1996-03-25 - Re: apology - here is C source code

Header Data

From: rah@shipwright.com (Robert Hettinga)
To: cypherpunks@toad.com
Message Hash: 2d11ffe02d3fd40797a2a4781d70cf576bd90e318a512261f3c4d4d1fca36d08
Message ID: <v02120d02ad7b89c8b9f7@[]>
Reply To: N/A
UTC Datetime: 1996-03-25 00:21:21 UTC
Raw Date: Mon, 25 Mar 1996 08:21:21 +0800

Raw message

From: rah@shipwright.com (Robert Hettinga)
Date: Mon, 25 Mar 1996 08:21:21 +0800
To: cypherpunks@toad.com
Subject: Re: apology - here is C source code
Message-ID: <v02120d02ad7b89c8b9f7@[]>
MIME-Version: 1.0
Content-Type: text/plain

At 6:00 PM 3/24/96, Jack Mott wrote:

> I apologize to everyone for the binary posting, I figured it was small
> enough to not cause problems.  Here is the source....

<snip> I am a junior in high school ...

> ---------------
> // encryption program - constructive flames appreciated


Looks like I spoke too soon about the "tentacle" thing. My apologies.

Welcome, Mr. Mott.

I have no idea of the quality of your code, but you *do* write code, which
is a *good* thing around here (at least until the "coderpunks" flap).

You should be aware, however, that even though there are many active
cryptographers on this list, most of whom *do* write code, that people
probably won't fall over themselves to look at your first effort. As people
say, "cryptography is hard". It's a science. As such, it takes a long time
to get to the point where you're actually improving the state of the art.

Don't let that stop you from coding new stuff. Far from it. Especially if
you're coding strong cryptographic software based on algorithms of proven
reputation. Lord knows, there are lots of potentially good algorithms out
there that need implementation.

My suggestion is that you put out a request for correspondence so that
people could talk to you about your new work privately, in e-mail. That's
because this list periodically gets unsolicited code like yours, and most
of it isn't worth the time to read, much less do a proper vetting. So it
tends to get trashed upon receipt. Getting together with a bunch of people
in your own shoes may be the best way to start, and I'm sure there are one
or two others on this list who are plinking around implementing stuff just
to see what it looks like.

Nonetheless, the trick, it seems to me, (and I'm a poor person to ask,
because I couldn't code my way out of a paper bag) is to keep plugging away
at stuff like your application, because cryptography is the principal
technology of internet commerce, among other things.

You also might want to look at the cypherpunks archives, read Tim May's
"cyphernomicon" FAQ, and read some good crypto books, not the least of
which is "Applied Cryptography" by Bruce Schneier. If you've done all of
that, and have written your code afterwards, then you probably have made a
nice start. If you haven't looked at the above resouces, you might want to,
and check your new code in light of that new information, and give yourself
a head start on what others might say. If they looked at your code, I mean.

Anyway, welcome to cypherpunks. It's great to have someone of the next
generation on board!

Bob Hettinga

Robert Hettinga (rah@shipwright.com)
e$, 44 Farquhar Street, Boston, MA 02131 USA
"Reality is not optional." --Thomas Sowell
The e$ Home Page: http://thumper.vmeng.com/pub/rah/