The French Cafe Technique -- Or How Samba Was Written

Via a post on Groklaw, I found an fascinating article about how Samba was written. The Samba guys don't call it reverse engineering; they rather compare it to a French Cafe:

Imagine you wanted to learn French, and there were no books, courses etc available to teach you. You might decide to learn by flying to France and sitting in a French Cafe and just listening to the conversations around you. You take copious notes on what the customers say to the waiter and what food arrives. That way you eventually learn the words for "bread", "coffee" etc.

We use the same technique to learn about protocol additions that Microsoft makes. We use a network sniffer to listen in on conversations between Microsoft clients and servers and over time we learn the "words" for "file size", "datestamp" as we observe what is sent for each query.

The article describes a couple of more advanced techniques. By employing those for more than 12 years, Samba was written.

Mon, 07 Feb 2005, 00:02 | Technology | PermaLink
« Resources for Automatic Updates of Java Applications | Home | The ONElist File -- The Story Of Yahoo Groups »