17. Gulaschprogrammiernacht

Over one of the recent long weekends I attended the 17th “Gulaschprogrammiernacht”, or “GPN17” for short, in Karlsruhe, the largest CCC Event after the Chaos Communication Congress with roughly a thousand attendees. The name literally translates to “goulash programming night”, which makes about as much sense as the German version. Despite the name it lasted from Thursday to Sunday, had a much wider scope than just coding and offered various other (incl. vegan) dishes besides goulash. As an active member of the CCC community I planned on attending it anyway, but submitted my talk about Automated Binary Analysis in case there was interest. I didn’t anticipate that much interest given that it was a fairly theoretical IT-Security topic at an event that was not focused on IT-Security, but nonetheless the hall was filled with people from various backgrounds like math, formal verification and software optimization. The talk was an improved version of the one I gave at Bsides Ljubljana, incorporating feedback I received and new things I had learned since then. The English slides are available here, the recording of the talk in German can be found here.

But like most CCC related events the interesting part was not just the talks but the people and atmosphere. The GPN is unique because it takes place in a public museum of art which means it does not require a ticket and  that visitors of the museum will walk through the event.

Among the various curiosities one can find at such an event were:

  • A motorized blinking club mate crate people were riding on
  • A motorized couch chair with a “CYBER 1337” license plate
  • Someone attaching their badge to a large antenna to help pinpoint the ISS and other satellites
  • Someone managing to play Doom on their badge which required implementing a lightweight UDP stack for it under fairly harsh resource constraints
  • Other badge projects
  • A recap of the most interesting creations of the demoscene since the last. This year’s iteration had to be improvised on short notice, but last year’s should serve as a good starting point if you are interested in a fascinating combination of art and optimized coding.

Overall small CCC events probably seem mundane at first due to the relatively lower amount of technical talks. But this just means that you aren’t busy running from talk to talk (which are mostly recorded anyway) and instead can focus on meeting new people or get inspired to do something new.