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MesaLink is a memory-safe and OpenSSL-compatible TLS library.
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A memory-safe and OpenSSL-compatible TLS library

Build Status Coverage Status Documentation Status Release License

MesaLink is a memory-safe and OpenSSL-compatible TLS library. Also visit us on our website:

Release history

  • 0.8.0 (01-25-2019)
    • 40 new OpenSSL APIs, covering BIO, EVP_PKEY, PEM and X509
    • SSL_CTX and SSL are thread-safe
    • Configurable session cache
    • SHA1 signatures discontinued
    • Tested with rust-san memory and leak sanitizers
    • Rust 2018 edition
    • Based on rustls 0.15, webpki 0.19, and *ring* 0.14
    • TLS backend for curl since 7.62.0
    • TLS backend for brpc, an industrial-grade RPC framework; see the patches directory
    • Experimental SGX Remote Attestation for Untrusted Enclaves (see
  • 0.7.2 (11-24-2018)
    • Client authentication
    • Use armv7-linux-androideabi for Android builds
  • 0.7.1 (09-05-2018)
    • SSL_CTX_load_verify_location
    • Fix duplicate floatdisf symbols
  • 0.7.0 (08-14-2018)
    • TLS 1.3 draft 28
    • Client-side support for TLS 1.3 0-RTT (rustls PR #185)
    • SSL_connect and SSL_do_handshake
    • Experimental X509 and STACK APIs for Android HostnameVerifier
    • Non-blocking socket support
    • Refactored thread-local error queue, now includes error line numbers for debugging
    • catch_unwind at FFI boundaries to prevent undefined behavior
    • Link time optimization if built with nightly Rust or stable Rust >1.28
    • Curl support tested with official CI scripts and git 2.18; see the patches directory
    • cargo-fmt and cargo-clippy lint checks

See for further change history.

Feature highlights

  • Memory safety. MesaLink and its dependencies are written in Rust, a programming language that guarantees memory safety. This extremely reduces the attack surfaces of an exposed TLS stack, leaving the remaining attack surfaces auditable and restricted.
  • Flexibility. MesaLink offers flexible configurations tailored to various needs, such as IoT, connected home, automobiles, the cloud and more.
  • Simplicity. MesaLink does not support obsolete or legacy TLS features to prevent misconfigurations that can introduce vulnerabilities.
  • Compatibility. MesaLink provides OpenSSL-compatible APIs. This makes it a breeze to port an existing OpenSSL project.

MesaLink depends on two Rust crates: rustls and sct. With them, MesaLink provides the following features that are considered secure for most use cases:

  • TLS 1.2 and TLS 1.3 draft 28
  • ECDSA and RSA server authentication
  • Forced hostname validation
  • Forward secrecy using ECDHE; with curve25519, nistp256 or nistp384 curves.
  • Safe and fast crypto primitives from BoringSSL
  • AES-128-GCM, AES-256-GCM and Chacha20-Poly1305 bulk encryption
  • Built-in Mozilla's CA root certificates

Supported ciphersuites

  • TLS13-CHACHA20-POLY1305-SHA256
  • TLS13-AES-256-GCM-SHA384
  • TLS13-AES-128-GCM_SHA256

Building instructions

MesaLink currently supports Linux, Android and macOS. We will introduce support for other platforms in future releases.

First, install the build dependencies:

$ sudo apt-get install m4 autoconf automake libtool make gcc curl

Then install the Rust tool chain. Note that MesaLink always targets the current stable and nightly release of Rust.

$ curl -sSf | sh

The source code can be downloaded from Github:

$ git clone

To configure MesaLink, execute the following:

$ ./ --enable-examples

By default, generates the configure script and runs it with the default configuration. A non-exhaustive list of options that can be passed to either of these scripts are shown as follows:

  --prefix=PREFIX         install architecture-independent files in PREFIX
  --includedir=DIR        C header files [PREFIX/include]
  --build=BUILD           configure for building on BUILD [guessed]
  --host=HOST             cross-compile to build programs to run on HOST [BUILD]
  --enable-debug          Add debug code/turns off optimizations (yes|no)
  --enable-rusthost       Set the Rust host for cross compilation (default:
  --enable-client         Enable TLS client-side APIs (default: enabled)
  --enable-server         Enable TLS server-side APIs (default: enabled)
  --enable-errorstrings   Enable error string table (default: enabled)
  --enable-aesgcm         Enable AES-GCM bulk encryption (default: enabled)
  --enable-chachapoly     Enable Chacha20Poly1305 bulk encryption (default:
  --enable-tls13          Enable TLS 1.3 draft (default: enabled)
  --enable-x25519         Enable Curve25519 for key exchange (default:
  --enable-ecdh           Enable curve secp256r1 and secp384r1 for key
                          exchange (default: enabled)
  --enable-ecdsa          Enable curve secp256r1 and secp384r1 for signature
                          verification (default: enabled)
  --enable-examples       Enable examples (default: disabled)

