Thursday, December 9, 2010

bigbluebutton-dev hits 700 members

Back in July 2008, the bigbluebutton-dev mailing list had just 3 members.

Today, as of 5:19 PM EST, we just accepted our 700th member.

The peak traffic for bigbluebutton-dev was 977 posts in March, 2010. Shortly afterwards we created two new groups: bigbluebutton-users and bigbluebutton-setup to reduce the traffic. bigbluebutton-dev now averages between 200-400 messages/month.

It's been a lot of growth in the last 29 months. Any bets on which month we'll reach 1000 members?

Monday, December 6, 2010

BigBlueButton sighted at Quebec Open Source conference

One of our BigBlueButton partners snapped this picture of a BigBlueButton sighting at Salon Du Logiciel Libre Du Qu├ębec that is happening now.

More BigBlueButton sighting pictures welcome!

Friday, November 26, 2010

BigBlueButton Extension for Joomla

Blindside Networks has developed a BigBlueButton Extension for Joomla, which is an open source content management system.

The extension, which can be found here, uses the BigBlueButton API to enable Joomla administrators to create and manage on-line meetings rooms to interact with their readers. Using the extension, the administrator can create, join, end and delete meetings, while readers can join meetings through a module located on the frontpage.

We now have BigBlueButton support for both Wordpress and Joomla.

Monday, November 22, 2010

193 Simultaneous Users

Generic Conferencing just held a stress test for BigBlueButton 0.71. In his forum post, Jeremy Thomerson wrote "The more the merrier."

At one point we peaked at 193 simultaneous users. There were 45 users in the voice conference, with one user speaking (the rest were muted). Shortly after 193rd user joined, we tried to upload a new presentation and the server stopped responding.

Earlier, we tried opening as many web cams as possible. We achieve 20 simultaneous web cams in a session.

We're very happy to see BigBlueButton 0.71 support this many users on the server at once.

Keep in mind, we don't recommend to anyone to run BigBlueButton with 193 users in a single room, but to know it's possible was pretty cool.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

BigBlueButton 0.71 is Released

BigBlueButton 0.71 is released.

The biggest changes were in improvements to VoIP, selectable area for desktop sharing, and real-time chat translation using Google Translate. See Release Notes for the details.

You can install 0.71 using packages on Ubuntu 10.04 32-bit/64-bit or download BigBlueButton 0.71 VM.

There is a very determined core group of developers who are committed to constantly improving the quality of this open source project. Our goal is to create the leading open source web conferencing system for distance education.

0.71 is another step towards that goal.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Pressing the BigBlueButton

Fred Dixon, a member of the BigBlueButton development team, recently spoke at the Free Software and Open Source Symposium 2010.

His talk, Pressing the BigBlueButton, explored some of the team's experiences in user interface design, development, testing, packaging, documentation, community, and their plans to create a BigBlueButton Foundation.

A video of the presentation is now available on-line (33 minutes).


Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Ubuntu packages for BigBlueButton 0.71-beta now available

Got a spare Ubuntu 10.04 32-bit/64-bit server? Want to try out the latest BigBlueButton 0.71-beta?

See installing BigBlueButton 0.71-beta an Ubuntu. It takes less than ten commands and installs in less than fifteen minutes.

When 0.71 is released, you'll be able to upgrade 0.71-beta to 0.71 final with two commands: sudo apt-get update/sudo apt-get upgrade. We love apt-get.

Foswiki now integrates with BigBlueButton

Arnie Joris recently created a BigBlueButton extension for Foswiki, a wiki-based collaboration platform.

According to the description on the extensions page,
The plugin will automatically create these meeting rooms on the BBB server, creates a wiki topic for each meeting room (a room named Lotus will be described in topic LotusConferenceRoom) and provides macros to join meetings and see who's in them

Yet another open source integration using the BigBlueButton API.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Installing BigBlueButton on FreeBSD/PC-BSD

In the Official PC-BSD Blog, Dru Lavigne, Director of Community Development, blogs about the initial steps for setting up BigBlueButton on a FreeBSD or PC-BSD 8.1 system.

