Tuesday, August 23, 2011

New in ownCloud: An overview

Note: This entry got a lot longer than I thought it would. There's just been too much new stuff recently and I cannot cover it all in the depth it deserves. Any questions, comments, concerns are greatly appreciated in the #owncloud channel on freenode. Lots of developers hang out there and it's a good place to ask questions and get help.

I need to get better at not waiting for features to be finished before blogging about them. There's been so many new things in ownCloud in the last few weeks that I didn't know where to start. Here's an overview of all the new stuff. Hopefully I'll expand on it in future entries:

Contact syncing:
It's finally in! One of the new apps that's recently made it to master is PIM syncing over CardDAV. With new installations (the database structure was changed for it). It's still a work-in-progress but it's in master and improving rapidly.

Tomahawk Media Player Resolver:
If you haven't tried tomahawk yet, here's your link: http://tomahawk-player.org/. They recently released version 0.2.1 and it comes with an Ampache/ownCloud resolver. That means that music stored in ownCloud can now be played in your desktop player. Right now you can't browse through the collection, only search for items you have in owncloud but browseable collections should make an appearance soon. Either way, it's an amazing media player that aggregates music from almost anywhere.

And it's not the only player that can play media from ownCloud now. Anything that uses the Ampache API can also hook in. This means Amarok, Winamp, VLC and Android & iOS devices can also hook into the ownCloud media good-ness.

ownCloud now also supports bookmark syncing. I'm honestly not sure what the state is of this right now but I'd imagine it's related to the rekonq announcement of using ownCloud for their bookmarks (http://adjamblog.wordpress.com/2011/08/02/rekonq-1-feature-a-week-3-and-4/).

The sharing branch was also finally merged into master, giving fine-grained control over who can see what and what they can do with it. Think of standard linux ugo rwx permissions in the cloud. It's incredibly useful and I'm not aware of any other cloud services that offer this. Plus, it also includes the public link functionality of the old sharing app but in a much nicer interface. Check out http://blog.gapinthecloud.com/2011/08/20/gsoc-new-sharing-interface-for-owncloud/ for more info and screenshots. Many thanks to MTGap and Google for sponsoring his work this summer.

Lots of interface improvements:
Every day, it seems, there are interface changes. Polishing, bug fixing, making sure it works on multiple browsers... JanCBorchardt has been working like crazy, along with others, to make sure ownCloud is as intuitive and easy to use as possible.

We now have shapado (a very full-featured, open source Q&A service) integrated into a few places in ownCloud. Any time a question is asked, it automatically posts to the #owncloud IRC channel, giving it a much higher chance of being answered than questions posted in other places. We also have a help section in the ownCloud web interface that uses the Open Collaboration Services (OCS) api to display questions and they're answers. It's been very helpful and I highly recommend checking it out at http://owncloud.shapado.com/.

There are also branches for calendar syncing, a desktop file syncing client & a new dark theme for those who prefer it.

Beyond that, we're now in polishing/bug-fixing mode in anticipation of releasing ownCloud 2.0.  We haven't quite hammered out a schedule yet but we will hopefully announce an alpha release in the very near future.

Thanks for bearing with me and I'll try and be more regular about posting.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

What you can do with ownCloud today

In the last couple of weeks work on ownCloud has really started to pick up. There are some amazing new features and people coming to ownCloud and I can't wait to see the fruits of their labors. Today, though, I'm going to talk about things that are already done and ready to be used today. I'm going to start with just the basics today but hopefully this will be a series I'll add to as new features are completed. Todays topic is:

File storage
This is the basic feature without which ownCloud isn't particularly useful. Luckily, it's also the feature that works best and has had the most testing. Here's a screenshot of the web interface, which is the first method most people will use to add files. Notice the upload and new folder buttons.

Once you have some files there you'll probably want to able to get to them without having to go through the web interface, maybe on multiple platforms.
Access from dolphin

Access from Finder on OS X
Once you can access them you might want to do more with them.

Make the desktop point to owncloud
These things also work on Windows, I just didn't have a computer here to take screenshots with. Hopefully this will give you an idea of some of the things that are possible. I hope I never have to email myself another file again.

Again, everything I've shown here is done and works as advertised. There might be a few bugs left to be squashed but that's what bugs.kde.org is for. If you find them, please report them. Also, please start using ownCloud. There are some amazing features in the pipeline but we need more users and developers to make sure they all get completed. I'll leave you with a final screenshot of a feature that still needs a lot of work.

P.S. If you're going to try ownCloud, please install from git. Master is very stable and easy to install. The owncloud wiki has lots of info on how to get it. Also, the number of people in #owncloud on freenode is growing quickly and it's a great place to get some help.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Getting your ownCloud

One thing I've noticed since my last post is a lot of people asking how they can setup ownCloud for themselves. This post will hopefully help you get started. I'm really just paraphrasing the ownCloud wiki so here are the more detailed links:

Here's a quick list of different ways to try it out for yourself:

To get the latest from git, set up a LAMP server (sqlite works just as well as mysql). There are 2 options for getting the latest git: In the root of your web directory run: git clone git://anongit.kde.org/owncloud.git. If you use this method and want to help out we have instructions on our wiki on how to modify that slightly for a development setup (keeping your own files out of git and under your user while letting git update the system files). The other option for getting owncloud itself is to download the latest, automatically created snapshot from git: Snapshots are here. These snapshots are created on the fly so whenever you download it you'll get the most up-to-date version possible at that moment.

