The cyberstorm.mu team has been participating in several IETF hackathons these recent years. For the IETF 102 hackathon, we focused tremendously on innovation: The goal to create two teams for the TLS 1.3 project, one for the Implementation team and the other is Interop. At the same time, getting hands-on the HTTP 451 project. The IETF hackathon encourages developers to collaborate and develop utilities, ideas, sample code and solutions that show practical implementations of IETF standards. It is not a competition but a collaborative event.
For this IETF hackathon, I and Loganaden Velvindron core members of cyberstorm.mu team decided to lead the event. We searched a marvelous venue at Pointe aux Piments, a remote coastal area in the north-west of Mauritius which was very peaceful and can accommodate the whole team including first-timers of the IETF hackathon for three nights. As regards food, the best place is at Triolet, a village nearby which is famous for street foods including Pizza, Indian food, Grilled, Burgers and Brianis. We also chose that venue as it included a WiFi hotspot, several rooms, bathrooms, and even a swimming pool.
The participants from the cyberstorm.mu team was: Loganaden Velvindron, Rahul Golam, Kifah Sheik Meeran, Nigel Yong Sao Young Steven Ken Fouk, Codarren Velvindron, and myself – Nitin J Mutkawoa. As regards to the first-timers were: Veegish Ramdani, Jeremie Daniel, Jagveer Loky, Nathan Sunil Mangar, and Avishai Poorun.
On day 1, we all set up our lab environments and since most first-timers were in the TLS 1.3 Interoperability team, a plan was already designed. We knew since the beginning that there would be the logistic issues, so we brought spare laptops, screens, memory cards, projectors, etc.. Logan explained the situation we had to deal with especially when it comes to interoperability to the first-timers. Then, they assigned themselves some tasks. At first, it was time-consuming to get started, but at the end of day1, I can feel how everyone was working as a team and looking in the same direction for the TLS 1.3. On the other hand, Veegish was getting hands-on HTTP 451. Whilst the Interoperability team was having fun, the implementation team, on the other hand, was yet another challenge: Improving source code for TLS 1.3 compat layer.
On day 2, everyone woke up early and went for a morning walk. Afterward, the team was back to coding and debugging. Whilst some were on the implementation and Interoperability tasks, Veegish already advanced on the HTTP 451 project. A debrief carried out by logan to understand where the team stands. We had to constantly evaluate ourselves so that we knew in which direction we are moving. At the end of the day, most of us were already in the pool for some chilling moments. I seized the opportunity to make a Time Lapse video with my iPhone 7+ 🙂
On day 3, the atmosphere was intense. The implementation team needs to make sure the code has been tested and it is running correctly. I was heavily involved in the PHP CURL library part. The testing part was very challenging. At some moment I was so tired and hopeless as the testing part was really complex. At the same time, others were trying to help each other. Kifah was also on some bash scripting for the interoperability part. He wanted to automate some tasks. Logan was also looking at his code and helping the others. Well, at the end of the day we were so happy to be able to accomplish what we had planned. Everyone looked so tired. The only option is to go back to the pool.
We also decided to make some mini videoS to relate our experience during the hackathon. I uploaded the videos on YouTube. You can view it from the playlist below:
On day 4, we packed up to our destination. At that very moment in Montreal, the hackathon was still going on. I reached home at about 19:00 hrs Mauritius time. I was assigned a three minutes presentation for the hackathon carried out by the Mauritius team. It was already midnight. I was so tired. I knew that the presentation had to be carried out. Logan was constantly texting me to make sure that I did not fall asleep. You can view the presentation remotely live in Montreal Canada.
What did IETF hackers say about the IETF 102 hackathon?
“What I think was the most productive output during this time for me was pair-programming…” – Kifah
“I was very excited to be part of the Inter-operability team where I worked with OpenSSL, BoringSSL, WolfSSL, and tlslite using TLS1.3 protocols.” – Jagveer
“Making Internet Protocols great again during the IETF 102 hackathon” – Logan
“Finally after long hours of debugging he managed to test the protocol being used by NRPE locally” – Rahul
“Then… we finally got a Client Hello from Wireshark and made the PR” – Nigel
“At first I thought that it would only be working, working and working but besides of work we started creating bonds.” – Jeremie
“I got a lot of advice, support, and motivation to work with my team members and try to implement on a strategic basis and critical thinking the internet protocols and see their limit on a technical perspective.” – Avishai
“Once OpenSSL was installed, I then performed my first TLS 1.3 Handshake, Resumption, and 0-RTT but did run into difficulties with NSS.” – Chromico
“But while everyone is waiting, we are working. We have reached a deeper understanding of how it will affect our lives.” – Codarren
“IETF 102 was a very fun and challenging experience in which I got to work on several opensource projects” – “Anonymous Participant”
“At first, I did encounter some issues like parsing JSON files, but I manage to work on those issues” – Veegish
We also had a follower on Twitter appreciating our effort and participation during the IETF 102 hackathon. Thanks, Dan York, senior manager at ISOC.
I’m happy that this hackathon was at the required level. It was a great initiative from the cyberstorm.mu team. No major incidents occurred in our HQ at Pointe aux Piments. Everything that was planned went all and it’s worth investing yourself in this collaborative event.