Small Business Digitization Initiative launch in Ontario

The Digital Revolution is happening! The Small Business Digitization Initiative (SBDI) was officially launched on April 6th in Ottawa. A hundred youth from across Ontario are helping Small and Medium-size Businesses (SMBs) thrive. This exemplary collaboration between businesses, academia, young talent, and government is positioning Ontario as a world leader in the Digital Economy.

Amanda O'Reilly, CEO @BalanceInStyle, explains why she invested her time in the SBDI program
Amanda O’Reilly, CEO @BalanceInStyle, is leveraging the SBDI program to build stunning customer experiences

SBDI is designed to support small and medium-size businesses like Balance InStyle (illustrated above). Amanda O’Reilly, award-winning CEO and Top 40 under 40, moved the audience when she explained why she dedicated her life to reducing stress and saving people’s time. She is generously communicating her sense of purpose and business savviness to the young generation. Also, she believes she could leverage technology to improve customer experience. Enters Melanie.

Melanie is telling the audience about her work with Amanda
Melanie is building a digital sales channel for @BalanceInStyle

Melanie is a highly driven and well-educated young professional. She became frustrated when she could not find a job in IT after graduating with a degree in Interactive Design from York University. She has the right credentials and skills, but too many small businesses don’t understand how to leverage her talent. Melanie grew frustrated that many businesses “don’t get it”. She has been eagerly looking for opportunities to apply her skills, including as an entrepreneur.

Melanie and Amanda are a fantastic match. Amanda has become a role-model for Melanie, on her way to become one of the top business women entrepreneurs in Ontario (watch for it!). At the same time, Melanie is applying her IT and Design expertise to improve Balance InStyle‘s customer experience.

Small Business Digitization in Ontario, Canada, and the World

Funded in part by the Ontario Ministry of Economic Development and Growth, the Small Business Digitization Initiative connects talents with business opportunities. The Information and Communications Technology Council (ICTC), a national center of expertise for the digital economy, acts as the catalyst to make the Canadian ICT sector thrive globally.

Savoir-faire Linux is the main training delivery partner, and a leader in technological innovation and Open Source Software since 1999. A recent study by Black Duck Software estimates that 78% of enterprises run on Open Source Software. Savoir-faire Linux shares its expertise with customers and partners such as Microsoft, IBM, Desjardins, General Electric, the Canadian Space Agency, and many other leading companies.

ICTC research shows that too many young ICT professionals (13% are unemployed) struggle to start a career in ICT where, on the other hand, jobs opportunities are enormous. The ICTC will need to fill 216,000 new positions in the next three years, and the gap is widening. ICT Job growth outpaces other sectors by 4 to 1.

There is a real risk for small businesses to be left behind. On one hand, technology and skills are changing fast as the world is going through the Fourth Industrial Revolution (Klaus Schwab, Executive Chairman of the World Economic Forum, 2016). On the other hand, IT companies and large enterprises are competing for the same talents. Small businesses face the double challenge of envisioning where technology can help transform their industry, and acquiring the talent they need to execute on their vision.

SBDI strengthens Canadian businesses, helping them thrive locally, building on local talent excellence, and opening the door to share their expertise to the rest of the world.

Early Lessons Learned

For the little time we’ve been running the program, we learned there is a real need to educate small businesses. We realized that a program that we originally presented to employer as a “co-op” opportunity for students, is really an educational opportunity for businesses. We flipped the model on its head.

We are fortunate to work with leading business executives like Amanda O’Reilly, and many others in Ottawa, Toronto, and North Bay. They are visionaries who understand that technology can help make their business processes faster, better, and cheaper.

The Honourable Bardish Chagger and the Honourable Anthony Rota on a group picture with SBDI participants
The Honourable Bardish Chagger and the Honourable Anthony Rota with SBDI participants and the ICTC team

Our ambition is to inspire SMBs to leverage digital technology to grow their business, and to attract the young talent they need to succeed.

We also thank Microsoft, a Savoir-faire Linux and ICTC partner, for hosting the event at their Ottawa Office.

Press Releases

Other Press Releases

Pictures & Tweets

Traveling to Myanmar to Teach Embedded Linux: An Unforgettable Memoir

Savoir-faire Linux sent one of its experts, Julien Grossholtz, to Myanmar to teach a Linux training course at a young company specialized in industrial equipment. Learn about his testimony and his discovery of this enigmatic and picturesque country.

