OpenBSD Journal

[c2k8]:Hackathon Summary Part 11

Contributed by mtu on from the let-us-finish-before-4.4-is-out dept.

c2k8 General Hackathon (Part 11) - June 7-15, 2008, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada

At AsiaBSDcon a couple of years back, a speaker mentioned the number of packages available in the BSD variant for which he was presenting. Just then I overheard the guy sitting next to me mention that one-third of them were broken. I can only assume that he was exaggerating although I'm sure that there was some truth to his remark, however exagerated. I don't follow the other BSD's but I do know that OpenBSD's ports and packages have come a long way thanks to Marc Espie's work on the ports framework. The number of packages have also doubled over the years by no small effort from all the ports maintainers.

French connection table - empty

Read on to find get to know a couple of the ports maintainers at c2k8:

machine room
When I first started using OpenBSD, I took to upgrading every six months or so 'the henning way' by completely wiping my machines, installing new packages and restoring the various config files. I don't know if Henning still does this but that strategy worked for me. However, I usually did the install on a second spare that I could test before swapping machines. It became less challenging when CARP came along.

For about a year now I've been upgrading my -stable machines by following the "Upgrade Guide" in the FAQ section of the OpenBSD website with great success. Yet, I have to admit that most of my non-production machines, including all laptops, are running -current.

For those that still insist on upgrading with a clean install, I found Mike Erdely's article useful when restoring packages. For larger infrastructures, I would highly recommend using Puppet which is what we use.

So my hat's off to Marc Espie for making it so easy to upgrade packages from release to release and to the ports maintainers for giving us more ports and packages to choose from. Now let me turn the attention to the following two individuals:

Antoine Jacoutot (ajacoutot@) helps in translating the OpenBSD and related websites' into French. He maintains over 100 ports and is responsible for the powerpc and sparc package builds. He is also part of this c2k8 French connection. Hopefully someone from this group will write more about this subject.

In the meantime, here is what Antoine had to say about his time at the c2k8 hackathon:

Just like with any hackathon, I came up with a TODO list which I almost didn't even look at because other things came up and I ended up working on parts I didn't expect to work on.

Anyway, I worked a bit on sysmerge(8) and added some small fixes and features such as support for ignoring files from comparison and some other things... it is amazing to see how much feedback I got for such simple little tool!

I'd like to take the opportunity to say a big thank to Jason McIntyre (jmc@) for his fast and priceless support on man pages (I'm sure that all the developers would agree), somehow enhancing my terrible English ;-) I also continued my usual ports work, updating and fixing things here and there, and also looked a lot at other people's diffs.

Of course, I could also talk to you about the Edmonton French Connection, but this should/will be another story ;-)

-- Antoine


Stuart Henderson (sthen@) is another ports maintainer who lives in England across the channel from Antoine. Stuart spends most of his time on ports but after talking with him a bit at c2k8, I quickly realized that he is a very seasoned Network Administrator. Come to think of it, most of the OpenBSD developers that I know are all top notch network engineers and can probably double as very capable security professionals.

Here is what Stuart had to say about his work and time at the c2k8 hackathon:

At the hackathon I was mostly taking care of some house-keeping in the ports tree (checking that library dependencies were correctly recorded), pretty mechanical work and not as interesting as the work many people were doing, but I had a machine available that I could do a bulk ports build on, something that really needs a fast machine not used for anything else - something I don't have at home. This isn't complete yet (and is an on-going process - updates to some common ports require changes to many other ports), but I have logs from the hackathon machine to work through, so I can continue the work here.


Once again, I would like to thank Marc Espie, Antoine, Stuart and the whole team of ports maintainers for their great work with ports. We appreciate all that you do for OpenBSD!

(c2k8 hackathon summary to be continued)

(Comments are closed)

  1. By James A. Peltier ( on

    Nice to see the great picture of arcturus there. Ain't nothing like a 256Px256GB SGI Origin 3000. And no it doesn't run OpenBSD. ;)

    Ahh the memories of working with those machines. I remember upgrading that thing!

  2. By henning ( henning@ on

    "The Henning way"

    wow, there is certainly some mixup.

    I never never never upgrade machines by wiping and reinstalling. I never did, either. The only point was the a.out -> ELF switch on i386 that caused the existing i386 machines to be slowly retired and replaced by other fresh installed ones. There's some natural fluctuation tho... the oldest install I can find quickly now is a sparc64 which initially ran 3.4 (and was used to retire an (3.2?) a.out i386, heh)

    now - wiping and reinstalling is fine, I don't want to despise that. It is just not my way. Which might be related to the fact that, according to our management system, I have 115 OpenBSD systems to take core of as of today ;)


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