Ring 1.0 Universal Communication Platform Now on Android TV!

Ring keeps surprising communication experts and enthusiasts! Ring is now available on Android TV box and other smart TVs. Ring has become the only  communication software available on the Google Play Store for Android TVs, since the discontinuation of support for the TV version of Skype in June 2016. This new release is quite different from its mainstream app which can be downloaded on a myriad of devices such as cellular phones, tablets, Xbox, Mac and PCs.

Recall that Ring is a free, distributed and universal communication software, available under the GPLv3+ license. Ring users can communicate in different ways, using it as a telephone (VoIP), a media sharing tool (audio/video), a messaging system, or as a communication platform for connected devices such as the case of the Internet of Things (IoT). Ring is often seen as a free and open source alternative to Skype. Its success is based on a distributed and decentralized network that guarantees a high level of privacy and confidentiality for its users. The Ring project – which became a GNU package in 2016 – has the unwavering support of the community of developers around the world as well as the Free Software Foundation.

Rethinking Ring for the Android TV

In order to make sure you will have a satisfying and enjoyable user experience, our developers have reworked the user interface of the Android Ring application to adapt it to Android TV standards. To accomplish this task, it was necessary to rethink the ergonomics and navigation of the Ring application to ensure it functions with a remote control and graphic components offered by the platform.

In fact, the architecture pattern underlying Ring Android application allows  developers to transfer the entire dependencies and data parts of the mobile version onto the TV app so as to be able to completely focus their attention on the GUI part.

Usability constraints have led developers to focus on key features like:

  • Contact search,
  • Online audio/video calls,
  • Shared screen display from the caller.

These features remain small, but the development continues to offer in coming weeks, expanded use possibilities. Having been designed with the objective of simplicity, stability and user-friendliness,  Ring can serve both domestic and professional needs. It can be used on Android TVs to connect family members together, or simply replace conference phones in corporate meeting rooms.  In fact, availability of the Ring as a TV app on the Google Play Store makes it an easier-to-use communication platform, in comparison to a secondary computer or display setup.

Ring on Android TV

Help us to improve Ring!

Ring is constantly improving to offer the best of communication. As the software is in active development process, some bugs remain and many challenges still await our team of developers. The assessments provided by the community of users, testers, and developers on the quality and use of the platform are then essential to help us identify problems, resolve them, and improve the experience.

For the next release of Ring on Android TV, lot of questions are focused on the compatibility of systems and webcams, other than Logitech as well as NVHI hardware. Also, we encourage curious, free software users and enthusiasts to test Ring on different medias and different systems. Your experience was a success? or crashes remain with your TV or TV box? Send us your comments at Ring@savoirfairelinux.com. You will also contribute to the success of Ring!

Download Ring on Android TV

If you want to experience this new communication platform, just download it for free from Google Play Store!

For further information:

 

Ring Stable Version Released: Ring 1.0 Liberté, Égalité, Fraternité


July
21, 2017Savoir-faire Linux releases the stable version of Ring:  Ring 1.0 – Liberté, Égalité, Fraternité. Ring is a free/libre and universal communication platform that preserves the users’ privacy and freedoms. It is a GNU package. It runs on multiple platforms; and, it can be used for texting, calls, and video chats more privately, more securely, and more reliably.


About Ring

Ring is a fully distributed system based on OpenDHT technology and Ethereum Blockchain. It means, it does not need any central authority, an enterprise or even a server to function. Therefore, it avoids keeping centralized registries of users and storing their personal data. In addition, Ring is based on standard security protocols and end-to-end encryption. Therefore, it prevents decryption of communications over the network and consequently offering a high level of privacy and confidentiality.

Key Functionalities and Features

– Encrypted Audio/VideoHD/InstantMessaging Communications (ICE, SIP, TLS)
– Screen Sharing and Conferencing (Win32 and GNU/Linux)
– Support of Ethereum Blockchain as Distributed Public Users’ Database
– Distributed Communication Platform (OpenDHT)
– Platform Support on GNU/Linux, Windows UWP (Windows 10 and Surface), macOS (10.10+) and Android (4.0+)
– Distributed under GPLv3+ License
– Parts of Ring can be used as a building block in any Internet of Things (IoT) project

Ring: An Impactful and Inspirational Social Innovation

Ring is based on the state-of-the-art technologies (OpenDHT) and follows strict ethical guidelines. Together, a mix of free software technologies, and ethical rules offers end-users: leading edge privacy and anonymity, confidentiality as well as security of conversations. In addition, its stable connectivity and innovative standard functionalities over multitude of platforms make it a suitable choice for an everyday communication. 

Important Links
> Download Ring
> Contribute to Ring
> Technical documentation

“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 …

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.

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?

_mg_9963


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

Ring, officially a GNU package

heckert_gnulogo-ring-tagline-en-couleur

Since the month of October, Ring is officially a GNU package, following its integration into the GNU project.

Distributed under the GPLv3+ license, Ring is a free software which enables communication in multiple ways between its users. It is a phone, a conference station, a platform for exchanges and media sharing, and a link for the Internet of Things, all in a world where freedom and security go hand in hand. Running on a distributed network and encrypted from end to end, Ring tries to provide to Ring users’ a high level of privacy and confidentiality.

