02 June, 2016

Nextcloud is the future of open source file sync and share

So today is the day: we announce that we're forking ownCloud at some point the coming weeks. We includes project founder Frank and the core ownCloud contributors who publicly quit ownCloud, Inc. over the last weeks - Lukas, Arthur, Morris, Bjoern, Jan-Christoph and quite a few others as well who can't talk about that yet. As of now, most of the top contributors to ownCloud core are joining and of course, we're very busy hiring and aim to leave no (wo)man behind.

'why' is the question everybody has and I hope you understand I don't want to talk too much about that. Instead, let me talk about what we are going to do.

A healthy Nextcloud

Open source projects work best when they have a company behind them which aims to build a sustainable business around a symbiotic relationship with the community they are a part off. Make no mistake, I think it's great if people (investors, founders) can cash out big. They take a risk, put in blood, sweat and tears. But venture capital often leads to short term thinking and chasing of quarterly numbers resulting in bad decisions. Money, time and effort is wasted and growth isn't what it could be - and that's pretty much a best case scenario.

The good news is that we're starting a new company, Nextcloud, which will do things right: build a sustainable, durable business. We've got support from Niels Mache, long time open source entrepreneur and owner of the spreed video conferencing business. Nextcloud will integrate with spreed's successor, the open source, webRTC based spreed.me video conferencing software, kickstarting as a healthy, growing business with loads of customers while the integration provides a real valuable new feature to users.

What we will offer

This reboot of ownCloud is meant to be good for users, customers and contributors alike. So we'll be providing a drop-in replacement for users next month, which will bring them the stability and security updates they need as well as full spreed.ME video conferencing integration.

For customers, the drop-in replacement will be accompanied with a Enterprise Subscription which gives them all the support and features they are used to. Better, even: we will honor all contracts so nobody has to pay twice or get in trouble. On top of that we plan to support some of the most popular apps like Calendar and Contacts both for home users and enterprises. Our goal here is to ensure nobody is left without the support they need to be happy, successful own/Nextcloud users.

We're setting up infrastructure now for the wider contributor community to join us. We've got some improvements in store, including new forums (discourse based), no more Contributor License Agreement and a foundation that will hold trademarks (not have them sub-licensed; nor be under company control!). January last year we did a survey of what community contributors would like to see improved and, finally, we can implement many of those requests. I will blog more about that later today!


I know that this is a surprise to everybody and it isn't that you should be joining RIGHT NOW or I'll hate you forever, on the contrary. ownCloud is a very important project and a rash decision makes no sense. We are in it for the long haul, our goal is a smooth transition and that means we will take some time to prepare things on our end. We've always been in close contact with our contributors and this new thing can only be open and public from now on so let's take our time to do this right. Over the coming days we'll blog about our plans and you can provide input and help us make the right decisions!

This endeavor will take some time and effort, but successful examples like LibreOffice and MariaDB have shown that, in the end, the community will find a way to get it right. I'm confident that we will be able to deliver even better solutions for our users and customers thanks to a redefined, more open community and company relationship!

Check out our announcement blog, our website and ping me or ask your questions in our Live Nextcloud Q&A Hangout with Frank and myself, moderated by Bryan Lunduke, today at 19:00 PM Berlin/Amsterdam/Paris time, 10:00 AM Pacific time.

And yes, if you want to join us, send an email, we're hiring!

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