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Meet the Smallest BSDs: RetroBSD and LiteBSD, Brian Callahan

We all expect *BSD to run on our personal computers and servers. What you may not know is that the last five years have seen a successful experiment to bring *BSD to the PIC32 microcontrollers. There are now two different full *BSD operating systems for these microcontrollers:RetroBSD, a port of 2.11BSD, and LiteBSD, based on 4.4BSD-Lite2.

This talk introduces the two smallest BSDs, the differences between them, what hardware you need (with hands-on demos), and how to get involved. We’ll overview what works, what doesn’t, the challenges of writing a complete operating system with extremely small RAM limits in the modern era, and how to incorporate *BSD on the microcontroller into your *BSD universe.


NYC*BUG (pronounced “nice bug”) was launched at a small meeting in December 2003, and officially announced at the birds-of-a-feather meeting at LinuxWorld Expo in NYC in January 2004. We are a BSD user group where like-minded people get together under a single interest. Everyone is welcome. There is no official membership, no dues, and no requirements. We meet on the first Wednesday of each month, unless otherwise noted, to listen to presentations and discuss issues affecting users today. We are also on IRC, #nycbug on freenode.

Aside from all the obvious things a user group does, we hope to provide a “forum for discussion and a bridge to learning”. You will find BSD advocates here at NYC*BUG, and some may even be evangelical. NYC*BUG should be a BSD success story spreading more BSD success stories.

While our opinions may be strong, this does NOT mean to the exclusion of others or others’ opinions. We hope you agree that sharing knowledge and occasionally teaching someone who does not know is good for all. We hope you agree that all open source is a good thing… regardless of mascot or license. We do not find the words free|open offensive.

Anyone is allowed to give presentations, however, we do not allow vendors to present nor have free access to the user base.

Speaker Bio

Brian is a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of Science and Technology Studies at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. His research explores how underserved groups vie for legitimacy and normalcy in the IT sector through diversity and other initiatives. He is an ex-OpenBSD developer who used to do a lot of work on ports but now advocates for a BSD-agnostic approach. Somehow, George keeps convincing him that giving talks at NYCBUG is a good idea.

More Info: nycbug 

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