BigBlueButton joins the Open Invention Network (OIN) to help protect open source against patent trolls and patent aggression

Back in March of this year, BigBlueButton joined the Open Invention Network.

Here’s what Keith Bergelt, the CEO of OIN had to say:

“We are pleased to have BigBlueButton become an OIN licensee. With over 1300 members in the OIN community, BigBlueButton and other OIN licensees enjoy the support of a growing ecosystem that values freedom of action over patent litigation in Linux and open source technologies. As a community, we have collectively decided to take an active stand against unnecessary patent aggression.”

From the OIN website:

“Open Invention Network is an intellectual property company that was formed to promote Linux by using patents to create a collaborative environment. It promotes a positive, fertile ecosystem for Linux, which in turns drives innovation and choice in the global marketplace. This helps ensure the continuation of innovation that has benefited software vendors, customers, emerging markets and investors.”

With investment from some of the best-known companies in the technology sector, including, Google, IBM, NEC, Philips, Red Hat, Sony, and SUSE, OIN has the backing and resources to succeed. There are many different parts and programs, and three areas are particularly exciting for us at BigBlueButton:

1. The OIN defensive patent pool holds more than 950 global patents and patent applications to discourage legal threats against Linux and Linux-related open source software applications. By signing the OIN license agreement, BigBlueButton gets royalty-free access to this pool and cross licensing of Linux System patents between OIN community members. This includes much of the innovative work from the early days of web conferencing and collaborative groupware created by companies such as Contigo, Raindance and others. BigBlueButton also commits to not asserting patents against the open source community.

The OIN patent pool is especially useful in privateering situations, where a patent troll (with no assets or operations other than patent litigation) is owned by an operating company with products, customers, and an operating business. OIN patents could be asserted against the operations of the parent company or its other subsidiaries, levelling the playing field against a troll.

2. Linux Defenders is a program designed to eliminate poor quality patents and ensure that only high-quality patents issue. It includes a growing library of “defensive publications” and a database of technical documents and other prior art contributions that can be used to inform patent examiners and reviewers. Patents that are obvious or “anticipated” are less likely to be granted, and more likely to be defeated when challenged. An OIN member threated by a patent troll could use Linux Defenders to slow or block new patent applications by the troll.

3. Finally, OIN has a history of getting involved in patent matters that benefit the larger open source community — by addressing weak or overly-broad patents, acquiring critical patents, supporting defensive publications, and investing strategically where broader principles are involved or multiple projects are threatened.

Collectively, these programs foster a positive collaborative environment for open source software and limit the negative effects of patent-based challenges by companies antagonistic to open source innovation.

BigBlueButton stands together with the OIN community to protect open source against threats. For more information about the Open Invention Network, its goals and activities, and how your organization can join, we recommend the OIN website ( and an excellent article by Deb Nicholson, the OIN Director of Community Outreach, in the Technology Innovation Management Review.

Developer Summit V: Porto Alegre, Brazil

The BigBlueButton developers recently met in Porto Alegre, Brazil for the fifth BigBlueButton Developer Summit in three years.  The team worked together on accelerating and coordinating the development of BigBlueButton core and HTML5 client. The participants included

  • Alexandre Kreismann
  • Anton Georgiev
  • Calvin Walton
  • Chad Pilkey
  • Danny Perrone
  • Felipe Cecagno
  • Fernando Bottin
  • Fred Dixon
  • Leonardo Crauss Daronco
  • Lucas Zawacki
  • Mario Gasparoni
  • Mateus Dalepiane
  • Maxim Khlobystov
  • Pedro Marin
  • Richard Alam
  • Thiago Borges de Oliveira
  • Tiago Jacobs

At the end of five days — and after many development sprints, lots of collaboration, and a large amount of great Brazilian food — the team made three presentations to the BigBlueButton community.  Click on the images below to watch the presentation (recorded using BigBlueButton of course!).


BigBlueButton Project Overview (27 minutes)


HTML Client Update (24 minutes)


Mobile Client Update (11 minutes)

We especially want to thank Blindside Networks for covering the costs of the summit and for the Mconf project for hosting this summit in Brazil.  Many of the developers from the Mconf team joined us for the week and helped accelerate the improvements to BigBlueButton.  At one point, we had almost seventeen developers working together.  Overall, it was our best summit yet!  Again, check out the above recordings for more details of the week’s activities.

