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What Is Open Source Video Conferencing?

By Jean Marie Asta
Updated May 16, 2024
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Video conferencing is cost-effective and has become a common alternative to face-to-face conferences. Open source video conferencing is a practice in which open source material — freely available, original software that can be redistributed and possibly modified — is used to conduct video conferencing. A standard video conference is supported by a platform that includes a graphical user interface. The format of this interface generally allows the conference hosts and participants to control things like the initial configuration, any cameras, and transmission of data across a network. Open source video conferencing can be used for a wide variety of interactions, including meetings, classroom lessons, and presentations.

Generally, open source video conferencing software can be downloaded over the internet and can be used for presentations or meetings in which all users cannot meet in person. Open source video conferencing software can be found on many websites on the Internet. The benefit of downloading open source material is that it is generally free.

Like closed source video conferencing software, open source video conferencing software may also allow users to have defined roles, with each role having limited actions and responsibilities. For instance, some open source video conferencing software has a “viewer” or “student” role, in which the user who has this role has no control over the presentation but can view the presentation and chat with others. The “moderator” or “teacher” role, on the other hand, may include actions like being able to share a presentation and upload certain files.

Conducting open source video conferencing requires access to appropriate equipment. The first thing a user needs is a good quality webcam to connect to a computer. Having a reliable Internet connection and sufficient bandwidth is also essential to successful video conferencing. In determining which type of conferencing tool to use, its wise to think about the number of streaming feeds it allows, as well as whether it has text-chat, file transfer and session recording features. Another consideration is how much software conference participants need to download to a computer for use.

Software that is open source, including video conferencing software, can be licensed to be redistributed. The creators of the software can also choose to have the software licensed to be modified or not upon redistribution. Two elements that must be followed to have software licensed include a notice of copyright and a copying permission statement. These two elements are usually found in text somewhere in the software user agreement and are required for licensing.

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