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Date: Wed, 18 Nov 2009 09:47:37 +0300
From: Solar Designer <solar@...nwall.com>
To: john-users@...ts.openwall.com
Subject: Re: tutorials on the wiki

Matt,

On Mon, Nov 16, 2009 at 09:40:34PM -0500, Matt Weir wrote:
> I created a tutorial, (along with screen-shots), on how to install JtR
> 1.7.3.4 on Mac OSX Snow Leopard using the information I've gained from this
> mailing list. For example applying the jumbo_v2 patch and the after_jumbo
> patch, modifying the Makefile to create the SSE2 build, etc. You can obtain
> a copy of the pdf document here:
> 
> http://sites.google.com/site/reusablesec/Home/john-the-ripper-files/tutorials
> 
> I'd really appreciate any comments, and I was wondering if this is something
> that I should upload to the wiki.

Yes, I'd like this kind of content on the wiki, please!

This specific tutorial is for a somewhat-advanced topic, though.  Not
everyone is going to need those patches/changes.  Yet I like the way you
present the information, which actually makes this a tutorial suitable
for end-users.  So I am OK with having it in the tutorials section.

My "complaint" about the content is that you're making it appear as if
those patches were required.  Yes, they are required for certain
specific uses, but in general they're optional.  Perhaps for you raw MD5
hashes are essential, which I understand, but they are not essential for
someone auditing Unix passwords, which is a primary use of JtR.
Similarly, a SSE2 build being twice faster than a 64-bit build is
specific to raw MD5 hashes (and other "similar" hashes supported by
JimF's generic MD5 code?)  For some other hash types (BTW, including
MD5-based crypt(3) hashes), a 64-bit build is actually faster.  You do
mention MD5 in this context, yet you don't really make it clear that if
someone does not care specifically about raw MD5 and the like, then they
will likely get better performance with a 64-bit build.

You could address this in two ways: make your tutorial more general and
less biased to your specific use of JtR and/or clearly describe the bias
in the introductory paragraph.

Also, you could want to rename the file from
jtr_1-7-3-4_install_walkthrough.pdf to, say,
jtr_1-7-3-4_macosx_install_walkthrough-1.pdf - notice the addition of
"macosx" and "-1" (revision number).

Regardless of whether you make any changes (like those I suggested) or
not, please do add this to the wiki.

Also, I personally find this useful as a form of user feedback - a nice
summary of issues encountered with your specific intended use.

Thanks,

Alexander


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