Saturday, February 25, 2006

Fosdem, day one. I skipped the morning talks, they are mostly the same every year and no need to get out of bed too early.

First talk I went to was the DTrace developers presentation by Jon Haslam. Never had the time/chance yet to play around with DTrace before, but after this talk I'm sure to install OpenSolaris in a VM and try to build some scripts. It's a nice tool, and can be used for many purposes, not just performance but debugging as well. The nice thing is that you can get results very fast with small scripts. Even if you have no idea where to start it's easy to start with a top overview and start drilling down. Jon demonstrated this by creating a script that showed a lot of polling events, after digging deeper and deeper by extending the script each time a little bit, we got to the server doing mouse polling.

Next up was an OpenSUSE power management talk. Important for laptop users, and the environment in general. The guys hooked up a laptop to a power meter and dropped the power usage from 28Watt/14Ampere to 15Watt/7.5Ampere. The important thing about this speech was that results differ from laptop to laptop. Some of them don't benefit at all, it all depends on the 'intelligence' of the driver. They did not yet have a list with all their test results online, but they were thinking about it.

Last was XEN by Ian Pratt, the famous virtualization software. Good talk once again, nice to see how far and advanced XEN has become. All the features are there to make this the virtualizer by choice on OSS operating systems. On the roadmap area; support for NUMA machines and other performance fixes, more hardware support and better tools. XEN is also available on PPC machines and IA64, although not all features are support on all CPU's. The ultimate goal of the project is to have a machine boot XEN by default, so whenever you would need it, it's there available for you. This is possible because running linux native or in XEN introduces almost no performance impact.

Also, we got RMSposing for the camera and some other picture to capture the atmosphere of the first day of the event.

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