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Planado – Our Contribution to the Free Software Community

Just in time for ‘I Love Free Software Day’, we introduced our first, in-house open source software: Planado.

What is Planado?

Planado is a simple, lightweight and trivial to host scheduling and room reservation tool for the Free Software videoconferencing tool Jitsi-Meet. The ViOffice integrated videoconferencing tool ViOffice Conference is based on the same Free Software.

We felt the need to be able to schedule Jitsi-Meet video conferences where it is possible to post an invitation link publicly without others occupying the designated room before the conference starts. Of course, the essence of Jitsi-Meet should still be preserved with extensive anonymity of the users and temporary rooms on demand.

We have come up with a simple solution: Planado! It creates a unique invitation link for your contacts and a unique, extremely hard to guess room name for Jitsi-Meet. Planado ensures that no one occupies the room before your conference starts, making Jitsi-Meet conferences plannable and publishable well in advance.

The beauty of Planado is that there are no special requirements on the Jitsi-Meet side. In fact, the Jitsi-Meet instance doesn’t even need to be aware of the Planado server. This means you can host Planado for other, public Jitsi-Meet instances without them having to change anything or be exposed to additional server load.

A properly configured instance of Planado stores data only temporarily until the meeting is over. In addition, as little information as possible is stored, and none of the stored information is confidential, personal, or can be traced back to participants, topics, or other content-related information about the planned conference. Therefore, Plenado is compliant with GDPR by default and is fully privacy conscious. It respects the user’s right to informational self-determination and never persecutes them. Planado does exactly the job it was created for – no more and no less.

If you want to try Planado, you can do so via our demo at planado.vioffice.de (uses the public Jitsi-Meet server meet.jit.si) or – for all those who are already customers of ViOffice – at conference.vioffice.de (uses the non-public ViOffice Conference).

Free Software – What is that all about again?

In our first blog article in October 2020, we already addressed this topic in detail. The Free Software Foundation Europe defines software as “Free” if it fulfills the basic four freedoms: The freedom to use the software, the freedom to understand it, the freedom to distribute it and the freedom to improve it.

We founded ViOffice with the goal to make secure, privacy protecting and Free (Libre) solutions usable for everyone. Free, open source software generally has the reputation of being complicated, unspectacular and sometimes even inferior. We have made it our mission to dispel this completely twisted prejudice and show people how easy it is to achieve digital self-determination in everyday life.

ViOffice & Free Software

The entire ViOffice offering is 100% Free Software. We rely on the work of thousands of talented developers: the Free Software Community. Since every single component is Free Software, all users have the possibility to download these components themselves, to install them on their own server infrastructure and to do what they want with them. Nobody can dictate to them, what they may do with their software and not. Since all the source code of the software is open, you can look up what the software does yourself or ask others to explain it to you so you can understand the code. You can also easily share the software with friends, relatives, neighbors. And finally, you can improve the software according to your own ideas and wishes and give your changes to the original authors. In our help center you can find a list of all software used in ViOffice, including their licenses.

In order to make our own contribution to the development and spread of Free Software, we regularly draw attention to the topic in the form of blog articles and social media posts. Planado also belongs to the Free Software community. We not only want to use existing Free Software for our purposes, but also improve the overall product and make our enhancements available to society. These improvements can therefore not only be used by everyone, but also be further developed. Therefore Planado is available under the AGPL-3.0 license for other developers either from our Codeberg repository or our Github mirror.

Your creative contribution

The further development includes not only coding aspects, but also improvements to the design or the user friendliness. To continue the idea, we have launched a call for entries for a suitable logo with a bounty of €100. This call for entries is primarily aimed at hobbyists, but there are no restrictions on participation. We are looking forward to your creative ideas and your participation to promote the Free Software movement.

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Pascal founded ViOffice together with Jan in the fall of 2020. He mainly takes care of marketing, finance and sales. After his degrees in political science, economics and applied statistics, he continues to work in scientific research. With ViOffice, he wants to provide access to secure software from Europe for everyone and especially support non-profit associations in their digitalization.

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Jan is co-founder of ViOffice. He is responsible for the technical implementation and maintenance of the software. His interests lie in particular in the areas of security, data protection and encryption.

In addition to his studies in economics, later in applied statistics and his subsequent doctorate, he has years of experience in software development, open source and server administration.