Installing Big Blue Button Web Conferencing Server

About this time one week ago, my deputy director sent me a link to some rather cool looking software with the unlikely name of Big Blue Button.  I took a look and was impressed with how simple everything seemed to be.  So much so that I downloaded a pre-built virtual machine and set it up with VMware Player so that I could have a play.  So far, so good.

Then my deputy director asked if I could set up a demo server for some of our other teams to look at and get a feel for.  I had a look at the prerequisites on the install page and got to work – and that’s where the trouble began…  The system is set up on a base of Ubuntu 10.04 (no more, no less) either 32bit or 64bit and the packages that are available assume that’s what you have.

It took me and one of the systems team guys about a day to realise that, although Ubuntu 10.04 32bit is officially supported in VMware ESX 4, it doesn’t actually work.  There are problems getting the virtual network interface card to be recognized by 32bit Ubuntu so we switched to 64bit.  That works better – the interface card is at least recognized and allows connections to and from the world at large (i.e. the interwebs) but has to be manually configured for our environment.  No real big deal, though.  Except…  After running through the first few steps of the instructions, each time I try to install either Asterisk or FreeSWITCH I get unresolvable dependency errors.  Ugh!  Ok, so if my packages are out of date, maybe I should try the newer (unsupported) version 10.10.  An hour or three later and I’m staring down the same error message about not having the correct version of libc6-i386.  And of course, the easy fix of just using a 32bit version is still not doable.

So, some days later after much messing around and installing, booting live DVDs, re-installing and generally running around like a puppy chasing it’s own tail I end up looking at a brand-new, fresh install of Linux Mint 10 which is based on Ubuntu.  I’ve used Mint in the past because, although Ubuntu is nice, it’s starting to look and act a bit odd and Mint is (mostly) compatible with Ubuntu so a lot of DEB packages work as expected as does a lot of the advice found through Google on fixing things.  Plus I was getting desperate!

I work my way through the instructions – FreeSWITCH doesn’t seem to want to install on Mint but Asterisk is accommodating.  Then the big piece – installing the BBB package…  I type out the command to run the install and wait.  Success!!  The package installs (with a minor gripe about not finding something to do with Asterisk) and when I go to a browser – deep joy.


I still don’t understand why this wouldn’t install on the only OS it’s officially supported on.  Maybe it is a 32bit/64bit thing.  All I know is I’m glad I found a workaround.


5 thoughts on “Installing Big Blue Button Web Conferencing Server

  1. One thing that I did find was that you have to follow the instructions to the letter. For instance, instead of issuing a “sudo” with every command, I tried “sudo bash” to open a shell that was already in SU mode. Tragically, that caused most of my problems…

    I do have a working instance now and have had for a little while.

  2. I also tried following the official BBB installation guide with no success. Now can you pls tell me which Mint version exactly did you use? because there are Linux Mint 10 (but Mint 9 is based on Ubuntu 10.04 as recommended by BBB). In addition there are Linux Mint 10 Gnome, KDE, LXDE etc. I am going for Gnome 64bit (Linux Mint 10). Hope that will be right. Please let me know if I should use another Mint… THANK YOU!!!

  3. Martin: if I remember correctly, we went for Mint 10 64bit which is Gnome based. The key to having your sanity at the end is to follow the instructions to the letter – no shortcuts trying to use root shells and such, just sudo every command as it’s written down. Good luck

    1. thank you for the quick reply. I did everything to the letter as described by BBB, but it just didn’t work with Ubuntu 10.04. Now I am downloading an ISO of Mint 10 (Gnome 64bit) and hope that will do the trick. Thanx again!!!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s