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ownCloud 5 Released, open competitor to Dropbox

Cloud based storage and file syncing services like Dropbox or Google Drive wile offer great comfort of having access to your data while on move (you don need the internet), it does pose very serious security, privacy and ownership risks. Any data that you put on these public cloud storage service is accessible to these companies and is under government surveillance. The worst part is you can be blocked from accessing your data because of some gazillion issues. So, while such cloud data syncing or storage services have amazing advantages they have risk as well. It think it should be regulated and in case of blocked account as user must be allowed to download a copy of his data before he loses access to it.

That said, the safest bet is to own your own cloud server. Host it in a non-US country where governments are not obsessed with spying their own citizens. Host it with service which wont be scanning your data – they way Microsoft does with SkyDrive to find ‘objectionable’ material and block you. That’s where ownCloud comes into picture. ownCloud is a fully open source cloud storage/syncing platform which you can install on the server of your choice and keep complete control of data in your hands. The team has just announced the release of version 5 which brings many new features and enhancements.

How to install owncloud
One of the most notable enhancements is the ease of use. You can now install ownCloud on your server in 2 easy steps, thanks to the new web installer. Just grab the php file from the owncloud site and then upload it to your server, point to this file in your browser and follow the click-next-instructions (make sure to create a database account before installing ownCloud).

Once installed you can also access ownCloud from you Linux (even Google Drive is not on Linux), Mac or Windows PC. You can also manage your ownCloud account from Android and iOS devices.

Undeleted

Another major feature of ownCloud 5 is ‘undeleted. Now you can undelete a file that was accidentally deleted through the web interface. ‘Simply select the files in the trash bin and they are returned to where they were deleted from, with versions ‘maintained.

Better Search

A new lucene based full text search engine app is added. People can use the search to not only find files by name but also by content. Scanning is done in the background to ensure a responsive user experience for the users.

Contacts

I never rely on a single vendor to control the most important element of my socical life – contacts and now ownCloud allows better contact management. Contacts are now organized by groups (categories) instead of address books giving more intuitive access to Friends, Coworkers, Family etc. The main view shows an overview of the most relevant fields and the amount of info adjusts automatically depending the size of the browser window or device.

Improved file versioning

With this version, ownCloud has enhanced the file versioning with an intelligent algorithm that automatically expires old version if running out of space. The versioning keeps revisions every 2 seconds for the first 10 seconds, every 10 seconds for the next minute, every minue for the next hour, every hour for the nex 24 hours and one revision per day until running out of space or quota.

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You can download the ownCloud server from here and PC clients from here.

Swapnil Bhartiya

A free software fund-a-mental-ist and Charles Bukowski fan, Swapnil also writes fiction and tries to find cracks in the paper armours of proprietary companies. Swapnil has been covering Linux and Free Software/Open Source since 2005.

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