Who needs this?

If you need large volumes of genuinely non-deterministic numbers for scientific or statistical analysis, a scalable and reliable source of good entropy for secure servers, or a continuously verified unpredictable source for strong crypto that you can audit and trust, this project is dedicated to making that an accessible and affordable part of our everyday reality. Randomness is like freedom, it's easy to take for granted until you look just a little too closely at how much of it you really might have…

Who made this?

The BitBabbler project was started by a group of engineers at Voicetronix, to meet our own needs for a reliable, high-quality, entropy source. After finding that every option we had to simply purchase one off the shelf left us in a state of frustrated, somewhere between underwhelmed (as a most charitable assessment), and quite simply incredulous at what was effectively the crypto equivalent of Brilliant Pebbles, we decided to just bite the bullet and make our own. How hard can it be, right?

Several man-years of painstaking research and discarded prototypes later, like most people who've ever asked that question, we have a new appreciation for the true depths of its answer.

With a long history of contributing to, and benefiting from, the knowledge pool of Free and Open Source software, the obvious next step was to make that as widely available as we could, and to openly invite contributions from other interested people, to see how much further we really can still push the state of the art toward optimal, given the added impetus of more peer review and critique.

We'd like to see good entropy sources become available, affordable, and hence ubiquitous. In the best tradition of from each according to their ability, we'll be putting the Australian facilities we have for manufacturing our telephony hardware to use for making these too, with the supporting software for them being freely licenced.

Who do we owe thanks to?

The list of people that we ought to thank here is far too long to even begin to sanely enumerate. It includes not only the people that we eagerly took good ideas from, but also the many people who made mistakes big and small, or who instilled us with some quantifiable measure of doubt and suspicion, that we carried into subjecting our own work to. If we've still managed to somehow stuff this up, we have only ourselves to blame, but if we have actually got this right, the entire world owes you all its gratitude for that. It would have taken many more iterations to have made all of those mistakes all by ourselves and the value of that cannot be overstated.

The many giants whose shoulders we're standing on, are either already well known, or cited numerous times in the same documents that we've referred to elsewhere. The people whose mistakes we have highlighted here, you probably know who you are, and we've made a point of not pointing and laughing at you personally, not just because it's not a laughing matter, but because we assume that your intentions at least were good, and the lessons we learned from you were perhaps the most valuable of all. The people who'll tear strips off us for the mistakes that we've made, we'll surely owe plenty of thanks to you soon enough as well!

[ Full disclosure: yes, this wasn't actually a surprise ]