ownCloud was in Beijing!
October 20, 2014
I am currently in my flight back to India and recovering from a super awesome first edition of openSUSE Asia Summit, 2014 which was held in Beijing, China. This was one of the biggest opensource conferences I have attended with people from India, China, Taiwan, Japan, Netherlands, Germany and many other countries.
I was here bearing the ownCloud Community flag and I took a talk on Building for the ownCloud Project and a workshop on How to build your first ownCloud app!. Both of them went pretty well.
Major credit goes to the 50+ amazing volunteers who worked day and night to organise and Beihang University for being a great host. I also got to know several ownCloud Community guys have also been / are associated with the openSUSE Community which is really cool.
I have visited some good number of cities, both nationally and internationally but Beijing is probably one of the most different (in a very good way) cities I have been to. The culture and the food is mind blowing. I got to taste Chinese cuisine which included trying more than 10 different types of meat in 2 dinner meals. This is by far the maximum I have experimented with my stomach and it turned out to be succesful.
Before my thesis started, I spent most of my free time contributing to ownCloud but I certainly look forward to contributing to openSUSE in the coming future.
Looking forward to more awesome stuff from the opensource world!
Announcing ownCloud Community Statistics Provided by Bitergia
October 15, 2014
Shortly after the ownCloud 7 release we made statistics available showing the healthy growth of the ownCloud community. This is important for contributors, users and customers in choosing a project to work with. Numbers say something about the health and relative size of a community. We now announce the availability of regular and up-to-date community numbers on ownCloud provided by Bitergia.
Statistics help evaluate the impact of events like the ownCloud Contributor Conference we held last August. Two months later, we can see on the ownCloud dashboard that we reached a peak of 100 contributors in August and 93 in September. The previous record was 85 in March 2014 and before that, 79 in March 2012. And the number of people closing bug reports peaked with 136 over the previous peak of 105 in January of this year, showing the conference did result in a lot of activity.
The numbers also raise the question: what is it about March that the number of contributors peaked in the last two years?
Digging deeper on Bitergia
The Bitergia web interface offers more than overview graphs, showing for example activity split out over the various repositories. This teaches us the most active repositories are Core, Mirall (our desktop client) and the apps repo. But in the apps repository, activity seems to have gone down considerably over the last year.
Interpretation is important: since the beginning of 2014, we’ve worked hard to move apps into their own repositories, which makes it easier to contribute to them. Of course, these apps then take their issues with them – decreasing activity in the ‘catch-all’ apps repository but growing activity overall. We now have 60 active repositories under our github account!
Another example is found in the mailing lists. An overview can be found on this page. Digging deeper, you notice that the user- and developer mailing lists seemingly have started on January 2014. This is of course not exactly true – but the user- and developer lists were separated that date and the ‘old’ list is not part of the statistics so there is a sudden, large increase in activity.
There is more data on Bitergia, including the attraction/retention rate study. If you’re interested in statistics and the health of communities, it provides a good look at where ownCloud is standing and perhaps going. Of course, if you’re more interested in becoming part of the crew, check out our contribute page!
ownCloud development for the first two weeks of September
October 7, 2014
This is the ownCloud community update for the first two weeks of September. Covering activity from ownCloud development mailing lists, blogs, social media and of course our github code repositories, we hope to give you a good idea of what goes on in ownCloud. Tips are very much welcome! Ping Jos with your input.
Biggest items in the first two weeks of September were the shorter sharing links coming in ownCloud 8 and other improvements scheduled for that release, the ownCloud Contributor Conference report (with videos!) and a lot of activity on the ownCloud blog roll.
Let’s take out some highlight here before getting to the big Pull Request list, starting with shorter URL’s.
but instead look like:
That is quite a bit shorter (from 59 to 27 characters) and nicer looking. It would be possible to further shorten this to
which makes 17 characters, as discussed in issue 5477. A way to do it by modifying
.htaccess is included there but before integration in ownCloud needs some more work and testing. For NGINX a PR is here but for Apache nobody has yet created a pull request – an opportunity perhaps? There is still time to get this in ownCloud 8!
Second, it is worth noting that there have been many additions to the public API for the benefit of app and client developers. 10766 adds an optional user ID parameter for getUserFolder, providing a way for an app to retrieve a user folder for a user other than the current one. This is backported to ownCloud 6 and 7, providing a proper public API which can be used from now on. The same goes for group management, now available in the public API. The public config API got improved as well, adding ‘delete’ for system, app and user values and getting all keys of user values. Event Source was added to the public API and folder sizes are shared over webdav so the clients can use this information in their user interfaces. And there is now a rest API for thumbnails!
Not really additions but rather ‘syntax sugar’, Raydiation has been adding some convenience functionality to simplify app code, like adding some template shortcut functions for style and script as well as html imports, finally making it possible to use lists in these templates. He also added some standard css boilerplate for navigation utilities like delete and edit.
