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Status update and Nextcloud as OpenId connect provider!

5 min read

It's been a while we didn't update you. The main reason is because we wanted our newsletter to work again before. But well, let's give a status without sending it by email :)


The user journey

I'd say our current main focus is to improve the user journey, when the user get to our website, is convinced, and sign up for a free account on our cloud.

But to understand all the little improvments we are working on, let me present you our stack for you to understand better where we are, what are our current pain points and the way we plan to address them.

Our stack

Our central piece is Nextcloud. We believe it is an amazing software, and are really happy of the late developements.

We make people register there with the application registration.

We manage their invoices with the amazing invoice ninja.

And then, we have a chat and a forum provided by the non less great Rocket.Chat and Discourse.

We also have email service, with dovecot/postfix. We also use vimbadmin as a web interface to let the user manage its emails.

Once people bought their service with us, they get an email, and we integrate Nextcloud with imap using the user_imap external user backend.

The challenges

conversion from free to paid user

The first challenge is to transform a free user into a paid one.

It means we have to transfer the user from the user table into the external_user table in Nextcloud. It also means that we create the user on the imap side, with the same username.

Historically, the username in imap is the email. And the registration app doesn't put restriction on user names.

Basically, it means that today, we need to make user recreate their account, and this is a bad experience, we understand that.

manage invoices

Another challenge for the new user is to view the invoices, and manage them easily.

manage emails

The way to manage the emails, aliases, and password is with vimbadmin, and it is also less than optimal.

single sign on

And finally, right now, the user has an account for each service, the email and the cloud share the same password, but for the rest, the user needs to create an account for each of them.


The solutions

The good news, is that there is no issues, just solutions to develop!

conversion from free to paid user

This is currently the main priority. First, in Nextcloud, you can login with either your username or email, and we want to have the same behaviour. With the user_imap user backend, it wasn't possible to login with your email. We did a pull request that was merged to allow just that!

On the imap side, we need to do some work to get the knowldge about the username of the user and also let him login with his username to our imap backend.

Once we have that, it will be easy to migrate a free user into a paid user with email! All we'll need to do, is to recreate the user account on our email database, and switch the user table in Nextcloud.

manage invoices

We also did a change to a Nextcloud application, called external_links, that allow to configure links from various places in your cloud instance to external resources of your choice.

The plan is to use the buy now button feature from invoice ninja.

We added the possibility to add the email and username in the link so that the user wil not have to enter it when buying.

We plan to add the invoice user id in the Nextcloud database, so then we can easily link to the invoice ninja dashboard and let the user have an overview of the current status of all the bills.

manage emails

We are working on an api, and a Nextcloud application that would allow people, from their cloud to manage their emails, aliases, and password, directly from the cloud.

We plan to also develop an app, to let other Nextcloud users to purchase our email service from their own Nextcloud instance, and configure it automatically!

single sign on

This is the part I'm most excited.

If you follow the development of Nextcloud like we do, you would have noticed this folder. And yeah, it looks like it makes Nextcloud an oauth provider. Which means that we could use Nextcloud as our identity provider. I tried during lot of weekend, until I found the solution! Following this thread, I did this pull request,

Here is my configuration to make discourse work against Nextcloud:

oauth2 client id and oauth2 client secret (from Nextcloud admin section)
oauth2 authorize url:
oauth2 token url:
oauth2 user json url:
oauth2 json user id path:
oauth2 json username path:
oauth2 json name path:
oauth2 json email path:

And then, you can log in to Discourse with Nextcloud \o/

For Rocket.Chat, it didn't work out of the box, I had to propose this change. The latest version should work too :)


As a conclusion, I'm rally happy to share this status and show you that the project is not stale. We have lots of idea for 2018, and we hope that you like what you see!


And you, what would you like IndieHosters to offer in 2018?


PS: we created two new categories in our forum:

We'll work more with them now!



2 min read

We are about to start a new service to help sustain IndieHosters, and we wanted to let you know!


If you have issues, problems or pain points with your IT infrastructure at any level, we can probably help you.


We are a team of 3 passionate experts in different fields that can help you solve any issue on all the stack.

Our main area of Knowledge is Docker and its ecosystem, We develop since more than 2 years now, and gained a lot of knowledge on how to host Docker in production for a great quantity of different stacks.


We would be happy to help in any of the following:


  • Docker / Docker-Compose
  • CoreOS
  • Nginx/HAProxy/Apache
  • Email (imap/smtp/pop/spam/DKIM/SPF...)


