Just when you thought it could not get any better, the IETF Hackathon reached new heights, not just in number of participants or projects, but in meaningful contributions to the IETF community and the standardization process. Many people, myself included, anticipated reduced attendance for a combination of reasons. The last IETF meeting of the year often draws fewer people, and Bangkok, Thailand, despite being a wonderful city rich in history, great people, and incredible food, is a long way to travel for many regular IETF hackathon participants. Fortunately, trivial matters such as these did not keep a record number of standards advocates and talented developers from coming together to devote their weekend to coding up new protocols in hope of making the internet work better, faster, and more securely than ever.
A key reason driving the support and success of the IETF Hackathon is the nature of the event. Unlike most hackathons, the IETF Hackathon is a collaborative and consensus building event, much like the rest of the IETF meeting. Competition is pushed aside to focus on shared objectives:
- Advance the pace and relevance of IETF standards
– Bring the speed and collaborative spirit of open source communities into the IETF
– Flush out ideas and feed findings back into working groups sessions
– Produce sample code, running implementations and utilities
- Attract developers, and new people in general, to IETF
– Match young, talented developers with IETF veterans
– Engage universities
IETF 103 was the first visit to Bangkok by the IETF. The venue and hospitality were fantastic. We had our largest space ever for the Hackathon, and we filled it! The wide array of food provided throughout the weekend was enjoyed by everyone, and the t-shirts given to Hackathon participants were a big hit. New for this hackathon were a limited supply of IETF hackathon laptop stickers. Based on the high demand and positive feedback, laptop stickers may be become a new Hackathon tradition.
As is now customary, the IETF Hackathon ran over the course of a weekend, November 3-4, kicking off a full week of IETF activities. A record 250 participants were on site and another 32 participated remotely. For 110 participants, this was their first IETF hackathon, and for 79 of those, this was their first time at any IETF event. This illustrates how successful the hackathon continues to be at drawing new people and new developers to the IETF. These newcomers received warm welcomes and became valued contributors to the standards process.
IETF Hackathons are free and open to everyone. Work revolves around projects led by one of more volunteers known as “champions.” It is these champions that truly define the IETF Hackathon. They are the ones to thank for its success. Anyone can be a champion, and any project is welcome, provided it has ties to existing or proposed IETF work. The projects for IETF 103 were as follows:
- RIFT Flooding
- DNS Service Discovery Extensions
- LPWAN CoAP/UDP/IPv6 SCHC compression and fragmentation
- Public interest technology
- TCP Authentication Option (TCP-AO)
- TLS 1.3
- EST-COAPS (ACE WG) + ANIMA BRSKI
- http 451
- Sliding Window FEC codec
- WISHI (Work on IoT Semantic / Hypermedia Interoperability)
- Interface to Network Security Functions (I2NSF) Framework
- Multicast Ingest Platform
- Trusted Execution Environment Provisioning
- DOTS Interop
- Measurement Tools that follow/lead Standards
- Limited Usage of Remote Keys (LURK)
- SRv6 (Segment Routing IPv6) to user-plane of mobile networks (N3 and N9 interfaces)
- In-Situ OAM
- RTP Congestion Control Feedback
- WebRTC / RTCWeb
- SUIT: Software Updates for IoT
- Quantum Internet
After a brief kickoff by Alissa Cooper, IETF Chair, and Charles Eckel, IETF Hackathon Co-Chair, participants formed into teams and got to work. It is not uncommon for participants to lend their expertise to multiple projects and for teams to work together on areas of common interest. This cooperation and knowledge transfer are an important part of the Hackathon. The increased awareness and friendships established over the weekend are as important as the code that gets written. These new connections do not merely span multiple IETF working groups.
In some cases, they bring together people from different open source communities, other standards organizations, and local universities. The I2NSF project, championed again by Jaehoon Paul Jeong from Sungkyunkwan University in South Korea, benefited from participants from Sungkyunkwan, Soongsil, and Chosun Universities as well as ETRI and KT Corporation, and leveraged open source code from the OpenStack and OpenDaylight communities.
The IETF Hackathon is not a non-stop marathon coding challenge. The doors closed at 10pm Saturday to encourage participants to take a break and get some sleep. The doors reopened at 8:30am Sunday. Teams resumed their work and code diligently until 2pm, when coding stopped and sharing of results began. Each team was invited to give a brief presentation, 3 minutes or less, sharing what they achieved, lessons learned, and what they would bring back to relevant working groups to guide their standardization efforts. Technical difficulties resulted in us not having a recording of the presentations, but all the slides are available on GitHub.
Following the presentations, participants voted for the project they thought best exemplified the spirit and goals of the Hackathon. Teams recognized in this manner were:
- TLS 1.3, championed by members of CyberStorm.mu participating remotely from Mauritius, who added support for TLS 1.3 to PHP 7, NMAP, C# ClientHello library, Curl, Nagios PHA, and Wget2 PHA (WiP) (see presentation)
- SUIT – Software Updates for IoT, which leverages help from experts on CDDL and COSE from other teams to update their manifest generator to the latest IETF draft, verify the manifest and firmware on a local device, and write a basic bootloader and simple embedded application (see presentation)
- Interface to Network Security Functions (I2NSF) Framework, which implemented the I2NSF framework defined in IETF on top of OpenStack and the ESTI NFV reference architecture (see presentation)
Hackathon teams take advantage of the opportunity
Fortunately, the end of the Hackathon did not stop the development and sharing of running code. The Hackathon room was turned into the IETF Lounge, which included the Code Lounge as a meeting place for ongoing work on Hackathon and other projects. HackDemo Happy Hour on Monday evening provided a venue for more in-depth demos and discussions by Hackathon teams with the rest of the IETF community. The following teams took advantage of this opportunity:
The IETF Hackathon continues to grow and serve as a catalyst for moving IETF standardization efforts forward. A huge thanks to the IETF and its financial supporters for providing space and covering expenses associated with running the Hackathon, HackDemo Happy Hour, and the Code Lounge. Thanks as well to Cisco DevNet and NBC Universal, for providing direct support to the Hackathon. Sponsors for future hackathons are encourage and welcome. If interested, please contact Ken Boyden.
The next IETF Hackathon will be at IETF 104 in Prague, March 23-24. This will be the third time the Hackathon has had the good fortune of being in Prague, and it promises to be a fantastic event. Information on all IETF Hackathons, including photos, recordings, and project presentations can be found at the IETF Hackathon homepage.