3 min read

The IETF 100 Hackathon was a blast!

My first real-world IETF hackathon experience spoilt me. In a good way.
The IETF 100 Hackathon was a blast!

IETF 100?

The Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) is an international community of humans. They're the brains behind the screens, that exhaust their psychic energy so that we can have Internet architecture and the Internet operating smoothly. The IETF also holds open hackathons to encourage developers to collaborate and develop utilities, ideas, sample code and solutions that show practical implementations of IETF standards. There's one key distinction that separates them from other hackathons: There is no competition.

As always, we did not miss an opportunity to make the internet a better place. We got together for the weekend at Perebere; we were going to implement the newest, baddest and fastest version of TLS- TLS 1.3- in various software applications.

Day 0- Network setup and octopus dissection

Nitin, Logan and Codarren set up the WiFi connection, while I sat in an exam hall until noon, wondering when it would be over. Finally, after a bit of wandering around at twilight(Thanks, Google Maps), I reached our Headquarters. Logan showed me around the place. After making myself at home, I was drawn to the kitchen by the wafting aromas. It came to me as a surprise to see Codarren preparing some egg bhurji and other delights.

Who knew he could cook!

We set the plates and discussed the schedule for the weekend but all we could concentrate on was the luscious octopus, so we quickly dug in. The grilled flavour of the tender meat was just heavenly.

Oomph level: over 9000

Day 1- Struggling with testing

To boot, we went to the beach for a swim. On our way back we took a second unplanned shower as the rain drenched us to the skin. I started working on my patch for ftimes, a system baselining and evidence collection tool. What I had to do was implement the new TLS 1.3 protocol, which ftimes used to communicate with Integrity Servers. The patch itself took only 20 minutes to create. The testing process, however, was a curse in disguise. Setting up the proper development environment along with the various dependencies, getting an Integrity Server up and running and understanding how ftimes worked took me the whole day.

The same pattern was repeated across the chill room; Rahul, despite finishing his patch earlier than the rest of us, mis-compiled the nagios-http plugin. As a result, he was having trouble testing his patch. Despite the struggles, however, most of us managed to pass the testing phase. Only the patch for httperf was incomplete, as Muzaffar and Nigel Yong could not get it to compile in the first place.

Some serious patching going on here.

Day 2- Mauritius on the slides!

For the last day of the hackathon, we wrapped up our patches and started sending pull requests to the various code repositories. Soon after, the TLS 1.3 working group's presentation started. A jolt of excitement went through us as our names appeared on-screen and as they thanked our contributions to TLS 1.3.

Our projector setup as we were watching the live event :)

Our contributions:

  • Loganaden Velvindron - wolfssl and curl
  • Codarren Velvindron- lighttpd and monit
  • Rahul Golam: Nagios- http plugin
  • Nitin J Mutkawoa- stunnel
  • Pirabarlen Cheenaramen(Selven)- aria2c
  • Yash Paupiah- hitch
  • Me- ftimes
  • Nigel Yong and Muzaffar- httperf && py-openssl (incomplete)

Further mentions

We won the Most Remote Participant Award at the IETF 100 for the second time in a row. Our contributions also made the headlines of the global technology magazine, The Register, which you can read here.
The Defi wrote an article on us which is available here.

Nitin's blog post: Click here.

Logan's blog post series: Day 0, Day 1, Day 2.

Nick Sullivan's slides
TLS 1.3 Working Group's slide