All this work should contribute to making ownCloud even easier to develop for and with – a major concern for ownCloud founder and project lead Frank Karlitschek, as he also mentioned in his recent blog about the future of PHP. PHP is the language ownCloud is predominantly written in, and the health of its ecosystem has a profound impact on ownCloud. Read his blog to find out why he chose PHP for ownCloud and why he is still happy with that choice.
Besides these major changes there has been feature work in a variety of other areas:
- Much work was done in Mail, like showing the “add account” screen when no account is configured yet, adding a ‘to’ label in front of the Recipient field, centering the ‘check mail’ and ‘load more buttons and much, much more.
- In small-but-long-time-in-the-making news, Refresh if maintenance mode is over got merged after over a year! Courtesy of Kondou-ger, who also brought you the shorter sharing links discussed earlier
- ownCloud added a number of security utilities to ownCloud Core, including a library for basic crypto operations, an improved library for random numbers and a library for secure “somewhat constant” string comparisons which is helpful against Timing Attacks. Also security-relevant was a PR which allows external shares to work with imported self signed certificates
- The Android library has Added an operation to move remote files (and folders) – something which might just show up in the Android app at some point
- In performance news, the server now uses bigger transactions when doing explicit file system scans, making them finish faster
- In the user management interface, local users, groups and group members are now retrieved in a sorted way
- In tiny-improvements-matter-too-news, our example files are now properly capitalized
- Some small fixes for the contacts app were made in the upcoming release as well as back ported to our current release
If you want to get involved in coding on ownCloud – check out this page!
ownCloud appstore updates
There was, as usual, plenty of activity on apps.owncloud.com:
- New is the File Counter app, which does what the name suggests: show a count of files for each user
- Also brand new is the ESLog app which sends ownCloud users activity to an Elasticsearch server for remote logging
- The Edit Doc app, a WYSIWYG Editor plugin for ownCloud based on tinyMCE is updated for ownCloud 7, includes a newer version of TinyMCE and has some other small improvements
- The Disable Remember Login app is back. While this checkbox is disabled by default, some users asked to disable the option entirely and thus the app is back!
- LEDFAN released ownCloud Chat 0.2.1, for details see his blog mentioned below
- The RainLoop Webmail client update fixes some minor bugs
- There is also a new NSS User Authentication app which however comes with a severe warning to only use it when your really know what you are doing: it is a very insecure solution to the problem of user authentication
Other development updates
News from the mailing lists includes new releases, development discussions and pictures from the ownCloud contributor conference!
- ownCloud desktop client 1.6.3 was released on September 4
- Raghu notified the dev list about his ownCloud Conference pictures
- Bernhard Posselt started a discussion about including the ocdev tool for creating app templates and installations from git into the ownCloud organization to share maintenance a bit more. Frank agreed and immediately set up a repo
- Stefan Brüns notified the dev list about his work on a first version of a KDE Dolphin plugin for ownCloud. It is somewhat limited in regards to the overlays it can show as it acts as a version control plugin, but works. He has code on github and packages already for openSUSE. Olivier responded with a link to his discussion with the Dolphin developers about extending the interface of Dolphin to accommodate the needs of ownCloud better
You can join the discussions on this page.
Other ownCloud happenings
On Planet ownCloud the biggest article was perhaps the report on the ownCloud Contributor Conference, covering both the hackathon week as well as the program of talks and workshops on Saturday. Both keynotes are described and they are aggregated with the lightning talks on our YouTube channel.
Another popular blog on the ownCloud site was prompted by a ownCloud.com blog, in turn inspired by the infiltration of iCloud. ownCloud.org focused on the reasons to decentralize data, explaining how decentralization makes data both harder to find and less interesting to steal for hackers.
- The Register published a great ownCloud review
- Carla Schroder wrote on Small Business Computing about ownCloud for small businesses
- And on YouTube, The Linux Action Show discussed ownCloud and Chromebooks
And as always, we’d like to point out that we have an events calendar and if you want to meet with other ownCloud enthusiasts, be it at a meetup or at a trade show, check out those pages. If there is nothing close by, consider organizing a meetup yourself!
ownCloud in Beijing
October 6, 2014
openSUSE and ownCloud in Asia
The openSUSE Summit will feature a wide range of talks, covering openSUSE tools like openQA and the Open Build Service, distribution state subjects like openSUSE on ARM to fancy technologies like Docker and Qt. The program is released and you can find it on the website. The openSUSE team has also shared practical event information.
ownCloud contributor (and two-times GSOC student) Raghu Nayyar will be speaking at the Summit about how ownCloud helps bring your data back under your control. In his talk, he will also cover the ownCloud community, how it is to be a contributor to the project and his experiences with the Summer of Code projects.
If you’re close to Beijing and want to learn more about ownCloud, meet us at the openSUSE Asia Summit!