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Libtrace paper published

13

Apr

2012

Our paper on libtrace entitled "Libtrace: A Packet Capture and Analysis Library" has been officially published in this month's edition of ACM Computer Communication Review.

It has been a bit of a battle over the years to find a venue that was willing to publish a paper on libtrace, as the direct scientific contribution of libtrace itself is subtle. It was also difficult to articulate exactly how libtrace is so much easier and pleasant to work with compared to other trace analysis libraries. Often the improvements present in libtrace were dismissed out of hand as being nice but not necessary.

For example, capture format agnosticism was dismissed by some reviewers as mostly pointless because they never needed to work with a trace format other than pcap. The performance enhancements were similarly discredited because it was just easier to "buy a faster CPU" or because you could just use a separate zcat process to decompress the trace instead (hence the explicit discussion of the difference between using a separate process + pipe versus the threaded approach employed by libtrace).

As a result, we often had to go back to the drawing board and think more carefully about how to "sell" each of the enhancements in libtrace and clearly explain the reasoning behind each design decision. Eventually we managed to find the right combination of venue and tone that allowed us to finally get a submission accepted.
Hopefully this will lead to more network researchers learning about libtrace and adopting it for use in their own research and analysis tasks.

A copy of the paper can be downloaded from here.

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