brent timothy saner via plug on 3 Apr 2020 08:39:46 -0700

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Re: [PLUG] Zoom Monetization (WAS: Virtual Plug?)

On 4/3/20 10:57 AM, Rich Freeman via plug wrote:
> On Fri, Apr 3, 2020 at 8:20 AM Rich Kulawiec via plug
> <> wrote:
>> And it's unfixable.
> Everything is fixable.

Not if you have significant executive pull in Zoom's case, no (and the
ones that do have no tangible motivation to do so). The unfixable here
is not a technological problem, it's a policy and strategy problem.

>> 2.  At this very moment there are a lot of LUGs (and similar
>> volunteer/dues-free organizations) trying to find a workable solution
>> to roughly the same problem...and given that a lot of people involved
>> in those have some extra time on their hands...this seems like a very
>> opportune moment for someone (or a group of someones) to either work on
>> an existing project that shows promise or start a new one.
> Like the one we're already using, which is 100% FOSS?  I can't speak
> to their hosting - as I understand it everything is FOSS and you could
> host it yourself, but since this stuff is bandwidth-intensive nobody
> wants to deal with that.
> It almost makes you think that the only companies who get into this
> stuff are companies that want to monetize it.
> I have no idea what the business model is.  Maybe they're still
> in the free-venture-capital-to-get-noticed stage and there are no
> strings attached yet.  At some point if it takes off I'm sure the code
> will still be FOSS but if you want the service somebody will want some
> money or data from you.

Per their FAQ ( ):

We are fortunate that our friends at 8×8 fully fund the project. 8×8
uses Jitsi technology in products like Virtual Office. The open source
community and service help to make Jitsi better, which makes
8×8 products better, which helps to further fund Jitsi. This virtuous
cycle has worked well in the past and should continue to for many years
to come.

>> kind of filth who run and staff Zoom
> Ah, yes, dehumanizing criticism.  People build something you don't
> like, therefore they are literally dirt.
> Look, if you're using a SERVICE that is free, chances are that it is
> either incidental to provide, or you're being monetized.  Video
> conferencing is NOT incidental to provide - it is high-bandwidth
> realtime communication.  If it includes phone dial-in you also get to
> pay for access to the phone system.

Agreed with the above, but Jitsi does provide quite an impressive
alternative without being so invasive of the client machines, or
requiring compensation.

But a big problem with this argument is that Zoom is not primarily a
free service - it's a paid service with a limited free option.
Zoom will kick you out for sessions over 40 minutes unless you have a
paid subscription, for instance. ( )

And the nasty cruft is still included, even with paid plans. The
difference is they just hide some of it. (their hosted option) also includes a telephone bridge, so I
mean - obviously their funding model is working, at least currently.

> If you want a commercial provider who isn't going to monetize you then
> there are plenty of companies who will gladly sell you this service
> and it is ad-free and facebook-free and all that good stuff.  And it
> no doubt comes with a hefty monthly fee.  Maybe for an FOSS community
> one of them might be willing to waive this, but you're still going to
> be dealing with proprietary clients that probably don't run on linux
> outside of a browser.  Oh, and it probably won't work on lynx either.

I'd suspect most videoconferencing solutions wouldn't work in lynx,
being that its media-based HTML5 support is, shall we say, lacking.
(lynx doesn't support the HTML5 spec at all except for a select few
elements, last I checked).

I can say that I'm rather pleased we went with Jitsi as I think it's the
most mature and featured videoconferencing option out there that's
F/OSS, and that they offer a hosted option is all the more impressive to me.

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