ownCloud, the open source file storage and syncing service, has recently released the first version of their Android application. While it isn’t in the Google Play Store yet, users who want to get an early look at the new application can install a test build from the ownCloud blog.
Storage in the “cloud” is all the rage right now, with services like DropBox and Google’s own GDrive taking the center stage. The concept of storing your files on a central server is of course nothing new, certainly, we’ve all been doing it in some form or another since the first days of the Internet. But what DropBox and others brought to the table was an easy to use way to do it from all of our devices.
ownCloud aims to offer a similar experience to the industry leaders, with some very big differences: it’s free open source software, and you can run it on your own hardware. If you’re the kind of person who doesn’t want their files stored by a corporation who makes their money by selling their users advertisements, this may be the service you’re looking for. The ability to put the ownCloud software on your personal server is a very interesting proposition for users who are looking for secure file storage for themselves, friends, and family.
ownCloud is licensed under the Affero General Public License (AGPL) a service-provider oriented version of the standard GNU General Public License (GPL), which was created specifically to address loopholes in the GPL in cases where users interfaced with free software remotely rather than on the local machine. Using AGPL for ownCloud shows a strong commitment to the values of free software, something very refreshing considering the stance of it’s competitors in terms of privacy and transparency.
ownCloud Android App
The recently released Android application allows ownCloud users to upload, download, sync, and manage their files from their Android 2.3.6+ device. ownCloud estimates it will be available in the Google Play Store, as well as for iOS, within 4 to 6 weeks; but in the meantime has offered up a test build to get early input from its users.
The Android application continues the ownCloud’s commitment to free software, being itself licensed under the GPL. The full source code can be downloaded from Gitorious.