Self-Hosted Video Chat with Tuber

Today, we’re releasing the source code to our self-hosted video chat platform, Tuber Time Communications (or just “Tuber”). We’ve been using Tuber for private video calls with up to 15 members of our team over the last year or two. We want you to use it, protect your privacy, and help us make it better.

Tuber is everything your team needs for secure video chat. It touts all the standard features you expect from Google Hangouts -like buttons to mute audio and turn off video selectively- and it’s engineered to work flawlessly on a corporate LAN with low latency and CPU usage. If you need video conferencing that doesn’t rely on any third-party services, you should check out Tuber.

Built on WebRTC

Tuber takes advantage of the Web Real-Time Communications (WebRTC) protocol that’s becoming standard on modern browsers. Its client and server are written in JavaScript. That’s it. There’s no additional client software or plugins, and you don’t need to create an account to use it.

If you want to try out Tuber, you can set it up in one click with a Heroku Button. Otherwise, installation is simple and you’ll find instructions on our Github repo.

Tuber's loveable mascot, Karl the Kartoffel

Tuber’s loveable mascot, Karl the Kartoffel

Why we developed Tuber

With so many third-party options for video chat out there, why would we go to the trouble of developing our own? For the reasons you’d expect from a security-conscious company: those third-party services require user accounts, are hosted on their servers, and don’t run well inside a corporate LAN. In the process, many of them spike your CPU to 100%. And forget proprietary solutions; they’re just as likely to have bugs and vulnerabilities, and cost a whole lot more.

As a company, we’re adamant about protecting our data. We encourage everyone to use end-to-end cryptography, S/MIME, their own decentralized services, and to manage their own encryption keys when forced to use the cloud. Until Tuber, we couldn’t recommend a video chat service. So we built it.

We’re big supporters of the movement to re-decentralize the web. The over-reliance on centralized web services like video chat is a substantial part of why privacy has become such a concern today. We prefer not to depend on anyone else for our data’s security. Like the teams that built Let’s Chat, Mattermost and Zulip, we built Tuber to provide a choice.

We’ve been dogfooding Tuber for the last year. Now, we want you to try it out, use it to protect your privacy, and help us make it better. Visit our Github repo to get self-hosted video chat now.

Acknowledgements

Thanks to: Andy Ying, who led development; the whole team at Trail of Bits for their contributions; Eric Weinstein, for bringing the code up to best practices; and Dustin Webber for his early guidance.

2 thoughts on “Self-Hosted Video Chat with Tuber

  1. Pingback: 2015 In Review – Trail of Bits Blog

  2. Pingback: How to Harden Your Google Apps – Trail of Bits Blog

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