  • Chat (Rocket.Chat, Mattermost)
  • Forum (Discourse)
  • Wiki (MediaWiki)
  • Blogs/CMS (WordPress, Known..)
  • Nextcloud

We can provide support, install, setup, prepare/give trainings, user support and hosting of course.


We are part of the Docker community and helped Dockerize many popular FLOSS application (piwik, known, Nextcloud, Rocket.Chat). So we can dockerize yours.


Please get in touch if you have any questions regarding these activities. If we don't know we'll give you contacts of trustable persons we work with.


And Happy New Year!




Why am I joining IndieHosters ?

4 min read

The story
Some months ago I heard of IndieHosters as a possible solution to host a local food consumption website. I then went to IndieHosters website and found a forum entry called "Future of IndieHosters":
Well, as a Sociocracy 3.0 (S3.0) practicioner and facilitator, as well as following my reading of the book "Business Model Generator", I found I might be of service by bringing in some of these tools.
We scheduled a meeting to get to know each other and understand what we could serve each other, and I then got to facilitate a Business Model Canvas exercise for IndieHosters, Netureza and Ecobytes, and an exercise to identify common needs.
After a while I sent an e-mail proposing a set of services and wishing for the hosting of some solutions.
The response was an Invitation to join in.
The why
So...why have I accepted this proposal?
I've been reconnecting with the IT guy within me, after some time being angry with him, and I relate to the Freedom empowerment message, through free software.
Also, being an advocate of collaborative organizational systems, and namely S3.0, I have found value in practicing what I am advocating for, and have been taking all oportunities I have to use it in the field.
In IndieHosters I found the openness to bring in this knowledge and experience and also the room to explore, while learning, some fields like product-awareness and data-analytics, while working for a driver that I can relate with, which aims for Common Good. 
In Pierre, I found a person I can trust.
And I found him advocating for a self-management policy also, which was completely aligned with S3.0.
So I started exchanging hosting for work hours, will get a comission on new clients I bring in and we will re-evaluate this on the following months, to check if this is still fair for both of us.
So, some of my first work will be about implementing some metrics, so some links you will see will have Piwik behind.
This is because we adopted the 7 principles of S3.0, being one of them Empiricism and the other Continuous Improvement. (find them all in
You might find my work on some tracking-links, on some texts, and I ask you that if ever you find any kind of tension around any of IndieHosters actions, mine or not, please do not hesitate to share and we shall navigate through it together. is me, a human being that is currently presenting services as Independent IT and Organization Consultant and Facilitator, able to serve as Conflict Mediator, joining IndieHosters as OFF - Online Freedom Facilitator. 
May our collaboration contribute to Freedom, Common Good while respecting individual privacy.
And may all be happy !
P.S. Curiosity after joining I realized I was born in the year free software movement started to campaign for computer users freedom (
P.S.2...I am currently building my website and preparing migration to free software as much as I find it more effective to the current needs I am serving, so whenever you think of some possible incoherence in my speech versus my actions, do tell me as I value coherence and shall see your sharing as an opportunity to more coherence and clarification.
Sign up for IndieHosters and regain Internet Freedom.

In response to

3 min read

@jwildeboer @nextclouders Really glad about the debate. Let me take a bit more than 140 chars to answer!

Indeed we are not open source, we are a free software shop, but I understand that some people can confuse :P

So yes, we offer Free Software as a Service. Among them, we offer The price is 100€/year for one instance. (check the prices of Slack also :) )
You can read an interview of us here:

We don't give any money to RocketChat nor Nextcloud, we offer Services around. We host it, backup it, secure it, and provision an https certificate for you.

Of course as a free software user, you are also free to run it on your own hardware at home and so on, we are not against it, quiet the contrary. We believe Internet should be decentralized and people should host at home. Freedombox is not there yet, yunohost is great, but it is still difficult to do it at home, especially email, so we are a workaround in the meantime. And for some use case, it is better to use us than having a server at home, if you are afraid that somebody breaks into your house and cease your server for instance.
We also plan to work with these projects to offer services to the end user, like encrypted backup on our infrastructure, possibility to migrate from one to the other and vice versa.

We don't give money to the free software we host, but we give something even more valuable, brain time.
I am personally helping to make official docker image for RocketChat, Nextcloud, Piwik, Mattermost, ownCloud, known.
The market value of this donation is many k€.
We also report bugs, feature request and so on, just check my [github account](, 1,112 contributions last year. Again, the market price value of this is many k€.

