Blog

Opencast Summit 2022: Recordings, Notes, Thank you!

The virtual 2022 Opencast Summit is over. Thank you for all your great presentations and discussions. It has been a great event! We are looking forward to the next one.

Recordings and Notes

The event has been recorded, and we collaborated on taking a lot of notes, questions and answers. Both are available online:

Thanks again to the whole community for helping to make this happen. See you next time.

PyCA 4.5 has been released

PyCA is a fully functional Opencast capture agent written in Python. It is free software licensed under the terms of the GNU Lesser General Public License.

New Features

  • Ad-hoc Recordings in #378

Fixes

  • Lower required Prometheus client version in #345
  • Missing steps in installation documentation in #346
  • Development command for starting all parts of pyCA in #347
  • Document how to configure a continuous preview in #355
  • Fix Silently Discarding Data in #377
  • Updated FFmpeg download source URL for newer FFmpeg version in #369
  • Ensure Default Reload Interval in #379

Tests

  • Run Bandit Tests in #348
  • User Interface Tests in #354
  • Fix Event Modification Test Data in #380

The release also includes several updated libraries.

Opencast Summit 2022

Thanks to all your submissions, the program committee created a schedule for the 2022 Opencast Online Summit. Here it is.

You do not need to register to attend any of the sessions.

Joining the Conference

On the conference days, join us by entering the following BigBlueButton rooms:

Monday, 07.03.2022 (Pre-Conference)

All times are in UTC. Click on the times to get your local time.

Time
(UTC)
SessionPresenters
12:00 –
14:00
Introduction to OpencastChristian Greweling

Tuesday, 08.03.2022

All times are in UTC. Click on the times to get your local time. If you want more details about a session, take a look at the list of abstracts.

Time (UTC)SessionPresenters
12:00 – 12:15WelcomeOlaf Schulte, Rüdiger Rolf
12:15 – 12:30Workshop planning
12:30 – 12:45What’s new in Opencast 11Jonathan Neugebauer
12:45 – 13:00State of the CrowdfundingLars Kiesow
13:00 – 13:15educast.nrw: State of the projectDaniel Ebbert
13:15 – 13:30Roll forward previous lecturesFranck Tanoh
13:30 – 14:00The challenges of supporting a lecture capture serviceShazia Mohsin
14:00 – 14:15Break
14:15 – 14:30VoskMartin Wygas
14:30 – 14:45Lecture2go: powered by Subtitle2goBenjamin Milde, Martin Kriszat
14:45 – 15:00 A subtitle editor for the editorArne Wilken, Daniel Ebbert
15:00 – 15:15Combining AI & Humans to allow video-accessibility at scale – hosted by AmberscriptCarolina Kluck
15:15 – 15:30Improving accessibility through automatic captioning (Hybrid and Single-Speaker models)Way With Words
15:30 – 15:45Break
15:45 – 16:30Push forward OC’s accessibilityClemens Gruber
16:30 – 17:00Ownership of VideosLars Kiesow, Olaf Schulte

Wednesday, 09.03.2022

All times are in UTC. Click on the times to get your local time. If you want more details about a session, take a look at the list of abstracts.

Time (UTC)SessionPresenters
12:00 – 12:20Virtual Capture AgentYpatios Grigoriadis, Lars Kiesow
12:20 – 12:30pyCA – A Free Capture AgentLars Kiesow
12:30 – 12:45Arec product presentationBoris Polyakov
12:45 – 13:00Extron product presentationAlessandro Benni
13:00 – 14:00Capture Agent OperationsPaul Pettit
14:00 – 14:15Break
14:15 – 14:45Easier hybrid teachingRüdiger Rolf
14:45 – 15:00Zooming into Opencast – 1 Year LaterGreg Logan
15:00 – 15:30Beyond Elasticsearch: user-facing search enginesLukas Kalbertodt
15:30 – 15:45Break
15:45 – 16:15Opencast Architecture and DependenciesGreg Logan
16:15 – 17:00High Available OpencastLars Kiesow, Alex Laschinger

Thursday, 10.03.2022

All times are in UTC. Click on the times to get your local time. If you want more details about a session, take a look at the list of abstracts.

