15 Oct 2013

Ubucon and ownCloud, ownCloud and Jolla/Sailfish

Submitted by blizzz

Photo: Dominik Wagenführ, CC-BY-SA

Last weekend I attended Ubucon, an Ubuntu user conference organized by the German Ubuntu community. I was giving a talk about, surprise, ownCloud. If you are interested in my talk, please find the slides in PDF on the program page. Beware, they are in German! Those who have seen my talk, please give your honest feedback on the Ubucon feedback page!

A detail that is not on the slides is that I was wearing my "I am the first one" Jolla T-Shirt (like this). It provoked the question about an ownCloud mobile client for SailfishOS. I want to answer it here as well.

Jolla/SailfishOS app for ownCloud

First, and as far as I know, in the ownCloud community, no is one working on an app for SailfishOS… yet.

But SailfishOS has an Android compatibility. And with regard to the screenshots seen so far, the F-Droid app store will be shipped. There you find free software only, including the ownCloud app and the ownCloud news reader. However, I have no idea whether they work seamlessly and without any issue.

However, native apps are to be preferred. Given the nature of Android, I am scared those apps or the compatibility layer will eat too many resources. That said, the Android app – if working – might be OK to bridge some time, but a native app is the way to go. There are three approaches for an ownCloud app for SailfishOS:

  1. Write an app from scratch
  2. Port the Android app
  3. Port the ownCloud desktop client

Writing another similar piece of software is kind of tiresome. I do not know too much about Android and Sailfish app programming, but my feeling is that it could also cost quite some time. Now, porting the desktop client might sound odd at first, but it is already written in Qt and uses a lib written in c for syncing. Plus, SailfishOS (respectively its base Mer) is a "real" Linux. So I asked our client developers. ogoffart and Dragotin told me that csync, the sync lib, should work on any Linux-based operating system. The only thing that need to be adjusted is the GUI, to work properly on the smaller screen and make use of the Sailfish-features. Since the GUI is seperated from the actual application, it really "only" takes writing a GUI for SailfishOS.

Who really is missing, is someone going to step up and do it ;) Although I would find it interesting to dive into it I lack the skills (sure, can be learned) and foremost the time. If you, Dear Reader, are looking for a SailfishOS app idea, here it is ;)

Already one native ownCloud app for SailfishOS

ownCloud is not only files, but can be so much more, like Calendar and Contacts and Bookmarks and News and whatnot, there is a lot of room for all kinds of mobile apps to interact with different ownCloud functionality. It is great to see that there is already a note-taking ownCloud app for SailfishOS ownNotes from Benoît Hervier. Do you know more? Please comment!


ahoy, sailor! ;-) Schon witzig, bin über jolla auf deine Seite gestoßen. Wollte nur mal loswerden, dass ich es gut finde, was du machst Gruß

super – danke :)

any updates on this? I can't code - yet at least - but interested to see if for example coding a UI for the desktop app would be wise.

I have heard of nothing new so far. Since I have the Jolla in my hand, there would be more adjustments to do when you base it on the desktop client, because Jolla does not have a File browser, actually tries to hide the file system away from the user. But nothing that could not be done. Dominik shared a good intro to Jolla / SailfishOS development on Diaspora, that might be interesting: https://joindiaspora.com/posts/3372594

Would be nice to see a OC client for the (old) Maemo (e.g. N900) first. There are different tries to implement an solution, but all in all it's pretty unsatisfying :/

Wish there would be a native solution to share/sync at least files with one click ... :(

Oh, I loved my N900. A really great device! Unfortunately, it is broken and unusable. Actually most of the owners I talked to have seen the end of life of their device or are close to it (for instance being unusable due to broken charger).

The user base is thus not growing.

I suggest to make the existing solutions work better, because creating something from scratch does not really seem to be worth the effort, to be honest.

For SailfishOS you do not need to start from scratch either, because most of the work is already done by the desktop client developers and both desktop client and SailfishOS make use of Qt 5. It is basically writing a native UI and change defaults for mobile-friendlieness.

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