Web conferencing for community calls - BigBlueButton server hosting

The German-speaking Open Science group is planning to have regular online meetings/calls. Today some of us tested BigBlueButton which is FLOSS web conferencing software for this purpose. We could run the test as a BigBlueButton server was temporarily offered to us. Is there any chance that such a BigBlueButton server can be hosted by OKFN (unfortunately I don’t know the requirements but I guess this depends highly on the number of participants per session)? I assume this could be a very useful tool for the other groups. Has anybody explored this option or an alternative solution?


Unfortunately BigBlueButton doesn’t run on Native Web Technologies, but Adobe’s Flash.
Therefore solutions that rely on WebRTC are to be preferred.
Generally those that also offer server-side proxying deliver better results, like

I believe the following run peer to peer only:

Hope to have given a quick overview.

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Many thanks for the suggestions, @almereyda! I am pretty sure that on the long run WebRTC-based solutions will dominate this field. Do you (or anybody else) have experiences with the suggested solutions in terms of scalability? We need to host 10-20 (maybe even more) people. Currently, appear.in is limited to 8 people and I don’t have experiences with larger groups on the other platforms.

Depending on your supporting machine, which eventually needs only a good connection, Jitsi or the Struktur AG thing should help. P2P WebRTC still tends to lag with multiple users.

The Apollo instance is a self-hosted environment. Feel free to try it out - you should also ping chrono over there (or chron0 on Freenode) if you want to hear more.

Could Chatb work also?

Thanks - we will test the different options and will give some feedback here. Maybe this is interesting for other groups.

Just for the case somebody else looks for such tools. I was pointed to this blog post. Apparently, BigBlueButton started to replace Flash for the interface and build purely on HTML5. This is still under development.

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If someone has lots of time on their hands :wink: then the ‘Open’ option is to run Asterisk on EC2 with static IP and connect with FOSS clients. It had to be said.

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Thanks for the hint, @loleg!

I’m a fan of SaaS as it reduces maintenance. I use zoom.us at a cost of $10 per month (although I think I’m on a grandfathered cheaper rate now). Zoom allows for up to 50 participants at a time and only the host needs a paid account. You can record sessions to video on your local machine, there are mobile apps and international dial in numbers for those who don’t join with video.

I used it for the APAC CKAN meetups.

Thanks, @Starl3n. Zoom.us is our current solution but we had several cases where people issue with dialling in. I am not sure why.

Have you tried Mumble? http://www.mumble.info/

It is an optimal setup in my opinion. Can perhaps seem low-tech but Mumble is an internet efficient solution, allows for loads of people and and an optional screensharing service can easily be arranged such as new NodeJS variant http://deadsimplescreensharing.com/ (Chrome only atm) or others https://alternativeto.net/software/logmein-express/?license=free. :smile:

Thanks @mattias. Yes, we thought about Mumble, but we wanted something that runs in the browser and does not need any dedicated client.

I have also seen https://www.uberconference.com/ recommended - not open but competitively priced.

Great, thanks, @rufuspollock!

Have you tried CreateWebinar? CreateWebinar.com
It is a control panel for BBB server and it offers a free package to BBB users. It places no limit on the number of participants or presenters. Besides you can choose the access type to be open for all, closed list or approval required. It also supports IOS, Android without any app. I am using the free package, but there is also an option of hourly payment.