ownCloud Contributor Conference Was Awesome
September 10, 2014
Sunday September 1 concluded the last day of the very first ownCloud Contributor Conference and it was our biggest, best event ever. With more than 100 participants from 20 countries, we attracted twice as many people compared to the hackathon last year. We introduced a great conference day with a program consisting of more than 40 sessions. The talks were recorded and are being released on YouTube over the coming days. Everybody we spoke to loved the event and we want to share with you a taste of how it was!
The hackathon started on Tuesday and had more than 60 participants throughout the week. It was a largely unstructured event, with people coding alone, in pairs or teams while enjoying the snacks and drinks we had available. A taste of results:
The desktop team found a new contributor, Alfie. He had developed file browser integration of ownCloud, written in Python, and at the conference ported this to C++ to fit better in the ownCloud desktop client technology. Alfie started 2-3 weeks ago on ownCloud and the conference was his first trip outside the UK. Quoting him: “It is the most appreciated I’ve ever been for my work with all these awesome people.”
Yu-de from Taiwan has been working on the music app, to allow it plugin-less playback of mp3 and FLAC files. He is quite new to ownCloud and had been working in isolation. His improvements are now merged into the Music app and he has started working on a user registration app, which allows users to register an ownCloud account without administrator involvement “because a lot of people have asked for it”.
The team working on the contacts app rewrote the import dialog and cleaned up the issue list of the app, fixing small bugs or closing the invalid ones. This will make work on the app easier in the coming months.
There has been loads more, shared in the standup at the end of each day. You will see the activity in the repositories!
The conference program on Saturday featured two keynote speakers: Dan Callahan from Mozilla and Frank Karlitschek, founder of ownCloud.
In his keynote, Dan talked about Defending Free Society and protecting your data. He argues that while we can’t prevent persistent hackers, companies and governments from accessing and indexing our private data, we can make it a lot harder by decentralizing it.
But people don’t put their data at Google and Dropbox out of ignorance, they do it because they derive real value from those services. A replacement can’t just be equally good + privacy. It has to be better in some way to get people to put in the effort to switch.
Mozilla and ownCloud share a common goal here: both are not just trying to keep up, but advance the state of technology in our respective areas.
Watch the keynote by Dan below and subscribe to our youtube channel to be notified when we upload more videos!
Keynote by Frank
Frank kicked off in the afternoon. He began by congratulating the ownCloud community for the successful release of ownCloud 7 and the conference we were having. A recent article about statistics showed the ownCloud community is doing great with more than 100 attendees from 4 continents and a great program, the conference was amazing.
Next up was an announcement: the User Data Manifesto 2.0 Beta has been made available for feedback! The User Data Manifesto is about defining basic rights for people to control their own data in the internet age. The first Manifesto was released by Frank 2 years ago and the update is meant to simplify the language and make its point stronger and clearer.
ownCloud is a tool that helps users to exercise these rights and our goal is to bring that to as many people as possible. So the next subject naturally was: how do we grow the ownCloud user base 10-fold? How do we bring ownCloud 9 to 20 million users? Frank discussed some important points: ease of installation, finding more providers and some interesting ideas like running ownCloud on NAS and Router devices as well as dedicated ownCloud Boxes. But also running a full ownCloud server on a desktop or even Android phone device would be a potential way to bring ownCloud and its abilities to more people. Frank challenged the audience: who gets an ownCloud server up and running on Android first?
Last but not least, he discussed our App ecosystem. Growing that is another important step towards more ownCloud users. There are already more than 200 third party apps and many important use cases are covered. We can and should support app developers with better, stable API’s, great documentation and new ways of finding, installing and upgrading apps.
Watch the keynote below.
The lightning talks allowed the contributors to share the state of their applications and the work they have been doing as well as to call on people to help them out or invite them to the workshops. We had 30 lightning talks, which you can soon watch on our YouTube channel. The talks offered a wide variety of subjects: ownCloud app status updates, informational talks about a few external projects doing work related to ownCloud; users of ownCloud; and Google Summer of Code interns. The talks often contained a call for action, either for a workshop to join later or, like in the lightning talk about our mentoring programs, to add ideas to work on for students to our student ideas wiki page.
We would like to thank TU Berlin, our Media Partners, ownCloud Inc. and everybody else involved for their hard work. And also a round of applause for the contributors and visitors to the event – thank you for the awesome work you do for and on ownCloud and for being part of our great community!
We’re already planning for next year – to make the event bigger, better and more awesome!
ownCloud Chat 0.2.1
September 7, 2014
A few days ago I released version 0.2.1 of the ownCloud Chat app, which is still beta software. There are a some nice updates, which I'll show in this blog post. I'll skip some small updates, but you can find them in the Changelog.
When there are no users on the ownCloud instance, you obviously can't Chat with them. As a reminder the Chat app now shows a message now when this is the case.
As you see on the screenshot at the left the `New Conversation` button is removed. Since all users are shown on the left, this button isn't necessary anymore. To create a group conversation you simply click the + icon and choose a user. A new conversation will be started with all 3 users in it.
The Chat app automatically sort the conversations and users in the sidebar by recency. This way a new message never loses your attention.
You can now easily search in the conversations via the search field in the left-top:
Another great update is how the online state of contacts are displayed. In earlier versions this was with a green and red border at the left of the contacts' avatar. In the latest version a green dot appears in the right bottom of a contact's avatar.
On IRC the question "why are the smileys so big?" was asked many times. Honestly there wasn't any reason for this :) Emojis are now shown inline and with a size of 20px.
When you are typing multiple line messages in the chat message field, it will automatically resizes.
This are all the updates which the user will notice.
In the past few weeks I have had some feature request, I listed them here, you can click the link to go too the issue on Github for more information.
