Nextcloud | #Open Source #G Suite / Office 365 alternative

Nextcloud | #Open Source #G Suite / Office 365 alternative

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Build your own open source alternative to Google Suite with Nextcloud
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A few years ago, I installed Nextcloud for a local theatre and museum that was looking for an on-premises cloud solution. As an advocate for open source, I always seek out open source options first, and Nextcloud was the most-common open source cloud solution among my peers. I've also used it for some personal projects, but I hadn't looked at it in a while.

I recently revisited Nextcloud and was amazed by all the changes I saw. The project has evolved into a complete solution that can replace big-name solutions like Google Drive and Microsoft 365. Nextcloud's new feature set, especially Nextcloud Hub, is outstanding, offering collaborative documentation editing, file version control, integrated chat and video calling, and more.

Getting started with Nextcloud

There are many options for setting up a Nextcloud server on Linux, but I decided to run the official container image. I pulled it down to my laptop, and soon I was up and running.

$ docker pull nextcloud
$ docker run -d -p 8080:80 nextcloud


Installation was quick on my MacBook Pro with 8GB RAM. In no time at all, I was logging into Nextcloud for the first time at http://locahost:8080 with the default credentials of admin and password.

nextcloud_login.png

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(Don Watkins, CC BY-SA 4.0)

After I entered my login credentials, it began downloading some applications, which took some time. I appreciated that Nextcloud's interface looked much the same as it did years ago, even with all the changes in the platform, because I like to feel familiar with a technology.

nextcloud_interface.png

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(Don Watkins, CC BY-SA 4.0)

Nextcloud's controls are located in the upper-right corner. You can control settings, add apps, create and modify users, learn about Nextcloud, get help, and log out.

Nextcloud Hub is a central collaboration platform where you can access and collaborate on files, launch, enable, and disable applications, manage your calendar, and more.

I decided to start by exploring the apps available in Nextcloud. Some app integrations are included by default, and you can download others with a single click. For example, here is the display when I clicked the top-right icon, then selected Apps and Multimedia.

nextcloud_multimedia-apps.png

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(Don Watkins, CC BY-SA 4.0)

There are hundreds of apps that can be downloaded and added to Nextcloud, and, like Nextcloud, all are licensed under the AGPLv3. Clicking on an app shows information about it, including its creator and license. I decided to look at Audio Player.

nextcloud_audio-player.png

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(Don Watkins, CC BY-SA 4.0)

Nextcloud also comes with the Nextcloud Talk app for videoconferencing with complete end-to-end encryption to keep communication within your control. As of Nextcloud Hub 19, you can work on documents synchronously during video calls with Collabora Online, which will feel familiar to Google Docs users.

Nextcloud also has a number of important security features, including optional automatic logout, which is useful when using public computers. You can also set up passwordless authentication, automatic account locking after failed login attempts, and two-factor authentication (2FA) through mobile, email, or one-time password devices to verify users' identity before they can log in.

How Nextcloud is the ultimate open source productivity suite | Opensource.com