I just got back home from Fosscomm 2011 and I must admit it has been one of the best organized events of this kind I’ve seen in Greece ever. The single most important fact was that presentations and workshops were always _on time_. They started on time, they finished on time. The organizers had to face even a power cut by the national energy company but they still managed not to fall behind on schedule. My only remark would be about the selection of the presentations that took place in the big room (called BA). Most of them gathered far less people than other presentations which took place in smaller rooms (B3 for example) and those rooms got extremely crowded from time to time. Maybe the organizers thought that generic open source presentations would attract more people than the technical ones but, unfortunately for them, and fortunately for “the greater good”, they were very wrong. This doesn’t reduce their achievement though. Another thing I would like to see on the next Fosscomm is less material given out to participants and instead spend this money on paying for travel expenses of people coming to speak on Fosscomm from abroad. Giving one (or even more) of the phones that HTC kindly provided to the voted by the participants best talk/presentation/workshop would also be very nice. My sincere congratulations to the organizing committee.
My IPv6 workshop
On my application to Fosscomm I had asked for one presentation and a separate workshop. This unfortunately wasn’t accepted, probably due to the large amount of other presentations/workshops, so I was given the first workshop on the very first day of Fosscomm, about “Using IPv6”- on Linux. Since I only had one hour, my original plans were to do a quick 15 min introductory presentation on IPv6 and then a 45 min hands-on lab. Since University of Patras could not provide IPv6 connectivity to the Lab, my other option was to have some remote VMs that would have upstream IPv6 connectivity and people on the Lab would ssh to. These VMs were kindly provided to us by Grnet and I have to publicly thank them one more time. My planning was bad though, people had far more questions about introductory IPv6 issues than I expected and the intro presentation was not finished until more than 35 mins had passed. This lead to the unfortunate result that the workshop could not be completed as I had planned. I am glad though that almost everyone logged into the VMs and had the chance to at least set up an IPv6 IP manually as well as an IPv6 default route. They also had their first ping6s. Some got even further by setting up ip6tables rules…What I definitely wanted to have shown during the workshop, and I didn’t have enough time to, was auto-configuration (SLAAC) which I consider to be one of the most intriguing features of IPv6. Next time I am doing either a presentation or a hands-on workshop, definitely not both in one session. Lesson learned.
Talks I attended
All the talks I attended were very interesting, I probably did a very good job picking them The ones I attended were:
a) “A unified user account manager using LDAP/KRB5/CIFS” by Giorgos Mamalakis, Chariton Karamitas
b) “Network Exploitation with Ncrack” by Fotis Chatzis
c) “Wargames” by Patroklos Argyroudis, Fotis Chatzis, Chariton Karamitas
a) “Intro to Arduino” by Pierros Papadeas, Kostas Antonakoglou
b) “Φωνή VoIPόντως εν τη ερήμω” by Effie Mouzeli
c) “Bright side of the Darknets” by Athanasios Kostopoulos
d) “Automated Testing Framework” by Giorgos Keramidas
e) “Performing Digital Forensics with Open Source tools” by Dimitrios Glynos
f) “Patras Heap Massacre” by Chariton Karamitas, Patroklos Argyroudis
I consider the most well presented one being: “Performing Digital Forensics with Open Source tools” while the one with the best slides was definitely: “Patras Heap Massacre”. If you weren’t there to see them, definitely try and find at least the slides if not the video.
I had never participated before in any wargames because I considered that to be out of my league. That’s the reason I had not even registered for Fosscomm’s wargame called “fosswar”. I was curious though about what it’s like, so me and 3-4 more friends decided to stand in line and enter the room among the other people. The Lab room was crowded, really crowded. At first I thought that one reason for this would be the prize for the winner, an Android phone donated by HTC. I was later proven wrong though. Fosswar started and the organizers presented us with the 5 challenges. Two of those had to do something with networking…so I said to my self that I would be lucky even if I understood what one of those asked. Another challenge had to do with steganography, another one with exploiting a vulnerability in C and the last one was about reverse engineering. While this game could only have one winner, since me and my friends were not actually interested about the prize we decided to work as a team and see whether we can solve anything. Me and a friend looked at the first challenge, another 1 was looking at the third while 2 more were each looking at the fourth and fifth. During the wargame HTC asked for the names of people that wanted to take part in the competition, there nobody actually wanted to give his name. Most of them were there “just for the kicks”. That was even more exciting! HTC then told us that if nobody wanted to give his name the phone would be given on a lottery…so 10-15 people decided to give our names so the phone would “stay” at the fosswar. After solving the first challenge we got so excited that we just had to try the others, we couldn’t give up. So, after 3 hours of thinking and coding, the result was that our team managed to solve 3 of the five challenges, the details on what the challenges were and how we dealt with them will follow in a separate blog post, and we ended up being the winners because no other team had solved more than two. Yes, we had won! We had managed to solve the two networking challenges and the steganography one. That was soooo unexpected!
My pictures from Fosscomm 2011 are at: https://picasaweb.google.com/kargig/2011050720110508Fosscomm2011#
Fosscomm this year definitely showed a trend. People don’t need generic presentations about open source any more, they know what it is, they believe in it, they use it. People really ask for technical presentations, and we need more of them.
Whoever couldn’t manage to attend Fosscomm 2011, should definitely attend Fosscomm 2012. I am certainly looking forward to it!