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.

Multilingual Happy New Year 2016

Meilleurs voeux 2016
Dear friends,

We are proud of our team and proud of you, our customers, partners, colleagues and communities spanning four continents. These continents dwell within us. We code in many languages such as Python, Java, PHP or C++, but we also speak dozens of human languages.

We took advantage of our Christmas Party to wish you a successful and happy new year in some of these languages. Can you identify them all? 😉

LDAPCon 2015 — Quick notes and what to expect from OpenLDAP 2.5

On November 11th, a group of enthusiasts gathered in Edinburgh, Scotland, to attend the fifth edition of LDAPCon. This biennal conference on LDAP and, more broadly, on Identity Management, authentication and permission issues is the opportunity to meet the major players in these fields. Directory Services and management tools developers, recognized integrators and advanced users shared loads of informations in these two days, taking stock of the activity of the community and ensuring that it is alive and well!

LDAPCon2015

Personally, I was there primarily as a member of the LemonLDAP::NG, LDAP Tool Box and LDAP Synchronization Connector communities. I had the opportunity to give a talk on the OpenID Connect protocol. It was the first time I was going to represent Savoir-faire Linux, one of the event’s corporate sponsors, whose « I LDAP » badges have been much appreciated. 😉

ldapcon_2015_badges

Opening conference: LDAP in 2020?

The opening conference was given by David Goodman — a prominent figure in the field that has worked since the 1990s on X.500 and then on LDAP in organizations such as IBM, Nokia or Ericsson.

ldapcon_2015_david_goodmanDavid picked up with Ludovic Poitou’s 2011 conference and its provocative title: “Is LDAP dead?” Two years later, it is clear that this is not the case and David tries to imagine what it will be like in 2020.

To this end, he traces the history of the protocol starting with X.500 that he helped publicize via PARADISE (Piloting A ReseArchers’DIrectory Service for Europe), a project for telecom providers to prove that it was a viable protocol. But facing X.500 complexity and integration issues with Mac and Windows clients, the designers of X.500 imagined LDAP — first as a gateway to X.500, then as an independent standard. Finally, Netscape announced it would support LDAP in 1996 and a year after, LDAPv3 came out and X.500 was considered dead.

So what about today? Key players (Oracle, IBM, CA, Microsoft, to name a few) are all offering solutions based on LDAP. However, the Cloud revolution appears to leave this standard out. Azure AD, for example, does not offer LDAP access. It is also noted that developers are now more keen on API XML or JSON than they are on native LDAP — not to mention the NoSQL database popularity.

Finally, what does the future hold for LDAP? This standard is still significantly established in the  current ecosystem and will not be forgotten five years from now. But in order to make sure it does not turn into another obsolete technology it must address new needs related to cloud computing, performance, development tools, combination with other standards such as SCIM, for instance.

OpenID Connect

It was uneasy to start this LDAP event by giving a talk on a whole different protocol but this is the way the schedule had been designed. So I quickly presented the OAuth 2 standard before getting to OpenID Connect — a protocol based on OAuth 2 and the javascript security layer JOSE for signature and JSON data encryption.

LDAPCon2015_OpenIDConnectCompared to SAML, OpenID Connect is the next-generation — REST implementation, offline mode, mobile application-ready, and so on.

I have noticed that, despite its youth — it was not a standard until 2014 — this protocol is already well known and attracts a great deal of corporate players and community interest, both having already integrated it in their products or preparing themselves to do so in the upcoming months. This is the case for LemonLDAP::NG which will support OpenID Connect starting with version 2.0.

Other talks

All the talks given during these two days were fascinating and it would be challenging to summarize them in this article. Check the presentations available on the LDAPCon 2015 website if you are interested.

Liferay Community Excellence Award 2015: Savoir-faire Linux being honored once again

Liferay Community Excellence Award 2015Montreal, November 24th, 2015 — Savoir-faire Linux® — an exceptional team of 110 Free Software Consultants based in Montreal, Quebec City, Toronto and Paris — was honored with a Liferay Community Excellence Award at the Liferay North America Symposium which was held last week in Chicago. This prestigious annual award recognizes ten Liferay partners who have shown unique and valuable dedication to the Liferay open source community and contributed significantly.

“We are very much honoured to receive this award from Liferay for the 5th year in a row”, said Savoir-faire Linux’s Executive Vice-president Christophe Villemer, in a short thank you video uploaded online shortly after the Award Ceremony on November 17th. “I am particularly proud of our team for the amazing work they do with our customers and the community (…), Sven Werlen, Marat Gubaidullin, and all our certified developers and trainers.”

liferay_sp_webLiferay develops the leading open source portal and collaborative tools for the enterprise. Savoir-faire Linux, which started to explore the potential of this platform based on the Java technology in 2008, is now in the global Top 30 of Liferay’s Platinum Partners.

