1x14: Cloudy Donkey Mascots

Jeremy Garcia, Bryan Lunduke, Jono Bacon, and Stuart Langridge present Bad Voltage, in which the cloud shows up a lot this week, in the following ways:

  • Personal cloud storage: what do we use, what do we like, and what do we think? Companies, personal clouds, servers, and Dropbox
  • Christian Schaller, who manages the team at Red Hat producing their "Fedora Workstation" concept, wrote up what "Workstation" is and now comes to answer questions about it
  • Breaking Down the Bullshit: we look at "the cloud" as a whole. What does it mean? And why?
  • Jeremy reviews the Pebble watch: as one of its original Kickstarter backers, he's now had the Pebble for long enough to form an opinion
  • Community recap: your emails and forum posts and happenings in the Bad Voltage community

Download the show now!

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First of all, if there is a more perfect use case for an audio version of cloud-to-butt I’ve never seen one. :smile:

I had started running an ownCloud instance last year mostly because of the calDAV and cardDav features, as a way to keep my contacts and calendar synced between my devices. I didn’t make much use of the file sync feature because I was happy with U1. When word came down of U1’s imminent demise I moved everything to ownCloud and I must say I’ve been pretty happy with it. The clients for Linux desktop and Android are simple to set up and work very well.

I will say that rather than a replacement for U1 or Dropbox or whatever, I really think of ownCloud as a replacement for Google services. It has calendar, contacts, files, and even a Docs-like collaborative editing app (which outputs a .odt file that is synced to your ownCloud folder).

But yeah, php or not I’m quite satisfied. :smile:

I’ve installed both ownCloud and Seafile on one of my storage server. Of the two, Seafile really seems to be the classier product. Its web interface, while prettier than ownCloud’s, is admittedly lacking in the features department, but its actual file syncing appears to be far more reliable than ownCloud.

It’s also built in Python/Django as opposed to PHP, so it should keep Stuart happy!

I’ll continue to test the two in the coming weeks. Has anyone else played with Seafile?

I looked very briefly at Seafile and decided I didn’t like it, when I was looking for replacements for BTSync (itself a replacement for U1). I can’t remember why, though, unhelpfully :smile:

“Super cloudy!”

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We (Bristol Wireless) needed a central place that we could (or more importantly would) all use for storing data for a project. We are all lunatic fringe conspiracy theorists (well…mostly) and info-sec nuts (wannabes at least) so one of our volunteers mentioned ownCloud and I thought lets spin up a fresh Linux-vserver and install it (v6 from Debian unstable). I found it to be plenty adequate for out requirements and it even survived upgrading from 5 to 6 without horrible death to all data! OK it’s can’t match Google Drive for things like collaborative doc editing (that feature currently borked on our server), but overall certainly a good alt for DropBox (which suits us esp now Condi Rice has her tentacles in the cloud pie there!).
The killer feature/s for me is that you don’t have to use the clunky web interface, just set up WebDav in your fave file manager and you’re off. Or use the sync app to make sure all your data is up to date. Everything is fully encrypted and as secure as your server is (how secure is that?!). One bugbear is that the latest Android app is not free, but you can grab the free older version from F-Droid.
Aq’s mention of using Bittorrent based sync storage is interesting, but can’t see the point of torrenting your date between, what 2? 3? 4? locations, what is the point of doing that via BitTorrent?
I’m sure as mentioned on the show, there will be a load of interesting new smart ways to manage your data from anywhere, but until then OC gets my vote…

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I’ve tried OwnCloud for an hour on Digital Ocean, and I thought it was great. I’m planning on setting it up on one of my school computer club’s servers.

I am using Dropbox right now, but I don’t like it. I have a lot of data in my Google Drive but there is only Windows and OS X clients so it is not very convenient.

Awesome podcast. I was just testing OwnCloud while listening to this podcast, so this is clearly fate. While I agree that PHP is quite evil from a development and security standpoint, I still found this application very simple to install and configure. And with sync client installed on Ubuntu, files are automatically syncing to a remote server that I own. How cool is that!

