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In light of recent events, I've been having a few more video conferences than usual.

I found the fact that Jitsi Meet, Nextcloud Talk and similar software do point-to-point video connections to be severely hindering as soon as number of participants exceed ca 8.

Also, Jitsi Meet has, in the past, really not been the most reliable platform (neither self-hosted official docker-compose nor on meet.jit.si) for intercontinental conferencing.

What I'm looking for is not the modern "everyone gets every video stream" approach that can basically be implemented without a server touching the video data, but more of a composing server, very much in the feeling of the shamefully expensive mid-2000's H.323 MCU conferencing systems.

Necessary feature set:

  • Multi-participant video conference
  • Self-hosted
  • runs on Linux, both client and server (other OSes rather optional; android client might be of interest) (Browser acceptable, but not preferred)
  • not N·(N-1) point-to-point video streams, but one server that mixes the video – even a static "tiled" pattern would be useful

Cost: I'm expecting a FOSS solution for self-hosting to be free in terms of the software itself; however, I'm not averse to paying a bit for support (but I'm only using it for private purposes, so probably not for a long-term support contract), nor averse to projects that need donations. However, not looking for a paid service.

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What you are looking for is - as you mentioned yourself - technically called an MCU, where the currently more popular approach is called an SFU.

MCUs are unpopular because it places a burden at the server for recompressing video, and in most setups noone wants to pay for that processing burden.

You want to self-host, so are willing to pay that burden yourself. Great.

These Free Software frameworks include MCU functionality and are actively maintained:

Among those, I suspect that Kurento is the best suited. Several frontends exist using Kurento, but most likely none of them use its MCU functionality, so some adaptation work is to be expected.

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  • just when I had given up all hope! Red5 is what underlies BigBlueButton, if I'm not mistaken. Commented Mar 1, 2022 at 23:13
  • Medooze's SIP support is really interesting Commented Mar 1, 2022 at 23:14
  • I heard recently that BigBlueButton moved away from Red5 - that they considered Janus Gateway (my personal favorite!) but then landed on something else - probably Mediasoup
    – Jonas
    Commented Mar 1, 2022 at 23:22

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