Saturday, August 8, 2009 at 11:40PM

No, we're not talking about dimming the lights to save energy. Dimdim is a program with another fancy name. If you've ever used webex, you're going to like Dimdim. Working remotely is the way of the future in my opinion. Why spend hours in traffic every week, while you could have done your work from home? With todays internet speeds, it doesn't really matter if your files are in the office and your computer is at home. Of course you'll sometimes need face to face meetings, but you'll have Skype to do that. However, there are times where you need to show your colleagues what you are talking about and show a presentation or your desktop. This is where Dimdim comes in.

Dimdim is a free open source web meeting software. It allows you to share files (PDF, PPT), share your desktop, share your camera and sound. Some might say "I can do that with Skype", but sharing your video stream and desktop with multiple persons can't be done with the current Skype version. So that's why DimDim gets interesting. It has evolved in to a mature replacement to webex and is easy to setup. The great thing about Dimdim is that participants only need a browser and they are ready to join a meeting. They don't need to install anything and don't get request about activex components that want to be installed. Since you only need a browser, it works on Mac, Windows and Linux systems.

There are two options when using Dimdim. You can use their hosted Dimdim server at dimdim.com and open a meeting there. Or you can download the opensource version and host your own Dimdim server on your infrastructure. Isn't that great? I never liked sharing documents on a remote server. So having your own web meeting server allows you to better control access to your files. The free version at dimdim.com allows up to 20 participants in a meeting. They paid versions allows access to more participants. But why pay when you can have your own server?

I tried the vmware image that can be downloaded from sourceforge.net. The vmware image is based on Centos. If your budget istight, you can run it from the free vmware player. To get it up and running I had to specify the public IP address. Opening a terminal on the Centos image, move to the directory "/usr/local/dimdim" and giving the command "./Config-ipaddress.pl mypublicIP PORT myprivateIP" did the trick. The open source version is 4.5. The online version at dimdim.com version uses 5.0 and has some new features. There is also a rpm package for Centos 5.2 and a .tar.gz file with the complete source code for those who have to much time on their hands. ;)Hosting your own server has some drawbacks. You will need a good upload connection to stream the content to other participants.

Btw, if its all is too much work and you only need to share your desktop with one person. Then it might be better to look at the latest version for Skype as it has screen sharing.

when you are a man, some´╗┐ times you wear stretchy pants"

Article originally appeared on dutchtechies (http://dutchtechies.com/).
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