2008: Tcpreplay

As I put 2008 behind me and look forward to 2009, I wanted to take a look at where Tcpreplay is and where it’s going.

This year there were 5 releases- most of which happened in the first half of the year. Between other projects like Cabernet, working at a startup, buying a new home and trying to sell our townhouse things definitely slowed down the last 6 months or so. But I think there’s also a sense at least on my part that Tcpreplay isn’t really lacking any major features; at least I’m not getting any real feature requests except for something like flowreplay– which I have no interest in working on.

Most of the work that happened revolved around improving the accuracy of packet timings and adding fragroute support. Windows support has improved quite a bit; but isn’t as good as it should be considering the number of Windows users.

Honestly, Windows support continues to be a thorn in my side, but I’m really not sure how to get over the hump so to speak. My development environment is Windows XP under Parallels on OS X which while functional is painfully slow and seems buggy. I’m not sure how much is Parallels fault and how much should be attributed to Cygwin, but end users don’t seem to complain about performance so I guess it must be Parallels. Unfortunately, this makes my development efforts far more painful then they should be and the result is that I don’t work on it as much as I should. I’m sure if I had a dedicated Windows box that would help, but it makes no sense financially for me to go out and by another computer merely for Tcpreplay development on Windows. Ideally, Windows support would be native and not require Cygwin which seems to add a bunch problems… perhaps if I had a dedicated Windows box I’d ship binaries for it- that might actually make sense. Of course all this wishful thinking as I seriously doubt a Windows computer is going to fall from the sky and into my lap for all this to happen.

Next year I hope to release 3.4 which should continue to improve performance and add features which allow people to better visualize the traffic in pcap files so that using tools like tcprewrite and tcpprep is easier. I’m a little surprised people aren’t more excited about the visualization feature, but maybe it’s the kind of feature you have to see in order to understand its value.

On a side note, I’ve been pleasantly surprised with the number of user contributed patches. Most of these are small, but important bug fixes for cross-platform issues which are difficult for me to reproduce and therefore fix on my own. A big thanks to everyone who contributed!