Acquia webinars now support Linux OS
by Bryan House
Tomorrow is big day for the Acquia webinar program - the first webinars to offer access to attendees running Linux OS on their local machines. We have two sessions tomorrow with Dries Buytaert and Jeff Noyes on Drupal 7 entitled "Making Drupal 7 Simple to Use for Everyone" - one at 9am EST, 2pm UTC and then a second at 2:30pm EST, 11:30am PST, 7:30pm UTC for people on the West Coast.
Our webinar program has now been running for almost a year and the response has been incredibly positive. We've had two events with more than 1,000 registrations and multiple with 500+ attendees. All of our webinars are recorded, 25 recordings have been posted to date. Included in those recordings are 13 events with Acquia Partners and more than a half-dozen that examined Drupal deployments in the publishing, education, high tech, non-profit vertical markets.
During the time we're run our webinar program, I have experimented with multiple web conferencing presentation tools - Adobe Connect, Citrix's GoToWebinar, Elluminate, DimDim and now Cisco WebEx. With all of these tools, I've had to balance breadth of OS support, potential audience size, phone and VoIP access, meeting performance and cost. For instance, Adobe Connect had an excellent UI, but could only support 250 attendees. Add integrated phone to a Connect room to record audio and that number dropped to 125.
Open source options like DimDim are appealing, but during small group tests with fewer than 20 attendees performance was very sluggish. Screen refreshes were slow and live web demos were worse. Given that our webinars average more than 250 attendees, the performance of the tool today doesn't meet our needs, yet.
For the past 9 months, we have used GoToWebinar. The solution was very cost effective and offered a pretty good user experience. GoToWebinar supports up to 1,000 attendees per session and it allowed us to present from both Mac and Windows machines, works with PowerPoint and Keynote and enabled me to record sessions - all of which I post in the AcquiaTV section of our site.
However, we encountered a significant stumbling block with GoToWebinar - the platform does not support participation by users on Linux desktops. I know that many, many people in the Drupal community run Linux OS on their local machines. And I've heard from a good number of you that adding Linux OS support is critical.
So, we've made the move to WebEx. It meets our needs for presenters, application support, recording and, most importantly, Linux OS support. If you have tried to attend one of our webinars and have been shut out due to lack of Linux support, I encourage you to give us another chance. On the other hand, if you are a loyal Acquia webinar attendee, I look forward to your feedback on the new platform.
Also, please share with us topics that you would like to see covered in future webinars.