Subject: LSM 2003 (report)
To: None <>
From: Gilbert Fernandes <>
List: netbsd-advocacy
Date: 07/14/2003 18:08:01
NetBSD presence at LSM 2003

We came back, Emmanuel (Dreyfus) and me from
the french LSM (Libre Software Meeting) which
was happening in Metz, July 9-12. Here's a
small report of our "presence" there.

/* this is a translation of the report I posted
   to the regional-fr mailing list */


July, 7th

The day before leaving. We wanted to bring
a lot of stuff and organise a rather big
stand (lots of machines, selling 1.6.1 CDs
I ordered -100 copies of-, a big NetBSD flag
to put behind us). But the car is now out of
order, the CDs have been lost by the french
Poste and its "Colissimo" service (great..)
and the flag is nowhere but in my mail box.
So we decided to leave by train, and only
grab our two laptops, a jornada and a
faithful switch.


July, 8th

The train travel is a bit tiring, but we
had some spare time to talk about various
things (darwin evolutionism, biological
chemicals) and we eat a small lunch I
prepared :)

We get to Metz and we find the hotel which
is more a mix of a hotel and a YMCA. Bad
surprise, while we had booked the room,
got a paper and phone confirmation, the lady
in charge doesn't find us anywhere (at
that time, Emmanuel turns white). Hopefully,
she finds a free room. Once there, we
use a coin we throw to find who's gonna
sleep on the upper part of the bed, to
discover that when we try to open it, it
doesn't (ooops..). But Emmanuel had his
multi-function knife and was able to
circumvent this trick from the penguins ! :)

Even if it's rather late, we install our
machines and while I try, without sucess,
to move my 1.6.1 to current, Emmanuel tries
to get into the Open Firmware of his
Mac to prepare the machine for the day
after, to work over COMPAT_DARWIN. But
his machine requires to press a precise
set of keys at the very good time. Well,
he spent about 20 minutes trying in fact,
seemed without hope.

Pressing Command-Option-O-F for 1/10 of
a second, one second after the chime
is a strange idea from Apple hardware


July, 9th

After three hours of sleep, we get cold
showers (the showers will remain cold
for the whole duration of the LSM, since
the filthy penguins cut the hot water
to only get proper water for their
organisms). We find the LSM place, and
we get two tables as stand. We are
rather lam^H^H^Hinvisible and everyone
thinks we are part of the Mandrake Linux
team which is on our left and everyone
thinkgs that Emmanuel's Jornada is running
Linux while it's a NetBSD, with a XDoom
as demo :)

While the pinguins from Mandrake are
friendly, they look strangely at our
machines and Warly (sitted next to me)
looks at my machine with a puzzled look,
since I'm using screen on a 80x50
display. Looked like he was gonna pop
all over the place...

After having installed a 1.6U kernel,
I try (and it still doesn't work) to move
the whole userland to current but the
farther I get, the worse it gets.
(Emmanuel believes there's some kind
of curse over me and it might come
from the OpenBSD booth, which is not
far from us).

Emmanuel is working on a bug but it's
too complicated to explain it here,
but related to COMPAT_DARWIN.

During that day, a representative of
a LUG comes and asks us if we can install
NetBSD over his son's laptop, an old
Pentium 75 Compaq. It obviously looks
like the machine wants to retire,
and nothing worked: it refused Linux,
Windows and even the DOS itself.
We are preparing a RJ45 cable while
pkgsrc is heating.

The machine has a Pcmcia port, but
when we tried to use it and the card
from the Jornada, the machine reboots
directly, showing us the finger. We
get into the BIOS and even without
the Pcmcia card, it flickers very
badly (like it's sharing its IRQ
with something else, no idea). The
machine seems to have some kind of
hardware trouble, but we go on.

