OwnCloud forks into NextCloud

Hope you guys will be discussing this on the next full show. I had just installed it to try it out when I read about a prominent OwnCloud employees leaving in a group exodus, formation of the OwnCloud foundation, and now the NextCloud fork.

Saw Lunkduke wade into the consequences for OwnCloud,

I’m really looking forward to hearing this to be discussed on the show. I mantain an OwnCloud server and I’d like to take the right decision whether to “side-grade” or not to NextCloud… I don’t have a clear opinion on this, especially regarding the (few) users that rely on my server, so I’d really, really love to hear what you guys think about it on the podcast.

As someone who’s never used either of them… OwnCloud was just reaching maximum hype amplitude now its being reformed for reasons no one really seems to understand. All I can see is a massive blow to its credibility and a marketing failure by changing the brandname (Libreoffice anyone? In my experience OpenOffice still has better brand recognition for Joe Public than LibreOffice). I mean if you were considering using OwnCloud for something in your business, would you use it now the company behind it just self destructed without any warning?

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OwnCloud lost their key devs who seem to have disagreed to the way OwnCloud was going to monetize (I have read/heard things about privacy & security and the ownership of code) and have restarted under a new name/fork. I don’t disagree with the branding issue you mention, but what are you going to do? If you have strong convictions about FOSS projects and the one you have given your heart and soul to is being taken in the wrong direction by the owners (OwnCloud made you sign a CLA, for instance whereas NextCloud will not), then you have little choice… either give up on the project altogether or fork it and push on.

I had a vps dedicated to running owncloud for calendar and filesharing up until a few days ago. Then a mandatory upgrade from owncloud 8 to 9 borked things really badly. We’re now back to google calendar and dropbox. Most of our machines at home are Linux so cross-platform is a must (sorry, Mr. Nadella). While it worked (almost 3 years), owncloud was just ok (the sync client was flakey on Windows for awhile, it took a couple of versions for add-on external storage to work reliably). But it was the upgrade, which ironically bit me right after the fork was announced, that led me to give up. It was one thing to make a fundamental change in the calendar service (moved from plugin to core), another to force it on users – especially when it led to unresolved conflicts and data loss. Now that the devs l would complain to are gone, there’s really no point in trying to work through it, is there? Fortunately I was able to export all my data from backup into the new services. Owncloud/Nextcloud wasn’t a mature product when it forked, and having been in this business over 20 years my experience tells me it won’t be any time soon.

So, I’ve migrated my server. All seems to be fine and working. The main reason for the move in my case is just that I’m interested in following a project that looks like it’ll be much more alive in a community sense than OwnCloud will from now on. Really, the OpenOffice vs. LibreOffice precedent is something to take into account. While it’s true that OpenOffice keeps getting the most press and OwnCloud will, LibreOffice is more interesting from a technical, ideological and community standpoint… and I bet NextCloud also will.

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