ownCloud Planet

Efstathios Iosifidis
[COMMUNITY] How to organize-start an open source community
November 20, 2014

This is an attempt to make a list of things that someone-group of people can follow to develop a healthy community or team. This post is an overview of what I did with Kostas for the Greek openSUSE community.
A small detail is that we were only 2. So we took decisions fast. We didn't have to vote or something.
We had an "advantage" because we have an awesome global community and we asked for something we weren't sure how to proceed.

Let's start:

0. Have a clear goal. What you want to do. Have a big goal that some parts aren't "visible" when you start.
1. Web page: This is the web page-blog that will show information about community, the distro or the project. Make it visible on planets. BE CAREFUL. Don't focus on how to make a great site-blog using personal wordpress, drupal etc. Set it up on blogger and start post articles. You want CONTENT (write an article every other day). Don't spend time to maintain or secure your web page.
2. Mailing list: Ask the project if they can setup for you. If not, then try to find alternatives such as google groups.
3. IRC Channel
4. Forum: Prefer to ask from the project to setup a section for your language. If your project doesn't have forum, then ask a LUG or tech forum to use their's. Do not have your forum setup in your host for the same reasons as before. Don't spend time to maintain or secure the forum.

The above list is the MUST have to start.
A key to everything is to try to have all information in your language, so it'll be "attractive" to people who like the idea of open source but they don't speak English. What's the role of such people? They can organize local events.

Next step is to advertise the whole project-distro. This can happen:
1. Write to blogs-forums (technological or not).
2. Create Facebook group/page and advertise your attempt to other groups/pages.
3. Create Twitter account and tweet news about your community.
4. Create Google Plus Profile/Community.
5. Contact press. First contact local and then national press.
6. If you have a newsletter or weekly magazine, it's good to translate it (or a piece of it), so the open source community in your country will learn about you and your projects.

Before deciding what social media accounts to create, be aware that you have to maintain them. So search the web, what social media is more famous to users. For "tech" users, Google Plus Communities is the perfect place. It also can be used instead of Forums.

A distro or project, it's not all about write code. It's have fun. So advertise it.
1. Release parties. When a new release is out, it's time to party.
2. Meet ups. A good place to organize them is http://meetup.com/. A meet up can be also a hangout.
3. Special teams. Check Fedora's example.
4. Beer-drinks. Check out ChicagoLUG.
5. Organize events on your own (start small and then go big). For example install fest or special nights (2 hours of projects presentations and 3-4 hours hacking). Join events (even cohost with other organizations) or conferences that will show people what you do. You should search some big events in your country and attend. Here is a tutorial about your presence at conference.
6. Then go big. Examples? Organize something like openSUSE summer collaboration camp or if there's a global conference, you can host it.

After you find people to follow you, then you can let them run special tasks (such as social media handling or forum moderator). When you're all set locally, then you can go global and show what you did.

During the process, don't act as leader or president. Since we're all volunteers on this, no one likes if someone is ordering people to do tasks. People like coordination. Someone that will remind the community deadlines, news, special days. Announce the results of a task, cheer up people by reward them (somehow).

People don't follow you for what you do. They follow you for why you do it.
So you have to know why you create a community.

A very good reference is Jos Poortvliet's blog about 5 steps to organizing a meetup. It's a small start that might go big.

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Steffen Lindner
How to manage todo.txt with ownCloud
November 16, 2014

Because it’s so flawless and easy to setup I want to share my Todo.txt & ownCloud setup I use every day.

Todo.txt is task tracking in a simple txt file you control. A set of simple rules help you get organized and there are several apps for all kind of devices.

Because no one should know what I want to do next or what I have done, it’s important for me to host myself. The official Todo.txt apps for iOS and Android are no option, they only work with dropbox.

So here is how I host my own Todo.txt in ownCloud and how I keep it in sync with all of my devices:

On my workstation and laptop (which run with Linux), I use the Todo.txt Command Line tool, for me it’s the fastest and most effective way. The ownCloud Sync-Clients do the hard work and keep the files up-to-date:


This just works, never had a conflict or outdated files. Configured one time and ready to work.