I traveled to Myanmar to teach a course on Embedded Linux, my specialty . The client is located in the small town of Pyin Oo Lwin, in the Mandalay region, in the center of the country.

An aerial view of Myanmar captured via Google Maps

Upon my arrival, I visited the city and its surroundings. There were many beautiful bungalows and villas that the British built during their rule. It was also a place where the famous writer: George Orwell, lived during the 1920s. The botanical garden of the city was absolutely magnificent with its lake, its tangled and swirling trees, its giant bamboos, its flowers, the Orchids and many more exotic views that cherished my eyes. It was also an ideal place to observe the local population: there were families in traditional clothes, children and many monks.

The National Kandawgyi Botanical Gardens
The National Kandawgyi Botanical Gardens

After the first days of discovery, I started the training. My mission was to train seven engineers on embedded systems running Linux. We covered many topics: cross-compilation, application development, interactions with hardware, buildroot and several other related technologies. We carried out many practical exercises with a Technologic Systems’ board (the TS-7680).

Technologic Systems’ board: the TS-7680

The course was in English and we could communicate effectively, although it was not always simple. We used many drawings on the board to overcome the misunderstandings and understand one another despite our cultural differences. My students’ technical backgrounds were varied too. Some of them have already had good knowledge of Linux on PC while some others were specialized in hardware. So, I adapted the course, explanations and exercises to their individual needs.

Julien Grossholtz, open source software consultant at Savoir-faire Linux, during training sessions

Finally, I believe it was a very successful journey. My assessment of the training is very positive. The students and the company are expecting to achieve their objectives and are ready to use Linux for their embedded systems. As for me, I am very proud to have shared my knowledge with talented individuals who have high hopes for their future; and especially, in a country that is developing and gradually opening up to the world.

A Match Made in Heaven: Savoir-faire Linux Forges a Strategic Partnership with Technologic Systems

                   

May 16th, 2017 – Savoir-faire Linux, a Canadian leader in Open Source technologies and Free Software, and Technologic Systems, an American embedded solutions company, are pleased to announce the completion of a one-year partnership agreement in order to provide mutual support on technological and marketing levels. This initiative reinforces and improves marketing of customer-focused solutions that combine the Linux expertise of  Savoir-faire Linux and the high-tech hardware components of Technologic Systems.

Both companies have been long collaborating together to offer a whole value chain solution to their clients. The indispensable symbiosis between hardware and software solutions in the digital economy is the main driver of their co-creations and technological collaborations. Having been successful in increasing their end-users’ satisfaction and operational performance, they now want to become more strategically engaged to even further augment the industry standards.

A Technologic Systems’ TS-7990 embedded system complete with capacitive touchscreen

For 33 years, Technologic Systems (Arizona, USA) has been creating world class physical computing objects in order to address a wide range of industrial needs. Technologic Systems has hundreds of commercial off the shelf products, and the ability to modify existing solutions, or design a completely custom embedded computer to meet and exceed customer requirements. A wide range of out-of-the-box Linux tools come to aide Technologic Systems’ vision of creating the whole customer solutions. Linux OS, Debian, Ubuntu Core and many more open source software platforms are strategically deployed on a wide range of embedded systems to cater to the customer’s particular application and requirements.

Our team of product engineering building a touchscreen intercom system: “Quick-Phone

However, to further ensure continuous support and quality excellence in providing open source solutions, Technologic Systems has drawn upon the deep expertise of Savoir-faire Linux (Montreal, Canada). For almost two decades, Savoir-faire Linux has been able to constantly create and share open source software knowledge through consultancy, design, architecture, and maintenance of a variety of information systems in the North American and European markets. The company, as a silver member of the Linux Foundation, is well-known for developing reliable and supported open source-based software solutions and has already forged strategic partnership with major open source players such as Red Hat, Liferay, and Odoo, to name a few. Being embedded in free/libre and open source communities such as Linux Kernel, Debian, FFmpeg, Buildroot, etc., the company knows the ‘ins and outs’ of many key open source technologies; and therefore is able to guarantee software stability and performance at a level unmatched by its competitors. Robert Miller, founder of Technologic Systems says,

“Since we provide embedded hardware for multiple industries and verticals, it would be almost impossible for us to provide application level support to all of our customers. Savoir-faire Linux is a fantastic partner in this regard as they are well suited to handle a variety of projects across a multitude of platforms. Savoir-faire Linux works seamlessly with the customer to bring their vision to life and bring the most out of our hardware in the process. They have consistently been great to work with at every level of engagement. We recommend them highly easily knowing that our customers will be in good hands.”

