A user experience with FLOSS video conferencing:

"I've tried Jitsi Meet and found it to be smooth."

"Onboarding: Jitsi: Click a URL. No accounts. Hangouts: Google account. Need to individually invite other Google accounts.

Video Quality: Jitsi: Decent, slightly better than hangouts. Hangouts: Passable but grainy."

"Conclusion: Friends preferred Hangouts.

It's quite disheartening..."

I think we in the FLOSS community often think we just need to technically match/exceed proprietary software and people will switch, because of the added benefit of it being free software.

But there's often even a larger hurdle to overcome and that is instilled trust in big corp software and the buy in into their ecosystem. Because for every "de-Google" blog post you see, the sad reality is that many more people join their ecosystem daily and find it convenient enough not to care about FLOSS.

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@MatejLach Also if it's not compatible (enough), people will be slow to leave the programs and interfaces that they're used to. And with social media there's also the fact that most people's friends won't come with them (I still use my birdsite account as well as being here, because I don't want to give up one set of friends and start from scratch with another)


yes.. i think there are a fair few challenges there.

for example, with lockdowns people need Easy tools to connect online.
It seems commercial stuff offer quick solutions that are harder to find else where. :(

could also be a good time to both develop and
do a switching tools/platforms parties? ;)

@MatejLach You're so right! It's like people have been trained for years to think that unless you are some kind of super-nerd, you are in no way qualified to make any decision about technology. You must simply take the most popular, commercial choice. Anything not marketed by a giant west coast corporation is some kind of heresy. Conformity is a helluva drug.

The enterprise software world seems to slowly be coming round to the idea that vendor lock-in is bad news. So perhaps there's hope.

A lot of open source software just plain sucks. They are full of bugs, hard to use, and sometimes they don't even install correctly! Corporations have profits to pay the best developers. Only the most passionate and zealous causes could attract enough developer talent to compete with money.

@MatejLach Yeah, the other day I sent an email to my colleague, going through some options for video conferencing, mentioning Jitsi as the easy and free option.

The next day, a colleague sent another email, not even an answer to my compilation, like the email I sent does not exists, saying “Let’s all use Hangouts! It does not work properly on the professionnal laptop, but I can try my personal one”.

Disheartening is the word, really.

@MatejLach thanks for the indirect jitsi recommend, i saw the name a few times on the tl the past couple days and didn't know what it was!

@MatejLach dude this only works with a chrome-based browser!??!?

at least there's a desktop standalone app though this definitely was a huge disappointment given one of the major advantages over hangouts was to avoid google without having to install new software...

@MatejLach and now the desktop app doesn't have any way to join a chat, at least without creating some kind of account. i can find no way to enter a url anywhere.

this is just disappointment after disappointment... it seems that this user had a much better time of it but even a fraction of the difficulties i've been having would tip the balance pretty far in favour of whichever interface was already familiar

@MatejLach Also a user experience with jitsi (that promotes the use of Google Chrome, by the way): today I ignored an upcoming hangout invitation by sending first a jitsi link. Meeting took place entirely in jitsi without any discussion.
Did the same in my team: they were planning to set up a Whatsapp group, I was faster to send them a jitsi link. Now we are having all our meetings with jitsi.
Next: planning to get my family off Skype...

@hansup The need for Chrome is a massive downside for me personally, hopefully they'll fix that soon, but I also think everyone on Hangouts already uses Chrome anyway...

@MatejLach @hansup Jitsi works well with ungoogled-chromium. I've been using them together for the past year for calls several times a week.

@lambdatronic @MatejLach Indeed, I use firefox. With safari setting permission for the camera does not seem to work. With Edge you get immediately a whole screen saying you need Chrome. With all non-chrome browsers you need to click away these yellow error panes trying to get you on Chrome.

@hansup @lambdatronic @MatejLach

Insistence on chrome from Jitsi? That's really dissapointing. I guess the Jitsi apps might be OK? #NoToChrome

@jamesmullarkey @lambdatronic @MatejLach Saw jitsi on an iPad. Works well, but the interface is less intuitive than the straight forward web interface.
And yes, annoying to see that kind of explicit promo for Chrome.

How about this:
- find 2 people who already prefer Jitsi
- organize sth fun with them (eg. a tabletop RPG) over jitsi
- ask your friends one by one if they wanna join, and if they do, tell them the group's already using jitsi so they need to adapt

@wolf480pl @MatejLach i use the jitsi- meet apk from #fdroid and i never see an error msg. chrome is needed!

if you have the invite link, you go in settings in the client and write the hostlink without the conference name, than in the mainscreen you type the conf. name and join.
you open the full link in a #ungoogledchromium - fork, and choose the option "open in client" :done ;)

wtf? what is chrome needed for? And what does any of this have to do with people insisting to use hangouts just because they already know it?

@wolf480pl was bedeuted insisting to hangouts? chrome braucht man nicht, ich sprach bloß von android & optionen, warum gleich so fluchen? @MatejLach

@MatejLach I don't get why they'd prefer Hangouts. I know this is just anecdotal, but recently I texted my mom about video chat, had her install Jitsi on her phone, sent her the room name and password, and boom, connected with no issues.

OTOH, I was trying to do a Hangouts call for work a couple of weeks ago, and couldn't get Chromium to unblock my microphone on my laptop, so video worked but nothing else.

Jitsi has some drawbacks, but after using it even very briefly, it's my new favorite.

Any clues why they preferred hangouts if jitsi seemed better from all angles?

@dredmorbius @MatejLach

Familiarity is real. I just tried to get my daughter to use jitsi, where she was spooked by the news about zoom, and she could not figure it out.
But jitsi is way simpler than zoom...
(P.S. she will get it soon...)

@bhaugen @Matej Ľach  ✅ Know the pain.
At work I setup jitsi+nextcloud_talk+mumble. Both mumble and jitsi setup in a way no password nor account needed, nextcloud everyone has as we use it for filesharing and collaborative work. Conclusion? People still use 3 zoom accounts juggling amonst 40 people. They prefer to keep asking ans sqeezing meetings, rather then firing up a browser and have unlimited audio only or audio/video conference tools. Oh. Well.

I think its all because of habits and the fact people have been taught by corporations that computer stuff is magic. People get fever the moment buttons are in different place and are scared to fuckup so that others will think they are stupid.

@bhaugen Oh, it absolutely is. Mindshare contention is such that individualsbare unlikely to be familiar with more than, say, 3 - 10 alternatives generally, and with rapidly falling familiarity as that list is descended.

Most mass-market categories are dominated by a very small number of contenders, usually in this range.

Zipf's Law / power functions. Attention is ultimately finite.


All true, but with game changers, like all the bad news about zoom lately...


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