Friday, 24 April 2020

COVID 19 - Conference calling

$WORK is currently using Microsoft Teams. If you've not used it before, its pretty much standard Microsoft bloatware - features over functionality. But to give them their due, after proclaiming for a very long time that it would run on all platforms, Microsoft have released a native Linux client.

Microsoft already claimed it would run in a browser but my experience was that this was only the case if the browser was MSIE/MSEdge/Chrome running on MS-Windows - certainly not Firefox or Chromium on Linux. I didn't try Apple or Android platforms but several of my colleagues seem to be using it on Apple Macs without issues. If you Google for instructions you'll (eventually) find a description of how someone made this work on Chromium/Linux with a lot of tweaks - this didn't work for me. Sorry - I would have provided a link but I didn't make a note of it and its hard to find.

I am currently running MS Teams 1.3.00.5153 on Linux Mint 18.1.

Apart from the following issues, it mostly works...
  • does not send video (receive is OK)
  • cannot show my desktop (same issue as above?)
  • sometimes it stops communicating with my microphone
  • steals focus every time a new chat arrives (by far the most annoying bug)
  • does not add an XDG start menu entry
  • does not shutdown nicely at logout
But now that most browsers natively support bi-directional audio/video capability, there's no need to run a think client for video conferencing. No need for proprietary protocols. A quick google, and I found Jitsi (Youtube video)

It's FOSS software, the client runs in a browser, and there are optional clients (I'm guessing HTML apps) for iOS and Android.

I can't say how compatible/stable this will be - but OMG! what a neat looking bit of software. It has built in recording and POTs integration. But what I really love about it is the hand icon.


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