Way back in the olden days I was part of the team at RSA that
implemented J/SAFE (now called BSAFE Crypto-J.) One of the things we
learned there was how important testing is. One of RSA's great bits
of technology was the BTEST infrastructure. It was a series of tests
that exercised the crypto primitives in BSAFE, ensuring that the
implementation matched the published algorithms.
For a long time these tests were buried inside the deep recesses of
RSA's engineering labs in Redwood City (later San Mateo) California.
But then one day RSA wanted to move a lot of their development
overseas to Australia. The idea was that most of their new customers
were in Japan and Australia was close to being in the same time zone
which made support a lot easier. Plus, the Aussies would work for a
lot less than their bay area counterparts. The fact that Eric A.
Young, the godfather of OpenSSL, was in .au only made things better
(he wrote the first code that would implement the API popularized by
But they were faced with a problem, exporting their code to Australia
was "difficult" under the existing export regulations. If you wanted
to export a commercial crypto package, you had to jump through a lot
of hoops; even if you were exporting things to a friendly place like
Australia (I suppose someone was still worried that a communist
insurrection could occur while we weren't looking.) However... this
was not the case for documentation. If you wanted to type up a
description of an algorithm or even a C implementation and publish
it, this was okay. The law considered this to be contributing to
international research efforts, not trafficking in controlled munitions.
Industry watchers believe RSA was planning on re-implementing their
Crypto libraries overseas to make it easier for them to fit on 16 bit
mobile phones, so the only thing they were worrying about was the
API. They wanted to make sure that their overseas customers had the
same API (or a similar API) as BSAFE.
The solution was pretty cool; they wrote a document that described
the API in english text. But the text was regular enough that one
could write a program to reconstruct the API from the english
description of it. Pretty cool, huh?
This document was published as a IETF internet draft and thus avoided
the export regulations... It wasn't code, it was a description of an
interface published by a well regarded organization involved in the
development of the internet.
So assuming you're not completely bored by this narrative, one of the
very cool things that went with the API were the test suites. The
test suites use industry recognized test vectors for ciphers and
formats supported by the BSAFE library. In theory, it should be a
trivial matter to write code to convert the document describing the
test suites into SUnit tests.
So... assuming we want to do "Test Driven Development," there might
be some advantage to having a large pool of test vectors,
irrespective of where they come from. If there's interest in this
group, I'll move the SUnit tests a little higher in the priority queue.
Also... there are existing test vectors in SUnit tests for msh-crypto
that derive from the NIST documents and IETF RFCs. Even if you didn't
want to use the msh-crypto implementation for license reasons, the
SUnit tests could still be of value.
(BTW... msh-crypto is distributed under a BSD license to make it
usable with Spoon without having to wring ones hands repeatedly about