ownCloud

Own Music

ownCloud has a media plugin that automatically identifies uploaded tracks and albums and adds them to a playlist. The HTML5 audio player mentioned earlier plays the tracks in your browser. The media plugin also emulates the Ampache API for web streaming, which paves the way to your own audio streaming server. Desktop media players that can handle the Ampache interface will play tracks directly from your ownCloud. The Amarok player, for example, had no trouble opening a connection to ownCloud in our lab and played back the tracks locally (Figure 2).

Figure 2: The Amarok player supports the Ampache API and plays tracks directly off your ownCloud.

To help it identify metadata in tracks, ownCloud relies on the mp3info tool, which is very useful for MP3 files. But when faced with formats like OGG, WAV, or WMA, either ownCloud will not add them to the music catalog or the browser simply will not play the tracks.

The software uses URLs, which you can see in the web interface below Preferences | Personal , to manage access to files, music, the calendar, the address book, or other functions that ownCloud offers via its plugin system. Users can add these to the applications on their client device to enable access. ownCloud 2 implements the WebDAV, CalDAV, CardDAV, Ampache, and Open Collaboration Services (OCS) open source standards (Table 1).

In our lab, we had no trouble synchronizing calendar and address book entries with an Android 2.1 smartphone. We used the phone’s internal address book for this and an external application for the calendar. However, we were unable to do this with an Apple iOS device using the default address book and calendar applications.

Client Connectors

As a KDE project, ownCloud sets great store in interacting with local applications on the desktop environment. For example, ownCloud supports the Open Collaboration Services API, which it uses to transfer important messages to OCS-compatible client applications (e.g., if it runs out of memory or when an access conflict for a shared resource occurs). This collaboration is on the roadmap, but we were unable to test it in our lab because of a lack of documentation.

Despite some failings in version 2, the ownCloud project quite obviously has ambitious plans. Work is currently in progress on additional functions, such as an image gallery, file encryption, and an online text editor. Additionally, the team is working on expanding support for media data and on code for connecting to and synchronizing Android and webOS devices. The longer term roadmap envisages file versioning and recovery.

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