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Away Mission for April 2011

By Howard Dyckoff

There are quite a few April events of interest to the Linux and Open Source professional. The menu includes hard-core Linux development, Android, MySQL, system and network security, and cloud computing.


NSDI '11 is actually March 30-April 1 in Boston. It is co-located with and preceeded by LEET '11, the Large-Scale Exploits and Emergent Threats seminar.

NSDI '11 will focus on the design, implementation, and practical evaluation of large-scale networked and distributed systems. It is primarily a forum for researchers and the papers presented there represent the leading research on these topics. Of course, it starts before April 1st. But it is worth noting and, if you are in Boston, you might catch the end of it.

I attended LEET and NSDI in San Francisco 3 years back and was impressed with the technical depth and the level of innovative thinking. But I also have to say that many of the presentations represent advanced grad student work at leading universities. Part of the conversation is about the footnotes and several of the presentations are follow-ups to research presented at earlier NSDI conferences or related events. I can honestly say that none of the presentations were duds but equally you couldn't split your attention with email or twitter... unless you were in that research community.

All of the papers are available after the conference and past papers from past Symposia are available in the NSDI archive: http://www.usenix.org/events/bytopic/nsdi.html

Here is the link to the abstracts for this year's NSDI: http://www.usenix.org/events/nsdi11/tech/techAbstracts.html

Multiple Linux Foundation events

The Linux Foundation Collaboration Summit is in its 3rd year. It has always been a kind of family week for the extended community on the West Coast, especially as several other major Linux events often occur in the Boston area.

The Linux Foundation Collaboration Summit is an invitation-only gathering of folks like core kernel developers, distro maintainers, system vendors, ISVs, and leaders of community organizations who gather for plenary sessions and face-to-face workgroup meetings in order to tackle and solve pressing issues facing Linux. Keynote speakers include the CTO of Red Hat, Brian Stevens, and the head of Watson Supercomputer Project, David Ferrucci.

This year, because the merger of the Foundation with the CE Linux Forum (CELF) in 2010, the Summit is followed by an updated Embedded Linux Conference at the same San Francisco venue, allowing for down time between events and lots of socializing. Co-located with the 2011 Embedded Linux Conference is the day and a half Android Builders Summit, beginning mid-day Wednesday, April 13th and continuing on April 14th with a full day of content.

The ELC conference, now in its 6th year, has the largest collection of sessions dedicated exclusively to embedded Linux and embedded Linux developers. CELF is now a workgroup of the Linux Foundation because the principals believe that by combining resources they can better enable the adoption of Linux in the Consumer Electronics industry.

You can use this link to register for both of the embedded Linux events: http://events.linuxfoundation.org/events/embedded-linux-conference/register

Also, Camp KDE is co-located with the Collaboration Summit and actually precedes it on April 4-5. So the festivities actually run from the 4th until the 14th.

There will be "Ask the Expert" open discussion forums on several technical topics and Summit Conference sessions on the following key topics: Btrfs, SystemTap, KVM Enterprise Development, File and Storage for Cloud Systems and Device Mapper, Scaling with NFS and Tuning Systems for Low Latency.

An annual favorite at the Summit is the round table discussion on the Linux Kernel. Moderated by kernel developer Jon Corbet, the panel will address the technology, the process and the future of Linux. Participants will include James Bottomley, Distinguished Engineer at Novell's SUSE Labs and Linux Kernel maintainer of the SCSI subsystem; Thomas Gleixner, main author of the hrtimer subsystem; and Andrew Morton, co-maintainer of the Ext3 filesystem. In previous Summits, this has been both lively and detailed.

Last year, the Collaboration Summit was where the partnership of Nokia, Intel, and The Linux Foundation on MeeGo was announced. I understand that there should be more such announcements this year, especially as there is now also a mini-Android conference at the end of the 2 week period.

View the full program here: http://events.linuxfoundation.org/events/end-user-summit/schedule

Interested in the 2010 presentations? Use this link: http://events.linuxfoundation.org/archive/2010/collaboration-summit/slides

InfoSec World 2011

InfoSec World will be taking place on April 19-21, 2011 in Orlando, FL. The event features over 70 sessions, dozens of case studies, 9 tracks, 12 in-depth workshops, and 3 co-located summits. The last last of these summits, the Secure Cloud & Virtualization Summit, will take place on the Friday after InfoSec. It features a session on VMware Attacks and How to Prevent Them. This is a serious and professional security conference.

The opening keynote at InfoSec this year is "Cybersecurity Under Fire: Government Mis-Steps and Private Sector Opportunities" by Roger W. Cressey, counterterrorism analysmmmt and former pesidential advisor.

I attended an InfoSec event in 2008 and found the level of presentations to be excellent. For instance, there was a detailed session on detecting and exploiting stack overflows and another 2-part session with a deep dive on Identity Management.

And their "Rock Star" Panel promised and delivered challenging opinions on the then-hot information security topics. In 2008, the panelists discussed hardware hacking and included Greg Hoglund, CEO of the now more famous HBGary, Inc. and founder of www.rootkit.com, and Fyodor Vaskovich, Creator of Nmap and Insecure.org, among other notables. (This is actually the pseudonym of Gordon Lyon.)

