Documentation and guides

Weekly Meeting: 2014-03-18

18th March 2014: Crypto, GSoC and a Mirage tutorial day.


Attendees: Amir Chaudhry (chair), Jonathan Ludlam, Anil Madhavapeddy, Richard Mortier and David Scott



Anil managed to get the SSL stack working and wondered if anyone else has been tried it. Has played around in Unix but not tried anything with Xen yet. Seems there's still some work to to do as it's missing the ability to synthesise a flow interface but don't have a first-class interface for this yet. Could take existing type and use that, which everyone thinks is the best we got for now. Dependencies for TLS are ASN1 and TLS (pure ocaml) and ocaml-nocrypto (has some C). Still waiting for ctypes stub-generation to be released before we can do a big change. Should have more pairs of eyes looking over this code. If anyone can mess around with this and provide feedback, it would be be appreciated.

Edit: Code is available at

Google Summer of Code / Outreach Program for Women

GSoC - Student applications close on the 21st (3 days from now). After this, the mentoring organisations need to review and rank student proposals. Mort has spoken to many students about GSoC from undergrads to Masters and encouraged them to apply. Others have been in touch on the mailing list. Anil will check the system to see how applications have been going. In general, everyone should be encouraging applications.

OPW - Xen has one slot for an OPW project and has had couple of good applicants, with some interest in Cloud API. Mirage is also open to these applicants as one of the reviewed list of projects.

Mirage tutorial day

Considerations for the tutorial day:

Audience - In general we want this to be accessible to a relatively wide audience of programmers (i.e experience of OCaml is not assumed - but programming experience is). There are a number of people in the Lab who would be interested and also from Citrix as well as others once a date is announced (would be good to have Xen platform team involved). Would probably need to restrict numbers to around 30 to ensure we can give each person individual attention. Should capture details of all people interested so that if we run this again, we have a self-selected list of people to reach out to.

Full/Half day - This should be a full day to make sure that we can cover enough of the details and take a hands-on approach to the sessions, rather than lecture-style.

Sessions - Will need to spend time on structuring this. Would be good if each session had a tangible goal to reach (e.g get something running up on Rackspace). Should cover networking, storage and a bunch of basic items. Making reusable sessions would be extremely useful as they can become the basis of more formal modules and expanded with more stuff about Xen or the cloud. These could even become a nice undergraduate systems module with Mirage as the basis. Specific breakdown might be to have the first part of the day be about OCaml basics (e.g Ch1-Ch7 of RWO), and then dive down into Mirage and Xen. There are already elements that could be reused from much earlier tutorials (Japan?) but would need dusting off for the (wonderful) new world of OPAM et al.

Location - Will do first tutorial in Cambridge and could either do this in the Lab or perhaps at Citrix. Amir will contact Lars to see if Citrix is a viable option.

Date - From a brief poll it seems that sometime during the week of 19 May is a good one but this is not confirmed so we still need to pin down the exact date. Should keep whatever date we select within the school term-time (for obvious reasons).


Irminsule is being used by Dominic in Nottingham and it does stuff related to maildir. Mort has put Dominic in touch with Gregory (who's working on IMAP). Exciting stuff!