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Wednesday, November 03, 2010

BigBlueButton releases 0.71 beta, enhances VoIP

Group of software developers under the auspices of BigBlueButton have released the 0.71 beta version of this open source web conferencing for distance education.

According to the group, they are getting close to finishing the development of BigBlueButton 0.71, which is refer hereafter as 0.71-beta, an indication that it’s not fully released yet.

While soliciting the support of users for feedback, the BigBlueButton developers said their goal at the moment is to check out the obvious and not so obvious bugs in BigBlueButton 0.71-beta so as to enable them launch the broader testing.

“We can soon move to broader testing. Our plan for testing 0.71-beta will proceed in stages,” they said.

These, they also said, would include installation of 0.71-beta on devtest.bigbluebutton.org for limited testing; installation of 0.71-beta on demo.bigbluebutton.org for broader testing before its release on Virtual Machine (VM) for download and testing.

A virtual machine (VM) is a software implementation of a machine that is a computer that executes instructions like a physical machine.

Additionally, the BigBlueButton developers group indicated that they would release the 0.71-beta Ubuntu packages for local installation and testing.

They also urged that users, who found any bug, should use the issue tracker to submit a short description along with the steps to reproduce it.

“We recognize that some bugs are not deterministic, but if you can provide steps, it greatly assists us in quickly fixing the bugs. We’ll watch the issue list closely and use it, along with the feedback in bigbluebutton-dev gauge our progress through the above stages,” they said.

On what is new, the developers noted that the list is not complete, but pointed out that it practically reduces audio lag with Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP).

“This was the bulk of our effort for 0.71. We improved the algorithms to handle audio packets coming to and from the BigBlueButton server. You should experience less audio lag using VoIP when compared to 0.70,” part of the announcement stated.

BigBlueButton 0.71, they said, now supports FreeSWITCH as a voice conference server. This enables the BigBlueButton client to transmit either wide-band on 16 Kilo Hertz (KHz) speex or nellymoser voice codec.

“In our testing so far, we found that nellymoser scales better and will remain the default voice codec in BigBlueButton,” he said.

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