Cover by Andy Oram, Greg Wilson

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The Foundation

Application software today, of course, is many levels removed from the bare hardware and builds on top of many layers of existing code. So when starting a new project, getting the foundation right has to be the crucial starting point.

For a number of reasons, I chose to write Cryptonite in Perl. The rich pool of open source reusable modules on CPAN (http://www.cpan.org) helped minimize the need to write new code where existing solutions could be leveraged, and also allowed a great deal of flexibility in interfaces and options. This was borne out well by prior experience with the language as well as by later experiences with the Cryptonite project.

The ability to interface to C and other libraries through Perl's XS API allowed access to even more libraries. Perl's excellent portability and robust support for object-oriented programming were other important advantages. Cryptonite was intended to be easily modifiable by licensees, which would also be facilitated by writing it in Perl.

So, the Cryptonite system is implemented entirely in object-oriented Perl. The project has led to the creation of numerous open source Perl modules, which I have made available on CPAN.

GNU/Linux jumped out as the obvious development platform, because code developed on a Unix-like environment would be easiest to port to whatever deployment platform it would be used on, which could only be another Unix-like platform. No Windows or Mac system at the time (OS X was in pre-beta) had what it took ...

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