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 from (.) Savoir-faire Linux (.) com!

Here we are in this sweet and happy time of year known as the Temps des fêtes in Québec, the Holiday Season in the rest of North America and the Trêve des confiseurs, the equivalent of “Christmas truce” in France where confectioners have no shortage of work!

Meilleurs voeux de Savoir-faire Linux! !

According to tradition, the Savoir-faire Linux team is pleased to present its wishes to our customers, partners, suppliers and friends without whom it would have no purpose, no means of subsistence, and on whom its growing success depends.

This success is based on choices made by the founders of the company and held against all odds in the past fifteen years. It is about free software, of course, ans core values ​​such as the pursuit of excellence and the common good, openness, collaboration and respect for diversity.

We wanted to put forward these values ​​and many more this year along with our best wishes. So we asked our consultants to write a short story evoking a moment, an event, a thought that strucked them particularly in 2013. The twenty first blog posts that we deployed this week on unveil our DNA as well as their deep thinking.

Happy reading, happy holidays and a Happy New Year! :)

Open Source Interview With Karen Sandler at the Montreal Gnome Summit 2013


On October 12, 2013, we had the pleasure to host the annual Gnome Summit in Montreal and, in the evening, we organized a community meet-up in our offices. Gnome core developers and local hackers met, had food, a couple of drinks and quite a lot fun together. The event was supposed to end around 9:00 PM but, finally, it lasted beyond 11:00 PM. :-)

During the meet-up Karen Sandler, Executive Director of the Gnome Foundation, kindly answered our questions about the Gnome Summit and the state of Open Source in the world. In this interview she explains why the annual “Boston” Summit now takes place every second year in Montreal, and briefly presents the main technical issues that were on the agenda during the weekend — especially desktop accessibility. Finally, she shares her thoughts on the state of Open Source in the world and how much work still has to be done to live in a better digital world.

The Montreal Gnome Summit 2013 was sponsored by the FQCIL (Quebec Free Software Community and Industry Federation) and Savoir-faire Linux. You can read more in our previous post.

Meet with the GNOME Developer Community on October 12 in Montreal!

The 13th annual summit of developers and contributors of the GNOME desktop environment and graphical user interface for GNU/Linux will be held on Canadian Thanksgiving weekend in Montreal. Host sponsor Savoir-faire Linux is delighted that CRIM agreed to host this important community event.

The “Boston” Montréal GNOME Summit 2013 is a three-day hackfest for a small group of GNOME developers and contributors that will work together on getting things done. For local developers familiar with GNOME code and seriously wishing to get involved, this is a great opportunity to meet with this community.

Savoir-faire Linux, together with the FQCIL, is pleased to invite representatives of the Free Software industries and communities to a networking cocktail offered at its Montreal headquarters on Saturday October 12, starting at 06:00 PM.

RSVP – Please register online before October 11 at 04:00 PM:

RSVP on Eventbrite

Mastering CFEngine Configuration Management Software in Montreal with Jonathan Clarke

This coming September, Normation‘s CTO Jonathan Clarke* will travel from Paris (France) to Montreal in order to give a 3-day modular training session on CFEngine 3** at Savoir-faire Linux. Our CFEngine Practice Leader Jean Rémond had a talk with him over a Google video chat recently. Jonathan provided him insight into the training syllabus tailored to the needs of system administrators seriously interested to get their hands on this popular open source configuration management system.

La vidéo est sous-titrée en français ➚  cc  ➚ English captions available

» Read more about CFEngine on Wikipedia.
» Learn more about the training on the CFEngine website.
» Register to this North-American session on Evenbrite.

*About The Instructor

Jonathan Clarke has already trained hundreds of people and he is one of the few CFEngine Champions worldwide. You may follow him on Twitter where he is known as @jooooooon42.

*About CFEngine

In short, CFEngine is an open source software that aims to provide automated configuration of large-scale computer systems and a unified management interface for servers, desktops, networked devices, smartphones, and tablet computers. The editor is based in Norway and reports 10 millions servers under management in more than 100 countries, including those of many of the world’s largest organizations. Many North-Americans companies rely on Savoir-faire Linux’s Infrastructure team to coach them and help them to leverage the power of this automated configuration management system.

Breaking news! 9 photos of our new offices in Quebec City

I share with you this short message that our UX designer Émilien Edmond e-mailed me this morning. It provides some information on the construction work in progress at our new offices in Quebec City. Pending a more detailed article on this matter here is the source code and pictures!