In the blog she wrote:
Once better tested, we’ll see what we can do about getting a BSD version of BBB. Creating a port/PBI will be interesting due to the amount of configuration.
We know the value of making pre-configured packages ... once its easy to install BigBlueButton on a specific platform, it tends to spread quickly.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Steve Boneham's Review of BigBlueButton

Thanks to Steve Boneham -- a consultant that offers research, development and training in web design, podcasting, digital video, social media & e-Learning -- for his very detailed review of BigBlueButton.

In his review he wrote:
The interface feels slick and less clunky than some other systems I’ve used.
We're trying to keep the interface really simple.

He also wrote:
At present, there is no way to record and playback sessions ... this is the most requested feature and is planed to ship with v0.8, although as with much OSS, the timescales for that aren’t set in stone.
We're working hard on record and playback. Stay tuned!

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Comments from Chris Kenniburg

Chris Kenniburg, Web Master for Dearborn Schools (Dearborn, MI), checked out our beta WordPress plugin for BigBlueButton and in this recent blog post he wrote:
The BigBlueButton (BBB) web meeting/conferencing server is truly a gem in the open source arena. It installs effortlessly via a few simple console commands on Ubuntu and updates even easier.
Chris went on to say:
For a K-12 school district looking to offer web meetings without a big budget, BBB works GREAT!
Thanks Chris for the endorsement. We've built BigBlueButton for the distance education market, so in many ways we've built it for you!

BigBlueButton Video from Lancaster University

Dr Alastair Robertson, a research fellow in e-Science, Lancaster University Management School, has posted to YouTube a video showing how to use BigBlueButton in conjunction with Sakai 2.7.

Nice video Alastair!

Breakout Rooms in 0.71

A new feature appearing in BigBlueButton 0.71 will be the ability to create breakout rooms. A moderator in the meeting will be able to select users and redirect them to a new meeting room with just a few clicks.

This is useful in a situation where, for example, a professor wants to split a class up into smaller discussion groups.

The new module uses the BigBlueButton Integration API.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Pictures from TikiFest/BigBlueButton

Thanks to Natasha D'Souza from Virtual Eye See for posting her pictures taken at last night's TikiFest/BigBlueButton event.

The photos are available here.

This event was a celebration after the Tiki developers held a code sprint to extend their integration with BigBlueButton.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

TikiWiki / BigBlueButton Wine and Cheese

The core TikiWiki development team is hosting a TikiWiki / BigBlueButton Wine and Cheese event at the Code Factory, 246 Queen Street, Ottawa, Ontario Canada on Wednesday August 18th at 6PM. Everyone is welcome!

A number of the core BigBlueButton developers will be attending (Richard Alam, Fred Dixon, and Denis Zgonjanin).

We'll look at broadcasting the event using BigBlueButton so others can join in.

Friday, July 30, 2010

BigBlueButton at Wikimania 2010

Marc Laporte, the project admin for Tiki Wiki CMS Groupware, talked about the integration of BigBlueButton with TikiWiki during his session at Wikimania 2010.

This is a photo that someone took of the note for the session.

Community support for BigBlueButton

Many large companies will inquire about support for BigBlueButton, but we also try to help the smaller companies with community support in the mailing lists.

Here's a recent post by DonDon Schulz, head of the non-profit Real Life Education, Inc., after successfully solving some asterisk problems in his BigBlueButton setup.
So thank you to everyone that helped me get to this point. I wanted to shout out to the BigBlueButton team ;) !! because they went beyond the call of duty for an open source program.
Glad we could help Don.

Dearborn Schools using BigBlueButton

Chris Kenniburg posts he is looking forward to record and playback in 0.8.

