Monday, October 09, 2006

Videoconference with VideoLAN

The VideoLAN project

The VideoLAN project is centered on the development of free software for video, all released under the GNU General Public License. It started as a student project at the French École Centrale Paris but is now a worldwide project with developers from 20 countries.

The main product of the VideoLAN project is the cross-platform VLC media player.

  • It is a free cross-platform media player
  • It supports a large number of multimedia formats, without the need for additional codecs
  • It can also be used as a streaming server, with extended features (video on demand, on the fly transcoding, ...)
The VLVC project

Based on the VideoLAN project, it is being developed the VideoLAN Video Conference (VLVC) project. The goal of this project is to include a videoconference solution inside the VideoLAN software.

The main reasons argued by developers to use VideoLAN as the base project, are its compatibility with many codecs and its availability for several platforms like Windows and Linux. The other fundamental reason is the fact of being an open-source software.

VLVC (wich released its first version just some days ago) is just a module included inside VLC to add videoconference features. Its purpose is to allow the greatest number of users to access these features given the facts of the free and open-source licence, as well as the compatibility with many different platforms.

VLVC intend to offer to the users three kinds of videoconference. This allows it to cover a large part of the different possible uses for this service.

  • It will be possible to use the videoconference in a mode where one person talks while the other people listen. There will be an administrator who will start the videoconference and he will be the only one who can talk. People who connect will be able to see and listen to what he says but they won't be able to interact.
  • A videoconference mode with management of the person who speaks will also be available. Thus, the person who starts the videoconference will be the administrator and will have the ability to choose who's turn it is to speak. The users will have the ability to ask for permission to speak using the user interface and the administrator will decide to let them speak or not.
  • Finally, VLVC will be usable in a videoconference mode where anyone can freely talk at the same time. However this will be like in a real conversation with many people and it might rapidly become incomprehensible.

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