At the end of the configuration, a configuration summary is shown. For example,

Configuration summary for mesalink version 0.7.0

   * Installation prefix:        /usr/local
   * Host:                       x86_64-apple-darwin17.7.0
   * Rust Host:
   * C Compiler:                 gcc
   * C Compiler vendor:          clang
   * C Flags:                    -Os -fvisibility=hidden -ffunction-sections -fdata-sections
   * Debug enabled:              no
   * Nightly Rust:               no
   * Examples:                   no

   * Logging and error strings:  yes
   * AES-GCM:                    yes
   * Chacha20-Poly1305:          yes
   * TLS 1.3 (draft):            yes
   * X25519 key exchange:        yes
   * EC key exchange:            yes
   * RSA signature verification: yes
   * EC signature verification:  yes


Finally, simple run make to compile the MesaLink library and examples

$ make


MesaLink comes with two examples that demonstrate a TLS client and a TLS server. Both of them are located at examples/.

The client example connects to a remote HTTPS server and prints the server's response.

$ ./examples/client/client
[+] Negotiated ciphersuite: TLS_ECDHE_RSA_WITH_AES_128_GCM_SHA256, enc_length=16, version=TLS1.2
[+] Subject name: /OU=Domain Control Validated/OU=PositiveSSL Wildcard/CN=*
[+] Subject alternative names:*
[+] Sent 85 bytes

GET / HTTP/1.0
Connection: close
Accept-Encoding: identity

HTTP/1.1 200 OK
Server: Cowboy
Connection: close
Content-Type: text/plain
Vary: Origin
Date: Thu, 09 Aug 2018 21:44:35 GMT
Content-Length: 10
Via: 1.1 vegur
[+] TLS protocol version: TLS1.2

[+] Received 177 bytes

The server example comes with a pair of certificate and private key. The certificate file is in the PEM format and contains a chain of certificates from the server's certificate to the root CA certificate. The private key file contains a PKCS8-encoded private key in the PEM format. Once the server is up and running, open and expect to see the hello message.

$ ./examples/server/server
Usage: ./examples/server/server <portnum> <cert_file> <private_key_file>
$ cd examples/server/server
$ ./server 8443 certificates private_key
[+] Listening at
[+] Negotiated ciphersuite: TLS_ECDHE_RSA_WITH_AES_128_GCM_SHA256, enc_length=16, version=TLS1.2
[+] Received:
GET / HTTP/1.1
Connection: keep-alive
User-Agent: Mozilla/5.0 (Macintosh; Intel Mac OS X 10_13_2) AppleWebKit/537.36
(KHTML, like Gecko) Chrome/63.0.3239.84 Safari/537.36
Upgrade-Insecure-Requests: 1
Accept: text/html,application/xhtml+xml,application/xml;q=0.9,image/webp,image/apng
Accept-Encoding: gzip, deflate, br
Accept-Language: en-US,en;q=0.9

Unit tests

MesaLink uses cargo for unit tests. Simply run cargo test.

$ cargo test

BoringSSL SSL tests

BoGo is BoringSSL's protocol level test suite. We have ported BoGo for testing the functionality and compatibility of MesaLink. To run BoGo test cases, run the following:

$ cd bogo && ./runme

Crypto benchmarks

MesaLink's underlying crypto library is Ring, a safe and fast crypto using Rust. To evaluate the speed and throughput of MesaLink, we developed new benchmarks for OpenSSL and wolfSSL based on the crypto-bench project. A summary of the available benchmarks is shown as follows:

Benchmark Ring OpenSSL/LibreSSL wolfSSL
SHA-1 & SHA-256 & SHA-512 ✔️ ✔️ ✔️
AES-128-GCM & AES-256-GCM ✔️ ✔️ ✔️
Chacha20-Poly1305 ✔️ ✔️ ✔️
ECDH (suite B) key exchange ✔️
X25519 (Curve25519) key exchange ✔️

To run the benchmarks, run the following command with nightly Rust. Note you would need OpenSSL/LibreSSL and/or wolfSSL installed to run the corresponding benchmarks.

$ rustup install nightly-2017-12-24
$ rustup default nightly-2017-12-24
$ cd crypto-bench && ./bench_all


The MesaLink project would not have been possible without the following high-quality open source projects in the Rust community. Thanks for code and inspiration!

  • rustls: A modern TLS library in Rust, maintained by Joseph Birr-Pixton @ctz
  • Certificate transparency SCT verification library in rust, maintained by Joseph Birr-Pixton @ctz
  • ring: Safe, fast, small crypto using Rust, by Brian Smith @briansmith
  • webpki: WebPKI X.509 Certificate Validation in Rust, maintained by Brian Smith @briansmith
  • crypto-bench: Benchmarks for crypto libraries, maintained by Brian Smith @briansmith
  • Special thanks to Brian Smith for insights and valuable discussion


  • Yiming Jing <> @kevinis

Steering Committee

  • Tao Wei
  • Yulong Zhang


MesaLink is provided under the 3-Clause BSD license. For a copy, see the LICENSE file.

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