I’m a still a day late when it comes to writing about OLS. Here’s Friday’s list of talks, and other happenings.
The day began with A Practical Guide to using Git (From a Kernel Maintainer) — it was very crowded in the room, so much so that I didn’t really see the slideshow, but since I already know enough about how to use Git, I don’t mind all that much. Good talk.
The next talk which I kinda had to go to was SynergyFS: A Stackable File System Creating Synergies Between Heterogeneous Storage Devices. It was a disaster — and I put that mildly. The first 30 minutes of the 45 minute talk consisted of Samsung branded marketing material showing that solid state disks were better than the regular platter-based disks. Since the marketing people care mostly about Windows users, the propaganda materials consisted of things like a video thing showing Microsoft Windows Vista booting on two identical laptops — with the exception of the storage device.
Anyway, about 2/3 of the talk through, a SynergyFS got mentioned. And that’s when the one quite important bit got mentioned. At the time of the writing of the paper, the filesystem was a “proposed filesystems.” In other words, it didn’t exist. I am not certain if it exists at the moment, and if it does, what state it is in, but I do know (since an audience member asked when/where he could look at the code) that unless one signs an NDA with Samsung, he can’t even look at it. The code is not GPL licensed, since Samsung lawyers apparently see it as a way to lose some magical intellectual property, which as far as I know they never had. There has been papers published about hybrid storage, there have been papers published about fanout stackable filesystems, there have been papers published about fanout stackable filesystems which use different storage technologies (in no particular order: FiST, GreenFS, RAIF, Unionfs).
Overall, I feel like going to the talk was a waste of time. Meh.
Then I lunched.
Well, just before lunch, I was playing around with SELinux on my laptop, and after logging in, the processes weren’t getting the right context. After lunch, I went to SELinux for Consumer Electronic Devices. I walked into the room, and saw the NSA/Tresys/RedHat SELinux developers (including Dave Quigley) clustered in one area of the room. I just couldn’t resist, and I said “SELinux sucks” and then proceeded to walk away. The really amusing thing was all the SELinux people turned around to see who it was that dared to say such a thing. Very amusing. I sat next to them, and mentioned my SELinux problem. Stephen Smalley tried to figure out what the problem was, and in the end, reached the conclusion that somehow, even though the targeted policy was in use, the system was using some information from the strict policy completely confusing everything. I installed the strict policy, and things started working….well, for the most part. I should file this under the Debian bug tracker since it is a bug.
The SELinux talk was ok. It was what I expect…SELinux is kinda bloated for embedded systems. Some time after the talk, I overheard Stephen Smalley talking to Dave, saying that they should look into it a bit.
The next talk which I went to was Around the Linux File System World in 45 minutes. The reason I went to it was because it was being presented by Steve French. It was interesting, as I expected, and I’m going to read through his paper to see what exactly he did for the accounting (and what his thoughts are).
After Steve’s talk, I was going to go to a BOF about MIPS kernel port, but got distracted by people (including Steve).
At first, I wasn’t sure if I was going to go to the keynote (The Joy of Synchronicity) by Mark Shuttleworth (of the Ubuntu, space travel, and other-random-stuff fame). The title alone makes it sound like a hand-wavy, dreamy thing, but in the end I decided to at least spend 5 minutes listening. It was ok. Not great, from a technical perspective, but he did have some interesting ideas…well, it was really all just one idea — open source projects should have regular release schedules. I don’t know if I agree or not. On one hand it’s a nice thing, but at the same time, schedules are quite annoying when you want to make major changes (the KDE 3.x to 4.0 changes come to mind). In the end, I did stay the entire time, but I bailed at the beginning of the Q&A session.
Some food later, I headed to the hotel room to finish up writing notes for the day before. Well, I tried to upgrade my Wordpress install…but more about that later.