OpenBSD Journal

BSDCan 2017 - Trip report double-p

Contributed by pitrh on from the of goats and pufferfish dept.

The OpenBSD presence at the just concluded BSDCan was quite strong, and here is the first trip report, from Phillipp Buehler:


Most overheard in Tokyo was "see you in Ottawaaaaah", so with additional "personal item" being Groff I returned home to plan the trip to BSDCan.

Dan was very helpful with getting all the preparations (immigration handling), thanks for that. Before I could start, I had to fix something: the handling of the goat. With a nicely created harness, I could just hang it along my backpack.

Done that it went to the airport of Hamburg and check-in for an itinerary of HAM-MUC-YUL. While the feeder leg was a common thing, boarding to YUL was great - cabin-crew likes Groff :)

Arriving in Montreal was like entering a Monsoon zone or something, sad! After the night the weather was still rain-ish but improving and i shuttled to Dorval VIARail station to take me to Ottawa (ever avoid AirCanada, right?). Train was late, but the conductor (or so) was nice to talk to - and wanted to know about Groff's facebook page :-P.

Picking a cab in Ottawa to take me to "Residence" was easy at first - just that it was the wrong one. Actually my fault and so I had a "nice, short" walk to the actual one in the rain with wrong directions. Eventually I made it and after unpacking, refreshment it was time to hit the Goat BOF!

Day 1

Since this was my first BSDCan I didnt exactly knew what to expect from this BOF. But it was like, we (Keeper, Dan, Allan, ..) would talk about "who's next" and things like that. How mistaken I was :). Besides the sheer amount of BSD people entering the not-so-yuuge Oak some Dexter sneaked in camouflage. The name-giver got a proper position to oversee the mess and I was glad I did not leave him behind after almost too many Creemores.

Day 2

Something happened it's crystal blue on the "roof" and sun is trying its best to wake me up. To start the day, I pick breakfast at 'Father+Sons' - I can really recommend that. Very nice home made fries (almost hashbrowns) and fast delivery! Stuffed up I trott along to get to phessler's tutorial about BGP-for-sysadmins-and-developers.

Peter did a great job, but the "lab" couldn't happen, since - oh surprise - the wifi was sluggish as hell. Must love the first day on a conference every time.

Went to Hackroom in U90 afterwards, just to fix stuff "at home". IPsec giving pains again.

Time to pick food+beer afterwards and since it's so easy to reach, we went to the Oak again. Having a nice backyard patio experience it was about time to meet new people. Cheers to Tom, Aaron, Nick, Philip and some more, we'd an awesome night there. I also invited some not-really-computer local I know by other means who was completly overwhelmed by what kind of "nerds" gather around BSD. He planned to stay "a beer" - and it was rather some more and six hours. Looks like "we" made some impression on him :).

Day 3

Easy day, no tutorials at hand, so first picking up breakfast at F+S again and moving to hackroom in U90. Since I promised phessler to help with an localized lab-setup, I started to hack on a quick vagrant/ansible setup to mimic his BGP-lab and went quickly through most of it. Plus some more IPsec debugging and finally fixing it, we went early in the general direction of the Red Lion to pick our registration pack.

But before that could happen it was called to have shawarma at 3brothers along. Given a tight hangover it wasn't the brightest idea to order a poutine m-(. Might be great the other day, it wasn't for me at the very time and had to throw away most of it :(. Eventually passing on to the Red Lion I made the next failure with just running into the pub - please stay at the front desk until "seated". I never get used to this concept.

So after being "properly" seated, we take our beers and the registration can commence after we had half of it. So I register myself; btw it's a great idea to grant "not needed" stuff to charity. So dont pick "just because", think about it if you really need this or that gadget.

Then I register Groff - he really needs badges - just to have Dru coming back to me some minutes later one to hand me the badge for Henning. That's just "amazing"; I dont know IF i want to break this vicious circle the other day, since it's so funny.

Talked to Theo about the ongoing IPsec problems and he taught me about utrace(2) which looks "complicated" but might be an end of the story the other day. Also had a nice talk to Peter (H.) about some other ideas along books.

BTW, did I pay for ongoing beers? I think Tom did - what a guy :).

Arriving at the Residence, I had to find my bathroom door locked (special thing).. crazy thing is they dont have a master key at the venue, but to have to call in one from elsewhere.

Short night shortened by another 30minutes :(.

Day 4

Weather is improving into beach+sun levels - and it's Conference Day! The opening keynote from Geist was very interesting ("citation needed"). Afterwards I went to zfs-over-ssh, nothing really new (sorry Allan). But then Jason had a super interesting talk on how about to apply BSD for the health-care system in Australia. I hope I can help him with the last bits (rdomain!) in the end.

While lunch I tried to recall my memories about utrace(2) while talking to Theo.

Then it was about to present my talk and I think it was well perceipted. One "not so good" feedback was about not taking the audience more into account. I think I was asking every other five slides or so - but, well. The general feedback (in spoken terms) was quite good. I was a bit "confused" and I did likely a better job in Tokyo, but well.

Happened we ended up in the Oak again.. thanks to mwl, shirkdog, sng, pitrh, kurtm for having me there :)

Day 5

While the weather had to decide "what next", I rushed to the venue just to gather Reyk's talk about vmd(8). Afterwards it was MSTP from Paeps which was very interesting and we (OpenBSD) should look into it. Then happened BUG BOF and I invite all "coastal Germans" to :)

I had to run off for other reasons and came back to Dave's talk which was AWESOME.

Following was Rod's talk.. well. While I see his case, that was very poor.

The auction into closing was awesome again, and I spend $50 on a Tshirt. :)


I *totally* got the exit dates wrong. So first cancel a booking of an Hotel and then rebook the train to YUL. So I have plenty of time "in the morning" to get breakfast with the local guy. After that he drives me to VIARail station and I dig into "business" cussions.

Well, see you in Ottawa - or how about Paris, Taipei?

Thanks for the report, Phillipp!

(Comments are closed)

  1. By Anonymous Coward ( on

    William S. Burroughs lives!

    1. By Anonymous Coward ( on

      Dopefish lives!

  2. By Miod Vallat (miod) on

    If you need help with utrace, talk to otto@ or me.

  3. By Tom Smyth (honestly it is Tom) ( on

    It was great meeting the OpenBSD Legends and the Other BSD Legends in Canada, it was a great experience and really enjoyed your company throughout the conferences... Thanks Philip for the Cool Pen :) .. and thank you all for taking time out to share some knowledge with me ...really appreciate it... cant wait to see you all in Ireland :)


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