Thus, both companies together make a great match that ultimately benefit their end-users through having an access to a whole hardware-software solution that exceeds industry standards concerning performance, quality, reliability and continuous after sales support. This partnership is set to grow and mature into more technologically advanced collaborative R&D teams, and expanding each one’s market reach both in Canada as well as the USA.

About Technologic Systems
Technologic Systems has been in business for 33 years, helping more than 8000 OEM customers and building over a hundred COTS products that have never been discontinued. Our commitment to excellent products, low prices, and exceptional customer support has allowed our business to flourish in a very competitive marketplace. We offer a wide variety of single board computers, computer-on-modules, touch panel PCs, PC/104 and other peripherals, and industrial controllers that satisfy most embedded project requirements. We also offer custom configurations and design services. We specialize in the ARM and X86 architectures, FPGA customization, and open source software support, providing advanced custom solutions using hardware-software co-design strategies.

Technologic Systems
16525 East Laser Drive
Fountain Hills, AZ
85268
https://www.embeddedarm.com/
Sales@embeddedARM.com
+1 480 837-5200

Further Information
Amir Taherizadeh
Technology Marketing & Business Development Consultant
amir.taherizadeh@savoirfairelinux.com
+1 514 276-5468  #390
Learn more about our Product Engineering Services

“Quick-Phone”: A Homemade Doorbell with a Cool Touchscreen

The Product Engineering team of Savoir-faire Linux, along with the colleagues working on the Ring project, expanded into a new office. But they had a problem: at lunchtime, the sandwich delivery guy needed to pound on the door to get someone to let him in. Being hackers, the team realized that they actually could use in-house technology to help them manage the access to the office. Put simply, a welcome intercom system or a doorbell dubbed “Quick-Phone” (inspired by QTQuick), was needed. Here’s how the story unfolds…

An idea
Like most companies, each of us has a phone on his/her desk that connects to a company gateway using the SIP protocol. We use an open source Asterisk server, so we could have simply installed a regular SIP phone on the corridor wall in order to establish a connection between guests standing at the door and the people inside. Yet, we believed, as product engineers we could do better than that. In fact, we should design a sexier SIP phone with a touchscreen. This is part of the solutions we develop everyday for our clients, and we should build ourselves one too.

The nitty-gritty
In order to get us started, our friends at Technologic Systems generously sent us their new TS-TPC-7990 touchscreen system to be deployed in our fun and functional project. This board embeds a 1 GHz Quad Core NXP i.MX6 ARM CPU along with a powerful GPU and a set of hardware encoders/decoders to support graphical and multimedia applications.

A Technologic Systems’ TS-7990 embedded system complete with capacitive touchscreen

We defined the minimum value-objective for the product to be a simple interface listing all users so as to allow a guest to directly call someone from the department. To realize this objective, we designed our user interface (UI) with Qt QML, taking advantage of the hardware acceleration to keep it responsive. QML is an awesome tool for creating complex cross platforms UI with OpenGL. With the help of GPU, QML offers a smooth operation on embedded platforms. Moreover, we used ‘Qt-cinematic experience 3D’ which runs smoothly on TS-7990 consuming only about 20% of CPU capacity.

In addition, by using a hardware decoder in the GStreamer pipeline, we have been able to decode 720p h24 stream with almost no CPU usage. Even though we decided not to add video calls for the first version, these experiments showed that this board was already capable of supporting multimedia applications. As for out-of-the-box Technologic Systems, it already provided support for Qt QML in their Yocto layer. We took this opportunity and began to code in QML language and contribute to the Yocto open source community.

To feed the system with data, first, we retrieved all user names, extensions and pictures from our ERP (i.e., Odoo open source project) and stored them in a file with a simple REST client. This was a simple but necessary step to take to make sure the embedded computer has access to its own independent data file.

Next, we integrated a famous SIP stack, pjsip, and its python wrapper to develop a simple SIP audio caller. We chose pjsip for three main reasons. First, it is a reliable multimedia communication library written in C language. For example, we have already used its low level libraries for our DHT/SIP phone: Ring, and it worked very well. Second, it is highly functional. Its high-level libraries already supports a set of audio codecs such as Speex, iLBC, GSM, G711, G722, and L16 codecs. Third, we know the ins and outs of it very well. In fact, in a matter of few hours, we developed a fine and dandy SIPbased on python pjsip sample code so as to enable guests to call anybody in the office.

