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:
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.
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!
During August 5-12, we actively participated in DebConf17, in several professional capacities: platinum sponsor, presenter, workshop and career fair participant, as well as social event host.
Debconf17 is the annual Debian Developers and Contributors Conference, with over 405 people attending from all over the world, 169 events including 89 talks, 61 discussion sessions or BoFs, 6 workshops and 13 other activities, DebConf17 has been hailed as a success. Indeed, we are grateful that we could be part of this fantastic, free software community-based and scientific event and play our part in its development. In what follows we provide a snapshot of our engagement activities.
The Honor of Being Part of Sponsorship Team of DebConf17
At Savoir-faire Linux, we are committed to building a sustainable economy based on cooperation, collaboration and knowledge sharing strategy. We strongly believe, our strength depends on the quality of our partnership with, and support of, the community projects and the actors of the free software world. In order to fulfill our commitment, we have forged strong partnerships with and supported Free Software Foundation, Linux Foundation, Debian, Python, FFmpeg, and other open and free software projects. Naturally, when we heard that annual conference of Debian was going to be held in Montreal, we were thrilled and excited to be part of this great movement. In short, we think, one cannot build a freer world without supporting free software movement. And, Debian, is one of the gems of free software world.
Our Employees Already Falling Head over Hills in Love with DebConf17
The soonest our employees learned that DebConf17 was going to be in town, they started submitting their talks, presentations and workshops. We are yet to experience such a self-motivated dynamic and joyful wave of attention towards an event like this! After submissions, we had the following list of finalists announced on the official page of DebConf17’s schedule page.
On Saturday, Aug 5, we launched the official career connect activity. Our president, Cyrille Béraud also made himself available to personally answer questions and meet with the pool of talent. It was a very successful networking event which lasted throughout the conference. We met with amazing, highly skilled free software hackers and had wonderful technical and social discussions with them. We received many CVs and some of them are now in the pipeline to be evaluated internally.
The Social Event: Ring on! Mix & Mingle with Ring Team
Ring is a free 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.
On July 21, we released the stable version of Ring: Ring 1.0 – Liberté, Égalité, Fraternité. However, since DebConf17 was around the corner, we postponed the celebration to share the merry moment with the DebConf free software developers. Our plan worked well!
With the help of DebConf organizers we spread the news and in the evening of August 8 we received our guests. What a magnificent crowd! Among our guests were Daniel Pocock (Debian), John Sullivan (Free Software Foundation), Michael Meskes (Credativ), and many other wonderful ladies and gentlemen. Cyrille Béraud made a very brief speech to thank all fre#e software developers contributing to Ring Project, and showed his special gratitude to the core development team for their countless hours put in to realize this milestone.
DebConf17 Coming to an End, but the Free Software Mission Continues!
The sad truth is that once again we had to say goodbye to another DebConf! But the word on the street is: DebConf18 is going to be even greater! No matter if one DebConf ends, because Debian Community is so great to make another great one the following year!
July 21, 2017 – Savoir-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.
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.
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 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.
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!
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!
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.
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.
This article aims to explore OpenDHT technology, briefly explain its underpinning theoretical logic, and explain why cryptography is vital to it.
The need for efficient public distributed systems such as OpenDHT is becoming increasingly important. Particularly, as the influence of the Net giants centralizing information and communications is growing exponentially, we are faced with a paradox. The Internet gives network nodes the unprecedented opportunity to exchange directly, without centralized processing point. Yet, most networks rely on centralized systems for sharing and storing data! In order to address this issue, we have developed a technology known as OpenDHT – a free and open library implementing a distributed hash table – and implemented it in our innovative decentralized communication project: Ring.
What Is A Distributed Hash Table?
DHT (distributed hash table) is a class of distributed systems that provides access to a shared dictionary of key ➛ value pairs from any node of the network where data are distributed among the participants. Currently, the most popular DHT networks such as Mainline DHT (BitTorrent) are used for peer to peer file sharing. On these networks, the key is the identifier of the torrent file – also called “Magnet links“– and the values are the IP addresses of the seeders, i.e. the clients sharing the torrent.