On top of that, all our infrastructure, and recipes are also free software. You can find it here: I don't know any other hoster doing that. But actually we help some to use, we helped libre-a-toi for instance.
We maintain a list of hosters with the same mind set here: but actually, I'm not sure any of them is publishing its infra, the way we do.

Ah, and we respect these manifestos:

Ah! And I almost forgot, we have open/libre finance also, here you can find some documents:

I'm part time on this project, and in 2015, we made 2,396€ benefits. so if you count 1,040hours per year (part time, I think I'm way above), it means, my hourly rate is... a lot lower than market value...

So it means, either we are too cheap, or we don't know how to manage. But please, it is libre, so if you know a way to improve, please let us know! But I believe we just need more users actually :)


PS: if you eat your sarcasms, could you make a video of it? :P


Lisboa - Marcha contra DRM - 21Sept - das 18:00 às 22:00, no Centro de Congressos de Lisboa

5 min read


A ANSOL - Associação Nacional para o Software Livre e a AEL -

Associação Ensino Livre vão manifestar-se contra a incorporação de Medidas de
Carácter Tecnológico (DRM) ( no HTML,
a norma técnica que define a Web. A ANSOL e a AEL convidam todos os
interessados a juntarem-se a eles no dia 21 de Setembro às 18:00 no
Centro de Congressos de Lisboa, durante um encontro da World Wide Web
Consortium (W3C), que define normas para a Web como o HTML e o CSS.
Membros da W3C como a Microsoft, a Google e a Netflix têm vindo a
fazer pressão para a incorporação de Encrypted Media Extensions (EME)
no HTML. Isto faria com que o HTML deixasse de ser uma norma aberta,
de acordo com a legislação nacional. EME no HTML faria com que ele
falhasse três dos cinco critérios na Lei das Normas Abertas (39/2011)
e iria sacrificar injustificadamente a liberdade na Web.

"Um dos grandes problemas em ter DRM inserido na especificação do HTML
é que o DRM em si é composto por acções e processos não documentados,
o que significa que o HTML5 passaria a não ser uma norma aberta de
acordo com a Lei das Normas Abertas", diz Marcos Marado, presidente da
ANSOL, acrescentando, "isto por si só tornaria o HTML5 inviável para
ser usado pela Administração Pública Portuguesa, e noutros países que,
como em Portugal, mandatam - e bem - que apenas Normas Abertas podem
ser usadas."

Empresas de streaming como o Netflix requerem que os utilizadores usem
DRM -- também conhecido como "algemas digitais" -- nos seus próprios
dispositivos, para os impedir de fazer operações que essas empresas
não permitem nos media digitais, ainda que sejam permitidas por lei.
"O DRM é conhecido por espiar os utilizadores, colocá-los em perigo ao
expô-los a vulnerabilidades de segurança, e limitando-osao tirar-lhes
controlo dos seus próprios computadores", diz Paula Simões, presidente
da AEL. O DRM já existe na Web, mas não na sua especificação.
Tecnologistas e activistas das liberdades digitais avisam que DRM nas
normas da Web tornarão mais barato e menos custoso politicamente impor
restrições aos utilizadores, precipitando um aumento do DRM na Web.

O protesto, com o apoio da Free Software Foundation, irá ocorrer a 21
de Setembro, das 18:00 às 22:00, no Centro de Congressos de Lisboa,
onde a W3C irá ter o seu encontro. Os organizadores dão as boas vindas
a todos aqueles que se preocupam com a liberdade na Internet e no
software que queiram comparecer.

A W3C é um organismo não-governamental de tomada de decisões,
constituída por corporações, entidades sem fins lucrativos e
Universidades. A adição de DRM à norma HTML chama-se Encrypted Media
Extentions e está a ser desenvolvida por um grupo de tecnologistas da
indústria a trabalhar sob a alçada da W3C. É actualmente um rascunho
em processo de revisão e testes, mas é esperado que até ao final de
2016 a W3C vote a sua ratificação como norma oficial para a Web.

Este ano, a W3C tem sido seguida por protestos contra o DRM. A última
grande reunião da W3C, que ocorreu em Março de 2016, foi acolhida com
a primeira demonstração de sempre numa reunião deste organismo

Zak Rogoff, gestor de campanhas da Free Software Foundation, organizou
o protesto de Março. Disse: "Utilizadores da Web em todo o mundo estão
preocupados com este esquema da indústria para criar um sistema de DRM
universal para a Web. Inspiramo-nos com a ANSOL, AEL, e os activistas
que irão protestar no encontro da W3C em Lisboa. Fazemos todos parte
de um movimento unido pela liberdade na Internet, e a W3C não pode
ignorar as nossas preocupações."

