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Wondering how to install BigBlueButton on Ubuntu? Here’s how we do it.

As a part of our Server Management Services, we help our Customers with software installations regularly.

Let us today discuss the steps to install BigBlueButton on Ubuntu.

How to install BigBlueButton on Ubuntu?

BigBlueButton is an open-source, feature-rich virtual classroom.  In this article, we will install a BigBlueButton server along with the client interface called Greenlight.

Greenlight makes virtual classroom accessible from any browser and enforces the use of HTTPS to keep information secure.

The server that we use for the BigBlueButton instance should be a fresh install of Ubuntu 16.04 with no additional software installed. Any additional packages, such as a web server will cause the installer to fail.

The steps that we follow here are listed below:

  • Installing BigBlueButton
  • Creating an Admin User
  • Securing the BigBlueButton Server

Let us look at each of these steps in detail:

Install BigBlueButton on Ubuntu

In this step, we will download the installer script and run it.

The installer will download, install, and configure every software package that we will need to get both the BigBlueButton server and the Greenlight client completely installed and working.

First, download the installer script with the following curl command:

$ curl https://ubuntu.bigbluebutton.org/bbb-install.sh -o bbb-install.sh

The -o bbb-install.sh option tells curl to save the installer file it downloads as a file called bbb-install.sh. Next, make the file executable with the chmod command:

$ chmod 755 bbb-install.sh

The installer script cannot be run as either a non-root user or using sudo. It can only be run by the root user.

First, change to the root user with the sudo -i command. Then, run the installer script with the following options:

# /home/bob/bbb-install.sh -v xenial-22 -s bbb.your_domain -e bob@your_email -w -g

Options for the script:

The options here mean as follows:

  • -v xenial-22: Sets the Ubuntu version.
  • -s bbb.your_domain: Changes this to the hostname that the installer will use to host your BigBlueButton instance and for the SSL certificate.
  • e bob@your_email: Supplies the email address to Let’s Encrypt during the registration of the SSL certificate. This address is used for security announcements, expiry notices, and so on. It is not used for advertising.
  • -w: Installs and configures a ufw firewall.
  • -g: Installs the Greenlight client interface.

Now, the BigBlueButton server and the Greenlight client interface will be running. We may see the following warning “Not running: tomcat7 or grails”.

This happens because the tomcat7 and grails processes have not finished starting before the checks are made. Wait a few minutes and run the following command to perform the checks again:

# bbb-conf --check

We can check the UFW firewall rules that were enabled during installation with the following command:

# ufw status

The ufw rules that the installer created are:

  • 1935/tcp DENY: Blocks the Adobe Media Server port when the Greenlight HTML5 client is installed.
  • OpenSSH ALLOW: Allows you to log in to your server via SSH.
  • Nginx Full ALLOW: Allows the Nginx webserver to communicate on HTTP (port 80) and HTTPS (port 443) as well as serve your BigBlueButton instance to browsers.
  • 16384:32768/udp ALLOW: Allows traffic on UDP ports 16384 through 32768. Media connections, such as video streams, use these ports.
  • (v6): The rules that have this label are for IPv6 addresses. They are copies of the rules that do not have the (v6) label, which are for IPv4 addresses.

Creating an Admin User

In this step, we will create the Admin user on the server’s command line. We will create the admin user with a default username and password. These are as follows:

  • Username: admin@example.com
  • Password: administrator

It is very important to log in to the BigBlueButton server and change these details immediately after we create the admin user.

As root move to /root/greenlight/ and run the following command:

# cd /root/greenlight/

# docker exec greenlight-v2 bundle exec rake admin:create

The Greenlight client runs inside a Docker container.

  • docker exec greenlight-v2 bundle: Tells Docker to execute bundle in the container greenlight-v2.
  • exec rake admin:create: Executes rake to create the user admin.

This will create the admin user.

Securing the BigBlueButton Server

In this step, we will log in to the BigBlueButton instance and change the default password.

Also, we will make some configuration changes so that the BigBlueButton instance is more secure and easier to manage.

The first thing we need to do is to open the browser and enter the hostname we used during the install step.

Log in by clicking on the Sign-in button on the top right of the home page with the login that we created earlier.

Change the default password

After logging in we will see a red banner warning reminding us to update the default password.

Click the “here” in the “Please click here to change it” line of the banner. This will take us directly to the password modification page.

Use the administrator as the old password and choose a new, secure password for the admin user.

After we have set a new password we can personalize the default details of the admin account.

Change the name and email address

Click on the Account info button in the right-hand navigation panel.

When we click on that we will be taken to the “Update your Account Info page” where we can change our name and email address.

After we have set the details hit the Update button at the bottom to save the new information.

Configuration changes

Next, we will look at some important configuration that we may want to set before using our BigBlueButton instance.

First, navigate to the configuration control panel by first clicking on the username in the top right and select Organization.

This will take us to the Organization Settings page. Click on the Site Settings option in the left-hand navigation panel.

Then click on the Settings panel on the far right. On this page, we can modify the fundamental behavior of our BigBlueButton instance. The options shown on this page are as follows:

  • Registration Method allows us to set how new users can join the BigBlueButton instance. The options are: Open Registration(Anyone that can access the BigBlueButton instance can join), Join by Invitation( Only people that we invite via the email address can join), and Approve/Decline (Anyone can apply to join but an administrator must approve their application).
  • Require Authentication for Rooms: Only users that have signed in will be able to join a room.
  • Allow Users to Share Rooms: This setting allows us to stop users from sharing a room with other users.
  • Allow Users to Preupload Presentations: This allows users to upload their presentations before the class begins.
  • Recording Default Visibility: This makes any recordings that we use in a room visible to all users or only those with a room invitation link.
  • Require Room Owner and Joiner Consent to Recording: This setting makes users consent when a room is recorded.
  • Number of Rooms per User: This sets the maximum number of rooms a user can create. It does not apply to administrators.

We have now configured the BigBlueButton instance and it is ready for use.

[Need any further assistance to install BigBlueButton on Ubuntu? – We’re available 24*7]

Conclusion

In short, the install of BigBlueButton on Ubuntu can be performed easily with the installer script. Today, we saw how our Support Engineers perform this task.

 

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