- E-mail notifications for new messages
- Only allow users in the same group to chat with each other
- Cross instance chatting
- File attachments
- Naming of conversations
Upgrading the app
To upgrade the app, simple replace the Chat app files with the new ones.When you reload ownCloud you'll see the following screen:
In your installation it will say "ownCloud will be updated to version 7.0.2". It won't update tot 7.0.2, but it will update the Chat app. To upgrade simply click the "Start update" button. Next you'll see something like this:
The update is done now :)
Unfortunately there is an issue with the contacts app, an solution is ready but needs testing. This issue happens when you use the Contacts app or you used it some time. It don't always happens. You'll get a 404 contact not found.
You might want to start the project on Github :-)
Comments on the app or this blog post are welcome as usual.
ownCloud Review Contest Winners
September 4, 2014
Two weeks ago we announced a review contest for ownCloud 7 and today we present you with the winners! Volkan ‘vgezer‘ Gezer, Efstathios ‘Stathis‘ Iosifidis and Nico ‘Nighoo‘ Suhl. The Banana Pi devices are on their way!
Nico was first to share his review over twitter, writing in his review about the update process and the new features. Stathis didn’t just write one but shared no less than three posts with us, about ownCloud 7 on Firefox OS, upgrading an openshift ownCloud 6 instance to ownCloud 7 and how to install ownCloud 7 super easy with the web installer.
Last, Volkan Gezer blogged about ownCloud 7, even going into some history by sharing ownCloud 3, 4 and 6 screenshots and noting that to contribute to a project, it is best to first use it! In his extensive review he touches on all the major new features and he promised to write more about the release in the future!
Every one of the winners has been contacted and can expect the Banana Pi devices soon. Congratulations to the winners, and to those who didn’t win: better luck next time!
Don’t be caught naked in the cloud – decentralization protects our data
September 3, 2014
Over on the ownCloud Inc. blog, Frank talks about the theft of data from iCloud in the wake of all those naked celebs, and argues that our data should not be stored in a few centralized services.
It’s why we all are doing what we do at, for and with ownCloud – our raison d’etre.
What is it that makes decentralization of data so important in this digital age? There are two major reasons: it makes it harder to get at (find) the data; and it diminishes its (the location’s) value.
Making it harder to find
What do you do to deter criminals from breaking into your house, car or steal from you on the street? There are several steps that you can take:
- Use a decent lock
- Keep your valuables out of sight
- Don’t keep everything in one place
Turning your house into a vault is not in this list: we all know that somebody sufficiently determined can probably steal from us, but as long as we make it hard enough, thieves will generally pass us over and find an easier target.
This is no different in the digital world. An unpleasant fact that we have to live with is that no amount of security can guarantee the safety of our data. Securing our digital possessions is important, but the other real-world tips carry over equally well. When you have an iPhone, a thief can easily assume you put your data on iCloud! So, don’t. Keep it out of sight on a private cloud and give the attacker the additional task of finding out where you store your valuables!
Diminish its value
The second reason for distributing data becomes obvious when you think about how it is used by attackers. Privacy is not just about private photos of you, your family or your friends. With modern data mining technologies, seemingly innocent data can be used to reveal information that you better keep to yourself. Information which could be sold to insurance companies, (potential) employers, political parties, your own or foreign governments, criminal organizations and so on. There is real money in breaking into digital storage, just like there is in real world break-ins. But unlike in the real world, the value is in having massive amounts of data which can be mined and related, rather than the data of an individual on its own.
How do we protect ourselves against this? Let’s take the real-world analog again.
If we, collectively, keep our data in the same place, stealing it all at once might be hard (certainly the security experts at Google and Apple know what they are doing) but once somebody does, the pay-off is massive. If our data was spread out all over, its value would diminish greatly. Having to break into millions of separate vaults, collect the data from each and then correlate it all is a massive undertaking – far greater than having a single target.
And just like you’d keep an extra eye on your house when there is a flood of break-ins in your neighborhood, anybody trying to break into a large number of private clouds would set off alarm bells and get in trouble long before he/she amasses enough data to be valuable.
The more people take their data out of the storage centers controlled by a few large players and distribute it over the globe, the lesser the value of breaking into any data storage. Millions of users have already deployed ownCloud as a way to conveniently sync and share their files, contacts, pictures and more in a secure and private way. Join them!
ownCloud 7 Design Evolution
August 29, 2014
While I got started
ownCloud has a come a long way in the past couple of years. I remember starting to contribute to ownCloud by sending a very small design fix to its Contacts app while I was trying to pick up HTML and CSS. I guess it was ownCloud 5 that time and now the 7th version of the software released some time back.
How’s this ownCloud different?
The most significant change you will see in the current design is that the white space. There is well, plenty of that as we don’t use the application navigation anymore. Instead, we have the list of all applications in a dropdown on the top left. The navigation also allows the users to add new applications. This makes the new design very minimal and as I put in content specific.
- Another change you can find in the new release is the left sidebar for the files and various other core applications. The user can very easily switch between
- All files
- Files shared with you
- Files shared with others
- Files shared with a link
- Deleted Files
Another big change is, ownCloud web project 7 is now responsive(screens below 768px) as well adaptive. The left sidebar uses snap.js which allows a user to drag out/in the sidebar for mobile screens.
The left navigation is now consistent with various applications throughout ownCloud and is a part of core. So, designers getting started with ownCloud can pick up the basic styling very fast.
- ownCloud 7 comes with a new version of user management which makes it very simple for administrating users as there is a groupwise filter implemented on the left sidebar. There is also search input which allows you to quickly search through the users by their display name / groupwise / email etc.
We sit on #ownCloud-design and #ownCloud-dev on freenode if you too plan to join us help us make ownCloud even better.