Chris, we might sneak a 0.71 version out before 0.8. But we definitely agree that adding record and playback to BigBlueButton is the #1 requested feature by schools.

Friday, July 23, 2010

eFront Integration

The developers over at eFront have just released a BigBlueButton integration module for eFront. While we haven't used eFront ourselves yet, this seems like a good opportunity to check it out. The integration looks well done and is certainly well documented. You can find it here.

Monday, July 19, 2010

BigBlueButton at Campus Technology 2010

Denis Zgonjanin and I are going to be demonstrating BigBlueButton the next few days at Campus Technology 2010, an educational technology conferencing now being held in Boston, MA from July 19-21st.

The conference is located in the Seaport World Trade Center. You can find us exhibiting in booth #829 (Blindside Networks).

We're staying close by the Renaissance Hotel Boston, so if you are not attending but close by and wanted to meet up, just e-mail me directly and we can arrange a time/location.

Friday, July 16, 2010

BigBlueButton 0.7 is released

The primary goal of BigBlueButton is to enable remote students to have a high-quality learning experience.

After fourteen weeks of development, untold number of cups of coffee, and a lengthy testing period, the BigBlueButton Development Team is proud to announce the release of BigBlueButton 0.7.

The biggest feature in this release is definitely the integrated whiteboard.

See tutorial videos, and see the BigBlueButton project at Google Code to download and setup your own BigBlueButton server.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Desktop Sharing is now LGPL V3

As of BigBlueButton 0.7, the license for the desktop sharing module will be Limited GNU Public License V3.


Monday, July 12, 2010

BigBlueButton Foundation

As many of you know, almost all successful open source projects have an independent foundation overseeing its growth. Good examples are the Sakai Foundation, Eclipse Foundation, and Mozilla Foundation.

In a similar manner, for the BigBlueButton project, we are planning to setup an independent not-for-profit company (a foundation) to accelerate the growth and adoption of the BigBlueButton.

The plans to create a foundation have been in the works for a few months, but given the recent activity in the market, we wanted to let our community know our intent.

While we can’t use the term “Foundation” here in Canada, BigBlueButton Inc. will be a membership based organization that will elect a board of directors, which, in turn, will elect an Executive Director. BigBlueButton Inc. will hold the license for the source code, the trademark for “BigBlueButton”, and represent the members as it carries out its mission, currently drafted as follows:

  1. BigBlueButton Inc. is a vendor-neutral, non-profit company, whose mission is to double the value of remote students’ academic experiences and reduce the cost of institutions responsible for delivering these experiences by 50%.

  2. BigBlueButton Inc. accomplishes its mission by becoming a keystone of a business ecosystem that provides strategic advantages to its members. The goal is to help remote students succeed academically and academic institutions and businesses succeed commercially worldwide.

If you are interested in knowing giving feedback or participating in the foundation, don’t hesitate to contact me at ffdixon at bigbluebutton dot org.

Friday, July 9, 2010

D'Arcy checks out BigBlueButton

D'Arcy Norman gives his impressions of trying out BigBlueButton. Once observation he made:
What is missing in BigBlueButton is ... the ability to record meetings/classes for later playback.
Yes, once we release BigBlueButton 0.7 (with integrated whiteboard), we'll be focusing our efforts to implementing record and playback.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Well Played, Blackboard

In his recent article Well Played, Blackboard, George Siemens suggests that BigBlueButton should work closely with other non-blackboard companies to offer the market choices.

We agree.

Keeping an eye on BigBlueButton

In this blog post about the recent Blackboard acquisition of Wimba and Elluminate, Geoff Cain wrote
I will be watching Blackboard closely on how they work with Elluminate while keeping a weather eye on BigBlueButton (which, coincidentally integrates with Sakai) and other open source options.
We'll be keeping our eye on BigBlueButton too!

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Commercial or Open Source?

