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.

Ring being listed among Free Software Foundation’s High Priority Projects

Becoming integrated into GNU since November, since 2017 Ring has been listed in Free Software Foundation (FSF)’s High Priority Projects (HPP) .

The main objective of HPP initiative is to increase Free Software reputation and adoption among information systems users, individuals and/or corporations. Since 2005, the foundation updates a list of work in progress applications for contributors, volunteers, companies and other Free Software supporters. Without their help, those projects would have never reached their full potential.
This list addresses several issues of Libre technologies such as decentralization, security, mobile APPs or real time voice and video chats. Ring is presented in this last category.

To FSF’s mind, the present context of mass surveillance forces us to fulfill Free Software commitment: creating new alternatives and secure solutions to proprietary communication softwares.

Ring’s presence in the HPP list is very important. As a Free, decentralized, secure and universal software, Ring fits natively in FSF’s philosophy because it is distributed under GPL v3 with its code being open to all contributions.

An object of study

Namely, our development team works with external contributions and academic partners. Ring is already part of computer engineering undergraduate programs at École Polytechnique de Montréal. This winter, new functions of Ring will be taught to 3rd year students.
Besides, let’s not forget to mention the important contribution of Université du Québec à Montréal (UQAM) graduates in building a secure Distributed Hashed Table system for Ring.

Therefore Free Software Foundation’s support nurture our will to share our own developments of a Free, universal, secure and distributed software project, which takes part in building a decentralized and free Internet.

Tuleap: The Platform of Our Choice for Developing the “Ring Project”

Last November, our Ring development team met with Enalean’s. This company develops Tuleap, the software development project management tool we use for Ring. Here is the story of our relationship with Tuleap.

I’m Guillaume Roguez, the Technical Manager of the Ring Project at Savoir-faire Linux HQ in Montreal. Savoir-faire Linux is an Information Systems’ (IS) solutions provider highly specialized in deploying, customizing, integrating, and strategizing the best-in-their-class free/libre and open source software (FLOSS) tools and projects to respond to unmet clients’ business needs. Our vision is to be the front-runner in the field of IS/IT technologies that are developed, extended, supported by, or connected to FLOSS underlying technologies. To realize this objective, it is our mandate to be and remain creative, innovative and continuously R&D-oriented. Ring is one among several other in-house R&D projects that we have launched and maintained.

In brief, Ring is a free, distributed and universal communication software published under the GNU General Public License version 3. Ring allows its users to communicate in multiple ways using it as a telephone (i.e., VoIP), a media sharing tool (i.e., exchanging videos), a messenger (i.e., exchanging texts) or as a building block for your Internet of Things (IoT) project. Ring can be seen as a FLOSS alternative for Skype.

My responsibilities are to manage all technical aspects of the Ring project, and coordinate the team members’ tasks. I also present Ring Project through giving public speeches at different universities in Montreal (e.g., Université du Québec à Montréal, Polytechnique -Université de Montréal, McGill University, École de Technologie Supérieure, etc.). We have also used Ring as a research subject, a living lab, for graduate students here in Montreal. Students have had the chance to hone their programing skills while contributing the the progress of the Ring (e.g., Google Summer of Code). In fact, it is very important for Savoir-faire Linux to collaborate with university-based research centers and student-researchers in order to expand the limits of the community around the project. .

To continue, I wish to take the opportunity to briefly touch upon the technical environment – Tuleap- that we have chosen to rely on. Put simply, Tuleap is the software development project management tool that I can recommend; It facilitates our collaborative work; it saves us a lot of time; and it helps us organize all our daily affairs.

