Even disregarding the malware-like behavior of its installer and the ongoing security issues, I've never had a satisfactory experience with Zoom. It's particularly bad for conferences with lots of people - the audio quality is choppy and often unintelligible, and often the audio will just cut out entirely after a couple of minutes. Moreover, the video and screen sharing features don't seem to work reliably either.
I've had drastically better experiences with basically any other system: Google, Microsoft, Cisco/Webex, Gotomeeting.... all seem to actually work. I haven't tried Apple's group facetime but they'd have to work pretty hard to make it worse than Zoom.
Most important, it's ease of use (precisely due to their malware like installer behaviour among other things) and thoughtfulness (as creepy as it might be) makes it the most "reliable" service for most and hence you see it's success. You are not left fiddling with installers and multistep protocols just to get into a video call.
It's not even clear to me they're being genuinely unscrupulous anyway. This is like not trusting the government when they do mass surveillance but more benign. The majority of the population has decided they are not worried about it, right or wrong, they just want to get on with their life.
Keep complaining for sure, we need dissent, but don't argue that Zoom isn't good at what it does, the only argument might be that it's practices aren't ethical. You choose to use the web application it's your choice not theirs.
Unfortunately I don't trust Zoom's native app, and I don't want to reboot into Windows, though I guess I could make a "Zoom VM" or something. ;-(
Moreover, Zoom-based conferences that I've attended have been plagued by audio issues that have rendered the remote presentations largely unintelligible, even using a Windows client.
In any case, I've usually solved the issue by using anything other than Zoom when I have the choice.
It seems that people have had a multitude of experiences, and there are no clear winners.
I can see this being really useful for many different types of chats and groups.
I am needing to replace an old chat system soon, and may kick the tires with pushing this to some users for testing, but first:
Is the ip addy of the users sending and receiving - so it's easily discoverable or is it possible to make this use an intermediary server like a STUN/TURN kind of thing?
Sadly with some of our members, they will do anything to snatch another user's ip addy and use that for blackmail and hacking - so we need to make sure we can hide it.
Moderation - is there an admin level for users that we can give access to see other participants ip addys and option to kick / ban / block ip addy, certain usernames, ip subnets, CIDR notation, ASNs / etc. ?
Some problematice people have caused us to ban and block over a few million ip addys to slow down their returning to troll.. if we can't easily see and block ips we won't be able to use it for our public groups.
But I can see how this is really cool for small groups that know and trust each other, really like the thoughts of use going here in this post.
This is pretty interesting all by itself. How does this work?
1 type - the jealous 'friend' who wants to be more. Another is the [insert superhero term here] - that stands up to [someone mean, someone disagree, someone whatever] that has wronged someone else they like in the chats. The spurned ex-lover / friend. The firm "X is evil, and if you defend Y then you deserve blah blah' - collateral damage is just a thing that is needed to defend the world from Z..
Of course we also have some 'pro/am' oh whats the term, 'ewhoring' I think if google still shows results from the various blackhat forums - gives broke people instructions on how to befriend then blackmail in chats in general - we have traced dozens of these scammers to those types of forums.
A few other types we have encountered - but on to some of the hows we fought.
Some have used firewall software, others used flash-jacking programs to pull a list of ips that connected to our group chat rooms. We fought that in different ways.
Then we discover that our system for displaying avatars that allowed people to use an an image hosted third party - well that got abused - the tecky peeps could host their avatar on a server they could see access logs or software that showed views / access logs - so they could get ips that way.
We later discovered some hackers using a similar method by posting images in the chat room - then looking at access logs for those - they would then move to private chats or smaller chat rooms and do the same - thus limiting the ips to check.
For a while I did not believe these things were actually happening. We coded a ghost/invisible admin option - when peeking in on some private chats I saw they could tell immediately a third ip addy was in the chat at the time.. that was helpful in discovering some of the methods they were showing friends how to get info on our users though.
When I saw messages like 'screw person B - don't worry I'm going through their myphoto and docs right now.. I thought yeah right.. but then proof came that yes indeed they were doing that at that exact moment.
I believe much of this was before shodan - but not sure.
Anyhow they would do ip tracing - and use that info to scare people - sometimes they would find the person's ip leads to an exploitable router and break in and gather data. Sometimes they used that data to ruin lives - emails, CCs - all that.. that's when I discovered some lists of 'evilthings you can do when you have someone's addy or/and phone number - including the 4chnFb1PatyVan and crap.
