Brussels / 4 & 5 February 2017


Interview with Brooks Davis
Everything You Always Wanted to Know About "Hello, World"*. (*But Were Afraid To Ask)

Brooks Davis will give a talk about Everything You Always Wanted to Know About "Hello, World"*. (*But Were Afraid To Ask) at FOSDEM 2017.

Q: Could you briefly introduce yourself?

I’m a FreeBSD developer working for SRI International on a project with the University of Cambridge. We’re designing, building, and testing instruction set extensions that let us make C programs spatially safe and make in-process compartmentalization extremely cheap.

Q: What will your talk be about, exactly? Why this topic?

I’ll be walking through the execution of a seemingly simple “Hello, world” program. While the code is trivial, the pieces required to support it are a remarkably complex bit of engineering built over decades. I had to learn a lot of this while working on bringing up our memory-safe variant of C and thought it would be fun to share.

Q: What do you hope to accomplish by giving this talk? What do you expect?

I hope to share the knowledge I’ve gained in the process of exploring the C runtime and hope others will be interested. While we usually concentrate on the problem we’re solving (most often at a much higher level), it’s sometimes useful to know what’s going on in the background.

Q: Getting an understanding of a simple “Hello, world” program in C already amounts to talking about the linker, the compiler, the kernel, the memory allocator, system calls and so on. How much knowledge do you expect from the audience?

It would be helpful for people to have used a C-like programming language and have some idea what the difference between a compiler and a linker is. There isn’t much code in the talk (a few variants of helloworld.c and one in MIPS assembly).

Q: Have you enjoyed previous FOSDEM editions?

I’ve attended a few times and gave a keynote in 2010. I’ve been unable to attend for a few years and am looking forward to attending again.

Creative Commons License
Creative Commons License

This interview is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Belgium License.