How ownCloud Contributes to the Open Source Ecosystem

Open Source projects live from collaboration. Developers with diverse experiences share their know-how to improve the code for everyone. How do ownClouders contribute?

We are often asked why ownCloud is putting so much energy into the Open Source ecosystem. Well, ownCloud is neither a company which also does Open Source, nor an Open Source project which also does business.

Instead, both parts are mutually beneficial. The Open Source ecosystem provides a high quality codebase, and the experience with large enterprise deployments contributes to the ecosystem. It is not a contradiction, it is a symbiosis.

Only Dead Fish Swim Upstream? Where ownClouders Contribute

The developers who work at ownCloud use a lot of Open Source software every day, and of course they contribute if something needs to be done. A good example is SabreDAV – after Evert Pot left the project, Thomas Müller, Chief Architect at ownCloud, took over maintainership.

Another example is the Drone project. The DevOps expertise of a large project like ownCloud is very useful for an Open Source continuous delivery platform.

Thomas Boerger and Patrick Jahns not only developed the Hetzner Cloud integration for the Drone autoscaler and several other features. Thomas is also the owner of the community Drone plugins organization and maintainer for Drone.

This way, ownCloud pays the maintainer, and everyone, e.g. non-commercial Open Source projects, can use the software and be sure that it works and bugs get fixed.


ownCloud contribution cs3rome

The teams of AARNet, CERN and ownCloud hands on at work at the CS3 conference in Rome.


New Client Features Improve Other Projects

During the development of the ownCloud clients, ownClouders contribute a lot of features to upstream. Sometimes Qt has to be improved, when the Desktop team wants to do something new with the client. In another case, the work on Delta Sync led to some improvements to the libcsync and zsync libraries.

Sometimes these features evolve into a more close collaboration over time which benefit both projects significantly:

At the ownCloud Conference 2018, we invited Hannah von Reth from KDE Craft to work with Dominik Schmidt on MacOS support for Craft. They also made it possible to build the ownCloud Desktop Client with Craft. Read the interview about it!


ownCloud KDE Craft Hannah Domme

Hannah is the maintainer of KDE Craft. Domme is working on the ownCloud Client and many other things.


And when the team around the ownCloud Android app wanted to get a better WebDAV library, they could build on the expertise of the Bitfire team and their dav4jvm library.

The ownClouders contributed properties, as well as move and copy WebDAV operations, to adjust it to their needs – and so both projects evolved into better software.


Stick Together And Contribute!

ownCloud has a business model which funds the development – but most Open Source projects aren’t as lucky. They live from contributions and long-term maintenance efforts. There are never enough people who do this important work.

But you can contribute, too. If you can’t code, then maybe you can do cool designs or write documentation – or work closely with developers on bug reports, to get it fixed for everyone.

It is important that we stick together to keep this ecosystem healthy. One way is to contribute to ownCloud, but other projects may need more support. In any case, the ways to do this are always similar. See you at the issue tracker!


Learn how to contribute!


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