Putting it together
With the inauguration party of the new office commencing in a few hours, we had to value our time dearly and use it wisely. We knew it was an opportune time to install the prototype and show off our contribution a little gift for the ceremony so to speak. This could also show our software development capability in harmony with an industrial grade hardware component. However, mounting the board on the entrance wall was not an easy task. We needed a custom-made wooden box, power, and connectivity, while all we had readily available was an ‘Ethernet’ outlet.

The process of crafting the wooden box by product engineers

This was specially troublesome since the board did not support ‘Power-Over-Ethernet’. We needed approximately up to 19W (at <28V) which was different from a typical PoE setup. Undaunted, we rigged up a passive PoE injector in order to use our own power supply and hacked an Ethernet cable to split out power for the board. As for the wooden box, we had already designed a custom frame, so we just gave it a few brush strokes and made it whole. At this time, we were all set to give it a go!

Test driving the ‘PoE’ setup

Having mounted the device, we did a little more of debugging so as to downgrade the link speed. This was necessary because our hacked Ethernet cable was no longer properly shielded. But in the end, just two hours before arrival of the inauguration guests, we experienced a proud moment: we could establish the very ‘first call’ between the corridor and our office. The following day, the sandwich man came in with a happy smile on his face: he did not have to pound on the door anymore!

A little command line for debugging magic to save the day

All open source
The whole project was built using open source tools and libraries. In fact, anyone interested can follow simple steps in order to create their own version. Visit this GitHub repository for instructions on how to build your own image for a TS-TPC-7990. Source code for the QML application is also available here.

A team effort
As fun as building things can be, the most satisfying aspect is working effectively as one cohesive unit. We seek happiness in satisfying our clients. This is what we focus on everyday. For this internal project, we have used the same ‘Agile Development Methodology’ that we use for our customers.

A happy ending for the team ready to welcome the quests

We designated the project actors: two stakeholders, a product owner and the development team. We organized short meetings to understand needs, set the priorities, estimate the effort for performing each task, and to split them into shorts iterations. We also set regular iteration deadlines with the major one being the inauguration day. Now, our stakeholders are pretty happy, but of course, they have requested a few more enhancements. We are working on them and we will share that story too. Stay tuned …

Savoir-faire Linux and ICTC empower Young Digitization Leaders

The first cohort of the Small Business Digitization Initiative kicked off in Ottawa. Young Digitization Leaders with diverse backgrounds are honing their skills in class and in their work placement.

A terrific first cohort

Our first cohort is committed to make a difference in the Ottawa region. Some students come with previous business experience, while others have followed a more classical Bachelor of Commerce program. Another group of students is bringing to the table strong technical foundations earned at the local college or university, or from abroad. Finally, some students are young entrepreneurs in their own right (and may already be serial entrepreneurs). All of them will be joining forces, as a cross-functional team, in order to solve authentic challenges faced by Small Businesses.

Digitization Leaders with a Vision

The first classes set the stage for the course, especially as students explored the major trends affecting all industries. Every company is challenged to level up its game. Businesses compete on new and smart ways to leverage digital technology, in order to improve customer experience, productivity, and accessibility for their products and services. Our students already had a chance to reflect on innovation, and how it happens. They learned about S-curves and network externalities. They reflected on the pros and cons of diverse software licensing and adoption strategies. Disruptive innovation is on the back of their mind.

Finally, we discussed business strategy. Our students are already familiar with the internal and external forces that affect a business. They know how to assess those. We explored a bit more in depth the importance of a business’s core capabilities. As technology allows to automate certain processes, Digitization Leaders also need to understand where to (re)focus resources to maximize revenue (economic, and other types).

Domesticating Technology

One of the main challenges faced by the Senior generation is our relative uneasiness with technology. Digital natives have an advantage, because they’re “naturals”, who are not afraid of technology. During our three days of Tech Labs, everyone installed Linux and the Open Source Community version of Odoo, in a matter of a few hours. I was pleasantly surprised by the intellectual agility demonstrated by the students. They don’t get stuck in the details. Instead, they have a very pragmatic approach, focusing on “making things work”. So, we went on experimenting with a wide range of applications used in business, popular and less popular ones. We installed and configured WordPress. One student even managed to set up his own website in Amazon Web Services. Another configured his machine to serve multiple customers from a single virtual machine. We had fun!!!

