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Moving to OwnCloud

by Kyluke McDougall on 4 October 2014

My move from Google to OwnCloud.

I don't have anything against Google and I won't go into a rant about privacy but I do like having tighter control over my own data.

My move to OwnCloud has been going on for about a year now until I fully committed to it today. I downloaded a copy of everything I had on my Google account. Contacts, calendar and files, deleted them from my Google account and decided "this is it."

Contacts

OwnCloud has a contacts management system which can make use of custom fields and groupings. Externally it makes use of CardDav which means I can connect Thunderbird, my Android devices and anything else that can interact with CardDav. Being an very widely accepted, it's perfect. Basically, it offers what I need.

So, the move. Here is where I ran into my first problem. I downloaded a copy of my Google contacts as a Google CSV format which OwnCloud couldn't import properly. It only added the names and surnames and the groups they were in. Problem.

I solved that problem by importing my contacts list back into Google contacts and syncing it with Thunderbird. I also added the OwnCloud account to Thunderbird using the SoGo Connector plugin. Then I just dragged the contacts from the Google address book into the OwnCloud address book and voilà, Thunderbird uploaded my contacts to OwnCloud correctly.

Calendar

This one was easy, I didn't have a lot of entries in there because I mainly use my work calendar most of the time. Google Calendar does have an export function which is a little buried but can be found here. Externally OwnCloud uses CalDav to connect external applications to it. Which again makes it very easy for me to connect Thunderbird and my Android devices.

Files

I left this one for last because it was the easiest one to solve. OwnCloud's biggest pro is it's file management system. It's very simple, uses WebDav and allows normal drag and drop functionality using your browser to upload. OwnCloud also has an application which you can download here which works in the same way as the Dropbox or Google Drive application. Works well and I haven't had a problem with it yet.

So my move to OwnCloud really started today and so far I'm happy with it. I now have control over my files, where they are and can access them anywhere. My hosting package also doesn't have a storage limit which is a big plus for me as I don't know if 15Gb is always going to do it for me.

I also have to mention that OwnCloud has a photo backup feature for Android devices which I've tested and it requires some work but it's good to know that all the pics I snap up are automatically backed up online. OwnCloud can be downloaded here: https://owncloud.org.