The open source ownCloud project is advancing today with version 4 of the popular file sharing and synchronization technology. What ownCloud provides is an open source take on a Dropbox model where users can share and save files in a cloud environment. With ownCloud, the technology is all open source and it can be hosted anywhere.
The ownCloud 4 release debuts a number of new features to further differentiate the technology from its competitors. At the top of the new features list is the ability to do file versioning. A user can now have multiple versions of a file saved in ownCloud, which can enable rollback if necessary.
Having rollback is a safety feature and so too is the new encryption capabilities present in ownCloud 4. Server-side file encryption is a much needed feature that is now present in ownCloud 4, protecting sensitive data.
From a usability perspective, ownCloud 4 now has drag and drop file uploading through a standard browser interface. Users can now also open and read ODF formatted documents inline with the browser.
As is the case with Dropbox, extensibility is a key feature for ownCloud. In the ownCloud 4 release, new APIs are being introduced that will let developers extend and integrate with ownCloud for some time to come.
“We plan on keeping the API stable and supported for at least the next 2 ownCloud releases, and will follow a similar plan rolling forwards,” Matt Richards, VP of Products at ownCloud Inc.told InternetNews.com.
The new ownCloud 4 release is initially only available as a community open source release. A commercially supported ownCloud 4 update is set to debut in the next three to four weeks, backed by ownCloud Inc. The first ownCloud Enterprise release debuted in April of this year, based on the ownCloud 3.0 community release.
The Enterprise release packs in additional stability as well as management capabilities. OEMs also have the ability to rebrand ownCloud Enteprise to create their own hosted cloud file sharing services.
For existing ownCloud 3 community users migrating up to the 4.0 release is relatively simple.
“Simply remove the ownCloud 3 app, saving config and data directories and drop Owncloud 4 in,” Richards explained. “Open your browser and go.”
Overall, ownCloud development is on a rapid pace this year with at least one more release on the horizon.
“OwnCloud 5 is planned for the end of the summer, with enhanced security, a server REST API, granular user permissions, and enhanced administrator roles,” Richards said.
Sean Michael Kerner is a senior editor at InternetNews.com, the news service of the IT Business Edge Network, the network for technology professionals Follow him on Twitter @TechJournalist.