ownCloud Statement Concerning the Formation of Nextcloud

Today’s announcement by our former colleague Frank Karlitschek, that he intends to launch a competitive product to ownCloud into the market using recently poached developers, has both surprised us and – admittedly – disappointed us. In the past, Frank has made a wealth of contributions to the development of the ownCloud Community Edition. With today’s announcement, he is no longer related to the ownCloud project and has started a competing community.

ownCloud will continue to deliver software and maintenance to our future and existing customer base. Support, consulting and professional services continue to be available. Product improvements will continue to be our focus as we deliver on our vision of “Universal File Access”. We are prepared to face any form of legitimate competition, because we are convinced of the quality of ownCloud.

One of Frank’s criticisms concerned the need to strengthen the Community. In this regard, we have been working on the creation of the ownCloud Foundation, the formation of which we announced earlier this week. The Foundation’s board will consist of 7 members, among them developers elected from the GitHub community, community users and one ownCloud representative. This will strengthen the Community in the long term, and ensures the availability of a free, entirely open source version of ownCloud. The Community Edition is and remains the backbone of our company.

Just yesterday, ownCloud staged an event in Frankfurt, Germany hosted by ownCloud and sponsored by IBM and B1 Systems, where users demonstrated the full range of possibilities of ownCloud in a variety of interesting community and enterprise projects, including Stuttgarter Lebensversicherung a.G., Helmholtz-Zentrum für Umweltforschung, DESY, Agfa ICS and Senacor. In return, ownCloud unveiled its roadmap for upcoming versions to a wealth of positive feedback. Future collaboration capabilities for documents, spreadsheets and presentations in partnership with Collabora was also very well received.

Unfortunately, the announcement has consequences for ownCloud, Inc. based in Lexington, MA. Our main lenders in the US have cancelled our credit. Following American law, we are forced to close the doors of ownCloud, Inc. with immediate effect and terminate the contracts of 8 employees. The ownCloud GmbH is not directly affected by this and the growth of the ownCloud Foundation will remain a key priority.

40 Responses to “ownCloud Statement Concerning the Formation of Nextcloud”

  1. K. C.

    I’m actually not surprised about any of this. oc developers were constantly ignoring feedback and suggestions by closing issues without having resolved them or stating a valid explanation. The group admin mess has been open for years, the calendar/contacts have been re-designed to the point that they are unusable, and every criticism has been taken as a personal attack.
    This is no way to run a project.

    • NomoreGlitchies

      I fully agree with this perspective.

  2. Michael

    I wrote a small song for you:

    Tenthousand Euros, for a simple feature,
    another twenty Euros, for a simple app,
    written in simple PHP,
    costs more than a Windows Server, with millions of lines of high performance code.

    Okay, that didn’t rhyme. Oops.
    But still, it’s a song for you. And I find it applies very well.

    With a hobbyist name like “ownCloud” and slogans like “data liberation” I’d expect a much less hefty price tag for features that are standard elsewhere.

    • Chris

      Mhhh, from what i know you’re mostly paying for the support not for that “simple apps / features”. They are mostly just some goodies…

    • Songwriter

      What about:

      Sometimes people think everything needs to be for free
      Shalala lala
      Sometimes people think others shouldn’t be paid for their work
      Shalala lala
      But they are wrong, wroooong

      😛

      You might be free to either hire a developer for less money to get a missing app / feature or create those on your own and release it as open source in the appstore. Its just simple PHP 😉

  3. Thad

    I’ve been using ownCloud for years, and I’ve been *frustrated* by ownCloud for years. By poor UI’s, feature incompatibility between desktop and mobile clients (say, a desktop client that can only sync entire directories and not individual files and an Android client that can only sync individual files and not entire directories), the abandonment of the OSX version of the server, and the overwhelming sense that I was being pushed to use for-pay versions of the software and the free versions were deliberately inconvenient to get and use (eg the Android ownCloud client being a paid download in Google Play, and the free version in F-Droid often being several versions behind and constantly crashing).

    I will grant that some of these issues have been fixed, and others appear to be in the process of getting fixed. Is it too little, too late? Time will tell. I’ll be sticking with OC for now, but I’ve definitely got my eye on NC to see how it develops.