Old man rant: Back in my day, we ran rsync with cron jobs. It was not pretty, but we liked it. Kids these days with their one click interfaces and hip-hop.

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This guy. This is the guy I agree with.


One of the key things I do is write code and documents on my desktop and then expect them to be on the server straight away, so that I can point a mobile phone or similar at them. So rsyncing out of cron doesn’t do that for me, hence wanting syncing.

The times they are a changing for the better :smile: I remember there are several options for rsycning if a file is changed in real time, but this usually burnt out the CPU.

How cool is it to have full control of a remote server that syncs files across all devices. You are also able to take total control of your privacy, with server and client ownCloud setup taking less than 10 minutes.  Why are not more people doing this? Oh no… nerd overload!

Because it’s too hard, still. This is why I’m not recommending syncthing to people yet, too.

Genuine laugh out loud moment to this line. :slight_smile:

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For Cloud storage I recommend looking at PogoPlug. I really like this solution as all my data still resides on my hard drives. I have a PogoPlug device with several external USB drives plugged into it. PogoPlug gives me secure access to these drives and my information on them. I choose PogoPlug because I did not like the idea of storing my data on someone elses machines. Pogo does offer storage on their servers if you choose to use it. I’ve been using a PogoPlug for 4 years now and have nothing but good things to say. During the show it was mentioned that if the company goes out of business or shuts down the system, the end user is out of luck. Pogo was good to mention the following:

"So, to all of those people that asked (and even those who wondered but
didn’t voice it), “What happens if Pogoplug goes out of business?” we
now have an answer: we empower the community and our customers to be
self-sufficient. We have created an Escrow Account that holds the
source code for Pogoplug’s back-end services. In the unlikely event of
our bankruptcy, our source code will be published on SourceForge for the community to manage how they see fit.

This gave me additional confidence in their service and product. I recommend folks to take a look and see if this is something that works for them.

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Assuming your desktop is Linux, you could always write your own inotify script with rsync in it to accomplish mostly the same thing.

Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha.

Spoken like someone who has never tried it.

Syncing data is like rowing a canoe. It sounds easy, until you do it. Go for it. Build a simple inotify script which calls rsync. I look forward to your effort. Until you’ve done so, I suggest that you don’t dismiss the difficulty of doing this.

Alright, this sounds like a challenge: @sil vs. @x1101.

So here’s the deal @x1101, write something that proves Aq wrong and provide evidence here on the forum. If you succeed by the next show (Thu 8th April) you can come on the show and mock @sil mercilessly.


I want to make sure that everyone is clear on what I am claiming this will be (so @sil won’t say I didn’t do what he thought I promised, which doing exactly what I have in mind).

I am saying I can get the ‘always syncd’ feature of a dropbox-like-system between a two clients to work with inotify and rsync.

I am not claiming I can replace dropbox, not saying it will work off LAN, and I’m not promising to make @sil happy :stuck_out_tongue: I am simply saying that inotify+rsync solves the one issue he mentioned with using cron+rsync for this purpose

Wait, you want me to have this working almost a month before I even thought of it? You sir must be in management!

In all seriousness (which I offer very little of) I have no need to mock @sil, but I will provide a proof of concept, and accept his public and vocal apology. And if the rest of the BadVoltage team wanted to mock him, there’s nothing I can really do about that :wink:

On another note, it seems like @sil is taking me waaaay to seriously. I was just making an off handed comment about something @Dave said while doing an ‘old man rant’ and suggesting updating with with something newer, but still relying on the same ideas.

Weather or not this ‘proves @sil wrong’ I honestly don’t care, but this is what I was thinking of when I made the statement.

And to show how easy it was, it has been less than 2 hours since I read @jonobacon’s suggestion that there was some kind of challenge being invoked here. In that time I’ve spend at least 10 minutes on the phone, and its ass’o’clock in the morning here (curently 07:10 US\Eastern). I made the mistake of reading my email when I woke up at 05:15 to pee, and had to prove I could do this.

I honestly hope someone finds this none-to-pretty hack useful for something.

Please respect our code of conduct which is simple: don't be a dick.