2014 and 2015

Posted by on Dec 31, 2014 in KDE, ownCloud, private | 3 Comments

In just a few hours 2014 ends. This is a great opportunity to look back at what happened this year in the ownCloud world and in my personal life. This was an absolutely crazy 12-month so this blog post is now way longer that I planed. A huge thanks you to everyone in the ownCloud community. It´s a blast to work together with so many clever and friendly people from all over the world.

ownCloud 7
First and most importantly we released ownCloud 7. This was a major milestone in the history of ownCloud because of several reasons. We made significant improvements in the area of quality and overall polish. The user-interface was refreshed and we implemented a ton of improvements all over the place. You can have a look at the feature page if you are interested: http://owncloud.org/seven/

But ownCloud 7 was also the first release which featured a big and strategic new direction for us which is server 2 server sharing. This is the first step to build a truly distributed and federated and open cloud. In my opinion it´s the future of a self controlled and self hosted cloud world, which respects privacy. But also enabled easy collaboration and sharing. ownCloud 8 will be another big step forward in this direction but this is something to discuss in 2015.

ownCloud Inc.
ownCloud Inc., the company behind ownCloud, grew significantly in number of customers and revenue. We opened up several new offices and hired a lot of new employees. This is very exiting for me because it´s so much fun to work with so many smart and dedicated people on ownCloud. I´m super happy to see how employees and community volunteers work together to push ownCloud forward.

ownCloud community
The ownCloud community is the source and foundation of the ownCloud development. I´m super happy that we are growing significantly and that more and more people join us to drive ownCloud forward. We use Bitergia to measure some community metrics. You can look at the statistics here:  http://bitergia.com/projects/ownCloud-dashboard/browser/  Jos blogged about this last summer and we had close to 300 contributors in the past 12 month at the time. http://blog.jospoortvliet.com/2014/08/owncloud-numbers.html This is a very impressive number and ownCloud is already one of the biggest open source projects out there. But if you look at the statistics today than you see that we already grew to 372 contributors in the last 12 month since August in the meantime. This is just amazing. So I´m sure that everyone who wants to contribute to ownCloud finds a very friendly and open community to join. Let´s make the world a bit better together.

Lately we launched the new ownCloud Meetup program. Everybody is invited to start local ownCloud meetups and get-togethers.
We provide a lot of  useful helpful information on our website and you will get support if you want to organize an ownCloud event in your area. More information here: http://owncloud.org/events/meetups/

We also launched the ownCloud insiders program if you want to help to promote ownCloud https://forum.owncloud.org/viewtopic.php?f=8&t=24661
The ownCloud community will be at FOSDEM and SCALE next year with tables. So if you are at one of the events please stop by and say Hi 🙂

In the past a lot of people asked about the license of the ownCloud iOS app. So I´m super happy that a few weeks ago we found a way to open source the app. So everyone who want´s to contribute has now the opportunity: https://github.com/owncloud/ios

ownCloud contributor conference
Last summer we organized our yearly ownCloud developer meeting in Berlin again. Because of our growing community of contributors we were able to transform this into the very first ownCloud Contributor Conference. Over 100 contributors joined to listen to talks, discuss, write code and socialize. You find some impressions here:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZNbBeXyE9fw This was a crazy event. Especially if you remember that the very first ownCloud meeting in 2010, just four years ago, had only 5 attendees.

A few days ago I learned that the Linux Journal readers voted ownCloud as number 4 of the best new open-source projects http://www.linuxjournal.com/rc2014?page=21 and number two of the best cloud based file storage solution. http://www.linuxjournal.com/rc2014?page=14 This is very exiting because only Dropbox is more popular at the moment that ownCloud.  The gap is shrinking fast compared to the numbers of last year.
A few days ago I learned that I won the Stiftung Neue Allmende award for starting and maintaining ownCloud which is endowed with 550,- EUR. This is a huge honor. Thanks a lot for that. Obviously ownCloud is not only developed by me but by our community. So I will donate this to the ownCloud community. We will use this for a nice social event at the next Contributor Conference next summer. Yay! Thanks a lot again 🙂

2014 was also a special year for me personally. I moved to Boston, MA last spring to be able to work closer with my colleagues in the ownCloud Inc. headquarters in Boston. This is definitely fun and an interesting experience to live in the US full-time. I also took the opportunity to buy a motorcycle again which is awesome. I have a lot of fun with discover the great nature in New England by bike.

I also had the opportunity to meet very interesting people like Tim Berners-Lee, Linus Torwalds and RMS to discuss ownCloud and it´s great to hear that they all like it. What is also very exiting for me is that we are also working closely together with very clever people from the W3C offices at MIT Cambridge and CERN in Switzerland to develop innovative technologies that will hopefully land in ownCloud next year.

I also did a ton of travel last year to give talks and keynotes at conferences all over the world. Most important for me was the invitation the give a keynote as LinuxCon Europe about the future of cloud computing and federated clouds. This was a good opportunity to share my vision about distributed and federated clouds with a broader audience.

So what are the plans for next year?
The next big milestone is obviously ownCloud 8. Feature freeze is today the Dec 31th with a planed release date of early February. ownCloud, the software and the contributor community, reached a size where big monolithic releases don’t work anymore. The release of 7 was already very hard to coordinate, stabilize, test and to document all the features. So in the future we want to reduce the size of the core ownCloud server again and also release it more often and move to a time based release schedule.

So starting with ownCloud 8 we will release a major new ownCloud server version once a quarter. The apps on top should be compatible between different server versions and will be partly released independently.

On January 17th is the 5th birthday of ownCloud. At that day I announced the ownCloud initiative during the CampKDE keynote in San Diego. A bit later I released the first beta version and the first contributors joined. It’s amazing to see what grew out of a crazy idea. Does someone has an creative idea how to celebrate this special day? Please let me know.

Another important topic for next year will be the launch of the user data manifesto 2.0.  Hugo , Jan and I are working on this and a first draft is already out. https://userdatamanifesto.org/2.0/
We got a lot of feedback from smart people and organization that we already incorporated. Everyone is more than welcome to participate in the discussions.

Thanks to everyone who made 2014 such a great year. I´m looking forward to keep on working with awesome people in 2015 again to push ownCloud and the ideas behind it forward. Let´s make the world a little bit better together.

Thanks and take care in 2015


  1. matt

    Thanks for sharing your reflections on 2014. I am a big fan of ownCloud and a member of the insiders community. I am looking forward to seeing what great things are in store in 2015 and to meeting you at SCaLE!

    Cheers and Happy New Year,
    Matt McGraw

  2. domcars0

    Server 2 server sharing is the most important feature of OC : it’ is a door open to freedom!

  3. ownCloud development over December | ownCloud.org

    […] And just before the year was over, Frank shared his reflections on 2014 and 2015 for ownCloud and data freedom in general […]


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