Solving real business problems

After these exciting first weeks, I’m looking forward to tackling the productivity challenge for small businesses. This week, students are diving deep into the main business processes run by all businesses: accounting, customer relationship (CRM), purchasing, selling, human resources, project management… They will build on what they are learning in class (including theory and software skills), to propose novel solutions at their workplace. At the end of the day, our goal is to help Small Businesses gain in productivity, reach new markets, and compete locally and anywhere in the world.

In conclusion, I’m confident our young Digitization Leaders will help Canada strive as a nation of modern business entrepreneurs and innovators. I’m looking forward to helping them realize their professional aspirations!

Tackling Three FFmpeg’s Technological Challenges to Further Shape TR-03 Standards for Broadcasters

Industry Context

“Today, the magic of film and television is half visual storytelling and half technical wizardry” (SMPTE, 2017). Major broadcasters (e.g., Radio Canada) largely depend on proprietary big ticket professional digital broadcasting equipment whose standards are written and shaped by Society for Motion Pictures and Television Engineers® (SMPTE®) which includes both the broadcasters and the manufacturers of the equipment. In short, SMPTE’s main job is to help advance “moving-imagery engineering” across the broadcasting industry. These heavy duty broadcasting machines are capable of transmitting raw data (i.e., uncompressed, unencrypted digital video signals) within television facilities. Recently, Savoir-faire Linux– a leading open source software service provider in Canada− has embarked on a journey (financially supported by Radio Canada) to test a technological possibility: can we adapt FFmpeg, using a general purpose server, in order to transmit raw data at volume/speed of 3.5 Gbps without relying on specialized hardware broadcasting equipment?

Savoir-faire Linux Takes Up the Technological Challenge

The journey started this winter which was by the way extremely cold and snowy in Montreal. A team of three from the product engineering department of Savoir-faire Linux decided to spend some time looking at FFmpeg’s internals in the hope of getting a working TR-03/SDI pipeline processing up to a several HD streams on a contemporary server while benefiting from FFmpeg’s easily available lower definition derivatives from the same video stream.

A few challenges arose from this endeavor. The first was the TR-03 format itself which wasn’t supported in the upstream version of FFmpeg. The second was the volume of data to be processed: we are talking about 3Gb/s of traffic here, which according to the FFmpeg developers might not be possible to process. Finally, the need to add transcoding to the pipeline which meant even greater CPU load.

Implementing TR-03 was not the biggest challenge, as the video format was pretty straightforward, and the team quickly got a working implementation. In this context, they used GStreamer, which was already very capable in terms of streaming as a sender for this volume of data.

Image result
Logo of FFmpeg

Once the data began to flow in, the performance bottlenecks became even more evident. To clearly locate these bottlenecks, they made the decision to write a few benchmark scenarios using a combination of unit tests and LTTng (i.e., an open source tracing framework for Linux). These benchmark scenarios allowed the team to detect where they were dropping a bunch of packets (i.e., losing data at different layers) at both the kernel socket and NIC buffers. Since the data processing process was closely monitored, it was relatively easy to tweak the buffer sizes, while keeping the delays within our acceptable range. However, another issue arose. The team noticed that FFmpeg’s data gathering/decoding thread was hogging a single CPU core causing occasional packet loss on the occasion when they were not fast enough to dequeue data from the socket buffer. To work around this, they decoupled the data gathering work from the decoding part. Following through these steps carefully, made it possible to have the packet drop-free pipeline, an achievement celebrated with a fine cake and a few drinks in front of a cool movie they could finally watch. As the head of the engineering team mentioned, “I could have never imagined that Big Bug Bunny was so much fun”.

Big Buck Bunny is a short computer-animated comedy film by the Blender Institute, released as an open-source film under Creative Commons License Attribution 3.0.

The Latest Update and the Road Ahead

Later, on April 5, 2017, the contributions developed and refined by the team were finally integrated into FFmpeg, meaning that, their proof of concept met with the stipulated standards of the community and became part of the platform.

For Savoir-faire Linux’ product engineering team, this was a very encouraging and promising adventure. Despite all odds, they empirically demonstrated the possibility to run SDI processing pipelines on top of a general purpose server equipment using open source software. This experiment was a success as it turned out there was great potential for broadcasters. To continue in this direction and further shape the standards of SMPTE 2110which are not frozen yet – being still in embryonic phase they face another main challenge. FFmpeg does not support the synchronization as described in SMTPE 2110; so, the team is now evaluating the possibility to provide and include the support needed.