Our Journey from Redmine to Tuleap: Challenges and Opportunities

At the beginning of the Ring project we used the same technical environment that we would use for most of our current projects at Savoir-faire Linux, i.e., Redmine. However, having used Redmine for the Ring, we soon realized that it was not the right environment. Redmine has a quite rigid design which does not allow the users to easily adapt the tracker fields to their specific usage. Overall, Redmine is quite limited and restrictive. Making modifications in the tracker, for instance, requires several manipulations and once they are done, you cannot easily change your mind. I always wanted something more flexible for my team.
For me, GitHub is oversimplified and a lot of features are missing; and again, it is too rigid. Although, from the design perspective, it is full of eye candy , it is still too expensive in the long run. It may be the right tool for a small or even a medium-sized project; nonetheless, GitHub’s restrictive design rapidly limits the capacity of an Agile-oriented management team. You have to adapt your work flow to the tool and not the opposite. Therefore, that’s a no-go for us.
If one uses Git in Tuleap environment, there is the possibility to force the work flow to perform a particular action. One may view this as a limitation, but in reality, such possibility can educate team members to adjust their actions towards the right direction in conformity with of the project. Tuleap is not a self-dependent tool. On the contrary, Tuleap’s underlying design – which is very plug-in oriented – provides the development team with the possibility to interact with other well-established free software tools such as Git and Gerrit. As an example, we can force Git commit messages to contain a reference to the related issues in Tuleap. Later, we can couple this functionality with Git to more easily browse and have a complete and customized tracking system.
These advantages of Tuleap have been clear from the onset to our Chief Technology Officer Jerome Oufella. He proposed adoption of Tuleap and explained his reasons. To be honest, when someone tries to implement a change so fundamental to a team’s work flow, some frictions are naturally expected. But, our past experiences have shown us that the flexibility level of team members slowly but steadily increases as they move along the learning curve. Indeed, there is always a price to pay for any change management.

Among other challenges, we faced the issue of missing documentations. This was a bump on the road as we could not easily set up our trackers and fix bugs as rapidly as we should have. Luckily, Tuleap’s core development team was receptive to our feedback. They helped us design a setup tailored to our needs and benefit from the flexibility that enabled us to add and change our tracking details. Tuleap’s setup has this quality that evolves with the user’s project. The more we used this flexibility and evolutionary nature of Tuleap, the more we gained confidence in the decision we made to adopt Tuleap.

Last but not least, Tuleap is an open source tool embedded in a very dynamic and vibrant community of developers. For instance, just last month (January 04, 2017), Tuleap released a new version (9.3) with the first steps of the brand new query language for the tracking system. This will enable developers to make advanced searches within the Tuleap trackers as it supports the “AND”, “OR” and “()” characters. We’ll be able to get all the tickets matching with complex queries such as : (summary = “tracker” OR summary = “query”) AND submission = “language”.

I think a frequent visit to Tuleap’s website is worth the try because: a) there are easy-to-understand video and text-based tutorials; b) all information regarding the newly added features and bug fixes are clearly delineated; and c) it is a window to connect to the Tuleap’s community, to ask questions and engage in a technological discussion.

Our Current Agile Experience with Tuleap

We have been developing Ring under the Agile Software Development Methodology. Using, the Tuleap Scrum planning release helps us to track and monitor bugs and enhancements, the wiki and the forums efficiently. We coupled it to Gerrit code review system for the patches management .

On the day-to-day, there are about 10 developers from Savoir-faire Linux using Tuleap to develop Ring. I will be there too- wearing several hats as: project/technical manager, developer, and the Scrum master. We can add to this group of motivated developers all the other community members (platform maintainers, users, followers, etc.) who are dispersed around the globe and help one another to progress of this innovative community-based project.

Keeping an Eye on Tuleap…

Quite recently, November 2016, I had the opportunity to personally meet with Manon Midy from the Tuleap core development team at the Paris Open Source Summit. Some of my colleagues and I had the chance to share our opinions about the things we wished to improve or be different in Tuleap. Perhaps the most important among all was the user interface. Right now, there are too many clicks to be made in order to get done what you intend to do. Furthermore, the User Interface (UI) is quite complex. Having heard from Manon that the team was already deeply engaged in the activity of “re-thinking the overall design” was absolutely heartwarming. Finally, as shown by the track record of Tuleap’s new versions and up-to-date releases (9.2 and 9.3), we trust that it is a highly promising and dependable project for generation of software developers to come.

