Earlier this year, our network guy at work installed ownCloud and made it available for use for getting our Remote Agents quickly setup. When I saw ownCloud, I was flabbergasted. It was like perfection, it was beautiful.
I installed it on my Linode, and started using it in preference to Dropbox. I still use Dropbox for some small backups with iOS apps that backup directly to it, and I use Dropbox to get my photos off my iPad and iPhone, but that's about all now. I push files in and out of portals on all my computers. And, unlike Dropbox, I am willing to leave files there for backup. It's under my control. I own my files. No-one else does.
Installation was a struggle at first, but only because I had to learn about certificates and HTTPS and configuring Apache to get this done. The ownCloud documentation was good, and I soon had it working. I loved it. I still love it. Then I discovered that it comes with a built-in calendar and contacts and they can be used to sync all my calendars and contacts. CARDDAV and CALDAV. Oh boy, I moved everything from my iCloud calendar and contacts into my ownCloud versions, and then I synced my iPhone and iPad and MacBooks to my ownCloud. It just worked. Best of all, it's not in iCloud, it's in my ownCloud. I control it. I can see the flow of data, I can see the data storage, I can view the tables, it's my data under my control. That is the primary appeal.
Then I saw the bookmark section, and started using that. Neat. What I like about ownCloud is that it seems to have the same mental model that I do for things. I don't fit into the Mac world that much, although I have a lot of Apple gear, because my mental models of how things work is at odds with Apple. I seem to fit into ownCloud much better.
Somewhere along the way, Google Reader went kaput and I moved my RSS feeds to Feedly. That worked well until the recent DDOS attacks on Feedly. I was caught in the middle, and only had sporadic access to Feedly and my RSS feeds. I bear Feedly no ill-will for this, it happened, I feel for them. I support them. But while this was happening, I stumbled on the built-in RSS feed reader in my ownCloud. Wow. I exported my feeds from Feedly in one of the moments when they were up, imported it into ownCloud, and it worked. I had some fumbling and learning to do, but I got past all of that. I switched the task management to cron, and never looked back.
I thank Feedly for keeping me going when Google Reader went out, and they do a good job. But given the choice of doing it for myself, or letting someone else do it for me, I'll do it myself. It's an urge in me. I might be dependent on the ownCloud developers, but I am less dependent on a lot of players with my data. I would note that some of my more awkward feeds are displayed much more nicely in ownCloud than in Feedly. Overall, I am thrilled with my switch of all things to ownCloud. I keep looking to see if there is more I can do with it.
Today, I noticed an upgrade to 6.0.4 is available. The upgrade can be done onsite, automatically, and I did it. There are a few funny looking prompts during the upgrade, but it all meant success, and now it's running 6.0.4 and I am just as happy with the whole thing. Time to go see if there are new goodies I can use.
Given the recent kerfuffle with the NSA and safety of one's own data, I don't want to use anyone else's cloud services for my data. I want to use my own. It's probably just as safe, or just as unsafe, but at least it's mine, and it's my responsibility, and it's under my control. The NSA can probably just as easily infiltrate it, but there's less people between me and them. I have to be satisfied with that. I am investigating an encrypted filesystem for my data. It doesn't have to be all that fast, as I'm the only user. There are lots more interesting paths I can go down with this, and I plan on going down all of them.