Stuff here is in english to allow international participation. Conventions used:
- presenter: person giving the remote talk, the „speaker“
- moderator: person at the event who provides the system to show the talk
27C3 and related events sometimes allow remote talks. This usually means just someone giving his/her talk by skype and using the desktop sharing function to actually show something. The moderator calls the presenter by skype, the presenter shares his desktop and that is basically it. Depending on the presenters screen setup, the moderator can give him/her clues via skype chat.
On 27c3, shackspace became a peace mission (places where you could hang out to watch talks streamed from congress) and one talk was given. Worked well beside certain glitches. But the question arouse if there is an open source alternative to skype that could be used for talks. Which leads to this page here.
Finding software to test. It seems to boil down to certain different setups:
- full blown web-based conferencing/classroom software
- jabber-client with additional voice- video- desktopsharing-capabilities
- simple remote desktop sharing software, using something else for voice/video/chat
Software to test
- BigBlueButton: nifty classroom/conferencing software
- requires a server everyone can reach
- uses a low quality voice code
- may be fixable
- Empathy. Voice-/Chat-client with desktop sharing
- really simple setup, but linux only.
- Ekiga. voice-/chat-client
- supposedly may be able to share desktops. Linux/Windows.
- client sometimes not stable
- Gitso. Small program to setup VNC desktop sharing. Windows, Linux.
- requires another program to do voice/chat
- Mumble voice-system
- provides better management than just a contact list
- however is voice only, could be used in conjunction with gitso
- psi. jabber client
- supposedly there are some plugins which do voice?
Since talks are usually public, and event networks usually are dismantled when the event is over, not much thought is going into thinking about the security of the software :)
- What requirements are there for the software?
- should be free
- should still be maintained, so it is worth promoting
- should run on multiple operating systems, if feasible
- simple and easy to use for the presenter
- give the moderator some control over presenters
In general, the presenter should'nt be forced through many hoops to setup the software. It should also only require a reasonable amount of work to maintain by the event people and their networking folks. What should be avoided at all costs is that people at the event have to code stuff for this to work.
- What is the fallback?
- skype or teamviewer
Both are closed source projects. But a presenter shouldn't be excluded if for some reason the software we want to use doesn't work for him/her. Using them also means minimal hassle for the moderator.
Things already known
Stuff needed for presenters (folks giving remote talks)
Hopefully you won't need much, your system, the software up and running and internet. That should be it.
- non-glitchy computer
check if your system will run video/audio/desktop sharing well before the talk. There's no time to troubleshoot when you're in the queue to give your talk. Contact someone at the event to try out stuff with you well before your talk.
- good internet connection OR connection you have control over
There's usually no problem when you connect from your room/flat and so on, as you can make sure to have enough bandwidth. However, if you're sharing your connection with others, as from a hackerspace or so on, other clients running streams might either increase your latency to the moderator (you'll lag) or even eat up bandwidth so your quality will suffer.
You don't need to be good with networking shit, and won't use any hacker-cred if you're not. Just have your networking people contact the networking people at the event if you expect problems beforehand.
- someone who can help out during your talk
When you give the talk, you'll be busy - someone else should watch the chat with the presenter, or even the live stream if there's one. He/she can give you clues if something isn't right (speed up/slow down/check mic). Doing your talk and watching chat the whole time might not be everyones cup of tea.
- headset or nice, silent room
unless the software we „choose“ is really good with handling microphone-input, you should use a headset if you're in a room with low background noise. A good headset also helps to shield yourself from background noise - people talking can be really confusing when you try to be meaningful.
Stuff needed for moderators
- system set up with the software and maybe skype as a fallback
That's obvious, ain't it.
- good networking
If at all possible, the system of the moderator should have some bandwidth reserved for it, a dedicated line or something to make sure it always has enough bandwidth/low latency to for desktop sharing and video/audio calls to presenters. Maybe a way to protect it from shenannings in the event network :)
- someone supporting the moderator
If feasible, someone should be in chat with other presenters to see who is there, tell people how it is going and assist the moderator with „presenter queque management“. The moderator will usually be able to talk/chat with one presenter at a time, and be busy during a running talk.