M4 Message Breaking Project - Using distributed computing to break encrypted Enigma messages from 1942


This is pretty interesting stuff: the M4 Message Breaking Project tries to break Enigma M4 messages intercepted in the North Atlantic during World War II.

From the project website:

The M4 Project is an effort to break 3 original Enigma messages with the help of distributed computing. The signals were intercepted in the North Atlantic in 1942 and are believed to be unbroken. Ralph Erskine has presented the intercepts in a letter to the journal Cryptologia. The signals were presumably enciphered with the four rotor Enigma M4 - hence the name of the project.

They provide Free Software clients (GPL'd, written in Python and C) for Unix-like operating systems and various Windows variants. Project updates are available from the project blog.

The first message has already been successfully broken. The plain-text reads:

1930 Funkspruch 1851/19/252:
" F T 1132/19 Inhalt:
Bei Angriff unter Wasser gedrückt.
Wabos. Letzter Gegnerstand 0830 Uhr
AJ 9863, 220 Grad, 8 sm. Stosse nach.
14 mb. fällt, NNO 4, Sicht 10.
Looks "


1930 Radio signal 1851/19/252:
" F T 1132/19 contents:
Forced to submerge during attack.
Depth charges. Last enemy position 0830h
AJ 9863, [course] 220 degrees, [speed] 8 knots. [I am] following [the enemy].
[barometer] falls 14 mb, [wind] nor-nor-east, [force] 4, visibility 10 [nautical miles].
Looks "

Hm, digging in the past with modern technology...

(via Network Security Blog)

GPLv3 - Discussion Draft 1 [Update]

You might have already noticed (if not, you will, very very soon) that the FSF has released the first draft of the forthcoming GNU General Public License 3. You can leave comments on the license or help to populate the wiki, if you're inclined.

I think the Rationale Document will be very interesting to read (for me, at least).

I'll leave it to more competent people to comment on the pros and cons of the changes of this new version... I hope that in the end (after a few more months of reviews etc.) we will have a fine new version of the GPL which will suit the majority of the Free Software world very well.

Update 2006-01-18: Here's a nice diff between GPLv2 and GPLv3-draft1 (thanks Nico Golde).

Nessus 3.0 released as closed-source project [Update]

Nessus 3.0 (a popular security vulnerability scanner) has been released, and the license was changed from the GPL to a closed-source license. Goodbye Nessus, hello Porz-Wahn, hello OpenVAS, hello Sussen.

Update 2005-12-13: Added Sussen.

(via Golem)

Gobby - a collaborative text editor

Gobby screenshot

I have heard of Gobby many times now, but when Daniel Stone blogged about it today, I finally decided to give it a try.

For those who don't yet know what I'm talking about:

Gobby is a free collaborative editor based on libobby, a library which provides synced document buffers. It supports multiple documents in one session and a multi-user chat. It runs on Microsoft Windows, Mac OS X, Linux and other Unix-like platforms.

One apt-get install gobby later, I was astounded as to how mature it already feels. I think Gobby will be of great benefit when taking notes during conferences, talks and so on. It could also prove invaluable as a pair programming tool.

Anyways, I already hear you crying "but SubEthaEdit has been doing this for ages", which is true. But:

  • Gobby is GPL'd, SubEthaEdit is not.
  • Gobby is a cross-platform tool, SubEthaEdit is not (I don't own no Mac, you insensitive clod!).

There you have it.

(via Daniel Stone)

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