If they couldn't break into their router (I estimated about 65% of our users had outdated routers/firmware over the years) - they would go into social hacking if the 'scare them by showing you know their city / location by ip' was not enough..
A common thing that started occurring was facebook friending - then getting / trading naughty pics - then gathering the list of all their fbook friends / associates and sharing said pics with all of them if not send X paypal for example..
Fighting all this led to even bigger battles sometimes - where we had to switch hosting a bunch of times cuz increasing DDOS is easy. Getting caught in the middle of some anony vs [group they hate] - is not a fun place to be I've found.
There's been some other things all those sorts of things had led to - but trying not to write a book here.
Anyhow, skipping several stories.. here lately my biggest pain in the butt has been this 15 year old in Canada. The worst troll in our history - he may be 17 by now.. apparently has lawyers as parents, and uses their money to have dozens of VPN services at the click of a button.
He comes in, makes several accounts.. chats for a while - gets mad - starts posting things that border CP depending on the juristiction and interpretation I guess - pisses off 100% of our users- and we ban him - then he's back - and we ban ip subnets - and he comes back with 6 logins.. we ban those..
It's led to us banning tens of thousands of ips - writings hundreds of letters to various ISPs - getting in touch with authorities and lawyers and all sorts of things.
Well he keeps coming back now and again and ruins things in the chats in many ways - harassing some people, exploiting others.
If we didn't have moderators that could view ips of our visitors we'd never know who was who and what blocks of ips to ban just to make some peace.
Wish we had access to the kind of VPN blocking lists that the big players have - that would help.
Oh there are many more things in relation to all this we've been through over the years. I love giving chat options to the world to share and connect, but it's been a struggle so many times.
Moderation tools are oftentimes overlooked for other features I've found.
Just yesterday I saw a news story something like during zoom class some school kids all watched some abuse or sex or something start - and the teacher was like 'logoff, logoff now!' - and I wondered - does zoom not have kick/ban/block/report / ip save / things like that built in? I have not used it in years, and never used it with more than 2 people at a time so never checked.
>but trying not to write a book here.
Might be worth an article...
But yeah, it is very weird then that they don't seem to make it easy to get the source. Bad design of the website. Under "contribute" there seems to be links that will get to the source https://jami.net/contribute/
You can see the video conferences in Jami more like a mesh between all participants of the call. Some nodes will mix the streams together (for now it's the device which receives the calls to merge together, they will need both good CPU & bandwith for sure) and the other nodes will only receives the mixed stream (and sends their stream)
So, for the host you can count 1Mbps/participant (to get a good h264 video stream) and the receiver the CPU & bandwith will be the same for a conference with 15 participants or 2.
We got a lot of conference with 15 people hosted by a x220 (and a lot with a P51, but it's a bit more powerful).
True if the server integrates all incoming streams into one. However, in that case, CPU requirements on the server also grow on linear basis.
An interesting solution would be one where each client downscales the resolution of their stream to the actual space it would take on target computers. That way the per-user bandwidth would remain constant as smaller uploads would probably be enough to offset overhead of having multiple incoming streams (of course, each incoming stream already downscaled by sender and thus requiring only a portion bandwidth).
Imagine a user that only has enough bandwidth for a single stream. If there was a server integrating all other user streams into one, that user would be able to watch it without much problem.
Unless, the clients are built in such way that they down-scale the resolution to part of the screen it would occupy on target computers (based on number of participants) before sending video data. Is any software doing this currently?
> Even if the server integrates all in bound streams into one, doing so takes a non-negligible amount of additional time per user, surely.
Integration has to happen at one point. Whether a server does it or each user's computer.
It's the obvious thing to do - I can't imagine why they wouldn't.
So my understanding is, if you are going to have a copyleft-licensed app, that accepts contributions from the community, you need to have a CLA that assigns all copyright to you (or specifically authorizes you to grant Apple these rights). "Vanilla" GPL code from someone else cannot be used in an iOS app.
Another possibility is you allow people to make their own derivative versions by licensing it under the GPL, but you personally do not accept any contributions from the community. In this case, you own all the copyright and can license it to Apple as needed.
The ring/Jami folks have really done an amazing work!