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Submission Summary: 0 pending, 7 declined, 3 accepted (10 total, 30.00% accepted)

Communications

+ - F/OSS Multipoint/Multiparty Video Conferencing

Submitted by
DarkSarin
DarkSarin writes "Okay, so I recently ran into an interesting problem. Given that solutions like iChat can seemlessly videoconference for multiple parties on the Mac, and that semi-commercial solutions like Oovoo (which recently left beta and is no longer free for more than 3-way calls), what solution do /. users recommend in terms of a F/OSS solution to a moderate-sized video-conference need that does not use a web-page and does not require hours of configuring a server. Think of it like this: iChat is insanely easy to use. Mebeam.com is also quite simple to use, but requires so much screen real estate that it can't be used in conjunction with any other software (and sometimes referring to other documents while in the middle of the conference is nice, but with out losing the reactions of the other participants — and not everyone has multiple monitors).

I am aware of projects like vmukti and services like ustream.tv, but I am think more in terms of a stand-alone application that is F/OSS (Ekiga/GnomeMeeting comes to mind, but it does not do multipoint video chat unless one also has access to an H.323 gateway, which is apparently non-trivial to implement, although if anyone knows of good documentation for quickly setting up a gateway, I'd be interested in seeing it, because it isn't readily apparent).

Having run through the range of options, I am completely surprised that with the prevalence of broadband connections (even my mother, who lives 10 miles from the nearest town of any size, has DSL, and she's in her 70's and rarely uses her computer) that a solid effort at making easy, painless multipoint videoconferencing for more than 3 or 4 (which seems to be the most that a lot of 'free' solutions offer, or even the low-cost ones) connections is completely missing.

So my question to /. is two fold: First, why isn't there a better effort at medium to large video conferencing that pretty much anyone can set up? Second, What applications do you know of that do work, that are free, open source or not, that support a minimum of 6 to 8 connected parties (I have a large family and many friends, why would I want to leave some of them out? And for work purposes, why be limited on how many people can connect?"

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