Setting up ownCloud

A few days ago I posted about ownCloud, an open source Dropbox alternative and mentioned that I’d be installing and mucking about with it this weekend.

I’m happy to report that installation couldn’t have been simpler. I already have an account with Digital Ocean, where I set up their cheapest “droplet”1 with ownCloud pre-installed. I lost a few hours trying to get an SSL certificate from StartSSL working, but I gave up and just used the self-signed certificate that was pre-installed from the get-go.2

I then pointed a subdomain at the droplet, which required whitelisting it in some kind of config file. I was able to do this entirely through the web app. Then I installed the Mac OS X client and iOS client and now I basically have the same user experience as using Dropbox.3 I moved my Calibre library (a little over 1GB) into my ownCloud folder and it synced within an hour with no issues. Now I have all of my DRM-free ebooks available to me wherever I go without having to manually import them through iTunes first.

Now, time to see if I actually find this useful or not.

  1. For $5/month, you get 20GB of storage and 1TB of bandwidth. It’s (supposedly) trivial to upgrade to the higher tiers. 
  2. Self-signed certificates for something like this are perfectly safe. You’ll just get a warning the first time you connect that your browser/app couldn’t verify the identity of your server. That’s fine. 
  3. Except for all of the applications that come with tight Dropbox integration. 

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