​OwnCloud founder forks popular open-source cloud

Frank Karlitschek, co-founder and former CTO of ownCloud, announced he's forking the popular IaaS cloud program into "Nextcloud."
Written by Steven Vaughan-Nichols, Senior Contributing Editor

OwnCloud, a very popular, open-source Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) cloud program, has been forked by its founder Frank Karlitschek. The fork, Nextcloud, will be available in early July.

Nextcloud Logo

Nextcloud is ready to take on its parent ownCloud.


For this new project Karlitschek's philosophy is for Nextcloud to give you "full control over your data. We will help you achieve a safe home for all your data. Secure, under your control and developed in an open, transparent and trustworthy way."

The new company will release a drop-in replacement for ownCloud based on ownCloud 9 with additional security and stability updates. This fork will have the support of not just Karlitschek, but many of ownCloud's top staff. These include Jos Poortvliet's community manager; Lukas Reschke, security engineer; and Arthur Schiwon, identify management engineer.

Karlitschek said he and his team "plan to significantly accelerate development, focus again on an open process with less blockers like Contributor Licence Agreements or closed enterprise apps. Over the coming days and weeks, we will gather input from community members and share our own ideas for improvements."

For home and enterprise users of ownCloud, besides providing a drop­-in ownCloud replacement, they will provide service and support from the coders. "We will employ the domain experts around its functionality, allowing us to deliver better support than anybody else."

He added:

Nextcloud 9 will be based on ownCloud 9 and will enable easy upgrades to future Nextcloud releases and allow enterprises to smoothly transition from the ownCloud Enterprise Edition to the supported Nextcloud version. We will provide a Nextcloud enterprise subscription, which will provide the functionality enterprise users are used to. Our goal is to ensure no user or customer falls behind. Community members can already find new, modern forums with helpful members.

Nextcloud will be more than just an ownCloud fork and rival. Later versions will integrate Spreed.ME video-conferencing platform. The CEO of Spreed.Me's parent company, struktur AG, Niels Mache, is joining with Karlitschek as Nextcloud's co-­managing directors.

Karlitschek left ownCloud in April after disagreements with ownCloud's management team. His primary objections were around how the company worked with the community. Since he left, ownCloud has announced the formation of the ownCloud Foundation.

Markus Rex, ownCloud's CEO and co-founder said of the Foundation:

By placing the project in the hands of the Foundation we are relying on the collective wisdom of the ownCloud community to provide the same, positive guiding hand to the governance of the project as they have to the creation, nurturing and development of the ownCloud project. This important step ensures the continued growth and success of the ownCloud ecosystem.

Karlitschek had no comment on the Foundation.

This appears to be a case of being too little, too late. OwnCloud has been forked. Only time and coding will tell whether ownCloud or Nextcloud will be emerge the dominant version.

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