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Date: Fri, 1 Apr 2011 01:30:52 +0400
From: Solar Designer <solar@...nwall.com>
To: owl-dev@...ts.openwall.com
Subject: Re: Interested in OWL linux development for gsoc

Hi Joseph,

In my reply below, I'll consider the discussion we had with you around
the JtR GUI task.  For others reading this, here it is:

http://thread.gmane.org/gmane.comp.security.openwall.john.user/3540

Some of what I write below is off-topic for owl-dev, unfortunately, but
you are just one person, so it feels unreasonable to artificially split
my GSoC related comments to you into several messages in different places.

On Thu, Mar 31, 2011 at 10:50:36AM +0530, joseph varghese wrote:
> I'm joseph from india. This is my first time for gsoc. I'm interested in
> increasing the functionality of owl linux as mentioned as one of the student
> roles in the gsoc idea page.

This turned out to be a highly competitive position - even more so than
the JtR GUI one.  You're the fourth person indicating interest in this
specific position, and two have already applied to us via Google.  So,
just for your information, you do not avoid competition by moving from
JtR GUI to "Owl: new functionality".  At the same time, we're seeing
less interest in the ideas listed under "Smaller and/or new projects",
e.g. no one has applied for "PHP password security" yet.

On the other hand, Google allows some duplication - e.g., it might be
possible for us to have two students work on different kinds of a JtR
GUI at the same time, if we can see/show how that would be beneficial.
It is unlikely that we'll go this route, but it is within consideration.

As to Owl, I'm afraid that duplication is out of consideration because
the Owl tasks require close involvement of the mentor(s) (even more so
than the JtR GUI), whereas our mentoring capacity is very limited.
There are already plenty of Linux distributions that readily have full
LAMP stacks, etc.  There's no point in asking students to add this
functionality to Owl on their own, without a lot of direction by the
mentors, and our mentoring capacity as well as our project concepts and
goals reasonably permit us to work on just one will-be-"official"
implementation this year.  In fact, "unofficial" LAMP stack package sets
(and more) for Owl already exist, created by different people.  There's
no point in hiring a GSoC student to add one more.

So we intend to pick three likely-best candidates for the three Owl
tasks, and that will be it.

> I've been using linux for about 3yrs, mainly ubuntu and archlinux. I'm
> comfortable with configuring linux and I've tried out more than 15 linux
> distros. I've downloaded an owl iso to get started.

BTW, Owl may be handy for you to easily test your JtR GUI builds
(binaries) on different Linux distros (using precreated OpenVZ container
templates from openvz.org).  In fact, if you manage to create a
fully-static binary, it may run off an Owl system directly, displaying
to a remote X server.  Such binary portability testing is important for
the JtR GUI task.

> I have no prior
> experience in linux development other than some simple python/ c/ c++
> programs. But I'm really interested in linux core development. It would be
> of great help if anyone could point out where to start ?

This is tough.  For the LAMP stack, our tentative plan (briefly
discussed off-list) is to review and discuss a specific one of the
existing implementations of those packages for Owl, then see what needs
to change to make a revision of those "official" or whether we need to
re-implement them.  (And it's not just Apache, MySQL, and PHP.  I expect
that reasonably complete builds of those will bring in a few additional
packages, some of which we may also need to add a package repository
manager application.)  Since draft/dirty implementations already exist,
and since we're unlikely to approach producing clean implementations by
April 22, this does not work as a GSoC student's qualification task.

Yet I think it is desirable to have such qualification tasks for the
three Owl positions.  We'll see if we can come up with sufficiently
small tasks (to be posted about separately).

Thanks,

Alexander

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