Authors:

  • Damien Riegel,
  • Eloi Bail, and
  • Stepan Salenikovitch.

ICTC and Savoir-faire Linux Partnership: Empowering Ontario Youth to Digitize Small Businesses

 

Logo ICTC           Logo Savoir-faire Linux

Toronto, March 29, 2017 – The Information and Communications Technology Council (ICTC) and Savoir-faire Linux Inc. have joined together to deliver the Small Business Digitization Initiative (SBDI). With this initiative being piloted in Ottawa, Toronto and North Bay, up to one hundred Ontario youth between the ages of twenty to twenty-nine will have the opportunity to receive twenty-four weeks of free training with the aim of transforming them into future business digitization leaders. This pilot initiative started its first class in Ottawa on January 23rd, 2017. Over the next six months, cohorts will be starting in North Bay and Toronto in March, and in Toronto and Ottawa in April.

SBDI is a training program, funded by the Government of Ontario, that connects youth and small businesses together to solve real employer digital adoption challenges. The initiative provides training for in-demand skills to unemployed and underemployed youth to prepare them for the digital workplace, while providing businesses with enthusiastic and knowledgeable talent to implement smart technology solutions to support their innovation.

One of the key features of this program is the integration of in-class training with hands on experience. The twenty-four weeks of full-time training will include a sixty-day experiential work placement, where each participant has the opportunity to work with innovative entrepreneurs and small businesses to expand their skill set while providing sustainable solutions to improve business operations by implementing technology solutions. Youth will attain transferable workplace skills in project management, data analytics and intelligence, entrepreneurship, as well as enterprise resource planning (ERP) (including principles of sales, marketing and accounting).

Savoir-faire Linux is responsible for more than half of the classroom training delivery. Savoir-faire Linux’s instructors kick-start the course with a boot camp on business strategy and innovation, focusing on the 4th industrial revolution driven by digital technologies. The main part of the course focuses on the automation of back-office processes, introducing technologies to save time and money to small businesses, and to provide a better service to their customers.

Savoir-faire Linux ensures that this training is grounded in reality. In class, Savoir-faire Linux instructors help students to understand technology and practices aimed at fitting software to the business. Students will spend the other half of the training at a work placement, to solve a real challenge. There will be ample time in class to provide guidance, as students learn by alternating class work with industry work.

Savoir-faire Linux Opens a Red Hat Individual Exam Center in Montreal: A Timely Response to Shortage of Linux and OS Experts in Quebec

Montreal, March 28, 2017 – From April 1, 2017, Savoir-faire Linux, the leading free and open source expert in Quebec and Canada, will host Red Hat® individual exam sessions at its Montreal office.

From left to right : Pierre Lamarche (Director of Business Development and Strategic Partnerships), Raymond Cantin (Director of Training Dept.), and Eric Schaefer, Red Hat-Canada Channels Leader.

As a Red Hat® Advanced Business Partner, Savoir-faire Linux will now be equipped with a kiosk to run individual Red Hat certification exams on its premises in Montreal. The exam will take place on a personal test station, secured and accredited by Red Hat® within a Quebec-based company. The Red Hat® Individual Examination Booth will cover a wide range of certifications: Red Hat® Certified System Administrator (RHCSA), Red Hat® OpenStack System Administrator, Red Hat® Hybrid Cloud Management Expertise, Red Hat® Hybrid Cloud Storage Expertise, JBoss Developer, Jboss Administrator (RHCJA), and many more.

“We are very pleased that Savoir-faire Linux takes the lead in opening this unique individual exam center in Quebec. It has been logical to select Savoir-faire Linux because the company leads the free and open source initiatives in Quebec and has deep expertise in free open source software.”

Eric Schaefer, Canada Strategic Alliances and Business Development.

There is no need to emphasize that Red Hat® has already become the world leader in open source software technologies and it has done so within a relatively short time, about 2 decades or so. By collaborating closely with a broad network of IT leaders, open source supporters, developers and business partners, Red Hat® technologies have already changed the landscape of information systems and the companies success is echoed globally. Moreover, the digital revolution, marked by the rise of open technologies and the recognition of digital strategies at the heart of innovation and business growth, has already impacted the Canadian market and IT sector. According to Information and Communications Technology Council (ICTC)’s 2015 Labor Market Outlook, the cumulative hiring requirements for ICT talent in Canada will be approximately over 182,000 by 2019.

