Which one is the best? Open source web conference softwares.

In these days of the pandemic, which is the middle of 2020 for our late readers, web conference solutions has gained traction like never before. Remote conferences started a new page of communication and collaboration. Gone are the days of budgeting in meetings into your busy schedule, travelling to attend those meetings, and if it is far enough, booking a hotel. Now, they are fast, instantly available on demand, and (mostly) free. As more and more people discover their value, their impact only grows. It appears, they are here to stay. 

However, this sudden prodigious increase, means that we are yet to find a golden standard. There are hundreds of options out there, and finding out which one is the best for you is often harder than starting your first meeting. Below, I’ve gathered a few of the open source solutions and compared them, in hopes of helping you find your match.

Of course, out of the hundreds, I can only examine so much. Here, you can find a brief foray into a few of the most prominent open source softwares.

Wire

 Wire is a solution that puts security first. Each message is individually encrypted back and front, and its security is publicly audited by independent experts. It’s user interface has been awarded Capterra Best Ease of Use award. It’s neat, sleek and intuitive. However, as per usual, neatness has a cost. If what I’ve said so far appeals to you, go ahead. It’s by no means a bad piece of software. However, in regards to integrations, you are unfortunately limited. There is not much you can change with Wire between one installation to another. Also, it comes with a (very affordable) price tag of 5.83$ per user, unless you compile it from your own servers. 
 

Big Blue Button

Big Blue Button is an education tool at heart. It offers tools like whiteboards, hand-raising and break-out rooms. If you are looking for a tool to integrate into your LMS system, give consideration to Big Blue Button. However, in my personal experience, I had issues with the way it handles things. If you wanted to record a meeting, you have to check a little box called “make conference recordable”. If you didn’t, and later decided to record, you will have to disband the conference and roll up a brand new one, I’m afraid. Also, it’s interface is a bit, shall we say, dated and cutting edge implementations like background blurring are comparatively underdeveloped. 

Jitsi

 Jitsi is a brilliant piece of open source work. It lacks some features like break-out rooms as of yet, but its active development community is hard at work. It’s modular structure enables you to easily scale your operation to any size you might need, add in features with ease and change almost anything to your wish. Unfortunately, all this means you will have to get your hands dirty if you want to customize your setup. Jitsi lacks entirely any sort of configuration interface, and all changes are made through the internal files. But the developer community over on their forums provide a vast amount of resources to help you do just that. 

Wire

  • Amazing security
  • Easy to use interface
  • Quick installation
  • Not very flexible
  • 3rd party integrations are limited
  • Waiting times can get tiring

Big Blue Button

  • Good amount of tools
  • Integrates seamlessly with Canvas LMS
  • Customizable
  • Somewhat outdated
  • Hard to find resources
  • Focus on education

Jitsi

  • Impressive flexibility
  • Great Community Support
  • Reliable & Scalable Architecture
  • Abundant resources
  • Requires some knowledge of coding
  • Still developing

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