Time (UTC)SessionsPresenters
12:00 – 12:30Paella Player 7Carlos Turro
12:30 – 13:00Update on Tobira (new video portal)Lukas Kalbertodt
13:00 – 13:15Status of the new Admin UIIsabella Kutger
13:15 – 13:30New Feature: Plugin-ManagementLars Kiesow
13:30 – 13:45Analyzing videos using the Annotation Tool: New features and next stepsDavid Graf
13:45 – 14:00Opencast PHP Library and new LMS APITill Glöggler
14:00 – 14:15Break
14:15 – 14:45Open Board SessionOpencast Board
14:45 – 15:15The Great Manchester AWS MigrationJames Perrin
15:15 – 15:30Opencast Archive on AWS S3: integrity and checksum fun!Paul Pettit
15:30 – 15:45Opencast Ansible-Roles: Building Blocks for Your SetupTimo Nogueira Brockmeyer
15:45 – 16:00Break
16:00 – open endOpencast in AWS (and other clouds)James Perrin

Please check shortly before the conference if the schedule has changed.

If you are presenting and have a problem with the date and time your session is scheduled, please contact the conference committee.

Workshops

Workshops will happen in the two weeks after the conference. They will be scheduled as part of the first session at the summit. Please join us at the planning session. We like to ensure that as many of you as possible can make it to the workshops.

The following workshops have been submitted:

  • Accessibility
    We would like to coordinate the ongoing accessibility efforts in the opencast community and discuss options to additional evaluation and development efforts.
  • Workflow Configuration in JSON
    Currently, the workflow configuration panels are defined in HTML in the workflow definition files. These HTML definitions cannot be displayed and parsed correctly by the new implementation of the admin-UI. That’s why, we propose a JSON definition of these configuration panels to simplify the parsing and displaying in React.js. In this workshop we aim to define a concept for these configuration options.
  • Integration of Opencast in Moodle
    In this workshop, I’ll show how to configure Opencast and Moodle for a seamless integration. In the demonstration the newest features will also be presented. After the presentation, we will have time to discuss the usability of the Moodle plugins and the roadmap for future development.
  • Integration of Opencast in ILIAS
    In this workshop, I’ll show how to configure Opencast and ILIAS for a seamless integration. In the demonstration the newest features will also be presented. After the presentation, we will have time to discuss the usability of the ILIAS plugin and the roadmap for future development.
  • Opencast Annotation Tool – A common way forward
    In this workshop I would like to discuss a common way forward for all parties interested in using the Opencast Annotation Tool (OAT). Discussion points would be:
    What is the current state of the OAT?
    What needs to be done to get the OAT to a stable state usable by everyone?
    Which feature request are of interest to multiple parties?
    How can we coordinate future work on this tool?

Opencast 11.4

Hi everyone,

It is my pleasure to announce that Opencast 11.4 has been released:

This release comes with general updates, bug fixes and improvements for the inbox and capture agent modules.

Highlights:

  • Improvements to the inbox behavior:
    • Extract basic metadata from compressed files using regular expressions. (#3327)
    • Match events sent to the inbox against the schedule (#3340)
  • The capture agent calendar now can be provided as a JSON calendar (#3368)
  • LDAP user directory behavior from 9.x is back (#3344)

The documentation for this release can be found at:

https://docs.opencast.org/r/11.x/admin/#releasenotes/

RPM and Debian packages as well as Docker images will be available soon. Watch for announcements on the users list.

Opencast 11 Release Managers
Maximiliano Lira Del Canto
Jonathan Neugebauer

Crowdfunding: An Update

What’s the current state of the crowdfunding? Where are we, when it comes to our goals? What work has been done already? These are the question this article tries to answer.

TL;DR

  • We did a lot of security updates
  • Work on removing ActiveMQ is done
  • Work on two of the three Solr indexes is done
  • We have problems with the Spring update

ActiveMQ

github.com/opencast/opencast/pull/3100

The goal: Installing Opencast may be somewhat confusing to new users, partly because there are lots of different additional services to run. For a long time, one of them has been ActiveMQ which is a message broker used for inter-service communication in Opencast. Used… well… barely used, actually. With recent versions, we only needed ActiveMQ on a single server only. Since ActiveMQ is meant to distribute information across multiple servers, this meant we could also communicate with these services directly. In short, less overhead and fewer additional services to run for adopters. That is why our goal was to entirely remove Opencast’s dependency on ActiveMQ.