« Back from the cabinetmaker’s workshop I send you some new pictures for our article. Desks are being manufactured. Works on the first floor are almost complete. Network cabling remain to be done as well as two wall decorations and Savoir-faire Linux logos to install. We should move in on August the 23rd… And we can’t wait! ↬ Émilien »

SFLxQC v2.0 - Le planBureaux SFLx Québec - Open Space 1Bureaux SFLx Québec - Open Space 2Bureaux SFLx Québec - Open Space 4Bureaux SFLx Québec - Open Space 5
Bureaux SFLx Québec - La cuisineBureaux SFLx Québec - Pièce ferméeBureaux SFLx Québec - Naissance d'un LANBureaux SFLx Québec - ÉbénisterieBureaux SFLx Québec - Matériaux naturels

Walter Launched A New Multilingual Intranet Powered By Liferay

Recently we have achieved a major Web portal integration for Walter, a leader in metal working and cutting tools which has been providing for more than 50 years a range of high performance environmental products and solutions for the metal industry. Powered by Liferay, the multilingual intranet of this international corporation serves hundreds of employees and partners from 7 countries in five languages.

Listen to César Strafile, the project leader, explaining the problem that the company faced and what he thinks of the solution provided by Savoir-faire Linux.

La vidéo est sous-titrée en français ➚  cc Help us translate the captions!

A Provider Perspective on Mission-Critical Open Source Software Adoption by Organizations

Pr Placide Poba-NzaouProfessor of Information Systems and Human Resources Management at Université du Québec à Montréal (UQÀM) Placide Poba-Nzaou will introduce the OpenERP event of the year in Canada next week by providing an overview of his latest research to be published and presented at the 19th Americas Conference on Information Systems in Chicago (AMCIS 2013): “Barriers to Mission-Critical Open Source Software Adoption by Organizations: A Provider Perspective”.

Mission critical Open Source Software (OSS) adoption by organizations is relatively new and the research field related to the issue is new as well. The research team used the Delphi method to investigate barriers to mission-critical OSS adoption as perceived by two panels of experienced providers in France (n= 18) and in Quebec, Canada (n= 11). On average, panelists had 15 years of experience in the software industry including 9 years with open source software. By comparing the barriers selected by each group, zones of concordance and discordance were identified. Finally, the open source adoption literature is complemented by adding new insights to the existing body of knowledge dominated by client perspective alone.

Starting at 1:00 PM this scientific presentation will be followed by a panel discussion with Pr Poba-Nzaou, Marc Laporte (COO of OpenERP) and Christophe Villemer (CEO of Savoir-faire Linux) starting the actual OpenERP Business Model and Partnership Program seminar. Space is limited so please book your seat promptly in order to attend this great event of shared learning and business networking around Open Source Enterprise Resource Planning.

[button color=dark-gray url=]Detailed schedule and free registration on Eventbrite[/button]

The OpenERP event of the year in Canada

Logo OpenERPSavoir-faire Linux is co-organizing the OpenERP event of the year in Canada. This half-day conference on the open source enterprise resource planning (ERP) software OpenERP will be in English, in Montreal, on June 5. This is a unique opportunity for networking and learning for both integrators interested in this solution and its current or potential customers, who will be able to better understand how development and technical support communities work in open mode.

Savoir-faire Linux launched the OpenERP Montreal Meetup last year. This is one of this editor’s most active partners and his only training partner (see Training Centers) in Canada. As a matter of fact, Savoir-faire Linux consultants will deliver half of the conference presentations. Program Summary: Discover the business model of OpenERP s.a., its partnership program, a demo of the latest version of the software and some case studies.

Register now to discover the benefits of a business model based on openness, collaboration, pooling efforts and gains:
[button color=dark-gray url=]Detailed schedule and free registration on Eventbrite[/button]

Keren Merimah’s Special Thanks to the INTRACOM 2013 Community


English captions are available ↗ cc ↗ La vidéo est sous-titrée en français

Keren Merimah is Senior Account Manager for North-Eastern America and Israël at Liferay. Last week, she was in Montreal for a couple of days, and presented her journey with Sesame Street and Liferay Social Office at the INTRACOM conference. Before flying back to New York City, she recorded this short video (click above) to say goodbye and keep in touch with all the people she met here.

Photo of the Liferay/SFL booth at INTRACOM
Sven Werlen and Sevan Hanssian (SFL) with Keren Merimah at the Liferay booth, INTRACOM 2013.
Photo by canadadri aka Christophe Villemer

At Savoir-faire Linux, we had already met Keren on various occasions, in particular at the North-America Symposium where we celebrate our special partnership with the Liferay community every year. But it is always a great pleasure to meet her and enjoy her thoughts, her energy and her beautiful attitude regarding open source. We were thrilled to have her with us at the Liferay booth.

We also seized the opportunity to bring together for a second time the Liferay Montreal User Group that was launched earlier this year, and were proud to share our partnership with Liferay with our own business community here in Montreal. We reconnected with a few Liferay clients we had worked with in the past and we also met new people who are interested in this great Web portal and enterprise collaboration platform.

Our very special thanks to the INTRACOM organizers and the Réseau ActionTI volunteers (see our video tribute :-). It was an excellent event and a unique occasion to hear about the general trends and specific needs in the field of enterprise communication in Quebec. See you next year!

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