Many of the services we use because they are easy to use. And for many of these services, their owners have bad intentions and we know it – but we want what they’re offering and we don’t know a good alternative.
I’ve written about this in my Leaving the GAFAMily post, and in a few others. The latest issue, in this crazy virus-y world, is video conferencing. Enter Zoom.
You don’t have to look hard to find articles about their bad practices. Best case: they value money over people. Worst case: they actively support an oppressive regime far outside of its national borders.
The CEO (of a tech company) makes claims like “We can’t identify the free users” in order to provide end-to-end Encryption (E2EE). And when they ban accounts at the whim of a certain government who likes to run over people with tanks they claim it’s because they can’t block specific people from joining a room. So, they are able to build a very advanced video conferencing infrastructure, but they get stuck on the basics? I think the alternative is more likely: they are bowing to pressure or being greedy.
I don’t know about you, but I cannot accept either of these
So, what then? JITSI!
Who are they? To be honest, I don’t really know. But in a way – I don’t need to know. You can of course use the service hosted by them: https://meet.jit.si/ , or you can host your own!
I’ve written before about setting up my Nethserver, and it’s still going great. It was relatively simple to set up my own Jitsi on it. I documented the steps in their community forums.
Using my server that costs about $10 a month that is already hosting my e-mail, files, chat, etc. I am able to use Jitsi without issues. So far I’ve only tried 6 concurrent users and it hasn’t flinched. If I do need to have a really big meeting I can easily scale my VM for a couple days (or hours) for less than a dollar.
In short, Jitsi is my alternative for Zoom.
You might be asking: Why not Nextcloud Talk? Honestly? Because it’s video capabilities are terrible. It’s great for chat, linking files, and even a video call for just two people. But beyond 2 people it completely falls on its face.