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Qt SSL Update

Sunday, 6 November 2011  |  rich

It's been a while since I blogged, so I thought I'd post an update on what I've been up to.

Along with nearly a thousand other Qt developers, I headed over to Munich for the Qt Dev Days. It was my first time at the event, and I was surprised just how big it was. There were a lot of interesting talks, with highlights including Jens' talks on Qt Quick components for the desktop and using QML for rapid prototyping and Peter's talk on Secure Networking.

Before all the talks however, we had a day full of Qt contributor sessions. This included a lot of discussions about how the open governance model should work, and also technical sessions on individual areas. I've posted my notes from a couple of sessions to the new Development mailing list, including my notes from the various discussions on SSL.

I'd like to thank the KDE eV for sponsoring my travel and hotel, Nokia for my Dev Days pass (and a shiny new N9), and my own company, Westpoint, for letting me attend.

In terms of coding, I've been fairly busy too. I've recently added support for disabling fancy new features of SSL/TLS like session tickets, compression and server name indication that since they're so shiny and new (ahem, most of them are ten years old at least) seem to be incompatible with various expensive SSL accelerators. This change has been backported to Qt 4.8 so we should be able to use it in KDE 4.x too.

I've also made a few changes that are only in the Qt 5.0 branch since they're really too big a change to slip into the 4.8 tree at this stage. The major one is the ability to verify a certificate chain without needing to connect to a server.

Most recently, I've written a pretty large improvement to the handling of certificates to add support for certificate extensions. This change has been handled under the open governance system using gerrit, which has resulted in a much faster turn-around than the previous gitorious based approach of merge requests. The new code makes it possible to access all the certificate extensions, with a design that makes it easy to extend as new ones are required. The change is currently in the process of getting merged, and assuming I don't get bitten by an old openssl version on one of the test platforms should be in the main tree tonight.

I have a bunch of further improvements to the SSL support in progress, with my work on adding OCSP support being one of my main targets. There are several other low-hanging fruit like the bug work arounds I mentioned too though, so I'll probably try to address some of those as well.

If you're working on a KDE application and Qt's SSL support doesn't offer what you need, then please let me know so that I can make sure that what you're missing gets added to the todo list.