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We run an instance of BigBlueButton at BigBlueButton is a free and open source videoconferencing platform with many features such as multi-user whiteboards, embedded videos, and interactive polls. You can check out some tutorial videos here.


BBB and Greenlight (the web UI) are currently running in podman containers on xylitol (they are in the same pod, so they share a network namespace). Here are the steps that were performed to install it.


The container in which BBB is running should have:

  • Ubuntu 18. As of this writing, this is the most recent Linux distro supported by BBB.
  • A FQDN (
  • A public IPv4 address (and optionally an IPv6 address).
  • Firewall exceptions for TCP ports 80 and 443 and UDP ports 16384 - 32768.
  • Ansible installed. This can be done via apt install ansible.
  • An SSL key pair. See SSL. In this tutorial they are called csclub-wildcard-chain.crt and csclub-wildcard.key.


  1. First we will setup the database. Login to coffee as the postgres user, run psql, then run the following:
    CREATE USER greenlight WITH PASSWORD 'replace_this_password';
    CREATE DATABASE greenlight;
    ALTER DATABASE greenlight OWNER TO greenlight;
  2. I wrote an Ansible playbook here which automates most of the setup (steps adapted from here).
    Git clone the repo into a folder, say /root/ansible. Take a look over the files and customize any values as you see fit. Once you are satisfied, run ansible-playbook playbook.yml.
  3. Place copies of csclub-wildcard-chain.crt and csclub-wildcard.key in the directory /etc/nginx/ssl. The key file must have permissions 0600.
  4. Restart BBB by running bbb-conf --restart.
  5. Run a podman container for Greenlight (the BBB devs already created one) in the same pod as BBB. Create a .env file and pass it to the --environment-file option.
  6. Now we will need to create an administrator account. There is theoretically a way to do this using bundle, but I wasn't able to get it to work. So here is the workaround I used.
    1. First, login to using your CSC credentials, then log back out.
    2. Login to coffee as the postgres user, run psql, then run the following:
      \c greenlight
      UPDATE users SET role_id = 2 WHERE username = 'my_csc_username';

      When you log back in to Greenlight, you should now be an admin.

  7. To ensure that future sysadmins automatically become Greenlight admins, create a new role called "sysadmin" from the org settings in Greenlight.
  8. To set a custom logo in the top left corner, go to 'Site Settings', and replace the branding image URL. I'm using a small CSC logo hosted on our git server in the csc-propaganda repo.


To enable session recording, perform the following:

  1. In the bbb container on xylitol, edit /usr/share/bbb-web/WEB-INF/classes/ and set the following properties:
    • disableRecordingDefault=false
    • allowStartStopRecording=true

    Then run bbb-conf --restart.

  2. Add recording to the ROOM_FEATURES variable in /root/bbb/env on xylitol. Then restart the greenlight container using e.g. systemctl restart container-greenlight.
  3. Perform a DB migration for greenlight:
    podman exec greenlight bin/rake db:migrate
  4. Log in to the web UI with an admin account, go to Organization Settings -> Roles, and make sure "Allow users with this role to record their meetings" is enabled for the desired role(s).
    Then from your Home Room page, click on the three-dots icon in the box which contains the room's name, then click "Room Settings", and make sure "Allow room to be recorded" is enabled.

Some notes about TURN

The BBB docs suggest running your own TURN server. TURN is used for bypassing NATs and firewalls by basically relaying UDP traffic. I did not install one because I didn't think it was necessary, but if we have some users in restrictive firewalled environments, we may have to install our TURN server. Make sure to ask IST for the appropriate port exceptions and update turn-stun-servers.xml.