Since we had no floppy driver at all,
we use the machine of Warly on my
left (a Mandrake developer) to write
the floppies I prepare (later we'd
use a Lea Linux machine). As we produce
several floppies, we have to ask Warly
his machine all the time (the truth
is I was forgetting something important
on each floppy or inside it's custom
kernel so I had to do it again and
again until it worked 8)

The floppy had a custom kernel, with
ppp and com0 support. Even by annoying
Warly all the time to write floppies,
he doesn't seem to realize what terrible
things we are preparing for the Compaq
machine we called "trashcan" (that's
also its kernel name). Manu installs
a serial cable linked to his Jornada
to do the install. Since its Jornada
kernel has not ipnat support compiled in,
he routes packets to my own laptop which
itself does the NAT work so "trashcan"
can grab install files from

Niels Provos, passing by, listens to us
as we explain him what we are doing to
force the install on that crappy laptop,
and he starts a sinister laugh as doesn't
seem to believe us at first :D

After a few hours of work, the machine is
able to boot properly under 1.6.1 and
seems to like it. Where it failed with
all other operating systems, it works
flawlessly with NetBSD :)

Before we leave for our hotel room,
Emmanuel works with ktrace and finds
another bug and fights his sleep to
kill it.


July, 10th

The night before, we talked about means
to be more visible as stand (we didn't
want to do a stand at first as everything
had gone mad). So I get in town to have
some NetBSD posters printed on A2 and A3
sheets of paper. The result doesn't seem
bad at all, and I put posters in a lot
of places: ceilings (!), toilets (!!) and
other funny places. A much more lot people
now come to talk with us ! :D

Niels Provos and Marius Eriksen (oops,
I mistyped his name on the french
post of this report : SORRY !) come and
plug into our switch (Niels sniffs
all around the place to grab password,
as usual !). Naturally, all BSD people
gather (I forgot about Jose Nazario
on my french post of this report,
forgive me pal !).

We sign a few GnuPG key with great
care and we keep compiling packages
for trashcan which works very nice
indeed under NetBSD. Manu tries to
configure X Window but the machine
has 8 Mb only and it doesn't seem
to work very well under X so he chooses
to keep it under console (which I
consider a good choice, as no one
should ever use X anyway :D )

I will spend my day working over
userland, moving it to current but
I get wierdo trouble and stuff and
Emmanuel now really believes in a curse over me. I start
compiling each component of userland
manually :/

Later, we go to the libre supper
(or was it the day before ?) and I
can discuss with Mathieu Herrb
(a renowed BSD developer and member
of XFree86) and Niels Provos. When
a band starts singing, we decide
to flee but at the door, two girls
from "Copines de Geek" catch us
and try to make us stay and we barely
escape outside to run away from those
people that want to keep our fingers
from our lappy keyboards !


July, 11th

Everything looks much more quiet that
day. No one brings us strange and
reluctant machines to get NetBSD installed
over them, and the day flows slowly.

We meet users from everywhere, and the
mood is very nice. The Mandrake stand
goes all mad and they organize a
revolutionary press conference. They
kidnap a developer, tie him with
network cable and gag him. They ask
for code freedoom for some codecs
and code for DivX or DVD use (I guess)
and a member of their team, hiding his
face below a piece of cloth, raises
his arm and does some penguins noise
that only penguins can guess...
(you can check two pictures of that
strange event from my web site,
the URL is at the end of this report).

Later we get to the mayor's house,
where her assistant tells us about
Metz history and their commitment to
the open source initiatives. She seems
happy that this event took place there,
and we discover with horror that those
penguins drink non-alcohool beverages,
so Niels grabs BSD people and we get
outside so we can find some place to
eat and celebrate Bacchus properly
by drinking large quantities of good
red wine :)


July, 12th

Our last day. A penguin in the stand
in front of us tries to start a troll
about BSD (a guy from Lea Linux) but
we are forced to answer and our unique
but strong answer impresses him so
much he stops immediatly and hides
behind his screen. Victory !

The conferences are obviously more
interesting than stands, and we are
a bit sad of our small, tiny and not
very well looking stand, especially
when we start to see pics of the
LinuxTag NetBSD stand. To avoid
losing all hope, we start browsing
the web for the beautiful brunette
dressed as deamon on the Net :D

We leave. While we go back, Manu
sleeps and I use the dev/midi sources
as a base to start writing support
for /dev/ismbus (Intel SMBus) I want
to work over.


Our thanks to: Anne, who took care of
organizing the stands, Manu for being
so cool and his advices so I code
properly and the Mandrake team and
Warly especially. Niels Provos,
Jose Nazario, Marius Eriksen and the
two admins in charge of the network.

And we won't forget before a long,
looooong time the incredible blonde
girl with her short, so short dress
that troubled so much Manu he had a
hard time trying to debug his
COMPAT DARWIN code. Sadly, we had
no camera that day :/


Pictures :

Gilbert Fernandes