All the files! FAQ

Here are some answers to common questions about ownCloud and personal clouds (ha, I used that term!) in general, and All the files! in particular.

Just to clarify, you are providing an ownCloud front end which I can use with the backend storage in my own Rackspace account?

How it plays out is that I am hosting an ownCloud instance, and you get a gig of space. Then you can mount your own storage as a directory. I point that out, because it means that your storage is at least one directory in.

I have the same setup, and I mount multiple containers in Cloud Files (Rackspace’s branded Swift service), for different things like photos and music. In case you were wondering how serious I am about running the site, I share my photos directory with Susan through ownCloud so she has access to all our babby photos. ^_^

I would like to host ownCloud on a Raspberry Pi. Is that possible?

It certainly seems like it is possible. If you want to try that out, make sure to check out Pagekite, for putting it on the web.

I am thinking of dropping Flickr for ownCloud. Advisable?

That depends on what you are using Flickr for, but there is only really one scenario that ownCloud replaces Flickr: if you are sharing private photos with a small group of folks.

If you want to share photos with folks on the public web, you want MediaGoblin. I run an instance for my family (soon to include our tribe), and I use Rackspace Cloud Files for storage.

If you are looking for a backup solution for your photos, then I recommend using your operating system’s preferred backup software. I use Duplicity (found in many GNU systems) to backup my files to a local server at my house, which I backup to a Rackspace container. I do that because we also backup other computers, and it is easier to have those backups at home for our setup. Before that I just backed up my computer directly to Cloud Files.

Check the next question for more on backups and ownCloud.

I have a ton of photos! Can I back them up on allthefil.es?

Nope! ^_^

You should not use my instance of ownCloud for backing up files; it isn’t a great way to do it. ownCloud is great for sharing files between private groups, and even has some features that let you publish it publicly. However, there should be a backup system under it, and I do only the basic amount of that, in part because my files are already backed up elsewhere. If you want to use ownCloud as part of a backup system, you should set that up, or you can pay me to do so.

There is another reason that you shouldn’t use All the files! for uploading a huge amount of files to your own mounted storage backend: I pay for the bandwidth. If you upload 40 gigs of photos and then sync that to another machine, then I end up paying for 160GB of bandwidth (40 to my server, 40 to your backend, and then again the other way). I would prefer not to do that. I don’t think it will be a problem, and if anyone uses so much bandwidth that it catches my attention, I will just ask them to stop. Not a huge deal.

I am looking into how exactly the backend storage system works, to see if we can get around that, but that is how it stands at the moment.

If you have any other questions, please contact me or leave it in a comment. ^_^

Raspberry Pi

Raspberry Pi is a $25 computer. Think about that.

I am really into computers. One of my favorite acronyms is CMC, which stands for computer-mediated communications. I see computers being very sophisticated hammers, and I want as many humans as possible to have the tools to express themselves.

So, of course my child will have lots of gadgets. Even if they don’t care about them the way I do, they will be fortunate enough to be born into a family that both values and can afford their access to the internet, through a variety of devices (over time, because that is how we roll).

It breaks my heart, a little bit. I want all children to have access to the information and culture on the internet. All of it. Wikipedia, search engines, 4Chan, pr0n, YouTube. As Cory describes it, I am a techno-optimist, and I believe that exposure to new ideas is important for human development.

That is why I am excited by Raspberry Pi, the $25 computer.

Thinking about the possibilities for this is mind-boggling. Of course we want to get every kid in the world a computer, but I wouldn’t stop there. They are only going to get better and cheaper. I dream of a day when I can walk around with a handful of computers in my pocket and give them away to anyone that wants one, let alone needs one. I am sure it will be helpful in developing the Freedom Box, as well.

I also imagine that the work we do in computer literacy is going to be more important, since it is going to have to scale quickly. That is a challenge I look forward to.