Blackboard announced today they are acquiring Elluminate and Wimba, two major software vendors it the virtual conferencing space, for $116 million in cash. Michael Chasen, President and Chief Executive of Blackboard, said:
Elluminate's and Wimba's technologies are expected to grow "as institutions look for cost-effective ways to encourage social learning and support learning interactions of all kinds."
The part about "cost-effective" obviously relates to other commercial products. But what does this acquisition mean for open source-based learning solutions?

In a letter to Blackboard's customers, Michael goes on to say:
We will continue current Elluminate and Wimba integration work for open source products, and it is our strategy to sustain those bridges with other commercial LMS providers as well.
Blackboard clearly wants to continue to sell its commercial web conferencing solutions to universities and colleges that are already using open source solutions (such as Moodle and Sakai). Which is fine, every company has to make money.

But what if universities and colleges had an open source web solution that integrated with Moodle and Sakai?

What if they had a really good open source alternative that offered real-time collaboration, virtual classrooms, and enabled any student anywhere in the world to have a high-quality learning experience?

What if that alternative was truly an open source project, not just in name, but in the way it has supported its global community of users and developers over the past two years.

And what if that alternative that was backed by not one company, but by a global community of companies all improving the software for the benefit of everyone?

That’s what we’re working hard to provide with BigBlueButton.

We believe that the real-time learning space will explode in the next two years as networks get faster, access spreads to remote students, and universities and colleges increasingly become global educational intuitions.

We believe that just as other open source projects have provided world-class databases, web browsers, and operating systems, the BigBlueButton open source project can provide a world-class web conferencing system for distance education.

We believe that universities and colleges who are building on open source solutions will also want the choice of a solid, tested, and supported open source solution for real-time distance education.

We want to give them that choice with BigBlueButton.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Sakai User Conference Report

Fred Dixon and Denis Zgonjanin, two employees of Blindside Networks, demonstrated BigBlueButton last week to the over 400+ conference attendees in Denver, Colorado.

The buzz around BigBlueButton began on the first day when it was featured during the developer bootcamp sessions as "a showcase example" of a how to integrate with Sakai (thanks again to Nuno Fernandes and Adrian Fish for their first-class Sakai Integration for BigBlueButton).

When showing BigBlueButton, we started off each demo with the phrase "While are many commercial web conferencing systems, we are trying to build for you a good open source alternative for distance education."

We received lots of positive feedback and kudos on the BigBlueButton project, which reflected very well on all the committers who have been working hard on this project over the past three years.

It was our first exposure to the Sakai community, and the community is very strong. In particular, we enjoyed meeting with Scott Siddall and the others from Longsight who are exploring offering BigBlueButton directly to their customers. We look forward to working with them and attending future Sakai conferences and events!

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

BigBlueButton will be at the Sakai User Conference in Denver, June 15-17

Two members of Blindside Networks, Denis Zgonjanin and Fred Dixon, will be demonstrating BigBlueButton at the 2010 Sakai User Conference in Denver June 15-17.

If you are attending the conference and would like to meet, contact us or drop by our booth.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Whiteboard Video

We've created a new overview video showing how the whiteboard works in BigBlueButton 0.7.

The video is available for viewing here.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Less is More

Paul Left, an educational writer in NZ, wrote that BigBlueButton
... appears to have fewer features but it has enough to be a very effective tool for synchronous learning and teaching
Paul, we're trying hard to keep everything simple and straightforward!

Friday, June 4, 2010

BigBlueButton on trial at EDC

Carleton University's Educational Development Center blogged about their trial use of BigBlueButton this summer.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Sakai Integration with BigBlueButton

Thanks to Nuno Fernandes and Adrian Fish for their recent release of a Sakai Integration for BigBlueButton.

Here's a link to the project's page.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

BigBlueButton Stress Test reaches over 160 Simultaneous Users

In a recent Stress Test, the BigBlueButton community achieved over one hundred and sixty (160) simultaneous users in a session. The screen shot to the right shows a user viewing eight other webcams during the stress test.