Informação adicional:
- AEL:
- Lei das Normas Abertas (36/2011):
- Free Software Foundation:
- Encrypted Media Extensions:

A ANSOL - Associação Nacional para o Software Livre é uma associação
portuguesa sem fins lucrativos que tem como fim a divulgação,
promoção, desenvolvimento, investigação e estudo da Informática Livre
e das suas repercussões sociais, políticas, filosóficas, culturais,
técnicas e científicas.

A Associação Ensino Livre (AEL) tem como objectivos a promoção e
utilização de Software Livre e de Conteúdos Livres, nomeadamente com
licenças Creative Commons e Open Access ao nível do ensino, em
Portugal, trabalhando para isso com professores, alunos,
investigadores, bibliotecas e instituições educativas.

ANSOL -; 965321998
AEL -; 932283394



Price for discourse and hosting

1 min read


Just found out that the prices were a bit too low for these 2 apps. We'll update the price in 2 weeks. The price will stay the same for current users.

If you were thinking of buying those, I recommend buying now ;)



Why I support Silex

4 min read

# Why I support [Silex](!

## Redecentralize the web

I won't [reexplain]( [why]( [it]( [is]( [necessary]([indispensable]([urgent]( to [redecentralize]( the web.
Many website/people are doing it better than me.
On this particular matter, we can celebrate the fact that [Wordpress is powering more than 25% of the web!](
But I'm wondering, what is its growth compared to Wix, 1&1, Amazon S3, GitHub pages...?

These services are focusing on streamlining website publishing.
As you know, IndieHoster's mission is to help redecentralize the web.
But we noticed that people want to have an easy way to publish information on their website.
However, when people want to publish one page with the physical address of their shop, there is no easy solution.

## How to create a website

The only FLOSS i know that is able to do this are:

- [Odoo](
- [Mautic](
- [Superglue](
- perhaps Wordpress with some plugins

The main problem with these tools is that their are not dedicated to website creation, thus people who only want to create a landing page or a one page website would/could be quickly lost.

Hopefully the Silex team ( is handling this task and has built a nice app for that.

The main differences between Silex and the above applications are:

- Silex generates a HTML code that can be hosted everywhere (no need to understand the complexity of hosting)
- Imagine a Free and online Dreamweaver (with a cleaner HTML :) )
- The software is very intuitive and easy-to-use, requiring a minimum of training, if you want to add a box, a text or an image you just have to click on the dedicated icon and What you will see is what you'll get

I think that this app is not perfect, but is already very good and above all it's the only FLOSS allowing you to create a website so easily and quickly.

## To deploy easily a website with [Silex](

From my personal point of view, the main missing functionality is the ability to deploy easily a website with your own domain name (and https) without technical skills!
On top of that, no website builder allows https, thus it could be a better technical solution!

The idea would be :
- I generate my HTML with [Silex](
- I create an IndieHosters account (free with or paid with my own domain name)
- My website is online!

Tomorrow we can imagine more services suppliers, but today I'm still/(sadly) the only one to see the potential of this solution.
That's why [we need you]( to support the development of this functionality. And others like internationalisation, more templates and a better documentation.

We need your support for:
- sharing this post
- spreading the word (around you)
- giving some time/[money](

It would be AWESOME!

## benefits for IndieHosters

On IndieHosters side, It is also an amazing opportunity, this would allow us to improve our [freedom bundle](
On top of:

- email
- cloud/file sync
- calendar
- contact

We'll give the possibility to our users to publish easily their own website on Internet on their own domain. This would be a chance to develop further the [IndieWeb](!

## Fight against the digital divide

Last but note least, the Silex Labs team does not only maintain this amazing software, they also help people in digital need to understand website creation process.
It's a fantastic project and it's another good reason to support Silex.
You can read more [here](

Finally here are 2 good reasons to support and fund this project (!

If you have any questions, feel free to ask me I will be glad to answer them.


Pourquoi je soutiens Silex

4 min read


## Redécentraliser le web

Je ne vais pas [réexpliquer]( [pourquoi]( [il]( [est]( [nécessaire]([indispensable]([urgent]( de [redécentraliser]( le web.
Plusieurs sites/personnes le font mieux que moi.
Sur ce plan particulièrement, on peut se réjouir de [WordPress qui fait fonctionner 25%]( du web!
Mais la question qui me vient à l'esprit est qu'elle est sa croissance, comparée à Wix, 1&1, Amazon S3, GitHub pages...?

