[RC5] First impressions

Stephen Rasku stephen at tgivan.com
Mon Mar 2 16:48:24 EST 1998

> Someone (I deleted the mail, I forget who - sorry) has already brought up 
> something I'd noticed straight away - how even though the DES contest was over, 
> their machine was still downloading and cracking DES blocks. A tad worried that 
> my servers were plugging away for nothing, I tried the stats pages, to see if 
> I'd made a dent - result? Stats pages offline.

Change the In and Out Buffer sizes to 0.  That should fix that problem.

> vvv relevant bits vvv
> Now I realise that I may have joined this project at an unsteady time, in that 
> the DES key has 'only just' been cracked, and the switch back to the original 
> project is still ongoing. Is this the case? If so, how about a couple of more 
> user friendly pages on the web site, explaining such? I'm sure there's at least 
> a few people who've looked over the site and thought 'naaaah. Too much hassle.' 
> when trying to make sense of the information held within.

I had some problems navigating the web-site orignally when I joined the project about
a month ago but I can't really put my finger on what the problem was.  Things just
weren't where I "expected" them to be.

> Then, of course, that brings up another question, maybe one more suited to 
> debate than a general moan over the quality of the website ;) Does d.net want 
> to recruit people who are likely to delete the software halfway through a 
> keyblock and never return the results, leaving that block to wait until the 
> re-issue at the end?

This doesn't really matter one way or the other.  Having a person that
doesn't return their results is pretty much the same as not having the
person in the first place since the result is the same.  As far as I am
concerned it is not worth the trouble of discouraging participants of
this type since the negative effect is negligible.

> Another question, based on issuing blocks - how is it allocated...start at the 
> beginning and continue until the end, then stop? I know the correct key is 
> chosen at random, but averages are it'll be more towards the middle than either 
> end...you can guess where I'm heading.

This is not the case.  Assuming that the key is assigned perfectly
randomly (ie. each key has the same likelyhood as being chosen as "the"
key as any other), there is no bias as to where in the actual key
occurs.  The key for the DES-II contest was found after 87% of the
keyspace was searched.
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