Why I would Install ownCloud over Dropbox and iCloud

July 16, 2014

Phoenix TS Intern

As many people have noticed, information uploaded to syncing storage systems, such as  iCloud and Dropbox, are not impervious to hackers. This has led people to search for new services that are more secure than iCloud and Dropbox.

However, people are unwilling to sacrifice the simplicity that comes with iCloud and Dropbox. OwnCloud combines the best of both worlds giving users the safety and security they desire, while remaining simplistic and effective. 

What is ownCloud? 

OwnCloud is a syncing storage system, which is downloadable through their website. This cloud storage provider offers access for people to sync across different operating systems. Users can have several devices all running different operating systems and still have identical information available on each device. The system calibrates each device and syncs them together. If you upload documents from your Mac desktop they become available on your Windows phone and Linux laptop.

Installing your ownCloud

Installing this syncing storage system is simple and can be done for free if you already have a host. You can download the software via internet download by going to owncloud.org and selecting the OS that you have on your device. This video shows how easy it can be to download ownCloud. The video demonstrates how to install ownCloud from the command line of a computer running Netrunner Linux.

The open source advantage

This system runs on open source code, which allows anyone to see the source code. This benefits both the users and manufacturers.

Since users can see the source code, an entire community of ownCloud users can read and monitor it. This makes looking for bugs, security holes, and other aspects inefficiencies of the software easier to find, optimize, or change completely. Ergo, ownCloud’s system is constantly being inspected to keep the security of the system locked tight. 

Open source code is an aspect of ownCloud that is unfamiliar to Apple and Dropbox. This feature enables the voice of entire communities to be heard. The transparency helps ensure customer satisfaction and encourages the organization to constantly keep creating, adding, repairing new and improved software.

Does Dropbox or iCloud have better syncing features?

Documents is a feature that allows multiple users to simultaneously collaborate and edit documents by sharing them with their friends. Documents facilitates the same syncing power that Apple advertises. Essentially you can start to type a document, e-mail, or make a to-do list on a note from you smartphone. Then when you open your laptop, the document or note awaits your final approval.

The main difference between Apple’s iCloud and ownCloud comes with real time editing. iCloud doesn’t allow collaboration between users. People using iCloud cannot share or edit documents, contacts, notes, or e-mails at the same time.

With ownCloud, users are given the same syncing abilities as iCloud along with the same interactivity that Google Drive popularized. Here is a video that explains how to use the Documents  function.

Both of these features are not provided to users when they decide to backup their data with either iCloud or Dropbox. Other features that cannot be found on iCloud or Dropbox is the ability to back up music files, recover deleted documents that were accidentally erased, and share data such as photos, contacts, and other info. If you are interested in seeing a full list of features that ownCloud offers, visit their website.

Compared to iCloud and Dropbox, I believe ownCloud allows its users to do more with their program. This software offers more not only when it comes to collaboration and coding, but the overall functionality of each feature is more customization. 

However, if you’re still skeptical about leaving Apple devices and software that you have grown to love, look into Apple’s new apps and what they have to offer.

Yosemite and New Apple Apps

Apple tries to improve on their compatibility and syncing features through the new OS X Yosemite. Yosemite will offer the same collaborative features that ownCloud does when it comes to the ability to start and finish tasks across different devices. The only qualm I have with this function is that for the syncing to work, a person must use Apple devices with compatible software.

One aspect of this new Apple software that is intriguing is the capability that users have to answer calls and text messages across every device Apple device. Apple is also updating their Pages, Numbers, and Keynote apps, which will showcase collaboration features on iCloud, IOS or Mac devices. Apple calls them productivity apps. Once these apps become available on Yosemite, it may change the perspective on the functionality of Apple products and the iCloud system.

ownCloud vs. Yosemite and iCloud

One aspect of Apple’s new releases I find insufficient is the absence of cross OS compatibility features. The new Apple releases seem awesome and they make life a lot easier for Apple users, myself being one, but with tons of hype building up around the new Amazon Fire phone and the success of the Samsung smartphones worldwide, Apple faces stiff competition. This is where ownCloud will continue to gain loyalty and success. In my opinion the software still beats iCloud in security and accessibility, which are major concerns for everyone.

At this point in time I am siding with ownCloud over iCloud and Dropbox. However with Yosemite coming out soon and the release of ownCloud7, it will be interesting to see how they stack up against each other and if people continue to side with Apple just because of the brand name.

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