You can see a full report of the stress test in this post to bigbluebutton-dev. (A PDF file showing bandwidth and CPU usage is available in the same post.)

This test was done using BigBlueButton 0.64.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Ultimate Jaunty Server Setup

Perspectoff, the editor for Ubuntu Guide, has written the Ultimate Jaunty Server setup guide, which includes instructions for setting up a BigBlueButton server.

Nice to know we were worthy enough to be included in an Ultimate guide.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Communications Enabled CRM

In the May issue of the Open Source Business Resource, Elias Majic describes his use of BigBlueButton with vTiger in his article Communications Enabled Customer Relationship Management.

OpenSolaris Governance Board checks out BigBlueButton

The OpenSolaris Governance Board recently posted this screenshot of using BigBlueButton for one of their governance meetings.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Preview of Whiteboard

One of THE MOST requested features for BigBlueButton has been the addition of an integrated whiteboard.

We've been working on this for a while now, and ... wait for it... Denis checked in the first iteration of the whiteboard code into our Google Code repository this morning.

You can try it yourself on our development build server. Whiteboard works as annotations to a presentation, so you need to upload a presentation and make yourself presenter. If you've not used BigBlueButton before as a presenter, see this overview video (3 minutes).

Here's a screen shot of the artistic work on a slide.

Whiteboard will be released as part of the current BigBlueButton 0.7 iteration.

If you try it out, give us your feedback as a reply to Denis's announcement of Whiteboard.

Friday, April 30, 2010

Welcome Summer of Code Students

We'd like to welcome two new committers to the bigbluebutton team. Neeraj Kumar and Marko Calderon will be working on BigBlueButton this summer, and hopefully a long time after that as well.

Neeraj is a senior undergrad from Indian Institute Of Technology, Varanasi. He'll be working mostly on the client side to improve the UI and implement new functionality such as Chat Translation, and Video Co-Viewing.

Marko is in his final year studying Computer Engineering at ESPOL University in Ecuador. He submitted a compelling proposal on implementing the much sought-after Record&Playback functionality in BigBlueButton.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

New Tutorial Videos: Viewer and Presenter

We've created two new tutorial videos for BigBlueButton. The first video shows you how to use BigBlueButton as a Student (Viewer). It covers chat, joining the voice conference, sharing your web cam, and resizing windows.

The second video shows how to present information using BigBlueButton. It includes how to upload slides, make another user presenter, mute/un-mute listeners, and share your desktop.

The videos all have a table of contents, so it's easy to jump to a specific topic.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Eight Simultaneous Web Cams


It's possible with BigBlueButton.

TikiWiki integrating BigBlueButton into their CMS/Groupware project

Mark Laporte, the project leader for TikiWiki, a very powerful open source CMS/Groupware project, recently proposed integrating BigBlueButton into TikiWiki as part of their eLearning strategy.

Looks like the proposal is getting a lot of support on the TikiWiki developer mailing list.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Coverage in OStatic

Lisa Hoover just published an article on BigBlueButton Brings Video Conferencing to Classrooms in OStatic, a GigaOM network site.

When we were recently covered by Web Resources Depot, our traffic really spiked.

Looking forward to seeing the magnitude of the GigaOM-effect.

BigBlueButton 0.64 Released

We've released BigBlueButton 0.64 (code named Lickety-split).

This release increased the scalability and speed of desktop sharing, added finer-grain listener management, and new additions to the API. For more information see Release Notes.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Chris's summary of BigBlueButton

Our mission is to make BigBlueButton the best web conferencing system for distance education.

In his Web Master Dearborn Schools blog, Chris Kenniburg gave his assessment of our progress so far:
[BigBlueButton] is a video meeting/conferencing software package that is integrated with Moodle. ... It is a very complex program but the developers have made the user controls very simple. This is by far the best video/voice communication tool for Moodle.
Thanks Chris -- looks like we are on the right track.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Google Supports BigBlueButton

The BigBlueButton open source project has been accepted into the 2010 Google Summer of Code!

