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Your own cloud server with Owncloud on the Raspberry Pi

The management, synchronization, and sharing of files, calendar information, address book data, music, and photos is widely used nowadays. It is offered by many (often freely available) cloud-based services like Dropbox, Sugarsync, Flickr, Picasa and many others. The big players like Apple, Google, and Microsoft also offer multiple of these services and people can use all of these with just a single account. While these “free” services might be very comfortable the not-so-free part of all these services is that your most private data is actually stored on servers that are not under your direct control and your data is often also used to generate an advertisement profile of you. If you want to have your data on your very own piece of hardware right under your control Owncloud might be an interesting option for you. It offers all the nice services like CalDAV, CardDAV, and WebDAV, which allow for managing your calendars, contacts, music, photos, and files in general in your own cloud. In the following, I give a brief overview about the steps that are needed for an installation and I present a setup script that automates the whole installation and update process. The same script can later be used for updating your Owncloud installation.

Here is an overview about the steps that are needed for installing Owncloud on a freshly installed image:

  1. Update and upgrade APT packages
  2. Make sure that the group www-data exists
  3. Install all needed packages, e.g., Apache, PHP, SQLite
  4. Perform firmware update with 240 MB RAM, and 16 MB video
  5. Generate self-signed certificate (that is valid for one year here) to be used for SSL connections
  6. Enable Apache modules that are needed by Owncloud
  7. Disable unneccessary (for Owncloud) module(s) to lower the needed resources
  8. Configure Apache to use self-signed certificate
  9. Enable SSL site
  10. Limit the number of parallel Apache processes
  11. Resize the swap file to 512 MB
  12. Download and install the latest Owncloud release
  13. Change group and owner of all /var/www files recursively to www-data
  14. Finally, restarts the Apache service

I set up a script that automates these steps and gives you a ready-to-use installation of Owncloud. You can find the script in my Github repository. This script was tested on the Raspbian distribution from 2012-07-15.

First of all, make sure that Git is installed:

Then you can download the latest PiCloud setup script with

The script is executed with

The initial screen should then look like this:

PiClouseSetup

Parts of the steps done by the script were inspired from this blog.

I hope that this script is of some help for some people. I would be happy to get feedback or comments!

UPDATE: I added the possibility to use the NGiNX webserver instead of Apache . The NGiNX server does not use as many resources as the Apache and, thus, should run faster. The updated script can be found in the repository.

WebDAV access (also for iOS)

You can acccess your Owncloud instance via WebDAV by using the URL

https://yourServerUrl/owncloud/remote.php/webdav/

together with your chosen user name and password.

Synchronizing with iOS

If you want to synchronize your calendar(s) and your contacts of your iOS device(s), these I formation might be of note rest for you. It seems that there are still some (documentation) issues with the official Owncloud wiki about the needed iOS settings. These settings, at least, work for me with the NGiNX installation:

Calendar (CalDAV)

Server: https://my.servername.com/owncloud/remote.php/caldav/principals/USERNAME/
SSL enabled, port 443

Contacts (CardDAV)

Server: my.servername.com:443/owncloud/remote.php/carddav/principals/USERNAME
SSL enabled, port 443

Note the differences in the server settings!

Backup of contact and calendar data

I found this article very helpful for setting up a backup solution for the contact and calendar data.

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