Red Hat Research Quarterly
About the author
Hugh Brock is the Research Director for Red Hat, coordinating Red Hat research and collaboration with universities, governments, and industry worldwide. A Red Hatter since 2002, Hugh brings intimate knowledge of the complex relationship between upstream projects and shippable products to the task of finding research to bring into the open source world.
Articles by this author
I have been spending a lot of time lately thinking about all the hard problems involved in managing large-scale systems. Why? Well, it turns out to be a really important topic for Red Hat Research and for the Red Hat engineering community that we hope to serve.
As we begin our third year of RHRQ I am in a celebratory mood—unusual, for 2021, but I think appropriate. I’ve just finished rereading our interview with Professor Anat Bremler-Barr of the Interdisciplinary Center in Herzliya, Israel.
In The Practice of Management, Peter Drucker exhorts managers to push decision-making as close to individual workers—and as near to the last minute—as possible, an idea that has surprising parallels in computing.
This notion of time is what struck me as so interesting about this issue’s feature on constant-time cryptography. It turns out that a crypto implementation whose execution time varies depending on what you feed to it is inherently leaky. By looking at the inputs to a non-constant-time crypto function, an attacker can infer enough about the secret key the function depends on to guess the key, often trivially. Like a drummer who gets distracted by a solo and rushes or drags the time, the crypto function reflects back information about the secret it is protecting.
If you take a moment to look at open source – the process, the language and ways of thinking involved, the legal framework – you will quickly realize that it is quite similar to the model for the free advancement of knowledge and thinking that the world’s universities have developed over the last thousand years. […]
Three years ago, I opened my first column in the first issue of this magazine by expressing my sense of good fortune at being able to start something completely new: not just a magazine, but an entire organization devoted to research on computer infrastructure done entirely in open source. Looking back on it today through […]