2017: The Year of Intelligence

Happy New Year! If 2016 has been a year of many surprises, 2017 is the time for intelligence and bold actions. Technology is getting smarter, and so must we.

Looking back for a moment

As always, the passing to January is a time to meditate on what we’ve accomplished, and on what happened around us. Quite a lot last year, as it turns out. We lost several artistic geniuses, particularly musicians. The citizens of the UK have embraced their islander identity to a deeper level. Our Southern neighbours have made a drastic turn in terms of both policy and tone at the last presidential election. I remember being riveted at my screens more than a couple of times, watching the British Pound and major stocks rise and fall in matters of hours. No wonder why business leaders have been advancing very cautiously last year.

However, the conversation dramatically shifted in Canada during the first days of January as gas prices rose in Mexico (20%) and Ontario (~10% at the pump), along with rumors of companies leaving due to the cost of doing business, and as people (including our Prime Minister Justin Trudeau) are getting ready to handle the big NAFTA renegotiation with the US. Some wonder what will happen to Ontario’s (and Mexico’s) car industry. Thankfully there is a note of optimism coming from CES 2017. The time is for bold and decisive action. More than ever we need intelligence. Luckily, it has been a theme in the technology sector.

Looking forward from CES 2017

I like to start the year thinking about new ways technology can help us live fuller and richer lives. The car industry, for example, has done remarkable progress. Toyota presented the Concept-i car, while intelligently setting expectations about what robotics and artificial intelligence can do, particularly when safety is a prime concern. BMW may have a more robust approach, however, calling industry partners to join them with Intel and Mobileye to collaborate on an open platform. BMW aims to release its first fully autonomous car iNEXT in 2021.

I believe this approach is more robust because it leverages both people and technology at the same time. In this regard, the French Renault group, allied with Nissan and Mitsubishi, came up with a very bold plan to create the world first mass-market open source vehicle. The group sells 10 million vehicles a year, placing it on the coveted top 3 list of car manufacturers in the world. Renault is opening the Twizy entirely: both hardware and software will be open. ARM and OSVehicle are key partners in this venture, inviting other car manufacturers, and the broader community of developers and car enthusiasts to join their efforts into building the car of the 21st century.

The first mass-market open source car
Picture By JwhOwn work, CC BY-SA 3.0 lu, Link

The challenge is set. The call is made. The best and brightest are working together to create the fully autonomous smart car. I’m excited about Intelligent technology, yes, but I really believe we’re on a fast track to achieve this goal because intelligent professionals collaborate in a free and open manner. The more eyeballs and brains at it, the better the data, and the better the solution.

Intelligent technology

New industrial and commercial applications coming up today leverage some kind of artificial intelligence. Over the years, technology has moved from analytics to big data, to artificial intelligence. These techniques have in common the massive use of data (the more data the better the training and the resulting performance). Fully autonomous cars for example will only be possible through computer vision, and techniques like deep learning are key to achieve this goal.

Interestingly, many of these technologies are available under a Free/Libre Open Source Software license. For example, TensorFlow, originally created by the Google Brain Team, is available from GitHub under an Apache 2.0 License. TensorFlow is used by Google, Twitter, Airbus, Uber, Snapchat… While IBM, Microsoft (e.g. CNTK, DMTK), Facebook, Amazon and others are actively working on their own projects. Datamation presents 15 of the top Free/Libre Open Source AI projects. Most people familiar with Big Data will already have heard about Hadoop, Spark, R, Python, MongoDB…

Intelligent professionals

Still, artificial intelligence doesn’t build itself. Intelligent people design this technology, as discussed last year at Davos. For once, the industry (all industries) need to recruit a lot of talents (read: there are many good job opportunities) in Free/Libre Open Source Software. The automobile industry is just an example where technology needs to be invented as consumer products are built. There is really a high demand for scientists and engineers (Youth out there if you’re listening…).

