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ownCloud is a free software alternative to some proprietary web services and it currently includes file management (with built-in file sharing), music streaming, calendar, contacts and more - all running on your computer or server..

ownCloud 2 was released a few days ago and comes with many cool new features:
  • WebDAV support so you can access your files through filemanagers like Nautilus or Dolphin and even iOS or Android (using third-party apps)
  • share files with a click
  • calendars and contacts which can be connected to Thunderbird, Kontact or Evolution
  • Music streaming (through Ampache server)

ownCloud 2 also comes with a new look. Here are some screenshots:

Sharing a file

ownCloud music
ownCloud - music

owncloud calendar

owncloud apps
ownCloud applications (plugins)

Mini review

The best thing about ownCloud is that you can have all your files (music, pictures or whatever) with you all the time, no matter what device you use. And you have all the space you want since you are using your own computer/server.

The music streaming is also a very useful feature. You basically have your own Google Music server without the restrictions imposed by Google. And you can use a complete music player for this such as Amarok, Tomahawk, Banshee (through "banshee-extension-ampache" extension) and others.

One downside is that the interface is not mobile friendly and because the download and share links only show up on hover, these features don't work using some mobile browsers (like the stock Android browser). But it works just fine using a browser such as Firefox and further more, there are some WebDAV Android clients out there so this is not such a big issue. But having a mobile-friendly interface would be nice.

Another downside I've encountered while testing ownCloud 2 is that it's kind of slow when trying to access a folder containing a large number of files (like the folder where I store all my photos). But this might be related to my computer/configuration.

Also, ownCloud currently lacks some features like encryption, versioning or a desktop sync tool. But these features are on the way. Some features are already in development: online text editor, task manager, encryption, a desktop sync client, Android and webOS applications and more. Versioning, recovery and connecting to other services are planned too.

Oh, and you can even write your own apps for ownCloud.

Try ownCloud 2

If you want to try ownCloud before installing it, simply go to http://demo.owncloud.org/ .

Install ownCloud 2

The latest ownCloud 2 isn't available in the official Ubuntu repositories so you must install it manually.

1. Install the ownCloud 2 dependencies:

sudo apt-get install apache2 php5 php-pear php-xml-parser php5-sqlite php5-json sqlite php5-mysql mp3info curl libcurl3 libcurl3-dev php5-curl zip php5-gd

2. Download ownCloud and copy it to /var/www/. Presuming you've downloaded it in your home folder, use the commands below to extract and move it to /var/www/:
tar -xvf owncloud*.tar.bz2
sudo mv owncloud /var/www/owncloud

3. Set up the permissions:
sudo chown -R www-data:www-data /var/www/owncloud

4. Restart Apache:
sudo /etc/init.d/apache2 restart

5. Open a browser and enter http://localhost/owncloud - if you get an error similar to this: "No database drivers (sqlite or mysql) installed.", restart your computer and the error should be gone.

Owncloud create account

Ok, now back to: http://localhost/owncloud - here you'll be prompted to enter a new admin username and password and you're done!

If you get an error similar to the following:

Could not open /var/www/.well-known/host-meta for writing, please check permissions!

after creating your username and password, run the following commands:
sudo mkdir  /var/www/.well-known
sudo touch /var/www/.well-known/host-meta
sudo chown -R www-data:www-data /var/www/.well-known/

These instructions* can also be found @ ownCloud's website, along with Arch Linux, openSuse, Fedora, CentOS, Gentoo, Mac and Windows installation instructions.

* the instructions in this are slightly different for Ubuntu; for instance, I was getting the "No database drivers (sqlite or mysql) installed" error if trying to only install php5-sqlite but this was fixed by installing php5-mysql too, etc.

Connect to ownCloud using Nautilus (WebDAV)

In Nautilus, select File > Connect to server. In the "Type" drop-down, select "WebDAV (HTTP)" and:
  • under "Server" enter "ip/owncloud" (where "ip" the IP address of the computer where you've installed ownCloud or "localhost" to set it up on the same computer as ownCloud)
  • under "Folder" use "/files/webdav.php"

ownCloud Nautlus WebDAV

Then enter your username and password and that's it:

ownCloud nautilus webdav

For advanced WebDAV use, see: http://owncloud.org/use/webdav/

Increase the maximum allowed file size

By default, you can't upload files larger than 2 mb to ownCloud. To change this you need to edit /etc/php5/apache2/php.ini:
gksu gedit /etc/php5/apache2/php.ini

In this file, search for:

And change their value to whatever you want. Then save the file and restart Apache:
sudo /etc/init.d/apache2 restart

Thanks to Jan-Christoph Borchardt for the tip!