My problem with prior security events hosted by MISTI is that it had been very hard to get most of the presentation slides after the event and nothing was available to link to for perspective attendees who might want to sample the content - or to readers of our Away Mission column. This year the management at MISTI is aiming to do better.

Among the sessions presented this year at InfoSec World, these specifically will be accessible by the public after the conference - sort of the opposite of RSA's preview mini sessions:

  1. - Cloud Computing: Risks and Mitigation Strategies- Kevin Haynes
  2. - Computer Forensics, Fraud Detection and Investigations- Thomas Akin
  3. - Using the Internet as an Investigative Tool- Lance Hawk
  4. - Social Networking: How to Mitigate Your Organization's Risk- Brent Frampton
  5. - Securing Content in SharePoint: A Road Map- David Totten
  6. - Cloud and Virtualization Security Threats- Edward Haletky
  7. - Hacking and Securing the iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch DEMO- Diana Kelley
  8. - Google Hacking: To Infinity and Beyond - A Tool Story DEMO- Francis Brow/ Rob Ragan
  9. - Penetration Testing in a Virtualized Environment DEMO- Tim Pierson

For more information about InfoSec World 2011, visit: http://www.misti.com/infosecworld

MySQL User Conference

After Sun's purchase of MySQL a few years ago, and recently Oracle's purchase of Sun, the bloom may be coming off the open source flower that MySQL has been. Many of the original developers are working on the fork of MySQL that is Maria. And O'Reilly has made it somewhat difficult for Linux Gazette to attend this and other events that they host. But there is still a huge user base for MySQL and this is the annual user conference.

Last year's event seemed a bit more compressed -- fewer tracks, fewer rooms in the hotel adjacent to the SC Convention Center, fewer vendors in the expo hall. Also, in a sign of the depressed economy, there was no breakfast in the mornings. There were coffee and tea islands between the session rooms, but the signature Euro breakfast at the MySQL conference was missing, as were many of the Europeans. This is now clearly an American corporate event.

That being said, there were better conference survey prizes last year -- an iPad or a free pass to MySQL 2011 -- and it still has a community presence with BOFs from community projects.

Last year, conference organizers added an Open MySQL unconference room. This was only one space and it seemed to be only lightly used. This year may be different.

Another interesting change were the slides between sessions promoting other sessions organized by show sponsors like Pentahoo and Kickfire, as well as several sponsored by Oracle itself. That seemed a bit heavy handed... your mileage may vary.

The actual presentations emphasized MySQL tuning and admin, plus sessions on alternate DBs such as NoSQL, RethinkDB, Drizzle, and MariaDB (see MariaDB: 20 Slides, 5 Minutes, The Full Monty by Michael Widenius). Here is the OReilly link for materials from the 2010 MySQL conference: http://en.oreilly.com/mysql2010/public/schedule/proceedings

CloudSlam '11

CloudSlam '11 is the 3rd annual CloudSlam conference, covering latest trends and innovations in the world of cloud computing. Conference panels, workshops, and tutorials will cover topics in cloud computing, including public sector cloud initiatives, transitioning traditional IT resources into the cloud, Cloud 2.0, Application Delivery, Private cloud / Public cloud, and Greener Data Centers.

This is a hybrid global event: The first day, April 18th, is a physicial conference, followed by 4 days of virtual conference.

The $99 cost of the regular registration includes access to all Cloud Slam 2011 live online sessions and downloadable conference proceedings plus access to Cloud Slam '09 and Cloud Slam '10 downloadable conference proceedings. But some of the sponsors have sent out discount registration codes. The $299 VIP rate includes face time the first day at the Microsoft Silicon Valley campus, should you want that.

Online access to just the 2010 conference proceedings will set you back $29.95 plus a $1.74 fee for eventbrite.com: http://postcloudslam10.eventbrite.com/?ref=etckt

So attending CloudSlam is a small investment, both in time and cash. We didn't attend last year but this seems to be a good value at low risk.

NSDI '11 USENIX Symposium on Networked Systems Design and Implementation
Sponsored by USENIX with ACM SIGCOMM and SIGOPS
March 30-April 1, 2011, Boston, MA

Linux Foundation Collaboration Summit 2011
April 6-8, Hotel Kabuki, San Francisco, CA

Embedded Linux Conference and Android Builders Summit
April 11-13, Hotel Kabuki, San Francisco, CA

MySQL Conference & Expo
April 11-14, Santa Clara, CA

Cloud Slam - Virtual Conference
April 18-22, 2011, On-line

InfoSec World 2011
April 19-21, 2011, Orlando, FL


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Bio picture

Howard Dyckoff is a long term IT professional with primary experience at Fortune 100 and 200 firms. Before his IT career, he worked for Aviation Week and Space Technology magazine and before that used to edit SkyCom, a newsletter for astronomers and rocketeers. He hails from the Republic of Brooklyn [and Polytechnic Institute] and now, after several trips to Himalayan mountain tops, resides in the SF Bay Area with a large book collection and several pet rocks.

Howard maintains the Technology-Events blog at blogspot.com from which he contributes the Events listing for Linux Gazette. Visit the blog to preview some of the next month's NewsBytes Events.

Copyright © 2011, Howard Dyckoff. Released under the Open Publication License unless otherwise noted in the body of the article.

Published in Issue 185 of Linux Gazette, April 2011