A week or so ago, CDE set up a demo of BB Collaborate conducted by somebody from www.elluminate.com . While waiting for the CDE people to get everything up and running, I browsed the BBB web site and low and behold, 0.9ßeta (up from .81) was just released. Hurrah!
Well, it was one ugly install. First needed to upgrade server from Ubuntu 10.04 to 14.04. I did do-release-upgrade to get from Umbuntu 10 to 12 and do-release-upgrade to get from 12 to 14. The 10->12 upgrade seemed to go without a hitch, but the 12->14 upgrade locked me out of the system because of nslcd (ldap integration) issues, needed ETS/SAA to reboot from console to bring it back to rescue mode and fix the logins.
Next, ‘apt-get install bigbluebutton’ told me I was already up2date. So I had to do ‘apt-get remove bigbluebutton’ and ‘apt-get remove bbb-*’ and ‘apt-get remove tomcat6-*’ before apt-get install bigbluebutton worked. next I tried install bbb-lti but it complained that my shared secret was wrong. So then I reset IP address and secret word and then BBB would start to load then immediately kick me off. More random tinkering at it and was at last running the demos and the CTL front end.
But no Blackboard.
Thursday, I get an email from Fred Dixon, lead developer of BBB. I had been making noise in the BBB-dev forum about my inability to integrate BBB and BB using BBB 0.90ßeta . He wanted to chat with me over the phone. After an hour of screen sharing and trying this and that, he proclaimed if was all about http
The BBB FAQS
clearly state, “…the BigBlueButton developers make no representation of any security in BigBlueButton. We’ve not developed nor tested BigBlueButton with HTTPS, SSL or secure RTMP.”
I explained to Fred that 0.81 a) installed easier b) integrated easier, and c) DID support https . Moreover there were potential privacy issues with sending student info unencrypted and operability issues with trying to mix secure and insecure content on the same page, especially when using firefox.
He explained that between the updated Ubuntu linux server, switch from tomcat 6 to tomcat 7, and numerous other changes, there just has not been time nor inclination (he recited the FAQ) to develop/test using https
But he also said he was president of Blindside Networks http://blindsidenetworks.com/about-us/ , and as such, would be willing to enter an agreement to provide https compatibility, for an undisclosed fee.
Must say I’m concerned less with the encryption than the operability. It’s not necessarily a show stopper, but it is definitely less compelling than the older implimetation.
So where to go from here? Wait, and maybe the tides of change will produce an https compatible release? Surely we are not the only LTI users who need it. Download the (extensive) project code and hack away at it myself? Negotiate with Blindside?