OPEN 2020 planning

Some info about opportunity to host OPEN 2020 and use the event as a case study for

From our 21 May 2020 meeting:

  • oli (on open call): 50-60 ppl (prev 300-400 conferences), breakout into small rooms, multiple rooms running…
  • one-to-multi vs. multi-to-multi, oli prefers multi-to-multi use

In email, Oli also mentioned possibility of OBS integration.

The event is happening on June 11-12.

Here’s a summary of conversations with Oli about hosting OPEN 2020
OpenCoop becomes founding member with a committed contribution of 500€ and possibly more when ticket sales allows; and they’ll contribute to sales and marketing of YEAH! :grinning:

On the expected Format (my suggestions/questions with Oli’s replies):
– Some formats could be recommended, but please give us inputs on what you are expecting / wishing to see:

  • a plenary session with few concurrent cams streaming and many people viewing and listening. Just as an indication: 8 people with cams on and 200 viewers has a similar impact on the machine as 16 cams on with 100 viewers.
    • Plans are still evolving but the current schedule looks something like:
      Plenary / intro: as you describe, a few people presenting, most viewing
      (Although we may also use this session to test how many cams the setup can take!)
    • Then, a series of 1.5 hour sessions with a few presenters and breakout rooms, over the 2 days
    • And a “Sum up” where we gather feedback and plan a way forward

All sessions should be recorded.

Ideally, we would like to have an un-planned “networking” space running in parallel to the above - where people can go to hang out / chat with whoever else they like - will this be possible?

– run parallel workshops (in case break-out sessions are to rigid a model)

This has also been requested. Is there any limit on the number of ‘rooms’ which we can run in parallel?

How would these work? i.e. Does an Admin need to ‘create’ them? In Advance / can these be done ‘on the fly’?

How many parallel workshops would you want to run?

Not more that 3 or 4, I think

    • test early June: what would the Open2020 team expect or require to make a go/no-go decision?

I think we will need a test drive of the Admin side at least 1 week prior to the event
And some reassurance about the number of people we can accommodate, but I think what you have said above is enough i.e. it WILL work for at least 200 people, but many of them will have to turn cameras off…
Thomas, anything else?

    • do you expect to have “ticket sales” and if so, how’s do you imagine that to work.

Yes - we are planning to sell tickets via Open Collective
So we would need a way to “import” ticket holders, or to email them a unique code or something
I think your option C below sounds best - but am not sure exactly what that would entail?

Some options that occur to me now: a) use a “room access code” on the meeting room(s), but the risk is that that can be easily shared; b) configure the room(s) to force moderator approval before participation; c) our plan is to open up open account registration, which means that participants could register an account if they want to, but we could consider to keep require approval until Open2020.

    • prepare host accounts of the Open2020 team
    • together with the Open2020 team set up the necessary rooms and rehearse logistics

Great - yes, as mentioned above if we could do this at least 1 week before the 11th it would be good

    • be prepared during the 11th and 12th with DevOps to provide urgent support in case needed and participate in the event :wink:


Ideally, we would like to have an un-planned “networking” space running in parallel to the above - where people can go to hang out / chat with whoever else they like - will this be possible?

Check out

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Online town looks like a place to explore, thanks. One immediate limitation - works only with a keybord, not touch screen.

There’s too, which is more elaborate, and charges a fee.

@chris has been working on automating the BBB deployment, @decentral1se has made a fork of GreenLight (the user interface to manage users and rooms) that is now integrated into the BBB deployment (repos). They have set up a Development server that we can use for testing these days. That’s really wonderful!

So the OPEN2020 team can register an account (at and we’ll make sure you get the necessary admin privileges (including managing rooms and managing other users). Furthermore I created a user role “hosts” that can be used for people needing to open rooms, but without the privilege to manage other users.

If you can register and make sure the team checks out the intro tutorials, we can do an online meeting to check and discuss further details.


I was wondering if the Open 2020 people might want to have the server set to be invite only for for account creation for their event so they can limit access to ticket holders?