“Liferay strongly believes in the power of open communities to develop high quality software”, said Liferay’s Community Manager James Falkner. “The Community Excellence award is an important part of that — it recognizes those leading companies that have given much more than they have received and that share our same open spirit. Savoir-faire Linux continues to be an important part of our success and Liferay is pleased to recognize them for their achievements in our community.”

About the Liferay Community Awards

In open source project, community excellence is expressed in several ways:

Best partners standing out by their community excellence gain skills and influence. They thrive with the community.

As a matter of fact, Savoir-faire Linux is pleased to congratulate other recipients of these Community Excellence Awards 2015: ACA-IT (Benelux), Ambientia (Finland), Arcusys (Finland), Cignex Datamatics (Asia, Americas, Europe), Permeance Technologies (Australia), SMC Treviso (Italy), EmDev (Russia), and XTIVIA (U.S.A.). As our social media editor wrote on Twitter: One for all and all for… Liferay!

Our Team Receiving the Liferay Community Award 2015 in Chicago
Savoir-faire Linux’s team Receiving the Liferay Community Award 2015. From left to right: Christophe Villemer ↘ Sven Werlen ↗ James Falkner → Nicolas Juneau → Serjik Sayad.

Learning more about Liferay 7 at the Liferay North America Symposium #LRNAS2015

merci-chicagoAs all people of good will in the world were mourning the barbaric assassination of at least 129 innocents in Paris, France — just a few blocks from our European office — a small delegation from our Montreal team traveled to Chicago on Saturday and Sunday to attend the Liferay North America Symposium. They found there a beautiful city, a heaven of peace and solidarity, and a hearty Liferay community. Thank you, Chicago!

The big issue at the Symposium this year is the upcoming final release of Liferay 7 which is officially introduced for the first time in North America. It is expected to leave a lasting impression — especially in the fields of unified user experience, customization, and performance optimization. Team members Nicolas Juneau, Sven Werlen and Serjik Sayad are looking forward to learning as much as they can on the benefits and good practices provided by this new release of Liferay while presenting our own expertise to customers and partners attending the event.

LRNAS 2015

Showcasing DevOps at the Liferay North America Symposium

Liferay Symposium Gold SponsorSven Werlen will demo our automated Liferay deployment tools at the Liferay North America Symposium 2015 which will be held in Chicago on November 16-17th. With these tools, you just need to push a button to mount a VM with the full stack of a complete Liferay environment based on JBoss, including a front-end server, an indexation and search server, and so on. So if you get a chance to stop at the Savoir-faire Linux booth, don’t miss this demo.

The Liferay North American Symposium is the largest gathering of Liferay developers, integrators, customers ans users of the year. A number of our clients will be there. For the six year in a row, the open source portal leader ranks at the top of the famous Gartner Magic Quadrant and its effectiveness is proven. As a matter of fact, this great momentum relies largely on the expertise and motivation of a vibrant community.

The positioning of Savoir-faire Linux in this ecosystem is quite unique. We are both a Red Hat Advanced Partner and a Liferay Platinum Partner. Both technology leaders have announced earlier this year a strategic collaboration agreement that makes Red Hat’s JBoss platform the middleware of choice for Liferay production. Having privileged access to their resources, and with our teams of developers and system administrators certified by those two editors, we are able to mobilize powerful Java, Web, DevOps and cloud computing expertises to work on our clients’ projects. This is how we developed sophisticated methodologies for Liferay integration and development as well as Liferay deployment and maintenance.

As a Gold Sponsor of this symposium we are looking forward seeing our clients, peers and friends, and to greeting visitors at our booth in order to share with them the little tricks of our DevOps tools. And, who knows, since we had the honour of receiving a Liferay Community Excellence Award every year since 2011, we remain hopeful to bring a fifth one home this year! 😉

Gold Sponsor since 2012

The next digital revolution: IoT, big data, and a stronger Canada

EdTech Leadership SummitWe had a great panel at the MindShare Learning EdTech Leadership Summit today, enhanced by a profound participation from the audience. I’d like a to share a few highlights, leaving the comment section open for everyone wishing to share their own take-aways.

Victor Garcia, Adjunct Professor at the Schulich School of Management and Senior Fellow at Bell Canada, gave a clear definition of IoT from his big data class. He stressed that technology is not the issue, instead we need to focus on the business outcomes. The real value is the ability to help executives take the right decisions, to make money, save money, and/or to make the world better. Later somebody from the audience made the point that, more than money, it is more about saving people’s time (e.g. faster clearing of paperwork, less wasted time allowing nurses to focus more on patient care). Don’t we all need more time?

