2018 was not only ownCloud’s most successful year to date in economic terms, but also brought numerous technical innovations that will have a decisive impact on the development of the largest open source file-sharing project worldwide in the coming years. Features such as a new modular user interface, the introduction of the long-awaited Virtual File System in the ownCloud Desktop Client and the upcoming Delta Sync technology were all developed in collaboration with the ownCloud community and are freely available, including the corresponding documentation. But also «smaller» new developments and features for enterprise use were repeatedly noticed by the media and were positively received in the market. In this article we want to take the end of the year as an opportunity to review all these small and large highlights .
January 2018: Bigger than ever before
Last year’s first success story was an economic one: In January, ownCloud GmbH was able to report that turnover had increased by more than 50% compared to the previous year. The German-speaking region saw a particularly strong upswing, with the volume of business growing by 100%. The main drivers for this were the increased demand for secure private cloud solutions, the improvement of software quality and the professionalization of support.
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March 2018: New interface for more developer power
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April 2018: Finally Delta Sync!
In April we were able to present a feature to the community that has been expected for a longer time than any other. Launching “Delta Sync,” ownCloud will in the future offer a technology that accelerates the synchronization of updated files. This means that in case of a file change, only the modified parts will be uploaded or downloaded instead of the whole file. Delta Sync significantly reduces the volume of data to be transmitted. The feature was developed by the ownCloud community and will be included in the next major version of ownCloud.
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June 2018: The desktop client got lighter
The ownCloud desktop client also underwent decisive further development last year: With the Virtual File System, it was given a feature that allows files and folders to be synchronized with the end device only when they are actually needed. Users thus require significantly less local storage space for their files and receive simplified usability and a further improved user experience of their ownCloud.
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July 2018: Summertime Happiness
Of course, not only were new features added throughout the year, the software as a whole underwent constant improvements. A special milestone was our «Summer Release». With the release of version 10.0.9, over 25 million ownCloud users were given even more freedom to share their files securely and flexibly. The integration in S3 Object Storage enables administrators to operate ownCloud in storage systems that grow flexibly with their own requirements. The targeted adaptation of versions and deleted files has also significantly improved performance when saving and deleting in object storages. The «Password Policy» app also provided users with a useful tool for defining individual rules to protect their data. The ability to accept or reject pending shares of received files provides additional control and security. Other apps such as Activity or Gallery have also been revised.
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August 2018: A Giant Leap for Open Source
The fact that open source software does not have to hide in competition with large commercial providers was confirmed by the highest authority in the middle of the year when ownCloud was included for the first time in the market study «Magic Quadrant for Content Collaboration Platforms» of the industry-wide recognized Gartner Institute – as the only open source provider and one of two European providers.
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August 2018: Community forever
The year 2018 also marked the start of the ownCloud Foundation, which was established together with seven founding members. The foundation’s most important task is to sustainably promote the community ecosystem around ownCloud in order to provide positive input for the future technological development of the best-known open source filesharing software. Through an open, manufacturer-independent organization, access is possible for anyone who wants to get involved in the project. The Foundation provides developers and users with a range of shared resources to increase the footprint of public, private and enterprise ownClouds and create a long-term, competitively distributed cloud platform.
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September 2018: Admins in focus
At the ownCloud Conference developers, users and administrators met in Nuremberg to exchange best practices, solutions and ideas about ownCloud. The release of ownCloud 10.0.10 also provided further insights into the future development of the project. In it, ownCloud focuses even more on meeting the latest file sharing requirements and improving configuration options. The support of PHP 7.2 provides administrators with significant performance improvements. In addition, the targeted adaptation of local users facilitates the secure creation of new user accounts. With the integration of the HTTP API for the search function, users will in future be able to search all content via their client without having to be available locally. In addition, native protection against brute force attacks and the option to exclude certain system groups from file sharing were added. Together with ownCloud 10.0.10, an improved Desktop Client (Ver. 2.5.0) containing the Virtual File System was also released.
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October 2018: Recognized as Number 1 again
Even though we received a lot of feedback from the community and the media throughout the year, an award always remains something special . In October, ownCloud won first place in the «IT-Award»for the third time in a row. With this award, the expert audience honored ownCloud’s technological leadership, which is reflected in the guarantee of maximum security standards and at the same time a high degree of user-friendliness. Second place went to Nextcloud and Box.com came third. The IT Award is presented in 42 categories by the IT portals BigData Insider, CloudComputing Insider, DataCenter Insider, DevInsider, IP Insider, Security Insider and Storage Insider. The award ceremony took place on 11 October 2018 in the Steigenberger Hotel «Drei Mohren» in Augsburg.
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October 2018: ownCloud Enterprise for Everybody
With «ownCloud.online» at the end of the year, ownCloud presented a new cloud solution that combines the advantages of open source and secure hosting in German data centres with the user-friendliness of public cloud services. The software can be set up quickly and easily without IT knowledge and is therefore also suitable for companies and organisations without their own IT department. The solution is designed to meet the highest data protection requirements (e.g. DSGVO) in order to exchange highly sensitive personal data. Hosting takes place exclusively in fully certified German data centers and meets the highest security standards (including ISO 9001, ISO 27001).
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November 2018: Milestone for Apple Users
iPhone and iPad users and developers also benefited this year. The new ownCloud iOS app announced in November comes with a completely redesigned architecture, significant security enhancements and many new features. Users benefit from greater freedom in processing their files and an enhanced user experience thanks to integration with the iOS Files app. The app also provides more options for managing TLS certificates. In addition, ownCloud presented a new SDK for iOS that focuses on security, data protection and performance.
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What a year for ownCloud, for secure file sharing and for Open Source. Especially in reviewing the many highlights, we at ownCloud are very proud of our achievements to date, but even more grateful for one of the strongest communities with many dedicated contributors and testers, loyal partners, customers and numerous other companions that have brought us to where we are today. Of course, we would also like to take this opportunity to thank our many employees, who are committed to improving our software every day with all their heart. Thank you all for your loyal support! With that in mind we can look to the future with more than confidence.