Friday, April 10, 2015

55.555 downloads of ownCloud in a box

Recently I passed a magic number with my ownCloud in a box appliance. It hit the five fives, 55.555 total downloads, on SUSE Studio. It is the most popular download there. I would never have imagined that so many people would be interested in it and use it when I started with this. Amazing.

When Frank started to discuss the idea of ownCloud and announced it at Camp KDE five years ago (another five, hooray) I was immediately intrigued. The idea of giving people control about their data in the cloud was powerful. Over the years it actually has gained even more power and relevance, as not only the cloud has become ubiquitous but also the threats to abuse it.

With SUSE Studio it became so easy to build easily deployable images for a broad variety of targets, such as a live CD, a VMware image, or an installation disk for a physical machine, that I just had to do it. It follows along the philosophy of ownCloud to make it as easy as possible to run it, so many people can do it on their own. ownCloud in a box is an easy way to try it and get started.

I'm looking forward to the next fives, whatever they will be. ownCloud has great success, and its development is coming along nicely, but I would still like to see some more things.

From a technical point of view, client-side encryption would allow to use a hosted ownCloud without having to trust who is hosting the server. That would extend the benefit of controlling your data in the cloud to a whole new group of people, who can't or don't want to run their own server. There is some work going on in this area. Let's see where this goes.

From a community point of view it would be great, if the contributor agreement would be a bit more fair towards contributors. It's quite asymmetric. You broadly give all rights on contributions to ownCloud Inc. but only get back what you would get anyway by publishing your code under the AGPL. I understand that this enables the ownCloud Inc. business model, and that a successful company is good for the community. I also have no doubt that the company is operating with the best intentions for the community. But if there needs to be a formal agreement, it would be nice if it would better take into account the interests of both sides. I'm sure there would be ways how to do that without jeopardizing the business model.

In general I'm very impressed with how far ownCloud has come, and I'm happy that I could contribute my little part in it.


  1. Congrats.

    Looking to the future, is there any chance of:
    1. provided in a 64bit ISO.
    2. preconfigured to use MariaDB
    3. preconfigured to accept large files sizes (8192MB)
    4. preconfigured to use https, with a script that generates a self-cert on first use

    That would be awesome.
    I currently use Owncloud 8.0.2 on Opensuse 13.2, and i can get the basics up and running in no time, but those points above required expert help.

    And they are needed to make Owncloud truly useful.

    1. These are all very good ideas.

      I would love to also provide a 64 bit image, but SUSE Studio doesn't allow to maintain an image with both architectures, so I will stay with 32 bit for now for broadest compatibility. It shouldn't be a problem to spin off a 64 bit image, though, if you would like to do so.

      Using MariaDB is certainly a good idea for serious production use. I see ownCloud in a box more focused on trying and evaluating ownCloud. There I actually like the simplicity of SQLite. Again spinning off an image, which uses MariaDB shouldn't be a big problem.

      Supporting large file sizes sounds like a good idea. I will add that to my todo list. Is there some documentation how to do it?

      Using https is actually item number one on my todo list. This makes so much sense. I need to find some time for it, as it is not a trivial thing. Handling certificates and still being easy to use is a challenge.

  2. Hi Cornelius,

    Thank you. I think people are starting to look at the ubuntu/owncloud images and owncloud-in-box as a painless way to get an owncloud system running without the configuration headaches they may not have the skills to manage. like me, but unlike me they may not have a suitably linux savvy friend to achieve the above four points on a vanilla opensuse/ubuntu install.

    Are there people that actually rely on a 32bit x86 image? i'd say even the oldest amd barton core CPU's and pre-Prescott Intel P4's are gone now. 64bit by default?

    Using mariadb appeared to have an enormous performance improvement over sqlite on my little 15W AMD box. Mass upload was at least twice as fast, and not plagued by sqlite conflict errors as it struggles to keep up with the upload speed. Some of this may be down to optimisation from OC7 to OC8, but I believe it is largely due to MariaDB.

    Large file sizes used to be more problematic so I understand, prior to PHP 5.6, as it required some ugly workarounds. With opensuse 13.2 (and thus PHP 5.6), it only required about two minor edits to the PHP.config. Didn't do it myself, but took about 30 seconds and appeared pretty obvious when we looked for the appropriate lines.

    HTTPS done safely is more problematic, I agree, but perhaps will become easier when the EFF ssl-cert project takes off, i.e. a first run scripts goes to and requests a new cert, then installs it preconfigured into opensuse...


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