Work intelligence rests in what people know, in what they do (their skills), and in how they do it (their ability to reflect and to improve). The Free/Libre Open Source Software community demonstrates everyday how software and solutions improve when people share their knowledge and skills. For young professionals, it is a great way to learn the ropes (acquire best practices, learn the art from experienced professionals). For industrials, it is a great way to build complex and yet scalable and interoperable systems that can be maintained relatively easily over a long period of time. For example, Bosch is building a number of Free/Libre Open Source Software for the car industry.

RU Secure panel at the Ryerson Commerce and Government Association (RCGA) –From left to Right: Diane Francis (Award-winning Canadian author and entrepreneur), Alex Goncharenko (CPA from the Ministry of Government and Consumer Services), Marc Lijour (Director, Savoir-faire Linux Toronto)

Contributions from Savoir-faire Linux

Savoir-faire Linux is committed to the community, an important part of its triple-bottom line strategy. We’re helping the Youth by sponsoring initiatives like the Maison du logiciel libre in Montreal (with Google and Red Hat). In Toronto, we gave a number of presentations to postsecondary and high school students exploring the thought of building a career in technology.

A few months ago, we gave an Introduction to Android at T.Hacks 2016, and an Introduction to Python to Women in Computer Science and Women in IT Management at Ryerson University. These slides are available on GitHub. We discussed privacy rights and cybersecurity at RU Secure, organized by the Ryerson Commerce and Government Association (RCGA). Starting 2017, we’re partnering with ICTC on an innovative training program funded by the Government of Ontario. We’re empowering Youth to find a job faster in ICT, while helping small businesses digitize with intelligence.

We’re calling all intelligent youth and professionals to join us in our journey to make the world more connected, more secure, and more human. And when the time is right, join us to Free the World!

A tribute to Debian’s founder, Ian Murdock

Photo de Ian Murdock
Copyright – Ilya Schurov , Computerra Weekly — CC

A year ago, Ian Murdock passed away and with him, a core part of the defenders of free software. We would like to pay tribute to the Debian founder, because at Savoir-faire Linux, we use his heritage everyday.


Free above all

As an undergraduate student at Purdue University, Ian Murdock discovered Linux in the early 90s. Fascinated by its ethics and vision, he dives in passionately. In 1993, at the age of only 20, Iam Murock begins his Debian project, where the name originates from the contraction of his wife Debra Lynn’s name and  his own. Initially developed with the collaboration of a small group of Free Hackers, Debian quickly became one of the first Linux distributions, open and free to have found success and brought together a community of free developers and users.  That same year, Ian Murdock published the Debian Manifesto, which grounds the humanist philosophy which is behind his project. This philosophy falls in line with the spirit of GNU and Linux.

1. Debian will remain an entirely free project.
2. All new developments will be brought back to the community.
3. Transparency is an acquired good.
4. The users and free software are the project’s priority.
5. Exceptions to the free software principles are made to respond to any need.

To this can be added many principles which are entwined in a social contract, a constitution and a series of instructions, demonstrating a vision based on diversity and non discrimination towards users or softwares as well as a free and non commercial distribution, a key principle of Debian.

A community project with infinite forks

Logo DebianToday, the Debian project counts more than a thousand official developers without forgetting more than a hundred occasional contributors and no less than 43 500 software packages. Every Debian version where the release varies based on the degree of stability is named after a character of the animated film Toy Story of Pixar studios- my preference goes to Mr. Potato Head  and yours?

Like in any organization based on free principles developers can fork a project, a branch of a project which will have its own continuity, there are many Debian project forks. Without writing an exhaustive list, we can reference Ubuntu which we use at Savoir-faire Linux, Xubuntu or even SteamOS.

