linux.conf.au releases videos on XFS, Btrfs, the kernel and Samba 4
On their YouTube channel, the organisers of the linux.conf.au 2012 conference, recently held in Ballarat, Australia, have released 150 video recordings of the conference presentations. As in previous years, numerous well-known open source personalities and developers gave presentations at this long-established Antipodean conference; the videos therefore offer a wealth of interesting ideas and information on open source topics.
In her keynote, the Executive Director of the GNOME Foundation, Karen Sandler, talks about her heart condition that is monitored by a pacemaker that is activated in emergencies. The executive notes that the pacemaker uses proprietary software that hasn't even been examined by the regulatory bodies. She demands access to the sources in order to check whether the device really works as promised by the manufacturer; she also asks questions that are already familiar from the desktop and server software area, such as what happens if the manufacturer goes out of business or a critical flaw is discovered in the device or its software. Sandler takes these and other aspects as an opportunity to present her ideas on a whole range of important open source software topics.
Many of the presentations are quite technical in nature. In his presentation "XFS: Recent and Future Adventures in Filesystem Scalability", Red Hat developer Dave Chinner discusses some of the most recent XFS file system developments. The developer notes that, for a long time, XFS scaled badly when it had to write large amounts of metadata – and that, as a result, unpacking the Linux sources on an XFS file system took much longer than on file systems such as Ext3. A solution to this problem was integrated into Linux 2.6.37. Chinner shows a variety of benchmarks, talks about XFS improvements that are currently in progress and points out problems that he thinks exist in Ext4 and the experimental Btrfs. His presentation ultimately demonstrates that there are various good reasons for using XFS, a file system that has received relatively little public attention compared to Btrfs and Ext4.
A good overview of Btrfs and its current development state is available in the presentation "I Can't Believe This is Butter! A tour of btrfs." by Oracle developer Avi Miller:
In his "Kernel Report", the executive editor of LWN.net and kernel hacker Jonathan Corbet provides an informative overview of last year's developments in the area of the Linux kernel and its environment:
Red Hat developer Matthew Garrett's dryly amusing presentation "EFI and Linux: the future is here, and it's awful" discusses (Unified) Extensible Firmware Interface (UEFI, EFI) implementation problems; in the second half of his presentation, Garrett talks about the risks and problems of Secure Boot, a topic that is currently receiving much attention:
In "Samba4: After the merge, ready for the real world", several important Samba developers – including Andrew "Tridge" Tridgell and Andrew Bartlett – provide an overview of the development work on Samba 4, which will probably be the project's next major release: