ownCloud: setup and awesome!

2013-09-26 19:44:01 PST

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Because I’m a very DIY kind of guy, when I recently caught wind of ownCloud I knew I wanted to play with it. They’ve done an amazing job making it easy to install and use.

To start with, since my server is a Gentoo server I ‘emerge owncloud -va‘-ed to get the latest version of the webapp and its dependencies. I already had a SSL enabled vhost setup with apache for hosting other sensitive webapps like Roundcube for webmail, so I created a new owncloud directory there and copied the app into it ‘cp -r /usr/share/webapps/owncloud/5.0.11/htdocs ./owncloud/‘. Then I pointed my browser to the webapp. It had a simple one step setup. It asked for an admin username and password to setup and a database database and user/pass (which I added in myqsl and gave it). And then it was done. Files, contacts, and calendar were installed by default. ownCloud has great on site docs so it was trivial to find the desktop sync-clients list and info and get that install on my Ubuntu laptop. Volia, my own personal dropbox! I was very pleased and impressed.

Contacts have always been a pain for me so I was curious if I could push owncloud a bit. Previous versions (4) appear to have had a built in roundcube email client, but I have my own already and I’m running the newest version 5 of ownCloud. But with these simple instructions I was able to install a roundcube plugin, get it talking to ownCloud contacts, and then in roundcube I drag and dropped my cotnacts over to my owncloud address book and it was done. Also, the ownCloud docs have instructions for getting Android and iOS to get contacts from ownCloud.

So with very little work I’ve got some nice new functionality (contact syncing between webmail and phone) and my own personal dropbox. For less than an hours work I’m quite impressed and pleased. Massive kudos to the ownCloud team.

Update: Be sure in apache to add “AllowOverride all” to the Directory directive for ownCloud so it can secure its data/USER/files directorys with “deny all”s. Otherwise even without logging in anyone can browse your files (and worse, execute php).

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