[RC5] Disappointed with d.net

Matt Perry matt at primefactor.com
Thu Jan 15 21:26:51 EST 1998


On Thu, 15 Jan 1998, Jeff Lawson wrote:

> Rocke Verser is currently helping us with our DES code development.
> Additionally Andrew Meggs has been helping us for awhile with his Mac
> client and more recently on a specially optimized DES core.

	It's a shame that the non-Intel machines are not permitted to
enter the des2 contest with distributed.net for a while yet, but instead
effort is being put into increasing the speed of the slower machines by
single-digit percentage points.  Any gain that was brought on by trying to
optimize clients to squeeze every last bit of speed out of them has
already been lost because of numerous machines that cannot participate. 

	To be fair, one gaping hole in that argument is that peoples'
skill sets don't completely overlap, so x86 assembler guru's tweaking
their code aren't taking time away from the Mac programmers, etc.  But
this could be solved by releasing the source code and letting people just
compile it for their machines.  I have some friends at a film effects
facility that have a lot of SGIs that can't participate.  I have two Suns
and everyone I work with has Macs.  If the source code were available we
could at least compile it for our machines and hack together a Mac version
so our Macs could start working. We're racing against the clock.  Every
moment counts if we are to beat the 3 week deadline to get the full $10k.

	I'm disappointed that distributed.net seemed to try and
over-engineer their software rather than try and just get the clients out.
Not only did we not have access to clients until 30 minutes before the
contest started, but they didn't come with proper documentation.  My main
gripe here is with the change to the buffer format in the rc5 buffer
files.  Why was this needed at this time?  Couldn't this have waited until
the DES contest was over? 

	I hope the distributed.net leadership has better planning on the
next project.

   /// .\\att...

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