The next BigBlueButton Developer Summit is planned for May 2015 in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada.

BigBlueButton 0.9.0-beta now available

We are pleased to announce the availability of BigBlueButton 0.9.0-beta.  Our goals for this release were

  1. to give Teachers more control over the recording during the class,
  2. to improve the overall quality of audio, and
  3. to increase the likelihood that users enter with a functioning microphone.

To achieve these goals, we implemented the following major new features:

  • Start/Stop Button for Recording — Moderators can now mark segments of the class for later playback.
  • Improved Audio using WebRTC — BigBlueButton now takes advantage of the web real-time communications (WebRTC) framework built into FireFox and Chrome to give users higher quality, lower latency audio.
  • Microphone Check — BigBlueButton now gives every user a chance to check their microphone before entering the session, ensuring when they enter the session they are ready to participate.
  • Listen Only Mode — Users without a microphone can join audio in ‘Listen Only’ mode. In this mode, BigBlueButton displays a speaker icon next to their name letting everyone know they can hear (but not speak).


Here are some screen shots of the new Start/Stop button for managing the recording of the session.


Here is a screen shot of the new audio chooser.



We have three new videos for this release.


  • Setting Up Audio – A video showing how to connect, configure, and test your microphone with BigBlueButton 0.9.0-beta.
  • Viewer Overview – A video showing how to use BigBlueButton as a student.
  • Moderator/Presenter Overview – A video showing how to present a lecture with BigBlueButton and moderate others.

We wish to thank the following organizations for their contributions towards this release:

  • Blindside Networks — Core development, documentation, QA, and release management
  • Seneca College — Client development
  • Mconf — Listen Only audio
  • iMDT — Lock Settings
  • SpeakServe — Client development
  • HostBBB — Testing

We wish to thank the BigBlueButton Committers for this release:

  • Richard Alam – Lead Architect
  • Felipe Cecagno – Client
  • Fred Dixon – Project Manager
  • Tiago Jacobs – red5
  • Chad Pilkey – Client
  • Gustavo Salazar – Server

We wish to thank the members of the BigBlueButton community that helped localize this version.  At the time of this post, we have over 95% of the language strings localized for Albanian, Armenian, Bulgarian, Estonian, French, German, Hungarian, Italian, Norwegian, Polish, Portuguese, Russian, Spanish, Ukrainian, and Welsh.

We have been developing BigBlueButton 0.9.0-beta for almost eleven months.  Our demo server has been running builds of 0.9.0-beta for the past two months.  In addition, our developer community has been using and giving feedback on BigBlueButton 0.9.0-beta for over six weeks.  The core of the product is looking solid. We’re now working on finishing the localization, documentation, accessibility, and documentation in preparation for the release of 0.9.0.

If your an administrator of a learning management system looking for a synchronous, web-conferencing system designed for on-line learning, we encourage you to try out BigBlueButton 0.9.0-beta.  You’ll find the new WebRTC-based audio a big improvement.  Technically, it’s 48 Khz audio encoded in OPUS transmitted in UDP.  From the user’s perspective, it just sounds great.

We believe that every student with a web browser should have access to a high quality, on-line learning experience.  This release is a significant step towards realizing that goal.

You can try out the release on our demo server at

For more information on this release, see:

New tutorial videos for desktop sharing on Mac OS X

The recent updates to Safari and FireFox on Mac OS X have introduced more security checkes for running Java applets. These checks appear as dialog boxes to the user when starting and stopping BigBlueButton’s desktop sharing.

To help presenters use desktop sharing on Mac OS X, we’ve crated two new tutorial videos:

These videos are added to the gallery of BigBlueButton Tutorial Videos.

iMoot 2014 using BigBlueButton

The global online Moodle conference iMoot 2014, 15 – 19 May 2014, is underway will be using BigBlueButton for all sessions.  It’s running 24 hours a day for the next four days.

Here’s a screen shot from the keynote address.