1996-03-27 - Re: Crypto CD UpDate

Header Data

From: Mutant Rob <wlkngowl@unix.asb.com>
To: “Timothy C. May” <tcmay@got.net>
Message Hash: c532a464c14eac87d711ec40d79fd15f8ba23aec5118e680e61d43ed9b5111ab
Message ID: <31592105.23B9@unix.asb.com>
Reply To: <ad7df7b315021004da44@[]>
UTC Datetime: 1996-03-27 14:45:02 UTC
Raw Date: Wed, 27 Mar 1996 22:45:02 +0800

Raw message

From: Mutant Rob <wlkngowl@unix.asb.com>
Date: Wed, 27 Mar 1996 22:45:02 +0800
To: "Timothy C. May" <tcmay@got.net>
Subject: Re: Crypto CD UpDate
In-Reply-To: <ad7df7b315021004da44@[]>
Message-ID: <31592105.23B9@unix.asb.com>
MIME-Version: 1.0
Content-Type: text/plain

Timothy C. May wrote:
> It pains me to often be the one who throws cold water on what seems to be a
> good idea, and what comes from a well-intentioned person. But I have to
> call 'em as I see 'em. And maybe I'm wrong. But here are my thoughts.[..]
> 1. The CD-ROM "freezes" the various programs, archives, etc. at the moment
> the files are finalized and the CD-ROMs are pressed (or burned individually
> on a CD-R, at somewhat higher per-copy price). If the author of the CD-ROM
> is not committed to updating the CD-ROM at frequent intervals--say, every
> few months--then the programs will exhibit "version decay" and be nearly
> useless.

A very good point... 

But that depends on the crypto put on the CD-ROM.  Some files aren't as
liable to version-decay, especially source codes and papers (which IMO
is more useful than fully-implemented crypto programs).

A CD-ROM that contains source codes (in various languages) and 
descriprions for ciphers, hashes, cryptanalysis methods, and even some 
cultural-political screeds would be more useful than one that contains
'the latest version of PGP'.

And actually version-decay isn't that bad an issue.  Put a warning file
in the CD-ROM about that, with pointers to crypto ftp- and web sites.
The publisher being comitted to putting out a new CD-ROM every year is
probably often enough in most cases.

A nice advantage of CD-ROMs is that many BBSs that aren't plugged into
the net use them.  I rememebr showing threads about a similar C'punks
CD-ROM discussion a couple of years ago to some local BBS-sysops asking
about new CD-ROMs (bored of the usual Pier and NightOwl fair)... they
were really into the idea, if nothing else than it was "hip" with a
nice plitical edge but also had a utility and education value that 
surpassed the usual gobbleware CDs.

An reference sources for hashes or ciphers and papers about them, plus
some papers about general crypto principles necessary for all newsbies
and even gurus to (re)read would be really useful.