On my Android Phone I use FolderSync Lite together with Simpletask Cloudless. I choose FolderSync over the ownCloud Android Clients because it does not use that much battery (maybe it’s better now). I use scheduling of 2 h which works good for me, on my phone I don’t need instant sync.

Simpletask Cloudless accesses just the todo.txt on your phone (synced by FolderSync):


Because todo.txt is just a plain text file, it can also be easily managed within ownCloud web interface and the texteditor app.

Now Get Things Done!

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Efstathios Iosifidis
Presentation report: "Basic use of ownCloud" - November 12th, Thessaloniki, Greece
November 13, 2014

ELLAK, Aristotele University of Thessaloniki and GreekLUG organize seminars about software and services for small and medium-sized enterprises (in Greek).

On November 12th (in Greek), I presented cloud services and the basic use of ownCloud.
How a small enterprise can take advantage of ownCloud. How the end users or the employees can use ownCloud for more productivity?

We had live streaming and people could see the presentation live.
There was an ownCloud instance and each participant had his own username/password. So they were practicing what I was showing them at the presentation.
First of all, they didn't know what cloud is. I gave them the example of Android and Google.
A question that came up were about the space-server, where someone can setup ownCloud. In Greece, you cannot setup ownCloud at home because the bandwith of ISPs suck. Only hosting is good enough, unless someone pays for VDSL (it's still expensive for home use). Also another question was about how safe is. It's as safe as you set it up.

Here is the file I used (English). Feel free to download and change it.

I had left over swag from previous conferences I've been, so participants took everything. I also had the liveISO (ownCloud in a box) with me to give away.

Here are some pictures from the presentation:

Here is the video of the presentation (Greek):

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Jos Poortvliet
5 steps to organizing a meetup
November 12, 2014

For both beginners and pros a meetup around a subject can be a great resource. It's a wonderful opportunity to ask questions, share ideas, practice or work on things together and and of course meet new and interesting people.

Most people think organizing a meetup is a big deal, that you need to know a lot about the subject at hand and so on. This is most certainly not the case, and to illustrate that, let me simply share 5 simple steps to go through to organize a meetup.

1. Have a goal or subject

Of course, you have some idea of what the meetup should be about. Make it a bit more concrete: come up with some questions you'd like to get answers to, some things you find difficult, strange or simply interesting. This will form the basis under your meetup! Especially for a first meetup, a concrete thing-to-discuss helps both attract people and makes it easy on the spot to have a satisfying conversation.

A speaker isn't mandatory but it can be helpful if you find somebody who can introduce the subject, or do a little demo of the product/technology you are here for. Of course, you can easily do this yourself. It is no problem if you don't know the subject through and through, the others in the audience will certainly point out what else there is. You're certain to learn something new, and so will the others!

2. Pick a date, time and location

The practical things, then:
  • find a venue!
      Small is OK, you don't have to start big. A meeting room at the company you work forspace, universities and schools often have space and a café or restaurant isn't a bad option either.
  • pick a time after work. 7-9PM works usually fine.
      Friday nights are great for a release party or such but for regular meetups, a weekday is often better.
  • Make sure you have coffee, tea and perhaps cake.
      Don't bother with anything more complicated - you can always ask if people want to order food and arrange that on the spot. You can even ask people to bring something to drink or snack!

3. Find participants

The key to your meetup is simple: interest in something. For sure, there are others who feel the same and you just have to find them! Certainly you already know some people, and by looking for more you can grow a little address book of people to invite. Ask the people you already know to look for others! Other tricks include looking on social media, searching for similar groups and inviting people there.

Set up a facebook and/or google event page, maybe a blog and/or mailing list (google groups!). If you organize a KDE, ownCloud or openSUSE event - each of these projects have informational pages, mailing lists and other communication channels that can help you promote your event. Just click the links!

Don't set the bar too high - a meetup with handful of participants already makes for a fine first meetup! But if suddenly 50 people RSVP, don't worry - it just means they will keep each other plenty busy and you don't have to worry about content.

4. Have the meetup!

When people come in, welcome them and get to know them a little. If you're like me, you'll forget names at once but it might help to let everybody introduce themselves and why they joined.

