ownCloud Grows More Robust with Latest Release
ownCloud, the open source channel’s most dynamic file storage project, took another major step forward recently with the release of version 4 of its community edition, offering a suite of new features that position it even more strongly to compete with proprietary data sync services. Here’s the scoop, and why it’s a big deal for the open source community as a whole.
The last six months have been busy ones for ownCloud. During that time the ownCloud community witnessed the launch of a commercial entity alongside the open source project and the development of a cloud infrastructure partner program, not to mention the introduction of version 3 of the ownCloud community platform at the end of January.
ownCloud’s momentum continues with the release of version 4 of the community edition of the software. And in a software ecosystem where version numbers don’t always mean much, the bump up to a new level for ownCloud is truly merited, since the latest edition of the platform introduces a slew of new features. The full list is available here, but the most notable enhancements include:
- The ability to mount external file systems — including but not limited to Dropbox, FTP and Google Drive — inside the ownCloud interface. This feature is billed as “experimental” for the time being, but it should give ownCloud — and the open source channel in general — an important edge when it comes to integrating proprietary file sync platforms within infrastructures built around ownCloud’s open source code.
- New calendar syncing and sharing functionality.
- Server-side file encryption, which should help allay fears of system administrators and users alike who worry about the privacy of data stored in the cloud.
- File versioning, making it possible to roll back to earlier versions of files stored in the cloud. Admittedly, this feature has been available from Dropbox for some time, but it’s great to see ownCloud catching up in this respect.
In addition to the introduction of novel functionality, a number of existing features, such as file sharing and the photo gallery, were also improved for the new release.
Going Forward: ownCloud and Open Source
To be sure, there’s no shortage of file sync solutions out there, and even though ownCloud offers only file sharing software and not hosting services — it leaves those up to its partners — it operates in a saturated channel where new converts can be hard to find.
Yet ownCloud stands out as the only advanced open source data syncing platform. The release of version 4 of the community edition of the platform is thus a boon to the open source channel as a whole, offering new opportunities for collaboration with other projects and making it easier to sell fully open source solutions to customers who need robust data storage features that were previously available only from proprietary operations.