Date: Thu, 17 May 2012 23:10:13 +0400 From: Aleksey Cherepanov <aleksey.4erepanov@...il.com> To: john-users@...ts.openwall.com Subject: UI for MJohn I'd like to talk about users's interactions during collaborative cracking and respective user interface. During the contest we used mailing list and irc channel for everything: to talk about attacks, to track attacks in run, to coordinate. Also there were some team members that was able to talk directly being at defcon. They did meetings and talks out of the list and channel. I think that does not need any special user interface: like with mailing list and private talks one should write down conclusions with reasons possibly and make them public (available to other members). It seems that there are two kinds of talks: general coordination and talks related to certain attack. The latter could be grouped to or even fill attack's description. I think there should be a separate place for each attack and related talks. Also attack status should be shown there. In case of rare status changes they could be posted as messages but when they are frequent it would be more appropriate to show only last status, only current state without history. So my view of this is to have web based ui similar to weblog or forum with updates in head: separate page for each attack with head message for updates and with comments for discussion. Also there could be a global chat for general talks. While web uis are common and there is an ability to take premade solution for this there are also drawbacks. First problem with that solution is that not all deployment environments will be satisfied with only chat and forum (even threaded, like modern blogs have) for talks, they could prefer video/audio conferencing. All users could not be satisfied and it could be better to think how to make it easy to integrate things with system and not how to pull them inside. At this time I think that built-in chat is not needed. External program without any integration could be suitable because chatting is not persistent. The same applies to video/audio conferencing and to direct conversations (that would be hard to integrate with any software). Other problem is that web uis are not perfect in general. For instance some (at least me) members of john-users team could prefer mailing list over forum and irc over web-based chat. So it could be useful to think about ability to have different full front ends. I think it is possible to do but I doubt it would be enough easy for that summer. But we could start with ui specific for john-users and then add other uis (after summer). Is it needed? Would not it be too selfish for gsoc? Alexander mentioned ircII-like ui for distribution system. Maybe something similar could be used to manage attacks while for talks could be called preferred mailer. Or even there could be ui that uses only emails: user sends mails with commands or with text to server, depending on commands or their lack these messages are public (just messages, attack descriptions) or private (attack progress requests). Other option is to have separate address for personal commands and for public commands or to have an interface like ezmlm have for archive requests. Further more user could have a local mail-server that talks with master server though other protocol. That makes it possible to implement different front ends. For instance there could be simple web ui with html suitable for machine parsing (maybe using microformats) that provides web ui that could be controlled through both browser and mail-server that converts mails into http requests. Regards, Aleksey Cherepanov
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