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yes please - I think from our discussions this morning we determined ‘invite only’ will best

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These are the main sticking points we think need addressing to make BBB viable for OPEN 2020:

  • Removing the need to allow camera, mic and do the echo test on joining, entry to breakout rooms and when re-joining the main room again
  • Enabling more than 8 breakout rooms
  • Several elements related to the ‘display’ issue:
    • A way that the presenter (or Admin) can turn off the whiteboard for everyone
    • Allow the presenter make the presentation full screen for everyone
    • Allow full screen Speaker view

We will also want to have our own custom message at the top of the chat - will fwd text for that, if you can let me know who can do this for us?

There may be more issues as we test more - but these are the big ones for now…
Unless other people have more!?


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I have one more. When a person enters BBB the screen looks very complex - four separate fields of stuff in view. This is in strong contrast to Zoom, where the default view is just the faces of participants. Which is kinda what you want to see?

Can the default view be altered, to be zoom-like? As simple as possible.

Perhaps this is another version of the ‘push layouts’ issue? Whatever . . it would help folks get acclimatised to BBB. Took me a whole sesssion to learn to switch things off, first time in BBB! And still takes up attention.

Oh, and one more . . it’s a pain in the butt to have to tell the system FOUR times that, yes, you can use my camera. Could this be reduced to a single click?

I have opened this issue for now for these problems:

Hey folks, just to follow up on these sticking points.

@Yurko has done a solid investigation and the ability to disable multiple mic tests is coming in the following release. It is quite involved to back-port this into our current setup, so we’re hoping this can be OK for now. We’ll be waiting for the following release.

@chrisc identified that this limitation is due to an underlying technology and cannot be configured at this time. There is a potential work-around proposed by @Yurko. Again, we’d wait for the following release.

I see that we can change the default room text, this would work? If you want to DM me the text, I can set this up.

Customisations like these are quite wide sweeping. It does seem like there is a facility to configure the web client (see these docs) but it is unclear whether we can do these specific things. It may be useful to start a new issue with the upstream development team to get the ball rolling:

We are hoping that these issues can be temporarily worked-around with facilitation and guidance from the room organisers!

I think, if all users need to make 8 to 10 clicks to enter the space and enable their camera and mic every time we do a breakout session…

and we can not enable more than 8 breakout rooms

and the views issues remain…

Then the platform is not really fit for our needs…

Do you know when the new release might happen?
Do you think this will be before next week Thursday?
If not I think we may have to head back to using zoom :frowning:

I do not want to go back into the arms of zoom :frowning_face: but like @osb my experience of BBB sessions right now is too klunky to risk the UX of our conference participants, and the success of our sessions. I guess our requirements for multiple breakouts are quite stringent. And we must plan for large sessions.

I do hope there is more leeway than @decentral1se implied. But as facilitators our Open2020 team will need very soon to settle on the environment that will be used live in six days from now, so we can rehearse our act.

This is a tactical crunch - it doesn’t affect my support for the project, which I believe is significant.

a few more questions RE BBB:

  1. Is the test server we are on now (e.g. my room/s at ) going to be where we will be hosting the event (if we use BBB) or will it be a new URL / different server? if different, when will we have access to this?

  2. Is there a way to have more than 1 main Admin - i.e. people with permissions to present AND move people into breakout rooms ?

  1. is there a way to download the video recordings? I can see how to email a link but not to download

I can appreciate the UI changes suggested, but understand that several of them won’t be easily solved in the coming few days. Let us see what we can accomplish all together.

On the side of facilitation of the users, how would this scenario look:

  • have the plenary room configured to have users join as Listeners: it’s the quickest way to tune into the session from any device (this morning I logged into a meeting at demo over gprs and could listen well, imagine)
  • at opening of the day and at some other moments during the conf we have a instruction moment, with a quick explanation of how people can activate their mike, webcam (but not all at once please if a large crowd), how one can play with the view, with webcams only, or select one cam to be bigger, with/without whiteboard, polls, and when presenters/moderators activate collective writing on the whiteboard how that works…

it will be different, at the main server that Chris is now getting access to deploy the same exact software. We’ll quickly invite you to register again. The machine will be basically all yours.

