OpenBSD Journal

t2k17 Hackathon Report: My first time (Aaron Bieber)

Contributed by Peter N. M. Hansteen on from the to randomness and beyond dept.

The next t2k17 hackathon report comes from first time hackathon participant Aaron Bieber, who writes:

I have been an OpenBSD developer for just over five years now. This was my first hackathon.

I wasn't sure what to expect. I knew that there would be around 40 developers, there would be hacking on OpenBSD and that I would get to meet and work with the people who have made OpenBSD what it is today.

I stepped, luggage in hand, into the hackroom late Wednesday, my mind still foggy from the multiple flight connections I made to get to Toronto. Looking around the room, I recognized a few people from photos I had seen online. Most of them were hunched over their computers feverishly typing away at on some unknown code. I couldn't help but think "to someone who has no idea what OpenBSD is or what things are being worked on here.. this would seem really boring!".

As I walked around and introduced myself, a large group of people proclaimed it was time for beer! Who am I to argue with such statements!?

The beer flowed as smoothly as the conversations, there was talk of SSL, old hardware, exploit mitigation, the good old days and what is to come in the new. It was hard to keep up with the conversation. I have what I call "an auditory interrupt" for the word "OpenBSD". So rarely do I hear it in conversation that wasn't started by myself, I tend to shift my focus to the conversation that mentioned it. As the night went on, my interrupt became less of an issue. I sat back and thought to myself: "These are my people.".

Fast forward to the next morning. Coffee in hand, time to hack!

I came with a ChaosKey (, a USB true random number generator created by a few Debian developers. My main goal was to create a driver for this device.

The code for these USB devices is fairly strait forward, you need to be able to match, attach and detach. Using the Linux driver as an example for buffer sizes and read timeouts, I was able to build a driver based off the existing ualea(4) code.

After a few reboots, I had it working! Given the large amount of code reuse, it didn't make sense to commit this driver. So the new goal is to create a generic driver that supports multiple devices. I am still working on this part.

All in all this hackathon was a fantastic experience. I recommend strongly that new developers go as soon as possible! Don't wait as long as I did!

Thanks to the UoT and krw@ for a fantastic experience!

(Comments are closed)


Copyright © - Daniel Hartmeier. All rights reserved. Articles and comments are copyright their respective authors, submission implies license to publish on this web site. Contents of the archive prior to as well as images and HTML templates were copied from the fabulous original with Jose's and Jim's kind permission. This journal runs as CGI with httpd(8) on OpenBSD, the source code is BSD licensed. undeadly \Un*dead"ly\, a. Not subject to death; immortal. [Obs.]