In the mid 2000s, Savoir-faire Linux has started a project called SFL Phone. The project then evolved to produce another: Ring. This shift is marked by various milestones such as the transition from SIP server to the OpenDHT distributed network in 2014, permitting decentralized communication, peer to peer mode. Becoming a GNU package is a new venture for the project and the free software movement.
Thanks to external contributions, which are the cornerstone of the Ring project, the Savoir-faire Linux team has over several months developed a beta 2, which fits perfectly with the philosophy of free software. Beyond the code, Ring has established links between the development team and the local partner universities such as the Université du Québec à Montréal (UQÀM), Polytechnique Montréal and the École de Technologie Supérieure (ÉTS ) which is home to the Maison du Logiciel Libre (ML2).

We want to thank all our contributors, all of whose assistance was greatly appreciated.

https://ring.cx/

An Intensive Weekend about Ring

Over the last few months, Ring – under the GPLv3 licence – has created an effervescence in the free-source software, hacker and cybersecurity world, although it is only in its beta version.

Many Internet and industrial operators of telecommunications, and the sustainable development industry are showing close interest. Presented in the plenary at FOSDEM 2016 in Brussels a few weeks go, Ring will be a major topic this weekend simultaneously at the FOSSASIA conference in Singapore and especially during the LibrePlanet Conference in Boston organized by the famous Free Software Foundation that will celebrate its 30th anniversary.

cyrille-beraudOn this occasion, Cyrille Béraud, the President of Savoir-faire Linux, will present in greater detail Ring, to better understand what free-software is and why, as many specialists are murmuring, this software can be a milestone in Internet’s history.

Can you explain to us what Ring is exactly?

Firstly, I would like to let you know that Ring is an open-source software, therefore it is a common good. From a functional perspective, the public will discover it as some sort of Skype or Hangout.

Ring allows to establish an encrypted video, audio, very high quality text communication between two or many people, no matter where they are in the world. It is available on Linux, Windows, Mac/OSX, and Android platforms and within the next few months on iOS. It is distributed with its sources under the GPLv3 licence.

SFL_ring_captureEcranDesktop-EN-AndroidPhone

However, I would like to bring particular attention to the fact that Ring is still a young software that remains fragile and that in numerous situations will not function perfectly, even at times not at all. This being said, it is improving every day and in an standard environment and for domestic use, it functions very well.

But what distinguishes Ring from other softwares that have the same functionality?

Ring allows to establish a peer-to-peer communication without passing through a central server. That is the determining point. Ring is firstly a distributed communication platform. No need for operators, to manager servers, no more costs associated to each of your calls all the while Ring offers more freedom and security. In a professional context, many companies can benefit from its flexibility and important economies. For everyone, it is the possibility to communicate freely at no cost no matter where, in securely manner.

Technically, we have based ourselves on already well proven technologies : ffmpg/libav, GnuTLS, pjsip, etc. However, regarding the innovation at the core of Ring, we have used the concept of DHTs, Distributed Hash Tables. We have developed our own library, OpenDHT, only available on Github, by introducing important innovations, when joined with ICE and SIP protocols, allow to cross the routers, firewalls, to localize, in a certain manner, a user or an equipment, even if it is found in a private network, and establish, if one possesses its contact’s user identification, a highly secure communication channel in real time, anywhere in the world.

reseau-papineauBecause of this feature and the fact that Ring uses open and recognized standards, this platform allows to sketch a truly universal non hierarchical system of communication on the Internet, while allowing not only one communication between two people, however more generally, between two or a multitude of objects on the Internet. From this point of view, the innovations that we have made available through Ring, open numerous possibilities and industrial applications to the public. We already have in our laboratory, many prototypes based on very light embedded platforms, that from Ring, can interconnect with home automation or data acquisition systems. It is quite spectacular and very promising.

To complete this overview, it is important to note that Ring functions in degraded mode and even while being completely disconnected from the Internet. Imagine an isolated village in Africa or in India with a poor connexion. In case of a disconnection to the Internet, Ring’s distributed system, will retract itself on its nodes that it can reach and can continue to work. In the example where the village is disconnected from the world, the residents can continue communicating amongst themselves. From this point of view, Ring can participate in sustainable development and contribute to the economy and democracy of a country that does not have a developed communication infrastructure.

You see, Ring has a lot of potential! And to make Ring and its underlying technologies available to a greater number of people, to allow each and everyone through the world to invent their own usage of Ring, it had to be a free software.

Is there an economic model behind Ring and can you briefly introduce Savoir-faire Linux?

Of course there is an economic model behind Ring! It is the one of free-software. We create use values that we make available freely to everyone. These use values create an economy of services. This economy, open and competitive, creates a lot of value of course. In the case of Ring, Savoir-faire Linux will have its place. This economy is based on exchange and collaboration. This is the business model of Savoir-faire Linux. It opposes itself to the economy of windfall and the appropriation of wealth by a small number.

To conclude, Savoir-faire Linux is a Canadian service company based in Montreal, with teams in Quebec and Toronto, even in France, in Paris. We also have a presence in the Ivory Coast through a partnership.

With our 110 engineers, all of very high level and all specialized in open technologies, we are present in the defence and embedded electronics sector, in the banking sector, with Desjardins our client, as well as in the insurance sector, the software engineering sector with the Canadian Space Agency, the management information sector with the Organisation Internationale de la Francophonie and supply numerous local enterprises.

We also have, and it is essential for us, to create strong ties with the worldwide actors of free sofware. I am thinking specifically about the Linux Foundation, from who we distribute our trainings and to our Open Source partner editors, such as RedHat or Liferay. We also have many contributions in free projects, such as the Linux core. Behold, in summary, what is Savoir-faire Linux.

Savoir-faire Linux is the ambition to create wealth through values. We don’t always succeed. But every day, over the past 15 years, we continue to add value our work with two passions that reside in us : liberty and excellence.