Jitsi, video conferencing made easy

Jitsi is an easy and simple video conferencing solution which can be self hosted. I refer here specifically to the product Jitsi Meet, comprising jitsi-videobridge and jicofo. It uses technologies such as webrtc and libjitsi. In this way, Jitsi offers an open source alternative to other video conferencing solutions, e.g. Google Hangouts or Skype. Jitsi is an open source community supported by the company Atlassian.

For companies that are still looking for a video conferencing solution, but are not too keen on “Skype for Business” or generally proprietary solutions, this is a practical and economical solution that should be considered.

Jitsi being a web-based solution, it is easily deployable and customers are able to contact you faster for conducting a meeting or a presentation.

Overview of interface

To start a video conference with Jitsi, simply type the name of the video conference after the URL, e.g. conference.example.com/brucewayneisbatman.

The conference room immediately opens in the browser. Alternatively, Jitsi has a start page with the option of opening a conference room. Here is the interface of a video conference.

The interface is comparable with Google Hangouts and therefore very familiar. On the left side is a bar. Various functions are offered here, such as

  • Chat
  • Protect your conference with a password
  • Profile picture (Gravatar is possible)
  • Hand signal (this signals that one wishes to say something)

Desktop sharing

In Firefox version 52 and higher versions, it is possible to share the desktop without using an extra plugin. To do that, perform the following setting in the configuration file (/etc/jitsi/meet/DOMAIN-config.js) on the server:

desktopSharingFirefoxDisabled: false,
desktopSharingFirefoxMaxVersionExtRequired: 51,

For the Chrome browser, it is necessary to build your own plugin first. Here are instructions for building the Chrome plugin. The plugin can then be installed on other clients via drag & drop.

Quick installation for Debian/Ubuntu

Want to start now? There you go!

$ wget -qO - https://download.jitsi.org/jitsi-key.gpg.key | sudo apt-key add -
$ sudo sh -c "echo 'deb https://download.jitsi.org stable/' > /etc/apt/sources.list.d/jitsi-stable.list"
$ sudo apt-get -y update
$ sudo apt-get -y install jitsi-meet

Current problems

In the test phase, it emerged that the connection with clients is sometimes aborted and it is then impossible to hold a conference. This was due to the automatic health check, which used all available file descriptors and didn’t clean them up properly. A description of the problem can be accessed on GitHub:

https://github.com/jitsi/jitsi-meet/issues/1231

The solution to fix this problem is to modify the following line in the file /etc/jitsi/jicofo/sip-communicator.properties to deactivate the health check:

org.jitsi.jicofo.HEALTH_CHECK_INTERVAL=-1

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