Then do the introduction of the subject and ask if people have something to say on it, or other things they would like to bring up. Now you might feel there is a risk nothing happens, but believe me: this just won't happen. Bringing people with a similar interest together is all that is needed for an interesting conversation! Once the evening starts rolling, you'll feel you have over-planned and over-worried for sure.

5. Keep it going

After the first meetup, you need a line of communication to keep it up and running. There are different options - meetup.com is one, another way is handling it by hand with a wiki, blog, mailing list or google groups. In all cases, it is smart to put ask visitors at the meetup to write down their mail addresses so you can inform them about future meetups!

Getting one or more people to help you out is a good idea, too. They bring in their own network of contacts and interests. But at this point, you're up and running! I've blogged earlier about building a local community with more tips and ideas and you can find some other tips on the ownCloud meetup pages as well.

Have a lot of fun!

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ownCloud development for the first 2 weeks of October
November 12, 2014

encryption documentation screenshot
This is the bi-weekly ownCloud community update for week 40-42, from October 1st to 19. We put this together from activities on github, the mailing lists, blogs and whatever else is shared in the ownCloud community. Tips are welcome, ping Jos with your input!

Biggest items last week were the work in and around app management, the integration of tag sharing in the ownCloud core, improvements in the Chat app and the Android app, performance improvements all over ownCloud and better documentation.

You can read a report on the last two weeks of September here.


Let’s kick off with development news. After having gone through no less than 6 iterations, tag sharing marked the latest contribution by ockham, implementing the result of a design discussion a year ago. A second big piece of work merged is the major overhaul of the app manager, getting rid of all the apps in the sidebar and improving the work flow when dealing with adding, enabling and disabling apps.

This pull request was followed with more work on the updating and installation process including better handling of third party apps, catching more errors gracefully, being smarter about app versioning and preventing updates between major versions.

In the Documentation area, the encryption sections in the user manual and the admin manual got rewritten; adding a note about no expiration date on local shares, custom certificates are now mentioned, the user quota section was rewritten, file notifications are now covered, there was work on the filesharing section and much more, even prompting improvements to the ownCloud default configuration.

Design, sharing and performance

Many small design improvements help make ownCloud look and feel better:

Sharing improvements like introducing case-insensitive search for groups in the sharing dialog, adding a 750ms delay to the sharing menu, much faster sharing in the presence of large numbers of files and much improved handling of group shares all lead to a smoother ownCloud sharing experience.

There also has been quite a bit of performance work. By using cssmin and jsmin, the ownCloud source is smaller and loads faster. Memory usage of the file scanner was decreased, work was done on using cached data to speed up dealing with permissions, a PR was merged decreasing the impact on responsiveness of preview generation and more.

And much more

improved zoom in Documents
improved zoom in Documents
connection lost in Documents
new connection lost bar in Documents

If you want to get involved in coding on ownCloud – check out this page!

Third party ownCloud apps

On apps.owncloud.com: was lots of activity again.

Other development updates

The ownCloud development list was busy as always. Notable was the question by Christian Weiske about the app review process (which can use documentation! Anybody up for it?), conversations about beta releases and other testing and a conversation about serving minified js/css.

You can join the discussions on this page.

Other ownCloud happenings

digging deeper in statts
There was quite a bit of activity on Planet ownCloud. The highlights:

Please note that if you’re an ownCloud contributor, you should get your blog aggregated on owncloud.org/news! Ping Jos with your RSS feed.

the ownClouders twitter account shared an interesting video on installing Owncloud in a FreeNAS jail using lighttpd:

Our very own @janborchardt shared some great advice for open source designers at the Bono14 conference.

We linked to a great blog about ownCloud in a student organization, the loads and loads of pull requests which need your help in reviewing and more.
ownCloud Hackaton group photo


There are ownCloud events taking place! You can meet fellow ownCloud users and developers at ownCloud meetups or see us at conferences. Find a calendar of ownCloud events on owncloud.org/events. We are looking for volunteers to help out organizing ownCloud attendance at the SCALE event in California and the FOSDEM event in Belgium, both February next year. Join the ownCloud events mailing list if you want to help!

ownCloud meetups are a chance to learn more about ownCloud or to get coding work done. If you know of other (regular or not) meetups or are interested in organizing one yourself, check out this page on how to get involved.

We hope you enjoyed the read!

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