OwnCloud Has Been Forked By Former Developers, Founder

Written by Michael Larabel in Free Software on 2 June 2016 at 04:00 AM EDT. 19 Comments
The embargo just expired so I can now share what's been happening at OwnCloud: those that left ownCloud recently have formed a new company where they are now forking ownCloud.

World, meet NextCloud, what these former core developers of ownCloud view as its successor. This comes after several core personnel left ownCloud Inc with no public indication up to now why they decided to part ways. Among those leaving the company was ownCloud founder Frank Karlitschek.

NextCloud is already planning their first release, which they hope to have out in July. NextCloud 9 will be this first release and is going to be a drop-in replacement of ownCloud 9. Additionally, the new company around this ownCloud fork, NextCloud GmbH is planning to "honor all the contracts customers have signed with ownCloud, Inc. or ownCloud, GmbH over the last years until today. Your support does not go away: Nextcloud will be there for you."

What's different about NextCloud versus OwnCloud? They wrote on their blog, "Nextcloud is a reboot of ownCloud, a new way of re-defining the balance into a more sustainable, open ecosystem with a single focus: putting users in control of their data. Kickstarted as a healthy, growing company, Nextcloud reduces barriers to contribution and increases transparency to enable more input of customers and users. On top of the file sync and share you all know and love, Nextcloud will provide full Spreed.ME support. Spreed.ME is a next generation, open source WebRTC based communication platform with video conferencing and text chat. We will also provide support for the popular Calendar and Contacts apps and improve and enrich the user experience in many other areas. New energy and greater ambitions for the future: Nextcloud is the next generation of on-premise cloud technology! We will release more information about our plans the coming hours and days in our blogs."

NextCloud staff is currently comprised of "a big part of the ownCloud, Inc. engineering team." Additionally about NextCloud's focus, "Nextcloud GmbH is set up to be a more long term sustainable business. The new company, learning from past mistakes, seeks to be more transparent in dealing with community development. We will focus on providing a more stable and reliable product and future releases will support the Calendar and Contact apps much better while barriers to contribution will be removed."

Speaking of community, what I've heard is that ownCloud Inc itself did the recent "ownCloud Foundation" to try to appear more open-source friendly and that it's basically a facade. However, for years it's been said that ownCloud core developers were pursuing a similar foundation idea, but never made any progress within the company to achieve such a state.

It will be interesting to see how NextCloud develops over the weeks/months ahead and how OwnCloud Inc manages ownCloud moving forward and how many community developers decide to join this fork. In parting, this NextCloud fork is said to be "no different from how LibreOffice [when it famously forked from OpenOffice.org] or MariaDB [when it famously forked from MySQL] came into existence and while there will be a transition period we'll do what we can to make it as easy as possible for our users and customers!"

More details can be learned via NextCloud.com.
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Michael Larabel is the principal author of Phoronix.com and founded the site in 2004 with a focus on enriching the Linux hardware experience. Michael has written more than 20,000 articles covering the state of Linux hardware support, Linux performance, graphics drivers, and other topics. Michael is also the lead developer of the Phoronix Test Suite, Phoromatic, and OpenBenchmarking.org automated benchmarking software. He can be followed via Twitter, LinkedIn, or contacted via MichaelLarabel.com.

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