If you're okay with being a bit behind (especially now that we're working full steam ahead on 2.0) there is a package from PackageCloud that will give you an ownCloud 1.1 setup. Link here: https://www.packagecloud.com/?au=owncloud

There's also an Amazon S3 applicance called 'owncloud-in-a-box' from openSuse. Link here: http://susegallery.com/a/TadMax/owncloud-in-a-box

There are also packages for ownCloud in openSuse and Ubuntu that can be installed through your regular package manager.

On the last blog entry there was a comment about making it even easier to setup and I think that's something we should look at in the future. Whatever happens, we'll keep you updated.

Friday, June 10, 2011

ownCloud 2.0 just merged (with screenshots)

(Disclaimer: everything here refers to an unreleased version of ownCloud and/or features that I'd like to see implemented, not that necessarily have been yet)

Hello Planet!

With Amazon, Google & Apple all throwing their hats into the cloud it's time to get the word out about ownCloud. For the last couple of months we've been working mostly in a refactoring branch in preparation for ownCloud 2.0 and a few days ago we finally merged that branch into master. New features you can expect from ownCloud 2.0:
  • A completely redesigned ui (done)
  • Media support (almost done)
  • Much better user management (done)
  • The ability to extend ownCloud via apps & plugins (in progress)
  • Support for Konqueror, Chromium and Firefox (and probably others)
There are also numerous smaller changes that make it much nicer to use, from automatic timezone adjustment to your own locale to improved logging features, almost everything has been enhanced in some way.

As you can see, we've put a lot of work into this and it's never been more important that it succeeds. Creating a cloud that we control will keep KDE relevant into the next stage of computing. With this, we can not only compete with Apple & Google, we can leave them behind or integrate with them from our own camp. There's no reason you shouldn't be able to play your music from the cloud in Amarok or Tomahawk, view your calendar events on your iPhone and in Kontact and access all of your files from Android or webOS or Gnome or Windows or OS X. You should also be able to back up your home directory and keep it in sync between multiple computers.

To accomplish all these things will take a lot of work and for that we need some help. Since the ownCloud sprint we've had some new people join but we still have many more ideas than people to make them a reality. This is an easy, exciting way to get involved. Whatever your skill set is (PHP, C++, writing documentation or HTML, CSS & Javascript), we can use your help. Drop by #owncloud on freenode or send an email to owncloud@kde.org and get involved today.

New login screen

File View

New settings interface

Seamless file access from dolphin

Monday, August 9, 2010

Any interest in a Los Angeles KDE Release Event?

I know that this is extremely late but Ryan is right, there should be more than 1 release event in the US. I don't mind planning another one if there's any interest in it, so here goes: Who would be willing to come to a Los Angeles event on August 24th celebrating the release of KDE SC 4.5? My tentative plan would be to meet at a restaurant or coffee shop for some food and conversation. I'll add it to the events page and anybody who wants to come can add their name there or leave a comment here.

And, just so that there's something interesting here for the world outside of Los Angeles, here's a screenshot of a new feature in ownCloud that seems to be working very well: multiple users.

Each user gets their own data directory as well as their own backup directory and all the user setup is done from within the ownCloud web interface, no editing of files by hand on the server. Lots of polish has been added lately and it's going to be very exciting to see ownCloud start to integrate more deeply with the rest of the KDE workspace.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Easier configuration and working databases

Maybe it's just because ownCloud is a new project so there are a lot of basic tasks that still need to be done, but every morning I wake up and there have been some pretty major changes made during the night.

This morning I found a preliminary configuration dialog, much better than setting it by hand, as well as instructions on how to create the databases necessary so now my log is working!

Obligatory screenshot of the configuration dialog:

Here's another shot of the log. At first I thought it only logged when people signed in and out but then downloaded a file and that showed up, too. I think the existence of a read event in the log implies that a write event is coming (or is already there and I haven't found it yet).

For my next entry I think I'll make a screenshot tour of installing ownCloud from scratch. Now that it has a configuration dialog it's a lot easier to get it running. Plus, even if it is still in beta it's already becoming incredibly useful for me. Access to an arbitrary set of files from anywhere changes how I do things. If I know I'm going to want to show somebody something there's almost always a computer handy and this is much more convenient than thumb drives or searching google for that link I like. I'm sure it'll only get easier when sharing is implemented directly within ownCloud.

Until next time!

P.S. Maybe this is getting old but it's always useful for me to see when reading about non-final code: No matter how polished it looks, it's still in beta and, by definition, not ready for production use. As soon as it is ready, I'll be the first to let you know :-)

ownCloud features + screenshots

A couple of days ago Frank released the first beta of ownCloud and I've been playing with it almost continually since then. For those who haven't read Franks blog entry (which is well worth reading) ownCloud is a set of server scripts for personal storage (among other things) and hopes to implement an open source cloud for everybody to take advantage of. If that doesn't make sense, wait for the screenshots :-) New features are planned (and you can see exactly what those features are at ownCloud.org.)

Now for the fun part: First, keep in mind this major caveat: This is software that has not been released, is not feature complete or bug free or ready at all for general use. But isn't it fun to see what the future might hold?

I installed ownCloud on my server at home, put some files in it and then accessed it from as many computers as possible. On linux:

That's my ownCloud server, mounted via WebDAV and being used to store and access files. That alone was pretty cool in my book.

Next I went to a nearby mac and tried to see how difficult it was to access it from there. The answer: not very. Here's another screenshot:

It appears just like any other file system, to the point where I tested out setting iTunes to use it as my media library. It worked, albeit with a few kinks. The last screenshot I have for today is one of just the basic web interface

That's it for today but I hope to be back soon with another entry showing off some other features of ownCloud. If it looks like something you're interested in helping with, the code is available on gitorious, there's a mailing list here and at least a few people have already jumped in with patches.

Good night!