( This page is being continuously updated )

    Overview

    This document gives you an overview of BigBlueButton 2.4, the upcoming release of BigBlueButton.

    Timeline

    We aim to have a much shorter release cycle for BigBlueButton 2.4 (compared to our previous releases).

    May-June 2021 - development

    July 2021 - beta versions

    August 2021 - release candidates

    September 2021 - official release (2.4.0) and afterwards minor releases (2.4.1, etc.) with security updates + bug fixes

    What’s new

    BigBlueButton 2.4 offers users improved usability, increased engagement, and more performance.

    • Usability - making common functions (such as raise hand) easier
    • Engagement - giving the instructor more ways to engage students
    • Performance - increasing overall performance and scalability

    Here’s a breakdown of what’s new in 2.4

    • Usability

      • Ability to extend the duration of ongoing breakout rooms
      • Ability to set the name of the breakout rooms as you create them
      • Reduced mirror effect when sharing screen
      • Improved view of external video sharing for viewers
      • Recording includes polling result
      • Moderator messages in the public chat are easier to distinguish
      • Webcam background blur
    • Engagement

      • Improved Layout Manager with focus on presentation vs focus on webcams
      • Presenter can set viewers’ layout
      • Hide voter’s name from moderators
      • Indicate who is sharing webcam
    • Performance

    This release, by design, does not introduce any large-scale UI changes. We designed it to be very familiar to users of BigBlueButton 2.3.

    Under the hood, BigBlueButton 2.4 installs on Ubuntu 18.04 64-bit and the following dependencies are upgraded compared to BigBlueButton 2.3

    • meteor 2.2

    For full details on what is new in BigBlueButton 2.4, see the release notes. Recent releases:

    Features

    The following sections give details of the new features.

    Usability

    Ability to extend the duration of ongoing breakout rooms

    As a moderator you can see the Extend button at the bottom of the Breakouts panel: Extend breakout

    Selecting it will display the controls to extend the breakouts time by five or minutes or longer. Extend breakout

    The time is added to all running breakout rooms. Extend breakout

    Ability to set the name of the breakout rooms as you create them

    When creating breakout rooms you can edit the name of each room Set name for breakout

    Set name for breakout

    Reduced mirror effect when sharing screen

    Up to and including BigBlueButton 2.3.x the HTML5 client would show mirror effect to the presenter when the presenter was sharing their entire window. This caused confusion and was often interpreted as a bug. Reduced mirror effect

    In BigBlueButton 2.4 we have introduced a simplified screen which informs the presenter of which window is shared, without creating mirror effect. Reduced mirror effect

    Improved view of external video sharing for viewers

    Recording’s public chat includes polling result

    Meetings which included polling have improved poll results summary in the recording.

    Recording - polling result

    Meetings which included external video sharing (YouTube, Vimeo, etc) have links to the video resource in the recording’s public chat.

    Recording - external video

    Moderator messages in the public chat are easier to distinguish

    Chat messages sent by moderators stand out in the public chat, allowing to be distinguished easily. The emphasis is optional (settings.yml chat parameter moderatorChatEmphasized)

    Moderator bolded text

    Webcam background blur

    In the webcam preview window prior to sharing webcam you can select between several backgrounds (or no background blur)

    No blur (default) Background blur for webcam

    Replacing the background Background blur for webcam

    Blurring the background Background blur for webcam

    Engagement

    Improved Layout Manager

    Under Settings there is a new section of controls related to layout. A dropdown allows for the selection of one of: Smart Layout, Focus on presentation or Focus on webcams.

    Layout dropdown

    Focus on presentation - webcams are visible but more compact, allowing for the majority of the area to be reserved for the presentation. Focus on video has the reverse effect - the presentation is visible but on small area under the chat.

    Layout

    Presenter can set viewers’ layout

    The presenter has an extra set of controls in the Settings modal. Aside from being able to set their own layout, there is an extra option to “push” that layout to the rest of the participants in the meeting.

    Pushing layout

    Meeting activity report

    Moderators are able to access an additional full-page, updated live throughout the meeting, report of the activities in the meeting.

    The report is accessible from the gear-icon menu.

    Activity report

    Also accessible from the meeting ended dialog.

