Is your school forcing you to use Zoom, Skype, or other proprietary videoconferencing software to learn or teach? That's a violation of your educational rights. Support

@fsf While I completely agree with the suboptimality of this, as (all of) a free software developer, an educator in higher education, and a free software user, the fact of the matter is that there is no free videoconferencing software that works as reliably as several of the commercial solutions (or even reliably _enough_).

I wind up using commercial videoconferencing solutions in a containered jail on my free software operating system to make up for it.

It's up to us to step up to this plate.

@elb @fsf Out of curiosity, which free solutions have you tried? Were there any contenders that came out ahead of the rest?

@soft @fsf I've used a number of SIPpish VoIP/Video solutions (such as Ekiga, linphone), Element, Signal (dubiously open), Jitsi, ... I don't know, quite a few.

Jitsi is the best of the crop that I've tried, but it drops too frequently to be usable for large, professional meetings. It's tolerable for a friendly chat, but even then not if reliability is critical (as I said in another toot, I can't even use it for table top gaming).

@isharefreedom @fsf Jitsi is _absolutely not_ reliable enough for even casual meetings with a handful of people. It has frequent disconnects and many glitches with shared screens/etc. My D&D group has been unable to use it for casual gaming, I absolutely could not use it for dozens of users in an educational setting.

I think what jitsi is doing is great, and it has a lot of potential and many neat properties, but it's not There Yet for professional use.

@elb @fsf I just shared with you a list of free software programs that participate in the same communicative functions, but be aware that jitsi can host it on your own server, and so have less latency problems.

@isharefreedom @fsf Most of those programs are irrelevant to this problem. Those that aren't, I've tried, and they don't compare to something like Zoom. At all.

I'll admit that I've only used the public Jitsi Meet and a Jitsi installed by a friend on a home Internet connection; it may be that an organization could install a workable Jitsi Meet cluster of some sort and fix the problems I have experienced. My sense is that they are client-related, though, from the symptoms.

@elb @isharefreedom @fsf

We in the Godot Engine team use Jitsi for all our meetings (the public instance even), generally with 20+ people, and it pretty much gets the job done. Odd that you're having such problems.

@Yeldham @isharefreedom @fsf That is indeed interesting. The users with whom I have had less than ideal meetings are across a mix of browsers and platforms, as well, including at least two of us using the Jitsi Meet desktop client on native free software distributions (Debian GNU/Linux in my case, not sure about the other).

What does "pretty much gets the job done" mean? Does it mean no one disconnects and no one loses chunks of the meeting for an entire meeting?

@elb @isharefreedom @fsf

The connection tends to be quite stable, with maybe one or two minor voice distortions. Our meetings tend to last at least one hour.

@fsf That is exactly why I provide a course with #Jitsi for videoconference, #peertube for providing recorded lectures, and OGG audio format with a PDF file for offline access to the lecture!

@suguru @fsf It is nice to hear that at least some people do that!

@nicemicro @fsf

As long as lecturers are supposed to respect the #diversity of students, why not doing so, not only in the actual classrooms but also virtual ones?

To force proprietary services is to discriminate #DigitalMinority

@fsf As I contemplated in my video a few weeks back, on-premieses hosting of Nextcloud or Jitsi for educational institutions would be a great opportunity to even teach a few students on maintaining and administering this type of tech infrastructure instead of just paying some big tech company to do it instead. Especially if it is a government supported educational institution.

@nicemicro @fsf I suspect the main reason universities go for commercial third party services is because they don't have the capacity or skill to administrate a self hosted solution.


after all, it is always better to hire MBAs & accountants to negotiate & track 3rd party proprietary licensing deals than to hire sysadmins to run services /s

@polychrome @fsf I don't know about that, the universities I went to / worked with had large IT stuff, as they are running computer labs, clusters for theoretical physical calculations, have their class administration systems, etc.
As far as I can tell, administering Jitsi or Nextcloud is not really more difficult than running their existing systems. It could also be a project they encourage their CS students to participate in.

Yes, my school is. What's worse, schools are forcing students to use Google and Microsoft accounts. What do these schools think is going to happen to all that data being amassed by these corporations? Data of children, which, I suspect, they value the most because children are the future consumers.

Jitsi might not be the best comparison to #Zoom. #Jitsi is a video bridge, it simply copies the incoming streams to all participants.

Comparing Zoom to, for example, #BigBlueButton would be better. BBB is a mixer (uses #Kurento under the hood) that can handle large numbers of participants (Jitsi can't, clients would choke on too many streams) and is really stable if configured correctly.
Sign in to participate in the conversation

This service is offered by alarig.
Beer, privacy and free software lovers. Join us!