Linux.conf.au - Day Four
The fourth day of the conference opened with a keynote by Eric P Allman, author of a little MTA some people may have heard of called Sendmail - an "... old program that has changed the world."
Sendmail grew out of an environment very different to the way our internet looks today - Berkely in 1980. Eric led the audience through the history of sendmail, it's original design principles, and certain problems with the original design - some of which seem glaring to us now with 20:20 hindsight.
After a morning tea for all attendees, the main conference stack started. I chose to attend Rusty Russell's session on Advanced C Coding for fun, detailing examples of '.. less sane' C programming tips and tricks, then moving on to Using splice and vmsplice with custom Embedded Linux architectures by John Williams, explaining system calls for zero-copy file and network IO using in-kernel pipe buffers.
Valerie Aurora, kernel developer, delivered a fascinating presentation on easing kernel development using User Mode Linux - a version of Linux that runs as a process within an already existing Linux installation. UML provides an alternative to having a seperate dedicated test machine or virtual machine, that needs constant rebooting in order to test. Valerie also mentioned briefly an upcoming project of hers - the Ada Initiative, to encourage women in Open Source.
Other highlights included Perl Programming Best Practices by Jacinta Richardson, and Building RPMS - How Fedora's Koji Works, and how you can use it to build your own software by Dennis Gilmore.
After the conference, those attendees who purchased tickets went to the Brisbane Convention Centre for the Penguin Dinner, a sit-down formal dinner event with a delicious restaurant menu and a charity auction to support Queensland flood relief efforts - raising over $20,000 AUD.
Image of the Penguin Dinner venue taken by Andrew McMillan, 2011