Posted in Fedora, Servers, Open Source

Nextcloud, a glance

Nextcloud is open source and available for platforms. All of them.  As I use Fedora in my main laptop, I’ll write some articles about it on Fedora 26.  And on KDE because I’m a Plasma user and so Nextcloud founder is (contributor actually).  Here we go.

 

Bearpc

What is Nextcloud

First of, what is Nextcloud, what is it for, who are its possible users and which are the use cases where it is most useful.

Nextcloud is a fork of ownCloud made by the same developer, Frank Karlitschek.  It’s an open source alternative to services like Google Drive, Dropbox or iCloud.  It works on a client-server basis and it’s up to the user to have his or her own server or use any of the available hosting services.  Some of these are for free but others are paid.  If you decide to have your own server you will need a dedicated machine (any will work, even an old one)  and a good reliable internet connection.

Why Nextcloud?

According to its founder,  “Nowadays centralised cloud services become very popular. A lot of users store all their digital life in Dropbox, Google, Facebook, OneDrive, iCloud and other places. I think there should be open source alternatives that you can host wherever you want. This is what Nextcloud is. It empowers the users to store and handle all their data where and how they want.”

To whom would you recommend it?

“I think everyone can and should use Nextcloud. Maybe host it themselves or get it from their university or company. Or even from one of the mainly service providers that are listed here:  https://nextcloud.com/providers

Which are the main use cases for Nextcloud?

“The main usecase for Nextcloud is probably syncing between all devices and sharing files with others. But Nextcloud is also a Calendar, Contacts syncing, Email handling, document editing, RSS reading, Note taking and can also do chat and video calls.”

Why been Open Source is so important?

“This is very important. If the software is open core then all the benefits and freedom that free software and open source provide only apply to the ‘light’ or ‘trial’ version of the software. As soon as you want to use the really powerful features then you have to pay and you lose all the free software advantages. You have all the classic vendor lock-in and all the other problems again, same as proprietary software. So open core is not really open source. It’s mainly open source for marketing reasons.”

How all this started?

Frank Kantischek says  “I founded ownCloud 7,5 years ago. Two years later I got in contact with two other people and we founded a company around ownCloud together. This worked in a lot of ways. But there were also a lot of problems. The overall setup was not good so that the company didn’t work and the ownCloud community was not happy anymore. So the project I founded was failing because of bad decisions on the company side by my partners and investors. So 12 core people including me didn’t want to see the community and project fail and decided to do a reboot. This is Nextcloud. In Nextcloud we fixed a lot of the mistakes. We don’t have external investors or management anymore. We are fully open source and not open core like ownCloud. We don’t require a signed contributor license agreement from the community as in the past. And we moved to a pure open source business model. Same as SUSE or Redhat. And this is working great now. The company is getting a lot of customers and is more healty then owncloud ever was. And the community is happy because we work with them in a better and more fair way then before.”

 

lonely work

Installation and usage

Nextcloud is available in Fedora repositories for both, client and server. It has support for KDE Plasma 5 (Dolphin), Mate Desktop (Caja), Gnome Shell (Nautilus)  and Cinnamon (Nemo).  You can use Nextcloud with SQLite, Mysql, Nginx and Postgresql.

Besides, the client will work in Windows and iOS too, so you can setup a server on Fedora and sync your documents and information with your non-Linux computers as well. If you have any.

Installation can be done via GUI with a programme like Dnfdragora, or via command line.  In the case of GUI, search  “nextcloud”  and install whatever packages you need. If you’re not sure, install everything, you can always uninstall later what you don’t want to use. To install via command line type  ” dnf install nextcloud ”  for the server and  ” dnf install nextcloud-client ”  for  (obviously)  the client.

If you don’t want or can’t install a server in your own computer, you can use any of the many services available online.  Some have free options and others are paid only.  There’s a wide variety of options from simple use to business and big companies. Just choose area/country and study the options.

 

Next articles about Nextcloud:  Trying and using online services. Installing, using and taking care of a Nextcloud server at home.

Thanks to Mr. Frank Kantischek.

 

 

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Posted in Fedora, Science

Astronomy Lab

Today I want to introduce a Fedora Lab dedicated to Astronomy.  Whatever you’re a student, a full-time astronomer or just a passionate hobbyist, you will find this version special for you.

 

What is Fedora Labs?