    Activity report

    Current look of the meeting report

    Activity report

    Hide voter’s name from moderators

    BigBlueButton 2.4 supports pseudo-anonymous polls - meaning polls for which the presenter/moderator is not informed about the voting option of the viewers. Server administrators (anyone with access to the BigBlueButton server) can still find information to connect the answer to the user. Big thanks to @tibroc and @schrd who sent pull requests for this feature!

    Set the poll to be “anonymous” when creating it: Anonymous poll

    Voters will see that it is anonymous: Anonymous poll

    The presenter will not know who voted what: Anonymous poll

    Indicate who is sharing webcam

    BigBlueButton 2.4 introduces an idicator for users who are sharing their webcam. This is particularly helpful when webcam pagination is enabled there is no way of knowing whose webcam you would see on the other “pages”.

    Anonymous poll

    Installation

    For server requirements, BigBlueButton 2.4 needs similar minimum server requirements as 2.3.

    To install 2.4, use bbb-install.sh. For example, the following command installs BigBlueButton 2.4-dev using bbb.example.com as the hostname and notice@example.com as the email for Let’s Encrypt (you would substitute these values for your own hostname and email address). Notice the version is -v bionic-240, which will install the latest release (alpha/beta/etc) of BigBlueButton 2.4-dev that was released from branch v2.4.x-release. If you instead use -v bionic-24-dev, you will be installing/updating to the very latest build tracking the source code from branch develop.

    wget -qO- https://ubuntu.bigbluebutton.org/bbb-install.sh | bash -s -- -v bionic-240 -s bbb.example.com -e notice@example.com  -a -w
    

    After installation finishes, you should see the following installed packages (your version numbers may be slightly different).

    # dpkg -l | grep bbb-
    ii  bbb-apps-akka             2.4.0-10     all    BigBlueButton Apps (Akka)
    ii  bbb-config                1:2.4.0-9    amd64  BigBlueButton configuration utilities
    ii  bbb-demo                  1:2.4.0-2    amd64  BigBlueButton API demos
    ii  bbb-etherpad              1:2.4.0-1    amd64  The EtherPad Lite components for BigBlueButton
    ii  bbb-freeswitch-core       2:2.4.0-2    amd64  BigBlueButton build of FreeSWITCH
    ii  bbb-freeswitch-sounds     1:1.6.7-3    amd64  FreeSWITCH Sounds
    ii  bbb-fsesl-akka            2.4.0-5      all    BigBlueButton FS-ESL (Akka)
    ii  bbb-html5                 1:2.4.0-1254 amd64  The HTML5 components for BigBlueButton
    ii  bbb-libreoffice-docker    1:2.4.0-1    amd64  BigBlueButton setup for LibreOffice running in docker
    ii  bbb-mkclean               1:0.8.7-4    amd64  Clean and optimize Matroska and WebM files
    ii  bbb-playback              1:2.4.0-1    amd64  BigBlueButton playback
    ii  bbb-playback-presentation 1:2.4.0-1    amd64  BigBluebutton playback of presentation
    ii  bbb-record-core           1:2.4.0-3    amd64  BigBlueButton record and playback
    ii  bbb-web                   1:2.4.0-8    amd64  BigBlueButton API
    ii  bbb-webrtc-sfu            1:2.4.0-5    amd64  BigBlueButton WebRTC SFU
    

    This installs the latest version of BigBlueButton 2.4-dev with Let’s encrypt certificate and the API demos. With the API demos installed, you can open https:/// in a browser (where is the hostname you specified in the `bbb-install.sh` command), enter your name, and click 'Join' to join 'Demo Meeting'. For more information, see the [bbb-install.sh](https://github.com/bigbluebutton/bbb-install) documentation.

    BigBlueButton 2.4-dev is under active development. While we don’t recommend setting it up in a production environment, we do encourage administrators to try out the build with others and give us feedback on our bigbluebutton-dev mailing list.

    Development

    You can follow the same instructions as in development for 2.3 at this point, just make sure to use the 2.4 repository for packages mentioned above, bionic-24-dev, and pull from GitHub branch develop from the BigBlueButton’s repository

    Contribution

    We welcome contributors to BigBlueButton 2.4! The best ways to contribute at the current time are:

    • Try out installing BigBlueButton 2.4 and see if you spot any issues
    • Help test a 2.4 pull request in your development environment