My mission with the pre-configured ownCloud VM I made has always been to help others in the same situation as I was in when I was a beginner. Back in 2013 I was a regular Windows user with no skills in Linux whatsoever, and installing ownCloud was a bit frightening. It seemed so technical, and the Linux command shell was something that I never seen before. I asked around and got some help from people on forums, and one guy was reaching out to me and helped me to setup a VM at home that he later sent to me so that I could just download and mount. He provided full instructions and I terrorized him with emails and questions several times peer week asking about all the things he didn’t cover in his instructions. Poor guy.
As the time passed I got more and more skilled in Linux. I found different guides with some help from Google, and I spent hours searching for help when something went wrong. Finally I thought to my self; if I’m going through all this trouble just to get everything working as I want, there must be several others that are in the same situation that I’m in, how can I help those people getting more freedom by using ownCloud instead of the “regular” cloud services like Dropbox, OneDrive and such? The answer to my own question was to build a VM, almost identical to the one I use my self with everything pre-configured and ready to deploy after it was downloaded. If I could save other people the struggle, and hours of setting up a Linux enviroment with ownCloud pre-installed – then I would feel satisfaction.
The beginning of the ownCloud era
I started providing my ownCloud VM early 2014. Back then I didn’t have a website, and the distribution was not so easy. I actually used goo.gl links to get some stats of how many downloads I had, and I noticed that the number grew day by day. I published my website in january 2015, and by then I had like 10 downloads per day. Not so much, but still enough to make me want to take it further and build something that I could be even more proud of. I got several emails per week from people that were thanking me for my work and it made me feel good that I could help others that wanted a better solution, but didn’t had the skills to do it.
Today I have between 100-200 downloads per day depending on which day of the week it is. I still get great response and the feedback is one of the best parts by doing this. I host both my website and the VMs on my own server at home, and I still can’t keep my hands away from configuring and improving, to make the users experience even better. I use Twitter to announce new releases and I´m one of the official providers of 3:d party VMs on ownClouds website. Yes, it feels good. :)
The ownCloud community appliance
Not so long ago I got an email from Frank Karlitschek, asking me if I wanted to help ownCloud by contributing to their community VM. Of course my answer was yes. A great opportunity to learn more bash, and to help even more people getting the best cloud service of them all. So the past month, me, Jürgen Weigert and some other guys have been working on a new VM built from scripts provided by ownCloud themselves. Today, several thousands lines of code later, we released the first stable release. Wohaa!
The appliance is built with Vagrant and VirtualBox, but runs on (almost) every system there is. If you are a Windows user, or if you are on Linux, even if you are on OS X – you can just download and use the VM directly out of the box. The VM is a vanilla version of ownCloud were nothing is pre-configured except a proxy provided by PageKite. Of course, If you don´t want to use the proxy, you don’t have to. Other than that, everything is ownCloud style and I really think that this appliance is worth testing. Heck, maybe even use it as your production server?
So feel free to download it and give it a try. Please give us feedback, report bugs if you find any, and we would be very grateful if you could help us improve the scripts even more.
That’s all for now, stay tuned for more!