    This post really doesn’t impress me, either. It sounds like you alienated your talent, lost your investors, and now you’re whining about it in public. It also sounds like you’re afraid of competition. Karlitschek “poached” your developers? No, your developers *quit*.

    If you want to keep your users instead of losing them to Nextcloud, do it by putting out a better product than Nextcloud. Because you’re not going to keep them by whining about how unfair it is that Nextcloud exists.

    • Chris

      > eg the Android ownCloud client being a paid download in Google Play, and the free version in F-Droid often being several versions behind and constantly crashing

      Sorry, but this is totally nonsense. The f-droid version is built from the same source but maintenanced by contributors of f-droid not related to ownCloud at all. Please do some research before spreading such stuff.

      • Thad

        Exactly where did I say the F-Droid app was officially compiled and distributed by ownCloud?

        Nowhere, that’s where.

        What I said is that the version on Google Play — the official, ownCloud-provided version — was for-pay, and anyone looking for a free version received an inferior experience, *because ownCloud did not provide a decent-quality free version*. I suppose my parenthetical aside could have gone into more detail on the specifics of how the F-Droid binaries were compiled and distributed, but I assumed that anyone reading this comments section would already be aware of those details. I seem to have been right, as you clearly are aware of them.

        • Chris

          > Iseem to have been right, as you clearly are aware of them.

          Just because i have updated a few apps in f-droid on my own. The majority reading the blog don’t have this knowledge and you’re writing in your sentences that you where pushed to use the not updated and crashing non-paid version. Thats just non-sense…

          • Chris

            Btw. no everything needs to be for free. IIRC the developer of the android app is using the income from the fee of the gplay app for his development costs.

          • Thad

            Actually, what I wrote was that I was being pushed to use the for-pay version. In fact, my exact words were “I was being pushed to use for-pay versions of the software”. You can scroll up and read the original post to confirm if you’d like.

            I know that questioning somebody’s reading comprehension skills is about the biggest cliche on the Internet, but you seriously seem to be inferring all sorts of things from my comments that aren’t actually there (while stubbornly refusing to acknowledge things in the OP that *are* there). Almost as if you’re more interested in pushing a particular viewpoint than having an honest discussion.

    • Chris

      Ah, btw. Maybe they should have skipped “poached” part here but personally i don’t see any “whining” here. Just some facts.

      • Thad

        “Surprised” and “disappointed” aren’t facts, they’re emotions. And the final paragraph is quite clearly meant to color the reader’s opinion of Karlitschek: his “poaching” of developers “forced” ownCloud, Inc to shut down, and cost eight people their jobs. No responsibility taken on OC’s part at all; they were “forced” to do it.

        These things don’t happen in a vacuum. There were clearly disagreements leading up to this point — certainly with Karlitschek, and likely with the developers who quit OC to continue working for him. And if their lenders all pulled out, it sounds like OC was in a pretty precarious position with them, too.

        Management at OC made decisions that led to this outcome. Nobody forced them to do that. The appropriate tone, under the circumstances, would be contrition; acknowledgement that they made mistakes and a pledge to do better. We get a little of this, in the talk about the commitment to the community in paragraph 3, and that’s welcome. I would have been much more impressed by a press release that spent more time on language like that and less on words like “surprised”, “disappointed”, “poached”, and “forced”.

  4. JamesT

    This is very bad for users but

  5. A User

    Why do you see Nextcloud as competition? It´s all Open Source and Free Software! You can easily merge the features back and forth, like open office, libre office, apache office whatever..
    I personally moved on to Nextcloud aswell. As a developer, i see my Pull Requests valued in the nextcloud community and merged. The PR i created against the ownCloud android app, is open since 1,5 years and no one has replied / even noticed it.
    On the other hand, if there is real competition, it is beneficial for anyone except the leaders / money earners of a project, users and devs benefit from competition, as it drives new developments to be better than the competition.

