FOSDEM Impressions

Last weekend I’ve visited the Free and Open source Software Developers’ European Meeting (FOSDEM) in Brussels, Belgium. It is a huge and free conference covering countless open source topics such as Open/Libre Office, Microkernels, MySQL, NoSQL, PostgreSQL, OWASP, and much more.

On the day before FOSDEM, Friday, I’ve been at the PgDay giving my talk “Pagination Done the PostgreSQL Way” [slides]. I think it was well received but I’m still curious to get the feedback from the feedback forms. So, if you have been there, please fill in the feedback form!

Here you find a short list of notable talks. I’ve actually attended more, I’m just mentioning the most impressive ones.

The GNU/Hurd architecture, nifty features, and latest news

Hurd is still being released in two years. This has been funny 15 years ago, but is quite sad today. However, they aim to get a fully supported Debian distro based on Hurd by that time. Good luck. It seems that current virtualization developments (e.g. Linux containers) are a very good fit for the Hurd architecture, effectively not needing any changes to support containers natively.

Lightning talk: Spoiling and Counter-spoiling

An attempt to make a coding contest that honours maintainable code. The problem: how to measure it? The solution: make three contests: (1) one for writing maintainable code; (2) one for incorporating difficult bugs into that code; (3) and a last one to fix those bugs again. Add some statistics to that and you know who’s code had the best maintainability by measuring how long it took to find and fix the bugs. Funny idea, but not yet executed.

Practical Security for developers, using OWASP ZAP

Promising tool for security checks (brute force). Video available at the homepage.

Lightning talk: The C2 programming language

Another successor of C. It’s a minimalistic approach to just change what really hurts in C. That are a few syntax issues and the preprocessor (#include). At a very early stage. See

How to Share a Trademark

About legal issues (e.g., Trademark vs. Registered Trademark). Some example cases from the open source scene.

Lightning talk: BIND 10: DNS by Cooperating Processes

Have I ever mentioned that I used to be the DNS admin of an Austrian ISP? It’s more than 10 years ago, but I still hate BIND ;) Privately I’m only using djbdns since then. One of the fundamental design principles of djbdns is that there is a separation of concerns (e.g., serving a zone authoritatively is different from acting as caching resolver). Guess what’s gonna be introduced in BIND 10 ;)

PostGIS 2.0 and beyond

Really interesting talk where PostGIS is coming from (1.5 releases) and how 2.0 differs from it. One of the nice things about PostGIS presentations is that they always have nice visualizations (by definition). There was also a PostGIS 3D talk at PgDay.

When and How to Take Advantage of New Optimizer Features in MySQL 5.6

I’ve been to another MySQL talks as well and I must say they don’t feel like FOSS talks. It’s just Oracle presenting. However, the topics presented are no surprise (e.g. Index Condition Pushdown, a.k.a. Index-Filterpredicates). The scary thing about this talk was that the examples almost always needed hits to work. Sure you could say that these are just made up examples, but I think it just a proof of the optimizers weakness if it needs all the time hints to do the “right thing”.

A real-time architecture using Hadoop & Storm

Presenting the “classical” batch/online mixture to handle BigData: Running Hadoop/MapReduce in Batches and processing the new data online (in memory). To get the full picture, you must query both of them.

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