Ces sites se concentrent sur comment rendre simple le processus de publication d'une page web.
Comme vous le savez, la mission des IndieHosters est d'aider les gens à décentraliser le web.
Mais on se rend bien compte que le gens veulent une manière facile de publier leur information sur le web.
Seulement, lorsque les gens veulent mettre en ligne une seule page avec l'addresse de leur boutique par exemple,
il n'y a pas beaucoup de solutions faciles.

## Comment créer sa page web

Les seuls logiciels libres que je connaisse qui puissent faire le travail sont:

- [Odoo](
- [Mautic](
- [Superglue](
- peut-être WordPress avec certains plugins

Le principal problème de ces outils est qu'ils ne sont pas dédiés à la creation de page web, et donc une personne qui veut seulement créer une page pour son CV par exemple va être rapidement perdue.

Heureseument l'[équipe de Silex]( s'attèle à la tache et nous produit une belle application juste pour cela!

Les principales différences avec les applications mentionnées plus haut:

- Silex produit du HTML qui peut être hébergé partout (donc pas besoin d'hébergement compliqué)
- Pensez Dreamweaver, libre, disponible sur le web (et qui produit du meilleur html :) )
- C'est très intuitif, vous voulez un carré en haut à droite, vous le déssinez!

Je pense que l'appli n'est pas parfaite, mais elle est déjà très bien et surtout, elle comble un vide dans l'offre libre de création facile de page web.

## Déployer facilement son site web avec [Silex](

Et pour moi, la principale fonctionnalité manquante est la facilité de déployer son site sous son nom de domaine (et https) sans connaissances techniques particulières!
En plus de cela, aucun des sites n'offre https, du coup, notre offre serait meilleure techniquement!
Mais l'idée serait:

- je fais mon html avec [Silex](
- je crée mon compte IndieHosters (gratuit avec ou payant avec mon nom de domaine)
- mon site est en ligne!

Demain on peut imagnier plus de fournisseur de service, mais aujourd'hui, je suis le seul à voir le potentiel de cette solution.

Et donc on a [besoin de vous]( pour supporter le développement de cette fonctionnalité. Et aussi d'autre comme la localisation dans différentes langues, plus de templates, une meilleure documentation.

Voila, on a besoin de votre support, donc si vous pouviez:
- repartager ce post
- en parler autour de vous
- donner un peu de votre temps/[argent](

Ce serait génial!

## Valeur pour IndieHosters

Du côté de IndieHosters, c'est aussi une opportunité en or, cela permettrait d'étoffer nos [freedom bundle](
En plus de:

- email
- cloud/syncronisation de fichiers
- calendrier
- contact

on donnerait la possibilité à nos utilisateurs de publier facilement leur propre site Internet sur leur propre domaine! Ce serait une chance pour développer l'[IndieWeb]( un peu plus!

## Lutter contre la fracture numérique

Mais ce n'est pas tout. L'équipe Silex ne fait pas qu'écrire un logiciel fantastique, [ils aident]( aussi les personnes exclues numériquement à comprendre tout le processus de création d'une page web!
C'est vraiment un projet fantastique, et c'est aussi pour quoi je soutiens Silex.
Vous pouvez en lire plus ici:

Donc voila 2 raisons de [financer ce projet](!

Si vous avez des questions, n'hésitez pas à me demander, je serais ravi de vous aiguiller!


Proud to partner with Silex!

1 min read

# Crowdfunding Silex


Lately, we've been working hard to setup a nice partership with the amazing team of Silex.
They are great people with beautiful mindset.

They build a really nice and free website builder. You can already try it at:

Today they start a crowdfunding and they decided to partner with us to offer the hosting of these sites.

# Triple opportunity

So for you, it is a tripple opportunity!

1. you can help them develop their great tool, and give the world a better website builder!
2. you can help and support IndieHosters!
3. it is a unic opportunity to get a discount on IndieHosters personal plan :)

Copy at:


ownCloud interview: "It is also about federation, not only about decentralisation"

16 min read

# Interview with Frank and Jan of ownCloud

Earlier this year it was [FOSDEM]( time again. As one of the
biggest, or even the biggest, event around free and open source software the
FOSDEM is a great place to meet people and discuss about ongoing projects in
that area, but also to discuss topics around Internet Freedom and how free
software can be a part of the open and participatory Internet of the future.
I was happy to meet with two of the core ownCloud contributors, Jan-C. Borchardt
and Frank Karlitschek, who shared their thoughts about the importance of this
highly succesful alternative to central and closed data storage services. We
discussed about some cool features of the current ownCloud version, but also
about the exciting vision for ownCloud and new, upcoming functionality. This
is a translated transcript of the interview that originally happened in German
and that we recorded on video. So read the transcript below, or jump directly
to the end of this article to watch the full video in German.