  6. Laird Hariu

    There is a lesson to be learned here. The real strength of open source is the commitment and participation of the non-paid community of developers, testers, documenters, etc. Corporations come and go. I’ve learned this the hard way. A good open source project will outlive many companies and will be an enduring contribution to humanity. Personally I’m glad to see Owncloud Inc go. I know those are hard words for those of you who were wrapped up in this and I am sorry to have to say them. Hopefully you will have no problem finding new gigs.

    I think the project will find it easier to get volunteers now. I’ve always been skeptical of open source projects that seem to be trying to profit off the efforts of volunteers. This project has been too commercial in the past. Hopefully that will change. Owncloud still has great potential. I suggest the project focus on simplification and quality.

  7. another Chirs

    I’m just a regular user. I use OwnCloud for private and professional work and will continue using OwnCloud for now. If the project survives I will stick with it. It has made a name for itself, and has provided a real alternative to DropBox, GoogleDrive etc.. BTW – the use of the word “Next” in NextCloud is unfortunate in my opinion. The “next best thing” is not necessarily a positive attribute for a new product, it’s just another name, unlike “OwnCloud”. My advice to the remaining OwnCloud community is to show that you can carry the flag and continue the positive developments of the last few years. If you do, most of your users will stay and you will continue to grow.

  8. JaSem

    For us, users, the situations seems to by very hazy…
    Dividing the project you divide people – now everybody will consider – stay here or go to the other. This is very sad, when problems between project’s leaders leads to the disintegration of the project. Mr. Frank told us before that he is leaving the project, and will always close to the OwnCloud. Really? Having his own competitive project? Or just he took his toys and went to play a different sandbox? In my humble opinion all this situation is not clear (we don’t know real reasons) and seems to be not fair for uses (consequently we don’t know on which side is the true)… More transparency please!

  9. Balasankar C

    Dude, prove the “poaching” accusation.

  10. Alex

    I do believe the wrong wording was sent in this post, i don’t think is time to panic, community has shown resiliency and will not give up nor bend its knee to the pleasure of others. This is the time for new a fresh-minded developers to join the project and contribute and today will be a thing of the past, no need to run away, just face your reality and keep finding good talent willing to support this product.

  11. Last week review 22-2016 - My Blog

    […] from ownCloud Inc. leave the company . Now we can read that there will be a software fork call NextCloud. Depeneding on the developmnent of the software i’m asking myself do i have to switch in the […]

  12. duub

    Could you explain this relation with the American law?

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    […] op ownCloud Inc: door de aankondiging heeft het bedrijf zijn kredietlijnen verloren en heeft het de deuren moeten sluiten. Het Duitse bedrijf ownCloud GmbH bestaat nog en ook de pas opgerichte ownCloud Foundation blijft, […]

  14. HLFH

    I migrated to Nextcloud and I’m happy to do it. I’m following ownCloud developers since start and I know where they are right now: with Nextcloud.

  15. good

    bye

  16. Hi

    Who author? noname…

  17. Kris

    Uh, sounds to me like: “We are sinking, but please stay aboard and take a drink – we’ve got enought water”.

    Sorry, but the main team changed to nextCloud and so I will do. Goodbye, ownCloud.

    • Martin

      This article did not convince me to stay with owncloud.

      I say goodbye too.

    • Chris

      One point for me to stay with ownCloud for now. The main team changed to nextCloud and just leave their previously done mess behind (like broken upgdates, not possible to skip major upgrades, conflict with the debian packagers etc.).

      • Strypey

        If these “mess” items you mention are fixed in NextCloud, and still not fixed in ownCloud, doesn’t that suggest they’re not the fault of the developers who have moved to NextCloud, but rather of the management who remain in ownCloud?

        • Chris

          The management doesn’t do design decisions nor to they implement broken stuff.

  18. Lewis Cowles (@LewisCowles1)

    Pretty serious. Hope all are well, but would consider changing the wording of this. It sounds vindictive towards the wrong party. Sounds to me like you should go off on the lenders as they are essentially the ones doing the most harm.

    • Sebastian

      Same concern here. It looks as these investor(s) where reason your main assets are leaving and a minute after they let you fall. Thats where disappointment should be.

  19. Florian

    That escalated quickly.

Comments are closed.