Current state: Work on this task has been mostly finished. A pull request removing ActiveMQ has been filed and reviewed. All that is left is a bit of cleanup work before it can be merged. This means that this is almost guaranteed to make it into the next major Opencast release.

Security Issues

github.com/opencast/opencast/security/advisories/GHSA-hcxx-mp6g-6gr9
github.com/opencast/opencast/security/advisories/GHSA-j4mm-7pj3-jf7v
github.com/opencast/opencast/security/advisories/GHSA-59g4-hpg3-3gcp
github.com/opencast/opencast/security/advisories/GHSA-mf4f-j588-5xm8

The goal: Opencast has a good track record of identifying and fixing security issues, and we had identified a few known or potential security issues we wanted to evaluate and fix, if they turned out to be problematic. That way we can keep our servers safe and avoid any spectacular data breaches.

Current state: There have been a number of security fixes for Opencast 9, 10 and 11. The issues we addressed range from limited data extraction, over privilege escalation to potential remote code execution attacks. Fixes for these have been included in the last couple of releases. We have also been able to dismiss a few reports of code we suspected to be problematic which turned out not to be a problem after all. Still, we have not yet processed the whole list of suspects. We will inform you, as usual, if we release another security patch and will keep trying to make these releases as responsible and painless as possible for adopters.

Log4j: We cannot talk about security fixes without pointing out one particular problem we faced as part of the crowdfunding. The Log4Shell remote code execution vulnerability and several additional vulnerabilities found in this library after the world’s security researchers all turned their attention towards Log4j have affected Opencast as well. We released several versions of Opencast in December to address these issues as fast as we could, since we knew that these vulnerabilities were actively exploited. To help adopters, we even decided to release new versions of Opencast 9 since it only just reached its end of life, and we knew about many adopters not having updated yet.

Solr

github.com/opencast/opencast/pull/3204
github.com/opencast/opencast/pull/3376
github.com/opencast/opencast/pull/3377

The goal: Opencast uses both Solr and Elasticsearch for full text search and caching. Both services serve an almost identical purpose. However, one of them is in desperate need of attention: Solr. We built an integration with Solr using an older version, which is both too old to easily deploy in a cluster, and not easy to update. In short, things have to change. But instead of updating Solr and still end up with two different services doing the same thing, we chose to consolidate on Elasticsearch¹.

Current state: Opencast uses Solr for three services: The series service, the workflow service and the search service. All of these services were user-facing in Opencast (Matterhorn) 1.x, which is why full text search and caching was important. The same is no longer true today, and thus the need for some of these indexes no longer exists.

We were able to completely remove two of the three Solr indexes, sparing adopters from re-indexing these ever again. The services this was done for are the workflow service and the series service. In the future, data will be requested from that database directly. The patches for these are currently being reviewed. We hope to get these merged soon to have them included in the next major new version of Opencast.

Work on the final service, the search service, is more complex and not yet done. We cannot remove Solr in the same manner, since full text search capabilities are actually used here and the service is still user-facing, being the back-end for the players among other things. We hope to still be able to make the shift to Elasticsearch for Opencast 12, but this is more challenging, and we will act with caution since it’s a central piece of Opencast infrastructure being used by all adopters.

[1] We may actually use OpenSearch instead of Elasticsearch, but that should be a drop-in replacement. We will report if it actually is. But for sake of simplicity, we stick to Elasticsearch for reporting.

Spring

The goal: Opencast uses Spring Security for handling logins and access control. We did fall behind when it comes to updating the library to its current state and are now using a version which is no longer supported. While this does still work just fine, unfortunately, like we have seen with Log4j, this bears the risk of suddenly blowing up. Thus we would like to update.

Current state: Our plan was to separate the different login mechanisms Opencast supports which are all woven into Spring Security, then start updating the core and basic login mechanisms first. At that point, we wanted to discuss further actions with the community.