The Linux Foundation itself has published a report in 2016 in which it describes a growing shortage of Linux and open source specialists. 87% of professionals acknowledge the difficulty of recruiting adequately trained and certified experts; while 59% intend to increase the recruitment of these same specialists to meet the digital transformation challenges they face.

“In a rapidly changing technological sector, where competition is fierce to attract top talent, we consider these certifications to be essential to support the development of a pool of digital talents in Quebec and strengthen Quebec’s position in the digital economy of the North America. This kiosk installation was more than necessary to respond locally to the emerging technological trends”

Christophe Villemer, the Executive Vice-President of Savoir-faire Linux.

With this new service in Quebec, Savoir-faire Linux becomes the only Red Hat®’s partner in Quebec to offer both Red Hat® training and certifications in a collective and individual fashion. The company intends to consolidate its position as a major partner in the digital strategies of Quebec companies.

References:
Report “2016 Open Source Jobs Report” (May, 2016).
ICTC Press release (March 12, 2015).

Lemon LDAP::NG, Villeurbanne’s authentication system choice

The city of Villeurbanne (France) is interested in open source technologies and has chosen Lemon LDAP::NG to control its users’ access rights.

The city of Villeurbanne had many web applications where the authentication was already delegated to a central CAS server (Central Authentication Services), modified to Villeurbanne’s needs, to give access to current internal users in the Active Directory as well as to external users stored in a database.
By adding new applications to the city’s information system (IS), it became necessary for the IS managers required the need to control access rights in order to ensure that certain users will not access confidential information.

A solution proven to respond to the «unique authentication» issues of the city of Villeurbanne

Having searched for an appropriate authentication system and having consulted experts about different possibilities and the pros and cons of different systems, the town’IS makers’ decision was drawn to LemonLDAP::NG as a unique authentication system.
LemonLDAP::NG is a unique authentication software identity manager distributed under the GPL license and adapted to companies (centralized authorization management, interoperability with all the identity exchange protocols such as CAS, OpenID, Connect, SAML,…). With a very simple installation process, the configuration can be done in text or graphic mode. LemonLDAP::NG is generally compatible with a number of web applications.
«Within the scopeof this Intranet project, composed of open-source bricks, we were looking for a unique authentication tool which allows to assign access rights based on active directory account characteristics, explains Jean-Patrick Trauet, Tehchnical and Security Manager. After analyzing different solutions, we chose Lemon::LDAP which responded perfectly to our needs.
It also became an opportunity to create an authentication portal for our web applications. In the future, we envision to evolve our Lemon::LDPA towards strong authentication.»

«After analysis different solutions, we chose Lemon::LDAP which responded perfectly to our needs. It also became an opportunity to create an authentication portal for our web applications»
Jean-Patrick Trauet, Technical and Security Manager


A project lead by Savoir-faire Linux
The city of Villeurbanne asked Savoir-faire Linux to accompany them in the implementation of LemonLDAP::NG.To help them more effectively, we had to break the project down into several phases.

  • The implementation of an OpenLDAP directory to replace the referential external identity database
  • The creation of connectors to automatically synchronize the accounts and Active Directory groups in the OpenLDAP directory
  • The management of group rights in OpenLDAP associating internal and external users
  • The implementation of LemonLDAP::NG as a CAS server to replace the old system and personalize the authentication pattern
  • The migration of applications towards the new CAS server

The new authentication portal

 

The main benefits for the city of Villeurbanne

The city of Villeurbanne now has at its disposal a central identification (internal and external) directory and a WebSSO tool and access control. The possibility of using LemonLDAP::NG as a CAS server, but also as a supplier of headers, SAML, or OpenID Connect, allows to connect a large scope of applications.

Key data

  • Number of users impacted : approximately 1000 users
  • Number of project management days : 10 days
  • Number of concerned applications : between 5 and 10
  • Technologies used : OpenLDAP, LSC and LemonLDAP::NG , EZPublish, Alfresco, iTop, Piwik, Orchestra, développements internes en PHP

FOSDEM 2017 : our impressions

Packed amphitheatre for the keynote on the «Kubernetes on the road to GIFEE»

In the 2017’s FOSDEM event, held in Brussels, Soizik, Cécile, Clément, Adrien and Andreas represented Savoir-faire Linux. Here, they share briefly their experience and impressions from their participation in the event.