This blog post is part of our ongoing campaign to promote free software
projects and raise awareness of the importance to have free alternatives to
closed and proprietary services and technologies. We started this campaign
together with the announcement of our shiny new
[Freedom Bundles]( that are
powered by ownCloud. We are proud to build the Internet of the future!

## "It's an alternative to those proprietary solutions, but it is also a tool that is easy to use"

![Jan and Frank of ownCloud talking](

*Peter:* First I would like to know who you are. Could you introduce yourselves?
And what you do exactly for ownCloud, how you started, both in the community and
at the company?

*Frank:* I started to think about it roughly 6 years ago, that there should be
something like ownCloud, and I also came up with the name. I developed version
1.0 and published it online as open source. And since then the community grew.
By now this is a nice community with several hunderd people that work on
ownCloud. There is also a company now that offers ownCloud for businesses,
when you have a little more requirements for the software, not just a .tar file,
a community, mailing list, then you can go to the company and buy a professional
enterprise product with support and everything related to it. I co-founded this

*Jan:* I am Jan, I am mainly a designer at ownCloud. I discovered it in 2011, as I
was looking for an open alternative to Dropbox and such things. I found out that
the first hackathon is in Stuttgart, where I studied at that time. We were
around 4, 5 people, and this is how it started. Since end of 2012 I work full
time for the ownCloud company and do the design.

*Frank:* Jan is our design and UX lead, and is responsible for the frontend, how
the UI looks now. This is a very important, very central position, as ownCloud
is not supposed to be a "hacker tool", but a tool for "normal" users, without
special knowledge.

*Peter:* What is the main problem that ownCloud solves, from your perspective?

*Jan:* First, obviously, it's an alternative to those proprietary solutions, but
it is also a tool that is easy to use, that provides file synchronisation on
your own server, under your own terms, in an simple way. The installation is as
simple as possible, maybe even simpler than Wordpress. Of course you have to set
the file permissions correctly, but at a hoster, like IndieHosters, someone
takes care of that for you. And in principle the registration is as easy as at
Dropbox and similar services.

*Peter:* What are some of your short and long term goals for ownCloud? What do you
plan next, and what are your visions for the future? Can you tell us something
about that?

*Frank:* Yes, sure. First, the vision, as Jan just described, is to have a tool
that is powerful on the one hand and provides all the functionality, that the
user needs, but combined with an interface that is as easy-to-use as possible.
That is the main goal, and that will not change. But this is something that
won't be done quickly. We will still spend a lot of time on this goal. Make it
simpler, but also more powerful. Besides that we will soon pulbish version 9.0,
which will be released 6 weeks from now. With this version we will improve the
stability and user-friendliness, also for admins. Regarding user-friendliness we
are not only talking about users, but also about admins. To upgrade ownCloud was
sometimes not as smooth as we wanted it to be. And version 9.0 will improve
that. And there are things in the frontend, like comments, tagging and
federation, where we take the next step in terms of functionality. If you ask
about the long term goals: ownCloud is an open source project, i.e. we have now
around 900 developers that contribute to ownCloud. And "contribute" means that
you can send a pull request; you want to develop something, then you do it and
it becomes a feature. Which means the long term goals are in the hand of the
users, or in the hand of the developers community. Everyone who wants to
contribute is invited to do it.

*Jan:* In addition there are ownCloud apps. Besides the fact that it is a file
sharing and synchronization tool, there are many apps, like contacts, calendar,
notes and a news app, for all possible use cases. And if something does not
exist yet maybe someone is currently working on it. There are many things going
on, for example some people are working on a chat application that uses WebRTC
and XMPP for video and voice chat. Different things, that are done completely by
the community.

