Sunday, 25 September 2011

Get your own cloud!

I've become involved with an awesome ownCloud project recently. Well, not really "involved", just hang around the IRC, report problems, suggest ideas, help other people to set it up (as i've set it up myself on my home server already) etc. Basically, ownCloud is a project aimed at those of us who doesn't want Google snooping around, who is reluctant to post stuff on facebook and who basically wants to have his/her data in his/her hands.

So? So. I have to admit that ownCloud is awesome. Though it is currently in its early stages of development, it already is pretty functional. I can upload stuff, access my files via WebDAV (natively supported by KDE's Dolphin), i can keep my contacts and calendar there via CardDAV/CalDAV, and listen to music. There are other, more advanced options like LDAP authentication but i haven't yet tested it so i can't comment on that one.

What i can comment on is how easy it is to set it up. The ownCloud setup itself takes a minute - in a sense, you don't really have to "set it up" - it just works. Setting up an environment to run that shit is also as easy as it can get. I admit that for some people setting up an apache/php server doesn't sound like it's easy to do, but trust me - anyone running Ubuntu will be able to set it up, given the right step-by-step guide. Hell, i never had a webserver before, now i'm running one.

Anyway, i've liked the ownCloud so much i actually already ditched Google's contacts and calendar altogether. I have installed a calDAV/cardDAV on my Android, also setting up Akonadi sync on my computers and now i have fully integrated, synchronized and backed up calendar and contacts, without ever giving up my rights to that data. Plus there's file sharing, so i'll start uploading stuff like my photos there at some point. I never liked the idea of music streaming so i didn't even bother to test it. However, i might change my mind later too.

With all that praise i'm giving it, it wouldn't be me if i never said something inappropriate about ownCloud. So here's the gory details. First of all, the settings area is a bit illogical. Why the fuck the admin section only contains LDAP? I'd expect to find all kinds of stuff there, like user management, installed apps, database backend settings and whatnot, but instead i get sections for "Apps", "Users" and a section for "Admin" that contains LDAP. Name it LDAP, for fuck's sakes!

Another gripe is that you have to go to IRC channel to ask for paths to use for CardDAV/CalDAV - there's not a hint in the GUI about that (at least i didn't find it). The "Help" area is bullshit and doesn't really help with anything. The "get more apps" link leads to a dark void. Overall, a lot of good ideas, but unpolished in these little things.

However, my final NERD RAGE dose goes to web browser developers. You're all fucking assholes. Firefox 6 renders like shit (funny thing is, Firefox 3 does a better job). Rekonq has some Javascript problems. Opera is completely and utterly unusable with this website. Google Chrome rules them all. As much as i hate Google for their decision to make their fucking browser use that abomination of a toolkit GTK+, it still blows everything else out of the water when it comes to rendering.

So, to conclude - will i use ownCloud? Definitely. Will your mom use it? How the fuck would i know. It's good enough for me.

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