Experience the cloud on the desktop with ownCloud

Using ownCloud to integrate Dropbox, Google Drive, and more in Gnome

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I was looking for an easy way to have all my online storage services, such as Google Drive and Dropbox, integrated with my Linux desktop without using some nasty hack, and I finally have a solution that works. I'm here to share it with you. This is not rocket science really, all I did was a little bit of documentation reading, and a couple of clicks.

All of the technologies used are for free for personal use. Each of them has some pros and cons, and the beauty of the solution is that I can now use this as one virtual storage integrated in my desktop.

To get started with ownCloud, you can choose from a list of providers, many of which offer a free plan. You can also host ownCloud in your own infrastructure. For this example, we will be using OpenShift Online free plan, but any hosting solution will work for a single user.

Within OpenShift Online, in the main menu, click on the Add application button, and search for ownCloud if you do not see it on the list. Choose the URL of your application, and then starting the application in the cloud usually took OpenShift about 30 seconds. Then, it is time to login to your app using the generated password. For safety, make sure that you change the password during your first login. Now, you are good to go, you have 1 GB of online storage for free!

ownCloud

Now, it is time to do the integration on the desktop side. In Gnome, go to Settings ->Online Accounts -> Add.

ownCloud

Choose ownCloud service and put the info in (URL, user name and password) and you have integrated ownCloud into your Linux desktop! Now, you can work with files, calendar, and notes that are automatically synchronized.

You can stop right here and enjoy the ride, or you can push it to the next level and integrate more services into ownCloud. At the moment it supports multiple platforms such as Amazon Drive, OpenStack object storage, FTP, and more.

We will take a look at integrating Google Drive and Dropbox; choose which one you want to start with. Dropbox is much easier, because it requires much less configuration! Google Drive is a little complicated, so check out the official tutorial.

Dropbox

Login to you Dropbox account and go to the developers application creation page. Choose Dropbox API app and fill in the details. Fill in the Redirect URIs, which is myCloud URL.

ownCloud

The final stage is the configuration on the ownCloud side. First you need to enable the external storage support, because it is not supported out of the box (at least not with my version) Apps -> Apps -> External storage support -> Enable.

ownCloud

And then Admin -> Admin -> External storage. Enter App key and App secret and you are all set!

ownCloud

This is what it looks like in the file browser. The great thing about this solution is that you can easily work with the online files stored in different services from one place!

ownCloud

Hope you will find this useful, took me a bit of googling and clicking before it all worked for me!

Originally published on Jiri's blog. Republished under Creative Commons.

10 Comments

dragonbite

So ownCloud works to redirect requests to-and-from the user (Gnome) and the alternative services (Google Drive, Dropbox) but doesn't actually store the files in the ownCloud directory (which your example has a 1GB limit)?

Brilliant! I'm going to have to look into this!

btw, thanks for the screenshots.. I am a visual person and seeing the screenshots makes more sense to me than if it was all text (unless they are all command to run only)

I'm the kind of person that has files in multiple cloud sites and access them through the computers (Windows and Linux ) as well as a browser (such as when at work). So far no one service has done everything I need but if this works as I suspect (hope) it works it just may help fill in the gaps!

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jfolta

Hey Drew, Seems like ownCloud does not store the data from the other services, just works as an interface for them, but I have not done serious testing on that yet; great point though, I will look into that.
So far, I have been very happy with ownCloud for my personal use, calendar seems to work nicely and it integrates with mobile too (personally tested on Android). I saw a howto for a Windows client, but have not tested it yet.

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toby

Great idea! I've been planning to set up a NAS with OwnCloud for a while now but never thought about hosting it with OpenShift in the meantime. As an avid Android user I make lots of use of Google Drive but the lack of a Linux plugin has been a real pain!

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jfolta

I was facing the same problem, this seems like a great workaround so far.

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Robert Delaney

The option for ownCloud isnt in ubuntu 14.10 online accounts. Any way to add it?

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jfolta

You can also use a native client for ownCloud in Ubuntu, you can download it from the official page: https://owncloud.org/install/ Hope it helps

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Ash McConnell

you need tu use ubuntu gnome

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Karen Jenkins

FileCloud is a great alternative to OwnCloud. Here is a great head to head comparison of Owncloud vs. FileCloud. http://www.getfilecloud.com/owncloud-vs-filecloud/

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Krautvor Ales

I am preparing to host ownCloud for test drivers on domain https://ssl.tenzor.cz/cloud/.
Test users are welcome. Please, feel free to contact me on email cloud@tenzor.cz.
I am testing windows client for backup data from Win7. It looks OK.

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Johnna Sturgeon

The DropBox UI is saying under the redirect URI: Non-local OAuth 2 redirect URIs may not start with "http:" or "javascript:" How are you getting around this? I see in your example you have no https.

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