Sadly, it turned out that this plan is not as easy as we hoped. Newer versions of Spring Security do not work well with our OSGi stack, and just updating even the core is not possible. Options we are now evaluating are investigating versions picked up by the Eclipse Gemini and Apache ServiceMix projects, which still provide supported versions but not the latest versions, and the possibility of support within Karaf itself which has been hinted at for the next major version but has not yet been confirmed.

Due to the not yet finalized statements about the Karaf roadmap, we decided to focus on the other tasks first, leaving this as the last potential task to tackle. The exact form of how we can/will tackle this problem and if we can completely fix this in this crowdfunding is still to be determined. We will make sure to start an open discussion about this once we have collected all information.

Questions; Next Steps

If you have any questions or want to discuss any of these tasks, don’t hesitate to bring this to the development mailing list, the Matrix chat or bring it up in the weekly technical meetings. Furthermore, if you want to help, consider reviewing any of the open pull requests linked above.

We will post again, once we have reached a new major milestone. Additionally, we will submit a session about the state of the crowdfunding at the upcoming conference. Join us there for a discussion, if you are interested.

New Editor now part of Opencast

A while ago, Opencast started including a new stand-alone video editor meant for inclusion via learning management systems, portals and other integrations.

While we started its development as a project separate from Opencast to kick-start development and get it off the ground quickly, we feel like it’s now mature enough to bring it in again and put it under the umbrella of the Opencast organization.

That is why, from now on, you can find the project at:

We decided to keep this part of Opencast as a separate repository to make development easier. Despite that, we would like to have this project adhere to the same rules and development practices we are used to for Opencast’s main repository.

If you find any problems with the editor, please don’t hesitate to file a bug report in the editor’s issue tracker and if you want to help out, of course, feel free to submit patches as pull requests.

Opencast Summit 2022: Call for Proposals

The Opencast Summit (March 8th – 10th, 2022) is dedicated to the use and management of educational videos with Opencast. While the focus of the event will be on Opencast, the community seeks participation from related domains and projects.

We are therefore inviting educational designers, service providers and others working with video in academic settings to share expertise and experience across the field and explore opportunities to collaborate in related projects.

Tracks

The conference committee is looking for proposals in the following tracks:

  • Opencast adopters
    • Experience in using Opencast for lecture capture/video management
    • Ideas for new features in Opencast
    • Solutions to further develop Opencast
    • Integration scenarios
  • Opencast developers
    • Presentations and meetings with a focus on technical details, likely to  see developers, system administrators, A/V-technicians and those interested in issues related to these domains.

Proposal types

There are different types of proposals for these tracks:

  • Lightning talk: 10 minutes, including 5 minutes Q&A
  • Presentation: 30 minutes, including 5-10 minutes Q&A
  • Birds of a feather (BoF): 1 hour. Suggest a topic you would like to discuss with others.
  • Workshop: Bring forward a topic you would like to introduce others to or discuss with others. Workshops should happen in the two weeks after the conference. Feel free to also propose a workshop topic you would like to attend.

Alternatively, feel free to suggest a workshop for a topic  you would like to know more about. Ideally, you can designate/suggest  someone to host, but feel free to make this a task for the program committee.

Deadline

Please submit an abstract of your proposed presentation and the format you would like via the provided registration form by 22 February 2022.

Opencast Summit 2022: Save The Date

The Opencast Summit 2022 will take place from March 8-10, 2022. Due to the current situation, the Summit will take place online. The event will be hosted by Osnabrück University.

Sessions will start at 12pm UTC every day and end at about 4pm UTC, depending on how many sessions will be submitted.

We invite newcomers a day early to an Introduction to Opencast workshop at 12pm UTC on March 7, 2022.

Following the Summit, there will be a number of workshops to take an in-depth look at some topics of particular interest to the community. Workshops can be submitted by anyone. If you are interested in a topic but cannot host it yourself, you can also request a workshop. At the Summit a planning session will be held during which the workshop hosts shortly present what their workshop is about, and we can decide when to schedule the workshop.

There will be another post shorty with the call for proposals.

The conference schedule is live:

Opencast Summit 2022