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  • Open Source Badge?

    I think the badge situation has gotten a bit weird at Defcon. Ultimately, the purpose of the badge is to provide proof that you have the right to roam around Defcon. To that end, it doesn't make sense to reveal what the badge looks like ahead of time or people can simply forge it.

    What the badge does is kind of fun and interesting. There seems to be little incentive to keep that a secret except that it provides a bit more of a surprise.

    So why does Defcon release detailed pictures of the badge before the conference but keep the source code locked up until the day of?

    Perhaps we could open up the source of next year's badge to contributions and possibly squash bugs before they happen. We might also keep Joe from apologizing every year for his state machines.

    Thoughts?

  • #2
    Re: Open Source Badge?

    The badge pictures were not supposed to be posted by Wired before the conference started. That was an "oops" on their part.

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    • #3
      Re: Open Source Badge?

      The pre-release of details and pictures this year was just an idea we wanted to try to see how it would excite people about the Badge Hacking Contest. There are many reasons to keep all badge details secret (whether it's an electronic badge or anything else) that I'm sure DT could talk about, but I thought that by at least releasing details on the development environment and some brief functionality, people would come better prepared to hack the badge over the weekend. I feel the wired.com article gave out too much information (that we weren't expecting to go live until Saturday during DEFCON) and blew a bit of the surprise factor, so that probably won't happen again.

      I can't speak to having a completely open-source badge (that's not up to me), but I can say that getting more people involved would exponentially complicate the process and turn this labor of love into a full-time job. The firmware design is just one of many pieces that need to fall into place and there are so many facets of the badge design, manufacturing, working with DEFCON for approval, etc. that a design-by-committee certainly will not work.

      -kp

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      • #4
        Re: Open Source Badge?

        Originally posted by Kingpin View Post
        I can't speak to having a completely open-source badge (that's not up to me), but I can say that getting more people involved would exponentially complicate the process and turn this labor of love into a full-time job. The firmware design is just one of many pieces that need to fall into place and there are so many facets of the badge design, manufacturing, working with DEFCON for approval, etc. that a design-by-committee certainly will not work.
        Fair enough. I thought I would just float the idea.

        In terms of hardware, manufacturing, etc., I wouldn't dare recommend opening the process. That sounds like a nightmare.

        In terms of the software, I wasn't thinking of design-by-committe. In my mind, it was more like you write all the software as usual but release it before it goes to process and then vet a few emails on problem and improvements (or possibly even suggestions). It does ruin the surprise, though, and it's totally your (and Defcon's) call.

        As for the prep work, I only had the TV-B-Gone stuff ready to go, but I guess my idea was a little too obvious. Maybe next year I'll ditch out the Mystery Challenge (or find a find a team!) so I can have more fun with your works.

        Thanks again, Joe. I look forward to the show.

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