ownCloud’s Commercial Side Evolves with Latest Release
ownCloud, Inc., which went commercial fewer than two months ago, may be young, but it’s already pumping out innovative new features for the ownCloud open source framework, including some interesting potential revenue streams. Here’s a look at the latest updates in version 3, out this week.
Since 2010, ownCloud has existed as an open source project for developing cloud-based storage infrastructure. But the commercial component, announced late 2011 with former SUSE exec Markus Rex serving as CEO and CTO, added a new direction.
This week, the commercial side of ownCloud gained focus with the release of version 3.0 of the ownCloud software. The new release introduces several innovative new features, including:
- Editing of cloud-hosted text files via the browser. Support for other types of documents, such as .docx and ODT, is promised in future releases.
- Application Store for installing third-party applications and add-ons. As of today there are only three apps available, but it seems logical to assume ownCloud plans to develop this repository as a revenue stream.
- Photo-gallery application. The open source world may finally have a real answer to flickr.
Other new functionality, as well as enhancements engineered by the ownCloud community, are detailed in the press release.
Several of the features listed above are novel not just to ownCloud, but also to the world of open source cloud software as a whole. No other open source project — and perhaps no organization in the proprietary ecosystem, either — is bringing innovation to the cloud as rapidly as ownCloud.
Nor is any other project so quickly expanding the functionality of cloud-based infrastructures beyond the basics of cloud-based file storage à la Dropbox. ownCloud is now about much more than just hosting files — it’s building a complete set of tools for accessing and managing data without ever leaving the cloud.
Of course, ownCloud, Inc. remains very young, and the open source code on which it’s founded also hasn’t been around for too long. Whether both ventures will succeed in the long run remains to be seen. But they certainly appear to be off to a great start, and the open source channel is better off because of it.