It’s now just one month since I installed ownCloud on my Ubuntu machine. Everything started when I realized I needed something similar to Dropbox, but totally mine. I wanted something faster than it, with the possibility to grow without a specific limit, and without a monthly fee.
As I wrote in a previous post, I also explored Google Drive, directly comparable with Dropbox. I found that the both of them are very good products, but they share the dependence from internet band, surely narrower than the one in your LAN. So you cannot use them for your movies or CD mp3 version collection. And, yes, I don’t like too much it, having to pay a monthly fee for, say, 300 GB of data, if you really use just a handful of them.
So I wandered a lot around the net to find something similar, but installable in your machine, and I discovered this beautiful open source project, young but not too… unripe.
ownCloud is what I would define a sharing tool. Thanks to web power, it allows you to make your world accessible from everywhere: files, music, pictures, contacts. In concrete terms, it is a web application, based on a web server (usually Apache) and a database (usually mySql), taking care of your files and making them available via a standard browser.
The reason that initially pushed me was that you can install a client in your system allowing you to align a local copy of a directory tree with the one in charge of ownCloud – exactly like Dropbox.
Just to help you to better get the concept, ownCloud is very, very similar to the kind of software mounted on NAS like the QNAP or Synology ones. But in this case you are completely tied to the manifacturer by its proprietary software.
As I said, I installed it on my not-so-performant machine, and I found quite nice that it was not too difficult to install and it performs well.
On the side of access, obviously, if you don’t run a public server (in house or with an internet provider) you can make your private ownCloud accessible by the whole internet via Dynamic DNS.
Finally, a list of service providers exist, that rent ownClouds on their server. I consider it a strong confirmation of robustness of software.
The only funny consideration about ownCloud, at the end, is that – for now – it is not based on cloud! Authors are anyway working actively in order to add this little feature…