present, please send an email to [ damianos at knoxbug dot org ] with your name, email, short bio and proposal. Well that's al I got for this report. I had a great time and it was a real pleasure to meet everybody. I look forward to doing it all over again next month.