## "I think that is a great step, to reach decentralised, federated interoperability"

![Jan and Frank of ownCloud talking](

*Peter:* We as IndieHosters have the goal to re-decentralise the Internet. So that
there are more individual sites and not all data is stored in central instances.
You already talked about it, but how do you see the role of ownCloud within the

*Frank:* Great question, that is somehow our mission, too. The first step was,
obviously, to go away from central services that only exist once globally, like
there is only one Google, one Dropbox, one Facebook, and to enable the users to
host the software where they want. Which means you can host it at home, you can
go to a hoster, like IndieHosters, you can host it at the university, or at a
company, or whereever. And that is the first step. But it is also about
federation, not only about decentralisation, because then you end up with a lot
of islands, which does not help anybody. The islands have to be connected. And
that is what we want to do with the federation feature. That you can connect
them, that they work together, as if it was one big server, but in reality there
is no central server.

*Peter:* Yes, I tried this, it works well with files, but does this work with
calendars, contacts and such things?

*Frank:* Files are now the first step, but we want to extend this into other
areas. Jan talked about it, one application that gets more popular is the one
for chat and WebRTC. Chat based on XMPP, which is decentralised already. And
then there is the ownCloud mail app, to orgnanise your mails. Mail is
decentralised already, too. We try to do more here. Calendars and contacts
probably in the future, too.

*Jan:* And what is important here is that the user may use those features first
within ownCloud, but then also with other software. Like yesterday you, Frank,
talked to Pydio, and the people of Cozy Cloud set next to them. This way things
develop further, and that is the cool thing about federation, that not only one
system, like ownCloud, can talk other instances, but completely different people
that use other systems. This is the power of open source, because different
people use different systems, because they say: hey, this system does it like
this, this system does it like that, but they can still communicate with each

*Peter:* Are there currently any steps towards this, for example with Cozy Cloud?

*Frank:* The federation feature, which allows you and me to share a folder, even
if we are not on the same server, this feature we developed within ownCloud, it
is working really well in version 9. But we designed the API so that others can
use it, we documented it during the summer and try to establish it as a
standard. Just yesterday we had a meeting with some people from Pydio and Cozy
Cloud, and they want to implement it. I think that is a great step, to reach
decentralised, federated interoperability. The area should not be dominated by
a single player, otherwise you have a fix point like Google again.

*Peter:* The web is now 25% Wordpress, how many peta bytes are hosted on

*Frank:* That is not measureable. We can look at our number of downloads, are
there any trends. Recently we calculated a bit and came to the conclusion that
there are around 8 million users. But this is an estimation.

*Peter:* It's decentralised...

*Jan:* You never know how many people use one installation.

*Frank:* We do not have any central user database like others.

## "But if you use open standards, somebody will do it."

![Jan and Frank of ownCloud talking](

*Peter:* With ownCloud it is possible, for example, to synchronise your data with
a mobile phone. Do you work on any solutions specifically for mobile devices, to
integrate ownCloud?

*Frank:* Yes sure, for files as our core there are apps from ownCloud, to
integrate it on Android and iOS. In addition there is the web interface that
works well on mobile devices in the latest version. We rely on open standards,
as far as possible, which means WebDAV that works with different devices. For
example, I use a small app on my mobile phone for notes, that is able to
synchronize files with WebDAV. In this case they go to ownCloud.

*Jan:* For calendars and contacts we use CalDAV and CardDAV. On Android you need
an additonal app for this, DAVdroid, and there are others. But DAVdroid is open
source. iOS does support CalDAV and CardDAV natively, you can just add your
account. Then there are mobile applications for the ownCloud notes app, or for
the news app, for example, as a replacement for Google Reader. They cache the
data for offline usage.

*Peter:* But you do not develop applications for calendars or contacts, for
example for Android?

*Jan:* No, we rely on the native apps. They synchronize the data.

*Frank:* I think if we planned to build our own calendar application that would be
too much for us. We support open protocols and there are already calendars that
use those. The same is true for music, for example. A very popular app is the
music app. After you synchronized your music collection with ownCloud, the music
app scans the music files, analyses ID3 tags, downloads covers. It contains an
API that is Apache compatible, which allows you to access the music from the
outside. Then there are clients on mobile phones that are Apache compatible.
You can connect those to the server and stream your music from anywhere. This is
another example, where we do not necessarily need to develop our own player. But
if you use open standards, somebody will do it.

*Peter:* Our idea is to create register buttons for free software web
applications, in a decentralised way. On Dropbox, for example, you visit their
page, click on "Register", enter your mail address and password and instantly
get your account and use it. How could something like that look for ownCloud or
for other free software web applications? Do you have any plans or ideas around

*Jan:* On the ownCloud site we have a provider page, where we list ownCloud
providers, where you can register as a provider. We also had the idea to reduce
the list in a certain way, to simplify the choice. Often people ask me which
provider I recommend. This is difficult because there is no "" for
registrations. I think Diaspora did it, or they still do it, with a register
button and then you are redirected to a random instance. Or did it like
this. This is a bit, I don't know...

