The First Ubiquity Planning Meeting

Yesterday we had our first public Ubiquity planning meeting. What made this meeting particularly interesting for me was the fact that we were trying something a little different from most standard Mozilla project meetings I’ve attended.

Generally, project meetings consist of one group of people who are in the same room together and can communicate very efficiently while all the folks calling-in can barely hear them, dramatically increasing their barrier to participation. Jono, Aza, and I experienced this first-hand when we were still in Chicago at the beginning of this year and had to call-in to meetings in Mountain View; as Jono eloquently put it, “some people were huddled around the fire while others were cast into the outer darkness.”

So this time, we all tried calling in to the conference so that everyone was on a level playing field: despite the fact that Jono and I were in the same building, we actually were in separate rooms during the conference call. The result was something that I felt was much more egalitarian and didn’t confer any special advantages to people who happened to be geographically local.

That said, though, the sound quality still left something to be desired. Skyping-in to Mozilla’s Asterisk system resulted in horrible audio quality, and my call was unceremoniously dropped less than five minutes in. I then used my cell phone, which had slightly better audio quality. It was still a far cry from the crystal clarity of Ventrilo using GSM—a VOIP solution traditionally used in the context of multiplayer gaming yet perfect for these kinds of meetings—but unfortunately the GSM codec is only available on Windows, and apparently the proprietary software isn’t yet available at all on Linux. Perhaps I’ll just try SJPhone next time, though I’d love to hear of any better solutions.

Aside from that, we also encouraged everyone to simultaneously gather on the #ubiquity channel on IRC to provide an additional channel of communication. This was particularly useful when someone wanted to provide supporting information while another person was speaking, and for providing information that’s better communicated through a textual medium such as URLs and phone numbers.

I’ve written up some meeting notes on the wiki detailing what we agreed upon as a road-map for Ubiquity 0.2, which we’re aiming to release in December. Those who attended are welcome to add anything I missed. If you have any questions about what was discussed or would like to help out, you’re welcome to join us in the ubiquity-core Google group and #ubiquity on irc.mozilla.org. :)

10 Responses to “The First Ubiquity Planning Meeting”

  1. sep332 Says:

    Have you tried http://Drop.io ? They have free conference calling and a number which, when dialed, simply records everything to an mp3 file in your “drop.” You can use them both at once to record a conference call.

  2. Fernando Takai Says:

    I can say that the conference was really strange, but quite fun — I was surprised that my poor internet connection could stand almost the hole meeting. =D

  3. Marco Fabbri Says:

    As SIP soft phones on Linux I usally use Gizmo Project http://gizmo5.com/pc/download/linux/ ( http://www.gizmoproject.com now appears to be down) or WengoPhone http://www.wengophone.com/index.php .

    I appreciate very much this “experimental” attitude (and commitment) in pushing the openness (and the effectiveness) of the design process always further, great work!

  4. Al Billings Says:

    I and others at Mozilla often use the 3.1.2 version of the Gizmo Project for VOIP on our system. That works more reliably than SJPhone, which sucks.

  5. Robert Kaiser Says:

    For me, dialing in with a SIP connection into MoCo’s system for meetings works pretty fine – the only problem is that you need to actually call the public phone number and cannot just connect via SIP directly (a bug is open for that but apparently no solution is being worked on).

  6. A Security Model for Ubiquity at Toolness Says:

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    [...] prepare for some of the upcoming changes to Ubiquity, I took some time this morning to document the architecture of what’s about to be [...]

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    [...] we’ve mentioned before, Ubiquity 0.2 has fairly broad, visionary goals that won’t be fully satisfied for some [...]

  10. Stoner Says:

    How about Mumble?
    It’s an open source VoIP solution suitable for Linux and Windows so there shouldn’t be an OS related problem with it, audio is crystal clear and nearly no latency.

    Have a look here: http://mumble.sourceforge.net/Main_Page