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Going Mainstream - Recap of IETF 93 Hackathon

Cisco Employee

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IETF 93 in Prague kicked off with a Hackathon the weekend of July 18-19. Following the success of the first IETF Hackathon at IETF 92 last March, Cisco DevNet and the IETF teamed up again to host the second edition of an event.

More than 135 participants formed into 18 teams working across 15 different technologies. Among the participants were many first time “IETFers” from various open source communities and universities. This was great to see, given the stated goals of the hackathon to bring running code back into the IETF, bridge the gap between open source and open standards, and introduce more developers and young people to the IETF. It was a huge success by these and other measures, establishing the hackathon as a valuable and vibrant addition to the IETF community going forward.

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The hackathon featured technology relevant to many IETF working groups (e.g. 6tisch, ace, bier, dane, homenet, httpbis, mptcp, netvc, netconf, sfc, sidr) and corresponding open source projects (e.g. Dalla, Kea, OpenDaylight, OpenDNSSEC, OPNFV, Quagga, RIOT, SPUDlib).

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How Does it Work?

The hackathon began at 09:00 with technology “champions” introducing  each technology and proposing sample projects. Next, champions and participants self organized into teams, including some with participants from multiple IETF working groups and open source communities. This mix of people, ideas, and cultures gave rise to some of the most interesting projects and highlights the opportunity for long term benefit that extends well beyond that achieved over the weekend.

Screen Shot 2015-07-21 at 12.51.51 PM.jpgThe energy in the room was contagious. Motivated by altruistic aspirations, participants worked cooperatively and diligently, developing the standards that provide the internet’s foundation in parallel with open source implementations that validate these standards and makes them easier for others to consume.

Those without conflicts with other IETF activities stayed for dinner, and many worked late into the night, well beyond the advertised closing time of 21:00. Of course this is not to say that the day was void of fun. There was of course plenty of that as well.

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There was no loss of enthusiasm the next morning, with many people arriving before the advertised start time of 09:00. A few new faces arrived, their travel plans or meeting conflicts not allowing them to participate the previous day.  They were welcomed, plugged into existing teams in some cases, and formed new teams in others.

The Presentations

By mid afternoon Sunday, teams switched gears to present what they had accomplished to their peers and a 2015  IETF Hackathon Prague 065.jpgset of esteemed judges - Jari Arkko (IETF Chair), Ray Pelletier (IETF Administrative Director), Rick Tywoniak (Director of Cisco DevNet), Martin Thomson (IETF draft author and tireless contributor).

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The judges were left with an unenviable task given the vast array of projects (e.g. some tests, some experiments, some implementations of protocols, and some new services).

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At stake were bragging rights and first dibs on tech goodies that included Raspberry Pis, Arduinos, and a bunch of IoT accessories, plus tickets denoted by Brocade to the IETF social event Tuesday.

Among the winners were three projects the judges awarded “Best of Show”:

  • ACE – Key Technology Award
  • DNSSEC – Broadest Coverage Award
  • HOMENETBest WiFi Router Feature Award and the Cool Kids Award

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The awards ceremony concluded the hackathon, but the payoff for all the great work was yet to come. Hackathon projects were shared more broadly with the IETF community at an extremely well attended Bits-N-Bites session Thursday evening. IMG_2921.JPG

Results and insights from projects were fed into working group sessions held throughout the week.

One of the best examples was the NETVC working group meeting.

Nathan Egge, Mozilla –

"Over the course of two days a team of 11 participants (both local and

remote) hacked on the Thor and Daala codebases, two open source video

codecs that have been contributed by Cisco and Mozilla respectively to

the NETVC working group.  The results of the hackathon included adding

support for Thor to the testing framework,

running 4 different experiments using Thor's motion compensation within

Daala, and fixing a long-standing issue in Daala by adding the CLP

post-processing filter from Thor.  We had Cisco committing to Daala and

Mozilla committing to Thor, which truly shows the collaborative spirit

of the IETF.  Having a hackathon is an excellent way for new ideas to be

tested out in running code and NETVC will be back for the IETF 94

hackathon in Yokohama.”

The complete set of technologies and projects, as well as photos and a video summary are available via the event Wiki.

From the main hackathon page, its easy to navigate to the Wiki from the IETF 92 Hackathon as well. The IETF and open source communities are encouraged to reference these sites to help with their ongoing work.

What comes next?

Good news - the IETF has already announced a hackathon at IETF 94 in Yokohama, and Cisco DevNet is on board to sponsor it yet again. Not only that, the hackathon will become a regular part of IETF meeting in 2016 and beyond. Sponsorship

Photo of Yokohama

opportunities exist for anyone wanting to show their support for this important effort  (contact Ray Pelletier for details). So mark your calendar, plan to arrive early, and help us have the biggest and best IETF hackathon ever, October 31 - November 1 in Yokohama.

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Photo Credits: © Stonehouse Photographic / Internet Society