Another one of Debian’s distinctive characters is its organizational model. During his discovery of Linux and the free software model, Ian Murdock remained profoundly impacted by the communitarian aspect of the project. As his turn came, he wanted to give forward. The Debian project was  taken on by a not for profit foundation, Software Public Interest (SPI), where a community of volunteer developers decide future orientations and developments. A project manager is elected every year by the members. Ian Murdock naturally relayed his role to other managers, however kept a close eye as his role of secretary of the foundation.

Ring on Debian

Thanks to the work of Alexandre Viau, Debian developer and developer at Savoir-faire Linux. Our Ring project is accepted since June 30th, 2016 on Debian testing, the repositories of  Stretch development, Debian’s next version.

An incredible recognition for Savoir-faire Linux’s Ring team and good news for users who can now install Ring from their Debian distribution without having to add those of ring.cx

Alexandre Viau and his collegue Simon Désaulniers participated at the DebConf 2016, in the city of Cape Town, South Africa,  to present Ring to the Debian community.

They also took advantage of this International Free event to present OpenDHT, our distributed hash table system at the heart of Ring. The libopendht package  made an appearance on Debian experimental during the DebConf.

In regards to Gabriela Coleman, teacher and researcher at McGill University, other than the community created around the project, Ian Murdock’s heritage rests on the collaborative culture he fostered issued of GNU and Linux, which makes the Debian project an even larger success than the technical development of an information technology product of good work.

Ring on UWP : genesis of a technical challenge

illustration-wup-rin

Ring’s beta 2 version  is now available on the Universal Windows Platform (UWP). It’s not only a great step forward for Ring, an official GNU package, but a technical success for our development team.

This release of the beta 2 is the work of collaborative development between Savoir-faire Linux and the community of developers all over the world. Ring is still a work in progress, that’s why we invite all users- passionate or curious- to test our secure and decentralized multimedia communication platform and give us some feedback.
Since November 2016, Ring is part of GNU, this mile stone marks our involvement in the Free Software philosophy, for its purpose – the free access for all – as much as its development, where every contribution counts. Ring’s universal dimension, with distinctive aspects such as decentralization through OpenDHT, follows its path in the communication software industry, and it has to be available in UWP.
With this new platform, Microsoft’s goal is quite simple : all application developments will be unified, even if the client’s applications are on different devices, such as desktops, tablets, Surface computers, smartphones, Xbox or IoT. The developers‘ job is easier, the application’s code will need to be written only once, with some minor modifications to deploy it in different terminals. For our development team at Savoir-faire Linux, it is an opportunity to get in touch with all Microsoft users. « It offers a lot of potential; Ring could be used on Windows phone, Surface laptops, tablets, or games console such as Xbox, explains Guillaume Roguez, Ring development manager at Savoir-faire Linux.

From a closed system to open software engineering

At Savoir-faire Linux, as you can presume, we are not used to working with Windows environments, hence this was a big challenge for our team. Developers Andreas Traczyk and Nicolas Jäger took on the challenge from the very beginning, until this awaited release.

The genesis started during the first term of 2016, with a prospection phase and a feasibility study. Andreas Traczyk took on this mission,  porting the existing Ring code to Windows. Gradually, an idea arose to Andreas and Nicolas : why not use win32 already created to adapt it for UWP?

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Coding in C++/CX

However, the challenge got bigger, with the choice of the language. Whereas a majority of Windows developers use C#, both Savoir-faire Linux developers chose C++/CX. The first reason was the daemon, which is in C++, «it shall be wrapped to have a C#», explains Andreas Traczyk. The second reason is a pragmatical one, according Nicolas Jäger. « Ring is above all a multimedia software, with video, audio and real time network, and the C++ code allows for resource optimization». This practical choice has been approved by Cyrille Béraud, Savoir-faire Linux president, careful about «the application’s performance standards».