You can see us in the accepted list.

We're looking forward to working with the GSoC students to improve BigBlueButton. (Here the list of projects ideas that we submitted for the application.)

Let the coding begin!

Friday, March 12, 2010

We're Big in Russia

As BigBlueButton becomes localized into other languages, we see a huge spike in traffic from other countries.

Most folks in the chat session this morning are from Russia. Looks like we got covered in

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Free Technology For Teachers

Some good coverage of BigBlueButton in theFree Technology For Teachers blog -- though we tend to characterize the project as open source web conferencing as opposed to open source video conferencing.

Push the BigBlueButton

Thanks Betsy for the good words on BigBlueButton.

Yes the BigBlueButton developers do occasionally hang out on the demo server.

We find it an excellent way to interact with users and get direct feedback.

Our demo server has been busy

Here's a screen shot of activity this morning.

That's thirteen people from around the world logged into the server trying out BigBlueButton.


Nice Screen Shot

Here's a nice screen shot posted by a user of our demo server. (Link found on twitter.)

Friday, March 5, 2010

Chrome Extension

Jeremy Thomerson, from GenericConf has created a Chrome extension that you can use to test the BigBlueButton API. Really nice and lightweight. Should be very helpful to anyone integrating BigBlueButton with their platform. Are you integrating with BigBlueButton? Post a comment, we want to hear from you!

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Comment on BigBlueButton

Thanks jubiz for your comment.

Integrating with Sakai

Do you use Sakai? Adrian Fish is working on integrating BigBlueButton with the Sakai Collaboration and Learning Environment. See Adrain's post.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

It just works

See this recent blog post by the webmaster at Dearborn Schools on his experiences with using BigBlueButton.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

BigBlueButton is now listed on the Asterisk Exchange

Digium, the company behind Asterisk, has added a listing for BigBlueButton in their Asterisk Exchange (link). Asterisk is the open source PBX that powers the voice conferencing system in BigBlueButton.

The message to all companies using Asterisk: if you offering voice solutions using Asterisk, check out BigBlueButton and explore offering web conferencing solutions as well!

Friday, February 5, 2010


We're starting to look closer at the potential for HTML 5 provide as an option for BigBlueButton to provide rich multi-media interface in a pure HTML/Javascript environment.

While there will always be limitations in a new platform, and we know its early days, but HTML 5 is showing some promise for supporting the voice and video streams that would be needed for web conferencing. This is definitely worth investigating further.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

BigBlueButton 0.63 Released!

After about two weeks of testing and testing, BigBlueButton 0.63 is Released.

As with each release, you can download BigBlueButton as a fully working Virtual Machine that also doubles as a development environment.

We're very happy with this release. We had a number of external contributors help us, including Jeremy Thomerson, Xie Yan Qing, Chen Guangtao, and Jean-Philippe Guiot. Big Thanks to you guys -- we couldn't have shipped this without you.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Testing, Testing, Testing

We are getting close to the release of BigBlueButton 0.63. Is it just us, or does it take a solid week to test the software, test the upgrades, update documentation, write release notes, and create tutorial videos?

Come to think of it, I think we've been doing the above for about two weeks. I'm wondering if this time will shorten as we go on. My experiences suggests not. :-).

Saturday, January 23, 2010

A Twitter Post

These tweets really validate to us that we're headed in the right direction.

We're just finishing 0.63 -- Hope Daem0nX likes this release as well.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

On Twitter

Since a blog is more for substantive posts, we've started to tweet on some of the incremental updates to BigBlueButton.

You can follow our tweets at

Don't worry, you'll still get all the important news on BigBlueButton from this blog. However, if you want to know when we've added a language file for the Netherlands, for example, you'll probably see that in a tweet.