Recently I had to make one of my hardest decisions so far. Because this has an impact beyond myself I want to share this here: I am leaving ownCloud, Inc. today. But, the journey of ownCloud and Frank is not over!
6 years ago until now
I founded the ownCloud project a little over 6 years ago with the goal to enable home users, companies, universities and big enterprises to host their own cloud services and files. In a world with growing threats around security, surveillance and espionage, this idea is becoming more important every day.
4.5 years ago I co-founded ownCloud Inc, a company that supports enterprise use of ownCloud and drives the development of ownCloud forward.
The product development worked our very well. With ownCloud 9.0 we released a huge milestone and an amazing product developed in close collaboration between the ownCloud company and the ownCloud community.
The community has grown tremendously, with contributions by almost 1000 people over the last 6 years, over 80 every single month. Nothing is perfect, the company could have done a better job recognizing the achievements of the community. It sometimes has a tendency to control the work too closely and discus things internally. But overall, the balance was not too bad.
I’m extremely impressed by the immense interest we see from our user community and company customers and prospects. We have built something people like and want to use and buy.
But there were also other experiences. I won’t go into the details there but these have put us in the very difficult situation.
I thought a lot about this situation. Without sharing too much, there are some moral questions popping up for me. Who owns the community? Who owns ownCloud itself? And what matters more, short term money or long term responsibility and growth? Is ownCloud just another company or do we also have to answer to the hundreds of volunteers who contribute and make it what it is today?
These questions brought me to the very tough decisions: I have decided to leave my own company today. Yes, I handed in my resignation and will no longer work for ownCloud, Inc.
Let me make this very clear: this is NOT bad news for ownCloud. Change, yes, bad, no. And secondly, I am the ownCloud project lead until the community says otherwise. My email changes from owncloud to frank at karlitschek.de – that is all.
You wonder what this means for Frank and ownCloud? Besides what I’ve said, I can’t answer that today. But I can say that, of course, the journey is not over yet. There is tremendous potential in ownCloud and it is an open source product protected by the AGPL license.
If you have questions about this and what it means for you, as community member or employee, please don’t hesitate to contact me.
Stay tuned, as more news is coming!