Most people out there are familiar with DropBox and other similar services provided by the likes of Microsoft and Google. The convenience of being able to easily synchronise data between multiple devices, with a copy stored “in the cloud” (that’s on the Internet for our older readers!). However, using a service such as this has two potential drawbacks, firstly the reliance on an external company to continue providing the service – if they go off-line for any reason (temporarily or permanently) you lose the ability to synchronise, and secondly, your data is now at the mercy of their privacy and security rules.
For most people, these aren’t a major issue, but what do you do if one or the other really does matter to you? One solution is to use your own data synchronisation solution, and with the latest version of ownCloud, this is easier, and more functional than ever. ownCloud uses PHP and MySQL, and allows you to run your own server, one that supports a Windows, Linux or Mac client to synchronise from a desktop folder, as well as a web interface to upload and access files. Whilst not as polished as the commercial offerings, it is progressing steadily, and is a viable alternative.