Shawn Naroozi, IoT expert from Microsoft USA, and Jeff Lundgren, IoT Sales Lead for Microsoft Canada, shared a compelling example of an IoT implementation for truck management (connected transportation). Connecting to the TV screen with a few clicks from his Surface device, Shawn demonstrated the wide amount of live information available from any particular truck (engine levels, status of the cargo, etc). We discussed applications in education, for example connected buildings. It is clear that IoT can benefit both the operations of educational organizations, as well as the quality of the delivery in the classroom (making the class more relevant and engaging).

Kelli Davis, VP Integration Services at CastleBranch, explained how her company found a gap in higher education. They started to digitize student health records to save everybody’s time and to ease the transmission of information to the right parties at the right time. Privacy and security are important concerns. The younger generation is more inclined (and more trusting) about sharing their information, especially when it add value for the user experience. Somebody commented that students are really becoming the teachers in some way. Sometimes it is more effective to call a student to fix a problem that the local tech person.

Amir Anani, CEO and President of ICTC, shared a lot of insights about ICT trends, the labour market, productivity and innovation, and the relative position of Canada in the global market. Training and investing in the future workforce is required to maintain a competitive advantage, noted the audience. Namir made the point that in some situations there is no significant revenues for the private sector to justify an investment, in which case the government should step in. The audience added that government should take a leadership role, especially when it comes to strategic issues as education.

The audience also made interesting comments about the role of trustees, the turnover among their ranks, and the opportunity to educate them on ICT trends. We discussed change management, and some success stories (supporting champions, and celebrating heroes). May be we’d need the kind of executive education that private sector managers receive? The conversation turned back to education.

IoT could be used to cross-reference brain waves with student activities and learning outcomes. Interestingly, InteraXon is one of the 3 Toronto-based start-ups to make the top 100 by total funding. Nobody seemed shocked by the idea. It looks like we all believed that students would have absolutely no issue with that. In any case, the point was to engage students better while providing the best support at the time of need. Shawn added that another way to use data would be to improve the process and the system over time (as an iterative feedback loop).

Douglas Reid, Director Learning & Research Infrastructure at the Lassonde School of Engineering, told us that the main point about IoT is that it makes us think (harder). The Renaissance Engineer (trademarked) combines knowledge and skills from multiple fields such as engineering, law, and design, to solve problems more effectively.  The audience noted that companies have a role to play in delivering education. We came to agree that a joint effort by a large number of businesses, building on common ground, would be helpful for the education system to innovate faster. Students and educators could be part of this.

Finally, Jonathan Le Lous, VP Cloud & Infrastructure and Global Alliances Manager at Savoir-faire Linux, reminded us about the nature of sharing software code and best practices. The Linux ecosystem has turned into a $30 billion industry. Linux now runs a wide majority of devices from Android watches to cars, supercomputers, phones, TVs… We can learn from the start-up playbook. Those fast-rising ‘unicorns’ often bootstrap their business with free software (e.g. Twitter, Facebook). We don’t need a lot of money to create new value. We just need to get started!

Research : UQAM adresses technical challenges raised by the Ring project

At the leading edge of innovation, the Ring project — a secure and distributed voice, video and chat communication platform — paves the way for complex theoretical challenges. Through a research agreement, Savoir-faire Linux and Université du Québec à Montréal (UQAM) collaborate to improve the data persistence and indexation in its underlying distributed hash table software library, OpenDHT.

Blue brain design

With the financial support of the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC), a group of IT students at UQAM are modeling the problems raised by the high technicality of Ring, and implementing robust codes to resolve them. As the research can lead to innovative solutions, Professor Alexandre Blondin Massé who is in charge of the project, is planning to publish the results within the next year.

Already conclusive results: enabling data persistence and reliable data stored for a limited time on the DHT network

Simon Désaulniers is now completing a Bachelor of Computer Science. He has just modeled and implemented a solution to store data for a limited time on the DHT network. With this progress, the users of Ring will soon access messages that are sent to them while they are not connected. This new process makes sure that each message is encrypted when it is stored and intact when it is received.

A major challenge: Solving the DHT Indexation by data research from any related element

Graduate and PhD students seek to resolve the question of DHT Indexation. To contact a Ring user, it is necessary to know his 40-character ID. The DHT indexation will allow users to look for another user’s Ring ID through information he has made public such as his name or a public alias, while preserving his anonymity. Wondering how it’s possible? Marco Rebado, Sylvain Labranche and Simon Désaulniers are precisely devising a solution. In the meantime, feel free to communicate confidentially with Ring!