Yes sure, when configuring a room you can share access with other registered users. Did you try that?

I don’t think a major BigBlueButton version will be out for a while (there isn’t a alpha release yet and after that there would be release candidate versions, 2.0.0 came out on 8th April 2019 after 12 RC versions), I anticipate that for this year we will probably we will be on 2.2.x versions. Have a browse of the releases here to get an idea of the rate of releases and what is getting fixed with each version.

It is slightly annoying that a session cookie isn’t set to indicate that the mic and speakers are working after one audio test and that you have to click a few time between rooms, but as has been said above there isn’t an easy fix for this, but as people get used it perhaps it won’t be too bad? It will probably reduce the number of people joining rooms and reporting their issues to everyone — the point of it is to allow users to check that everything is working before they join a meeting.

Regarding the breakout room limit, this is based on some underlying tech that limits the number of rooms to 8. Were you thinking or running all the sessions in breakout rooms — is this why it is an issue? I’d suggest creating as many rooms as you expect to have sessions running in parallel and then put the URL of each meeting room on the agenda, each of these rooms can have 8 break out rooms and if more are needed create some additional rooms to host breakout rooms in advance?

Set the main rooms to only be open to authenticated users and this, combined with people needing to buy a ticket in order to have an account, will mean that anyone trying to “Zoom bomb” a meeting will first need to buy a ticket and once they have had their access revoked after misbehaving would need to buy another… hopefully this will be enough…

I think having a public page on which people have the whole agenda and links to all the session rooms, informal chat hang-out type rooms and plenary rooms, in advance, would really help, it should allow people to bookmark the agenda and then flit between rooms fairly easily without getting lost.

I appreciate that rehearsals and testing is needed in advance and that time is tight.

The dev server, is set to invite only and you can use this for testing as much as you like.

The demo server, is open for anyone to have a play on it — I’d suggest, if you decide to use for the event, that you let everybody who has a ticket, plus people you want to encourage to buy tickets, know that they can test BigBlueButton in advance using this server.

However note that and might well be down on occasions, for very short periods, as we test things and do upgrades.

We do now have the production server up and running, and and will redirect here when it is ready. I hope to have it ready for Monday. There are quite a few things that need doing first and I expect I’ll be doing 12 hour days on Saturday and Sunday to sort everything out, first we need to sort out the disk partitions.

As soon as we are confident that the server is ready we will let you have admin accounts on it to set things up.

I believe that @decentral1se has fixed the recordings issue and also the conversion of the recording into .mp4 format, so downloads will be available.

I appreciate that what we are offering isn’t the corporate service that people might have become accustomed to during lockdown.

This is an experiment to try to build something new, we are making it up as we go along, the best we can, with a belief that a better world is possible, there will be hiccups on the way but I’m quietly confident that we might pull this one off, but it is going to take a lot of work and we are still at the start of the journey.

I think it would benefit and if we undertake this journey together, on the understanding that we are breaking new ground and we might falter on the way, but we are both heading in the same direction and the journey might be perhaps a little harder, but more exciting and quicker if we take some short cuts together and ride the crest of the wave rather than waiting for other pioneers and following in their wake.

I hope you do decide to use for Open 2020, I know we are going to get very little sleep for the next week if you do, but I think it’ll be worth it.


Definitely recommend this:

Facilitating large calls is really difficult, and putting people into breakouts makes everything a lot more confusing.

I was in a 100+ people Zoom call once, and then we broke out into 8 rooms, except they didn’t have enough room licenses so once a new room got created, some rooms got shut down. I was in one of those rooms so my session ended. Then there isn’t an agenda where I can go straight back to the room I want to be in, so I just left.

In my call with Diego today, for the Dat event, we talked about the 8 breakout limit too. They are planning to pre-create room links on a website, there will never be attempts to split to > 8 breakouts.

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