*Peter:* A bit strange for your personal data...

Jan, *Frank:* Exactly.

*Jan:* I prefer to give personal recommendations. Depending on the person: is the
person able to host her own server, or prefers a provider? Or wants to install
it on a Raspberry Pi? There are many approaches at the moment. There are so many
metrics to rank providers. It is very difficult to categorize this. It would be
interesting to talk to you about that...

*Peter:* Well, we had the idea of a "migration network", where you can...

*Frank:* ... that you can migrate your data freely ...

*Peter:* Exactly, that the user can register for ownCloud, pays for a year, but he
can change the hoster at any time, by clicking a button. Or move to a home
server, if he installed ownCloud on a Raspberry Pi, so that he can put his data
from the Internet on his Raspberry with one click.

*Jan:* Exactly, this is also possible with ownCloud, simply because of the fact
that we use open formats and protocols, you can export and import. Here one can
dock into.

## "It is always amazing to work with so many people."

![Jan and Frank of ownCloud talking](

*Peter:* What is your favorite plugin or feature of ownCloud? What do you use the

*Jan:* I personally use the mail app a lot, because I am working on it. It is an
IMAP client. I just find it interesting, because often you hear: ah, mail is so
complex, there are only few good mail apps. I am a bit disappointed with
existing open source solutions, to be honest. And that's why I find it
interesting to work on something better. Also because it is an interesting
example for the integration with other apps. For example, if you write a mail
and enter the recipient you will get autocompletion from your contacts. From
your files you can simply add attachments, or store attachments from mails on
the net. This app is highly integrated. Avatars are loaded from the contacts,
and your own data. I use it a lot.

*Frank:* Now I had some time to think about it, but... On the one hand you asked
what I use most often, but on the other hand what is my favorite feature. Mostly
I use not very exciting things, like synchronise folders, create a publicly
shared link, send it to someone and the recipient can then look at it. Which is
wonderful for photos, for example. You can synchronize photos to a specific
folder with the mobile phone app, generate a link, send it to your family: look,
my vacation photos! They click on it, see a beautiful gallery, can click on the
images, watch them in large. That is maybe not very exciting, but I find it very
handy. If you also ask what is a bit fancier or more intersting: there is an app
that I personally find very good, because I like the idea a lot. It is an app
that you can install and then enter the data of your mail server. Then the app
fetches all attachments that arrived with your mails, and puts it in a folder
that you synchronise to your desktop or mobile. You get a folder on your desktop
with all the attachments that you ever received. I think this is a very creative
idea, I have never seen something like that before.

*Peter:* I have to have a look at this... and the last question is: what would be
the question that you would like to be asked from us? And your answer, please!

*Jan:* Actually those were really good question already!

*Frank:* One challenge, you asked about it, is: how can someone use ownCloud that
is not able or does not want to run a server. The bright answer is: she has to
go to a hoster, like you. I would really like to discuss with you more about
this, how to make the experience smoother. Maybe you can get an account
somewhere from the desktop application. We will display, as mentioned, the best
X hosters. Then you can register directly. I did not have a look at Dropbox for
a while, but aren't you able to create an account there directly from the
desktop application...?

*Jan:* Yes...

*Frank:* Eactly! Something like this we could develop for example with you.
Directly from the application or from the mobile phone, you download the
ownCloud app from the app store on Anroid or iOS, click on "Register" and then
appears: you can register at those 20 providers, maybe with prices and feature,
and then I say: this one looks good! Click! Then I register directly with you
and the data is stored in the app. I would really like to brainstorm with you,
what great thing we can build here.

*Peter:* Sounds good!

*Jan:* Another thing came to my mind, too! The question on how to participate at

*Frank:* Haha, very good!

*Jan:* We are an open source project and I would say we have a very cool
community. Our code is on github for collaboration. There is a "core" repository
and the ones for all the apps, for example "calendar", "contacts", etc. We also
have regular Meetups every month, for example in Munich and Berlin. And each
year we have a conference in Berlin for contributors, in September this year.
It is always amazing to work with so many people. And for everyone that wants to
participate in development we have a "junior job" tag in our issue tracker.
Those are small "starter problems" to solve, or even new features. Or whatever
you want to develop, it is a platform and everybody can develop apps, whatever
you want. Like such a small email attachment app, that is very useful in general.

*Peter:* Thanks a lot for the interview!

## The full interview as video