UQAM logoCRSNC

The Ring Project — Decoding a Decentralized and Secure Communication System

Rejoignez Ring!Imagine a free software for multimedia communication so instantly easy to use that it requires no special configuration, no online account, and no password. Imagine that it is built with the latest peer-to-peer (P2P) technologies, secured with the best encryption standards, and that you can use it for free, without licence fee, to exchange voice and video communications with one or more callers. Well, this software is born. It is called Ring and is still in its early alpha stage.

I have asked Guillaume Roguez, a senior Free Software Consultant at Savoir-faire Linux and Director of the Ring project, to share some technical details:

Tell us how Ring is born and what are its basic characteristics?

Guillaume RoguezRing is the evolution of a former project — SFLphone — which has matured over the last ten years and was based on the old concept of centralized data. The change in technology and the world in general has been the guiding framework of the new software. We have completely rewritten the deeper layers and decided to incorporate so new and revolutionary features in it that we had to change the name.

The essential concept is decentralization. Ring implements the DHT — a technology to identify and retrieve IP addresses of any client connected to a distributed network system. So, it is no longer necessary to go through a centralized server as SIP or AIX2 to locate and call someone.

With Ring, each account is identified on the network by a personal digital footprint commonly called “hash” ― a unique code of 40 letters and numbers linked to an identification certificate and a pair of asymmetric keys for encryped communications. It registers itself by distributing its identity not to one but multiple equivalent “servers” ― each machine acting in fact as an identity server for others. These machines can appear, disappear and be replaced by others at any time. The table of hashes containing all the identities of connected users and their IP addresses at a given time is distributed to all their machines.

To use a simple analogy is, things happens almost like in a street of a residential area. You know your neighbors, but not the neighbors of your neighbors’ neighbors. Yet it will be easy to find them by querying a first neighbor who will ask another and so on. A substantial difference is that digital networks are much faster and much more effective than word of mouth. (laughs)

Can we really speak of complete privacy?

Yes, to the extent that this issue is returned to brought back to where it resided earlier ― at the human level. When you communicate with someone, you do it with confidence to that person. Ring ensures that confidence is maintained and reliable.

Technologically, encryption is based on the well known system of asymmetric keys ― public key and private key. Ring uses the latter to encrypt outgoing communications. The private key is stored only on your machine and never comes out: only you possess the copy. Even if some entity intercepted data packets on the fly, you can be certain that they will not get any benefit.

Another very important aspect of security is the fact that Ring is a free software licensed under GPLv3. Its source code resides on the public servers of Savoir-faire Linux, and the codes of its software dependencies are available on the public servers of their respective communities. In short, everything is free, accessible, and transparent!

Advanced users can also help to correct problems: we welcome contributions. We expect people to tell us what needs to be corrected, but they can also do it and submit their patches. This is the way it worked with SFLphone and it works pretty well.

What operating systems does Ring support and what is the roadmap?

At the end of April, we have opened our first alpha version, still in its infancy, for 64-bit Linux systems based on Ubuntu and Fedora as well as Mac OSX. Of course, we have already tested internally and with a bunch of geeks our there, but we have to check if it works well on a large distributed network. It is expected that we receive a lot of feedback and correct some problems. This is precisely the aim of this first step.

Subsequently, we’ll start the beta phase, adding more advanced features, and with two main objectives:

  • First, frequency. We want to be very close to the needs and feedback of the community. So we will offer frequent updates.
  • Secondly, interoperability. We will work on mobile platforms such as Android and simultaneously on a Windows port, which is already well advanced.

Making our tools available to as many people as possible is in the very logic and moral values of free software. So we develop Ring constantly keeping in mind the fact that he had to be portable across many architectures ― office systems and mobile platforms, of course, but also (and perhaps, especially) embedded systems. With the Internet of Things, embedded systems will become highly sensitive platforms in the coming years.

» Interview by ring:6a8da1380eb39e06d76634944384022ca92da937

Best wishes and a happy New year 2015!

Dear clients, partners, associates, colleagues and friends,

Everyone at Savoir-faire Linux thanks you for the confidence you have shown us for the last fifteen year. Our great company simply could not exist without your business needs, your talent and your collaboration. With a great deal of sincerity we wish you all a happy holiday and a wonderful new year of good health, freedom and prosperity. 😉

Carte de voeux 2015

Please note that we are closed on December 25th and January 1st. In case of emergency, please call our 24/7 technical support:

  • Quebec and North America: +1-877-SFLINUX (735-4689)
  • France and Europe : +33 9 72 46 89 80