IETF Hackathon Brings Running Code back to IETF

By: Charles Eckel

Date: July 6, 2015

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The first-ever IETF Hackathon was held 21–22 March, the weekend before IETF 92 in Dallas, Texas. It was a late addition to the meeting schedule, an answer to the call to action in Dave Ward’s talk at IETF 91, Open Standards, Open Source, Open Loop (see Cisco’s DevNet team collaborated with IETF leaders to put the event together in short order. Stated goals included bringing running code back into the IETF, bridging the gap between open source and open standards, and introducing more developers and young people to the IETF. It was a huge success by these and other measures, as evident by the announcement at the plenary session of a second Hackathon at IETF 93 in Prague.

The Hackathon featured six technology areas representing a mix of existing IETF working groups, proposals with Birds of a Feather (BoF) sessions occurring later in the week, and a combination of the following new and established open source projects:

  • BIER (Bit Index Explicit Replication)
  • NETVC and Daala (Internet Video Code)
  • I2RS/OpenDaylight + NETCONF/YANG
  • Services Function Chaining (SFC) in OpenDaylight (ODL)
  • SPUD (Session Protocol Underneath Datagrams)
  • STUN/DISCUSS (Differentiated prIorities and Status Code-points Using Stun Signaling)

We kicked things off with a series of brief presentations to introduce each technology and proposed sample project. Participants self-organized into teams and started hacking. The knowledge transfer and productivity that ensued was astounding. People were so engrossed in their projects that lunch sat untouched for half an hour. Even the fresh cookies provided as an afternoon snack did not distract—a scenario unimaginable to most IETF veterans.

Nearly everyone stayed for dinner and many worked well beyond the advertised closing time of 21:00; the last few groups of dedicated developers were kicked out over an hour later.

There was no loss of enthusiasm the next morning—many people arrived before the advertised start time of 09:00. Even a few new faces arrived, their previously established travel plans or airline strikes not allowing them to participate the previous day. They were welcomed, plugged into existing teams, and started contributing.

By Sunday midafternoon, teams switched gears to prepare and deliver short presentations of their accomplishments to their peers and a set of esteemed judges: Jari Arkko, Richard Barnes, and Mark Nottingham. Following the presentations, the judges conferred to determine the winners. At stake were bragging rights, plus tech goodies that included Raspberry Pis, Infiniter green laser pointers, and Kill-o-Watt power meters.

Projects included the following:

  • BIER powered HOMENET multicast routing
  • NETVC/Daala, new contributor added, video analyzer created
  • OpenDaylight ietf-syslog model used to configure Linux rsyslog daemon
  • OpenDaylight developer VM created, used, and refined to provide complete development environment for I2RS, SFC, ietfsyslog project, and others projects involving OpenDaylight
  • SFC traceroute draft implemented, revealing error in the specification fixed by a new version of draft
  • NETCONF integration for SFC
  • YANG model inventory; tool that produces RFC/Internet-Draft template from YANG model
  • SPUDlib open source project contributors increased by 200 percent
  • SPUD prototype draft implemented, used as input in BoF later in week
  • STUN/DISCUSS demo created

We look forward to continuing to shape the future of the IETF—including another Hackathon at IETF 93 in Prague. See the IETF meeting wiki ( for more information, links to presentations and projects, and photos. For the latest IETF Hackathon information, including how to join us at IETF 93, see