Sustainability for BigBlueButton

Date of publication

Can you still remember? Back in the spring of 2020? It affected us emotionally, too. Technically, we were already prepared as a remote company. In our post of 13 March 2020, we quickly introduced BigBlueButton. In a hurry, because we needed immediate solutions in the crisis. Solutions that support digital sovereignty because they are self-hostable and configurable in a data protection-friendly way.

Since then, we have been able to acquire great new clients: Schools, institutions, administrations, small and medium-sized enterprises and some solopreneurs. We have converted the associations in which we are active to BBB. And we now only operate BigBlueButton in scalable clusters. On systems provided by us or via our "bring your own server" offer.

With the power of the BBB community

Getting into the depths of BigBlueButton clearly takes a lifetime. So it was a relief that over time there were more and more interested people who shared their experiences with this programme and became increasingly professional in the process.

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BigBlueButton

BigBlueButton Logo

Thus a strong BBB community was formed in Germany. It organised itself via two regular regulars' tables or meetups and also came together on its own matrix chat channel, via mailing lists and at meetings in the issue queue from the project itself. Without these common communication channels, we would never have been able to raise the use of BigBlueButton to the qualitative level that has accompanied us for more than a year - and continues to challenge us to optimise it.

On the way to the BBB European Association

At the beginning of 2021, Stefan Basisbit asked us if we wanted to found a BBB association with him and other users. The aim is to network the community on a European level and to transfer the communication channels initiated by individual community members to a legal entity so that we are no longer dependent on the energy of individuals.

In an astonishingly short period of time, we were able to complete the relevant matters for the foundation and constitute the European BigBlueButton Association (eBBBa for short) on 13 April 2021. The official "accolade" of the Canadian BigBlueButton Inc. was given to eBBBa in June at the BigBlueButton World 2021 in the talks by Fred Dixon and Steven Muegge.

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eBBBa - European BigBlueButton Association

eBBBa Logo

The eBBBa association is still waiting for the paperwork to be completed. However, the tasks at hand cannot wait until then. We have already put the current topics - divided into working groups - on the website. https://www.ebbba.org/working-groups/ If you would like to support us, please get in touch with the contact addresses given there.

We actively promote the BBB Ansible role

As a first urgent measure, eBBBa has taken responsibility for the official BBB Ansible role. Ansible is a software tool that - similar to a cooking recipe - completes systems with the same ingredients each time: While in the beginning we had to set up the BBB instances laboriously one by one each time, we can now automate configurations and reproduce setups.

The Ansible application is based on the previous contributions of the developer N0emis for BBB 2.2 and is now being continued in a lead role by our colleague Elias Hackradt for BBB 2.3. He has managed to gather 30+ more contributors in the official repository, bringing in the insights of many knowledgeable people. Dark magic from 2020 ("I'm surprised this works at all.") is being replaced by structured, reproducible setups. Thank you, GzEvD, for funding this engagement for Elias!

Online conferences are here to stay

That BigBlueButton was a reliable companion during the past pandemic months is shown by the numbers of daily users in the survey of friendly BBB admins. 1,000,000 people, in Germany alone.

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BigBlueButton room participants Screenshot

BigBlueButton room participants Screenshot

And although we have all long since felt a certain fatigue with the topic of web conferences and wish we could meet "for real" again: The past 15 months have shown us that video meetings are - and will remain - an integral part of our communication mix.

If you still use or need to use Zoom, WebEx, Teams or other proprietary software, talk to us about switching. If you can provide your own capacity & know-how, give BigBlueButton a real chance and use the Ansible role. Self-responsibility has definitely become a bit easier!

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DeepL is a deep learning company that develops AI systems for languages. The company, based in Cologne, Germany, was founded in 2009 as Linguee, and introduced the first internet search engine for translations. Linguee has answered over 10 billion queries from more than 1 billion users.

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Stephan Luckow

Stephan is an open source evangelist and constantly curious about technologies. Thematically, his blog posts can best be summarised as "curiosity satisfied".