This is the first post in a regular blog series called ’Notes from the CTO’ where I share our strategic and longer term plans for ownCloud. I’ll cover current challenges and interesting trends in the market. I believe this will give you some interesting, valuable insights in what we’re thinking and where we are taking ownCloud. But I also see this as a two way communication and an opportunity to open up a discussion with those interested in the future of ownCloud! You can provide feedback directly to me or in the comments section of the blog.
Starting with Vision
I will start the first blog with a conversation about the ownCloud vision. I believe that having a plan, an idea and a grand vision for the future is key to be able to design and build a great software architecture and a great product for all users.
So what is the vision and idea behind ownCloud? Why are we here and what is our place in the software world?
From the beginning when I started the ownCloud project, the vision and mission of ownCloud was to provide a place to store, manage and protect my data in the most secure and flexible way. To make this possible, the technology behind it should be trustworthy, that is open source and designed to be very secure and flexible. This started with the open source project and has grown to include our many users from small at-home deployments to large enterprise deployments with 500,000 users.
When we launched the new homepage of ownCloud.org a few weeks ago we were able to condense this vision down to the following claim: “A safe home for all your data.” That is only 7 words, but they carry a lot of meaning.
Let’s start with the home. With home we are talking about a place where all the files and other data people care about are stored. But it also means that it is accessible by the users in an easy and convenient way. That is, that the system storing and providing the data is integrated into all other systems people use like authentication and other applications to work with the data. It has to fit with whatever workflow they have.
What do we mean with ‘all your data?’ ownCloud should be able to integrate, access and use all data that is relevant for you. This is the idea behind universal file access. You can mount and use existing, FTP, NFS, WebDAV, Windows network drive or SharePoint storage into your ownCloud. But it also means that we are talking about more than files. In the upcoming ownCloud 9.0 we can access and use all kind of metadata like tags and comments. In the future we will extend this and ownCloud will be able to manage all kind of structured and unstructured data.
What do we mean with safe? This means that we at ownCloud take security very seriously. We develop our software openly, conduct regular security audits, publish security advisories and sponsor a Bug Bounty Program to make ownCloud as secure as possible. ownCloud also supports auditing, a lot of different kinds of powerful authentication protocols and a powerful file firewall to control and log all access. This means that everyone who is using ownCloud can be very sure that the data is under their control at all times.
Whether on your home NAS or deployed across globally disparate locations, the simple vision is unchanged. ownCloud is a safe home for all your data.