How to Create OwnCloud Users
Let's create a few OwnCloud users and groups so we have something to play with. These are independent of the operating system users and don't need system accounts on your server, which is good for your server security (figure 2.)
Always set a storage quota for your users, so they can't hog all your disk space. Users can belong to multiple groups or no groups at all.
To set up file-sharing, go to the Files tab. You can upload files from your computer by clicking the Up-arrow, and create new folders by clicking on the New button. You can share a whole folder (figure 3), or configure sharing per-file.
Figure 3: Uploading and sharing files on the File tab.
There are sync clients for the major operating systems, so your OwnCloud server can share and synchronize files with any Windows, Mac or Linux PC. The sync-client program creates a special directory, and then any files you put in this directory are automatically uploaded to the server. Any future changes that you make are automatically synchronized. You can share any directory on the client machine, including network shares (figure 4).
Figure 4: The OwnCloud sync client shares any file you want with the server.
There are also sync clients for the iPhone, iPad and Android devices.
OwnCloud provides automatic file versioning. When you change a file, it automatically saves the older versions, and then if you want to rollback to an earlier version you pick it from a list. Another nice feature is file preview, so you can see files right in your OwnCloud page (figure 5):
Figure 5: File preview in OwnCloud.
That is a photo of the dratted deer that ate my garden.
Creating Shared Calendars in OwnCloud
Let's create a shared calendar event by clicking on the Calendar tab. The first time you create a calendar, it will ask you for your current location. It uses your location to automatically correct for different time zones. There isn't a Share option until after you create a new event. Then re-open it, click the Share tab, and choose the users or groups you want to share the event with (figure 6).
Figure 6: Creating a shared calendar event.
You can also create multiple calendars. This is a bit confusing because they all display on the same calendar. The trick is to give each calendar you create a different color. To create multiple calendars click the Calendar button on the top right. Configure who, if anyone, shares this calendar, and pick a color for it. Figure 7 shows what events from three different calendars look like when they're scheduled for the same day.
Figure 7: Each color represents a different calendar.
The Week and List views show more details on your scheduled items. The Week view is best for spotting conflicts.
There are many more things that OwnCloud can do, and you won't even need a tech-guru degree to do them, like manage networked storage, share files via Web browser without installing special software, put your music collection in a personal cloud and have your music anywhere you go, and much more. Visit the Documentation Centre for more how-tos.
Carla Schroder is the author of The Book of Audacity, Linux Cookbook, Linux Networking Cookbook,and hundreds of Linux how-to articles. She's the former managing editor of Linux Planet and Linux Today.
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