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Use ownCloud to create local-first Alternatives to Cloud Apps

Have you ever wondered how to work remotely while retaining data ownership and a sense of being in control instead of being locked in and depending on the whims of tech companies? You might need software that is designed to store data local-first, it turns out.

By Dirk Stascheit

ownCloud local-first software

Have you ever wondered how to work remotely while retaining data ownership and a sense of being in control instead of being locked in and depending on the whims of tech companies? You might need software that is designed to store data local-first, it turns out.

In a recent study, Kleppmann et al explore the merits of what they call local-first software that combines the benefits of traditional desktop software with the collaboration capabilities of cloud apps.

The short version: Cloud apps rely on central servers and become useless without a server connection. That is a nuisance while offline and a big problem when a service eventually shuts down, dragging your precious data into the abyss.

Apps like Ulysses that use backends-as-a-service like Firebase from Google and CloudKit from Apple, thereby getting half way towards putting users back in control of their data, but storing it on the tech behemoths servers.

With its deep integration into the system file managers on iOS, Android, Windows, macOS and Linux, ownCloud is an ideal layer for syncing files between devices if and when they are online. Being open-source software ready to be hosted on-premises, it transforms existing first-rate local software into truly superior local-first software, while giving organizations full digital sovereignty.

Dirk Stascheit

May 28, 2020

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