For us, whose core business is Linux code, we had to go off trail, get out of our comfort zone. « Loving complicated things is a way of life» grins Nicolas Jäger. As much as we did not only tackle the User Interface (UI), but also some fundamental parts, simply because they didn’t exist before».

To Guillaume Roguez, Ring’s development manager, it was a positive experience, «because we overcame obstacles, and the first was very colossal: starting from scratch. We tried and succeeded in developing free software in Windows’ universe. »

Free software development is our motivation through Ring. This project benefits from Montreal universities contributions, from Polytechnique Montreal to École de technologie Supérieure. One of them, Université du Québec à Montréal, works to improve the data persistence and indexation in its underlying distributed hash table software library, OpenDHT, with the help of professor Alexandre Blondin-Massé and his graduate and post graduate students. This confidentiality and security issue ignited more than a spark of interest among cybersecurity specialists, throughout the world.
As a Free Software Foundation and Linux Foundation partner, Savoir-faire Linux is an active member of the Free Software community and works towards resources availability, creating and diffusing users value. As a common goods producer, we claim the right of each user to have a free access to knowledge as much as free and universal resources.
Hence the importance of Ring’s release in UWP, because its takes part of  Free spirit.

For more informations
 To download Ring Beta 2 version for UWP, click here.
 To discover Ring, visit our website.
 To contribute to the Ring project, visit our page.
 To suscribe to our mailing list.
 Follow us on @JoinTheRing on Twitter.
 You can contact our developers Andreas Traczyk and Nicolas Jäger.

Blockchain, a revolutionary tool for Ring

social-network-sphereBlockchain technology brings on a new revolution, as its advocates write on every wall, it is likely to deeply change our verticaly-shaped society.  Savoir-faire Linux uses its mechanism to develop Ring distributed ledger and users ID management.

Blockchain is the technology on which Bitcoin is based. This digital cryptocurrency displays both fear and covetness among the financial sector. However, beyond bitcoin, blockchain offers other exploitations, thanks to its decentralized, anonymous and secure operation. In addition, it reveals governance challenges, which can tumble organizations as we’ve seen them for decades. That’s why blockchain is one of the major issues of the 2016 Paris Open Source Summit, November 15th and 16th.

A decentralized society, without trusted third parties

There is no doubt about it : blockchain technology will have as much as an inpact as the invention of the web. According to its promoters, this technology is more than a tool, it will change the shape of society, towards a more decentralised one. Blockchain will overturn the trusted third party concept, if not remove it.
Blockchain works as a big public ledger, which registers every transaction between users. This large database is shared by all of them. Their identities are systematically verified by asymetric encryption. The transactions are put in a block, encrypted and certified by the network’s node – composed of other users aka miners- the block will be added to the chain and distributed through the network to all users.
The blockchain’s fundamentals are distintermediation, traceability and distributed consensus. As they are organized in decentralised nodes, users act as a validation authority. Hence, the transactions are traceable in the public and shared ledger. The distributed consensus lies in the following fact : every node receives the same chain of timestamped data through this huge ledger, and what’s more, every change has to be approved by a majority of miners.
Blockchain was born where cryptography and decentralised networks meet. The 2008 financial crisis and the lack of confidence towards banks were its breeding ground. Besides Bitcoin, created by Satashi Nakamoto, whose real name is not yet publicized, several trustless architectures have been set up. Among them, Ethereum is one of the most widely used. This non-profit foundation has a blockchain based system, which takes up the ID ledger and unforgeable history to execute any sort of code, called «smart contract»