According to their website, is  “a selection of curated bundles of purpose-driven software and content as curated and maintained by members of the Fedora Community. These may be installed as stand-alone full versions of Fedora or as add-ons to existing Fedora installations.”  Unlike the Spins, these remixes aren’t focused on the graphic environment but on tasks or goals to accomplish.

There are Labs for Security, Sciences, Design and more.  If you’re interested, you can see all the options here:  https://labs.fedoraproject.org

 

What is Fedora Astronomy Lab?

As many of you probably noticed, the Sciences Lab isn’t really about sciences in general but about maths.  Therefore, natural and humanistic sciences are left out. To fix this, an astronomy student from the University of Marburg decided to create an Astronomy Lab to bundle together all the tools they use for their career.

It comes with KDE Plasma 5 as desktop and Celestia, INDI, VirtualPlanet and RedShift among many others.  Its creator is Christian Dersch (Lupinix) who is a physics student at the Philipps-Universität Marburg, Germany.

If you need further information or help, please contact the community through IRC  (#fedora-astronomy),  Mailing List  (astronomy@lists.fedoraproject.org)  or the Wiki pages of the project  (Astronomy wiki page).

Last but not least, you can download the ISO from here.

 

Hope this is useful and thanks for reading.

 

 

 

 

Posted in Fedora, Music&Video, Philosophy

About Codecs and Fedora

 

It’s well known that Fedora ships free software only, except for some firmware in order to boot.  But unlike Debian that has a non-free repository, Fedora offers no options to those who want to install closed source software.  This is because of legal issues; as Fedora relies on Red Hat Enterprise they have to follow the same rules and Red Hat, as a USA based company, has to avoid everything related to copyright.

This is why Fedora never shipped codecs except those that are open source. People who want to listen to their usual music files have to install some third party software or repository to get them working.

 

Some background

Every audio and video format needs two sets of codecs: for decoding and for encoding.

Patents don’t cover the file format itself, but the codecs you need to process it.  This means that every file format has two patents, one for decoders and another for encoders.

Encoding means you’re editing a file and saving it in a specific format.  Examples of this are the use of Audacity and KDEnlive.

Decoding means you’re listening or watching a file without modifying it.  Examples of this are the use of Totem and Clementine.

 

Good news!

The good news are that the patents for encoding and decoding MP3 and AC3  had expired, and Cisco made an agreement with RH related to H264, so now it is legally possible for Fedora to offer these codecs from repositories.

This means that those who install Fedora 25 will be able to listen to their music out of the box and can install the codecs needed for editing music from repositories. Those who installed Fedora 24 can install the codecs from repositories as well, if they didn’t install them via third party.  And those who will install Fedora 26 will get all the codecs for free out of the box!

 

Happy listening, Fedorians and thanks for reading!

 

 

 

 

Posted in Eye Candy, Fedora, Users

Flickering windows

 

I installed KDE Plasma a week ago, tried it and left.  Then yesterday I decided to play more seriously with it. I updated it to 5.9 and tried to use it.

It had a lot of problems and took me hours to solve them all.  Just to find another issue that wasn’t critical but certainly annoying.  But it was too late at night, so I cleaned the computer using Bleachbit and turned it off.

Today I turned it on and everything was working fine, so I assumed that some temporary file, cache or whatever was the cause.  I used my computer normally and turned it off when I had to go out.  So far so good.

And then it happened again.

 

The Problem

Windows seemed to flicker and twinkle, often refusing to disappear when one would close them.  Also minimise/maximise caused them to tremble and leave a ghost of window over the desktop.  Often I had to click twice or more on the  “Show desktop”  button to get them to disappear.  It was driving me insane when someone from the Fedora Telegram group sent a suggestion to fix it.

 

The Solution

The solution to this weird and apparently random problem was quite simple.  If you go to System Settings => Display & Monitor => Compositor  you’ll find some options including the rendering backend.  Set it to OpenGL 3.1  and apply.  That should be enough to fix the  “bug”.  If the problem seems to come back, change the rendering from Accurate to Smooth  (or any other that works for you).

 

Technical details

Laptop: Dell Latitude E6500, with Nvidia video card, 500GB hard disk, 4GB RAM and Dual Core processor.  System:  Fedora 25 Workstation with KDE Plasma 5.9.

 

Hope this is useful, thanks for reading!