DimDim launches FOSS challenge to WebEx

Open source startup DimDim has released an alpha version of their new browser based web conferencing software. Users download the open source free code and install it on their own servers. The current version supports IE on Windows only for presenters, which is really unfortunate, but attendees can be in conference via Firefox on Mac. No software download is required for attendees. Future versions will fully support Firefox on Mac, Linux and Windows. If the software ends up solid then DimDim could pose an interesting challenge to the current list of paid, hosted web conferencing solutions.

I tested a version hosted on the DimDim servers early this week and it worked well. Presenters can share their whole desktop or just a single application at a time with attendees. Audio and video transmission is one way from presenter to attendees, from a Flash box in the sidebar. Attendees chat with each other and the presenter.

Resolution on the shared screen isn’t all I wish it was but lag time was very low. There are any number of features that could be added and a hosted alpha will be launched late this year or early next year.

DimDim says that just like Hotmail made free email common and Skype created the expectation that VOIP should be free – they want to make web conferencing freely accessible. The company says that this version is for technically adept early adopters, so if that’s you then now may be a good time to check out DimDim.

Typical of open source companies, DimDim’s business model is based on providing paid support and custom installations for business users. This is a very ambitious project, and even this alpha launch has seen several delays so far – but if it works well then I expect DimDim to be widely appreciated.