Blockchain, a fundamental tool for Ring

Savoir-faire Linux’s team of experts has used Ethereum technology to include encryption standards in the creation of Ring’s database The smart contract is therefore the public ledger of names associated with a RingID, which is created by the application. As in every blockchain «each link depends on the previous elements to ensure the security of the database and to make it unforgeable» explains Adrien Béraud, Systems engineer, in charge of developing the distributed hash library OpenDHT.
Blockchain integration in Ring’s public key directory follows Savoir-faire Linux’s guidelines : to preserve the distributed network as Ring puts it, to ensure security with encryption keys and to let the user opt in or opt out of the public ledger. « This option offers the user the possibility to register or not the database and only use his RingID to communicate onto the network» details Adrien Béraud.
The smart contract coding is key. Given the fact that the decentralised registry is optional, users can preserve their pseudonymity through its RingID, which is then not associated with an alias or a username. Some smart contracts failed, because the code revealed some errors or vulnerabilities. Ring’s development team at Savoir-faire Linux tries toavoid any risk by following a basic principle: «we try to write a code with a simple design, with great care».
«Furthermore, we put the focus on a thorough QA, code review and we rely on external outputs», he concludes.
Contribute to Ring’s succes as well as Blockchain philosophy by coding with us!

References
The Revolution will (not) decentralised: Blockchains, Rachel O’Dwyer, Commons Transitions, 11 june 2016
Thinking through Law and Code – The future of State and Blockchain, Julian Feder, Backfeed magazine, 17 january 2016
Blockchain reaction, tech companies plan for critical mass, Ernst & Young Report, 2016
Privacy on the Blockchain, Vitalik Buterin, Ethereum Blog,15 january 2016
Comprendre la blockchain, Livre blanc, licence Creative Commons, U, January 2016
Les smarts contracts pour les non développeurs, Blogue Ecan, 23 juin 2016
Lexique de la blockchain, Blockchain France

Multidevice is now available on Ring

multidevice

Since its inception, Ring’s features and users have significantly increased. Savoir-faire Linux’s team of experts has recently released the Bêta 2 version offering without an exception new possibilities.

One account, many devices

This new release allows users to benefit from a new feature: multiple connection. As in centralized messaging systems, Ring now allows the connection of multiple devices – mobile or not – using a single user ID. Every device has its own ID connected to the same user (RingID).

Every connected device will ring once you receive a call, the others will be turned off once it is accepted or declined. This multi device feature will increase the fluidity between all of your electronic devices and will allow you to communicate anytime, with any device, as you would use centralized communication systems. However, it is important to remember that Ring has an element distinguishing it: a distributed and decentralized network.

Migration is key

The multi device feature offered in the Bêta 2 version, will make it incompatible with any previous version. Once upgraded to beta 2, users will be connected to another system, therefore beta 1 and 2 users will not be able to communicate to one another.

This compatibility break requires users to migrate to the newest version, by simply logging on to Ring; the system will run the necessary updates.

Security notice

You will need to provide a user name and password during the client update.

Your account password is important as it is used to encrypt the archive that contains the private keys linked to your Ring account. Please note that your password cannot be recovered.

When adding a new device, this archive is transferred over the network. It is important to choose a strong password to minimize any risks if your archive is intercepted.

Ring Bêta 2 is now available

ring-version-beta-2-en_wp

Ring, a GNU projet, is improving. Test the Gaston Miron version now! Distributed under license GPLv3, Ring is available on GNU/Linux, Windows, Mac/OSX, Android and soon on iOS and UWP (Universal Windows Platform).
Among the latest features in the beta 2 version, you will find:

  • A global account identification mechanism based on blockchain implementation on an Ethereum technology.
  •  Multi-device
  •  IPv6 support

Compatibility break

All users are invited to go to beta 2 due to a compatability break with the older version. Ring will handle the migration very easily.
Ring as a communication platform can be used to develop various projects: videoconferencing and distributed collaboration, IoT or robotics !

An active development process

We are continuously  improving Ring, in order to offer the best of communication to its clients. The software is in the active development phase and we invite the Free Software community to take part in this audacious project. All new ideas are welcomed to help its evolution.
https//ring.cx