What Is OpenDHT?
OpenDHT is a light and robust network project DHT written in C++11 proposing a simple to use interface for application developers. Originally inspired by the DHT library developed by Juliusz Chroboczek and used, for example, by the BitTorrent client Transmission, OpenDHT includes a number of important innovations. It can store different data types; it has a listening function, and it is simple to work with.
OpenDHT provides the ability to store any type of data – not just IP addresses – with a limit value of 64 KB. It has also a listening function (listen) enabling a node to be informed of changes in key values. Since we needed these crucial features for the Ring project, we pushed to create OpenDHT with the counterparty to make its protocol incompatible with the Mainline DHT network of BitTorrent.
For the Ring project, the listen function is, for example, used to enable receiving calls or messages. This is even the case for computers behind NATs. In conjunction with the ICE technology, OpenDHT then allows the robust establishment of peer-to-peer connections.
OpenDHT is published on GitHub under the The GNU General Public License v3.0 with its earlier documentation available here. By the way, comments and patches are kindly welcomed.
OpenDHT is simple to use, thus reducing the cost and difficulty of developing applications that benefit from it. For example, starting a new node on local port 4222, and connecting to the network through a known node is as simple as these three lines written in C++:
In the most popular type of DHT network (i.e. Kademlia) used by OpenDHT, each node (i.e. participant program) of the network has a unique identifier evenly distributed in the identifiers space – a 160-bit space in our case.
Similarly, each data stored on the network is characterized by an identifier which is its key. The keys are uniformly distributed in the same 160-bit space as the node identifiers. Multiple values can share the same key.
The binary operator XOR (⊕) is defined as the distance operator between key, or between keys and node IDs. To recap, the XOR result is true if both operands have different Boolean values. This implies that the XOR result of two 160-bit keys is the “binary distance” between these keys: A ⊕ A = 0 for every key A. For two distinct keys A and B with X = A ⊕ B, the number of zero bits at the beginning of X will be equal to the number of bits common to the beginning of A and B.
This interesting property offers the ability to partition each node’s routing table using a binary tree. In fact, each node maintains and updates a routing table including mainly the neighboring nodes (in the sense of distance of the XOR operator introduced above).
A data element, that is to say a key-value pair (K, V), will be stored on the L nodes that are closest to key K (typically with L = 8). Any node knowing K will be able to find V by an iterative algorithm which will lead him to contact nodes whose identifiers are increasingly closer to K (Fig. 1).
Queries including the K key and the reply of each node include a list of other nodes known as closest to K. V value will be found in just O (log (N)) iterations — N representing the number of nodes on the network.
Cryptography: A Critical Step in Network Security
Just like the Internet, public DHT are inherently unreliable networks. They involve trusting many other programs randomly on the network to store data.
Instead of trying to make the protocol resistant and withstanding any type of malicious node, which would be illusive, the OpenDHT approach is to consider the network itself as untrustworthy and build over an optional cryptographic layer public key, using the Public Key Cryptography Standards(PKCS) infrastructure, and to verify the author and message integrity (signature) and encrypt the latter with public certificates published on the DHT network.
Knowing the identifier of the contact_id public key of a contact, storing an encrypted data for this contact on the DHT network is as simple as:
node.putEncrypted("my_key", contact_id, value);
The cryptography layer (or identity layer) then will transparently retrieve the certificate of the contact, use the public key to encrypt the data, and then store it on the network.
This layer will also transparently check the signature of signed data received. If the check fails, the data is not presented to the application. Similarly, only encrypted data that can be decrypted are passed to the application.
Ring implements these cryptographic operations to securely exchange invitations, initiation of calls and private messages. The network can therefore be realistically used as a public meeting place– making Ring , a truly free universal communication platform which preserves the users’ privacy and freedoms.