Soizik Froger, project manager

It was my first FOSDEM event, and I loved it. I have only one regret: I wish I could have attended every session, and talked with everyone!! It was a tremendous place for tech-savvy and free software lovers like me. Seeing those panelists with very high level of expertise has taught me a lesson about humility that comes with great knowledge.

I definitely give five stars to Frenchy Matthieu Totet’s talk on Graph Cycles. This is a passionate work on a real time graph on Twitter and how we can seize the fantastic potential of this technology!

I almost cried of joy at open Q&A session with members of the OpenJDK Governing Board: Mark Reinhold, Mario Torre, Andrew Haley, Georges Saab & Doug Lee (embedded). I secretly took a picture, and I’m sure I will keep it in front of my eyes until the next FOSDEM.

Open Q&A session with members of the OpenJDK Governing Board: Mark Reinhold, Mario Torre, Andrew Haley, Georges Saab & Doug Lee (embedded)

I give the best ‘orator palm’ to Christian Thalinger for his benchmarking of Compiler JIT Graal on Twitter services. It was such a clear and organized speech that a slow guy like me understood it all.

Finally, I discovered what technologies lie behind Ring. Our session was a great success. We were excited by the volume of the turn-out. We had a diverse and enthusiastic audience that posed questions about the architecture of Ring and its ambitious potential for scalability. High five to the Ring’s development team!

Cécile Delépine, Delegate Europe General Manager

That was my first FOSDEM too! It was a great opportunity to meet with the industry in a both cozy and professional environment.
My main focus was containers orchestration with Kubernetes, the fast growing Open Source community at the time being. FOSDEM is the place for technological intelligence, which I see as a BizDev not as an engineer.

Students and tech-related senior job seekers, please take note : FOSDEM is also a place for hiring talents (we invaded FOSDEM job corner with all our job posts for France and Canada). Our presentation on Ring , and Clement’s commitment to LemonLdap coupled with our presence on OW2 stand also significantly contributed to promoting our expertise at Savoir-faire Linux.

I wish I attended Mozilla conference too. What does motivate the open source community? This is the question posed by Rina Jensen, whose conclusions should be widely shared.

Some food for thoughts.

My five stars goes to Software Heritage, a project supported and initiated by Roberto Di Cosmo (INRIA, GTLL Systematic Member). The source code of our projects is a common good, thus it should be available to all and be centralized in one archive which does not depend un one solution and does not vary from one solution to another (Github, Bitbucket…)

Last but not least, I bought the book How Linux works and I almost finished the second chapter;-)

Clément Oudot, infrastructure and security expert

This year, I represented LemonLDAP::NG projet. I then met with Fusion Directory and Spoon communities., It was the first time we had an OW2 stand, and it showed that this consortium was not only Enterprise oriented but also community-oriented.

I was pleased by the large number of attendees at Perl stand and the packed Devroom.
I am still surprised to see Perl can attract so many people. What a wonderful turn-out for Perl!

During this weekend, I met with lots of people I knew from different communities : Framasoft, XMPP, OpenStack, VLC, PHP etc. That’s why I love going to FOSDEM!

The OW2 Stand with Clément Oudot (c), Cécile Delépine and Soizik Forger
Ring conference : What technologies lie behind Ring

Adrien Béraud, Ring system engineer
FOSDEM is an exciting and inspiring place. We met with lots of interesting people with interesting projects, There were too many people! [8000 people attended the event]

As for the Ring session, it was amazing to see how exciting the audience were. Last year, people discovered Ring, this year, they wanted to know a lot more about the technology. No wonder there were so many of them. Actually, there is a growing interest for distributed communication systems.

My five stars goes to Alok Anand, who presented Telepathy Connection Manager for Ring. He was able to develop it because he joined Google Summer of Code’s program which accommodated Ring from Savoir-faire Linux. Thanks to such a wonderful collaboration and such a nice program for young coders.

Andreas Traczyk, Ring developer

Like Soizic and Cecile, it was my first time at FOSDEM in Brussels. It surpassed all my expectations. There were so many passionate people, so many nerds in the same place;-) It was intense!

A packed room for Ring conference

I was really impressed by the turn-out of the audience during the Ring session, Although we did not haveso much time, we were well received, and the audience’s questions were challenging. Besides, I wish we had more space and more time!

My five stars for the best presentation goes to Daniel Pocock for his excellent talk on the real time communication solutions crowdfunding. It was so interesting, so inspiring.