My private cloud

Cloud services become more an more popular although there are some aspects why giving away your data to big companies might be not the best idea. In this article I describe the idea of creating my private cloud.

Of course cloud services like dropbox, Google or Apple’s iCloud seem to be a nice thing to have. Synchronizing bookmarks and settings of different programs between my computers, accessing (at least some important) documents from everywhere on the world, sharing pictures and movies with friends and of course email, calendaring and so on. And all of this for free? To nice to be true?

This is a post from my old blog It has been moved here and slightly edited for better readability. It's also been adjusted to the new layout.
The content however is old and might be outdated.

Some people say:

If it’s for free, you’re not the customer. You’re the merchandise.

Even if you don’t have a problem with your data being analysed for statistical and marketing purposes there is another problem – at least for european paranoiacs: As almost all of these companies are located in the US some US federal intelligence services can demand access to your files – without any court order and without allowing the company to notify you. And there still is another thing to worry about: giving your data to a company also means giving up control. You can never know what the exactly are doing with your data. Keeping them encrypted and only give you access as promised or give them away to anybody? You can never know. You say you have nothing to hide and you trust in your cloud service provider? Ok, go on with it and be happy. I don’t want to say I had things to hide or want to do not so legal things but I don’t feel well with the idea of giving up control about my very own data.

So I got the idea of making my own private cloud. That for sure is not a new idea but as I already have my own server I consider it to be an interesting thing to try. Be it just for academic interest.
So what should my private cloud be capable of:

Mail, calendar, addressbook…

It’s the typical groupware thing. Just not for business but for private use. Besides Google it’s not so easy to find a really flexible solution that works on your computer with your favorite mail client as well as on your phone and also in (any) browser.

File sharing aka dropbox replacement

Making files accessible from everywhere just for you or share with others, a task you could use dropbox for. You can also use this for synchronizing bookmarks or program settings. If you’re looking for a solution that works on your own server things become interesting: Creating a webDAV-Server for sharing is not difficult. But the automated synchronization that makes dropbox et al. so convenient is a far more difficult thing to achieve.

Blog, gallery, social networking

Blogging and social networking are certainly not the classical cloud things. As sharing pictures via cloud services is quite common why not integrate my blog and gallery to my private cloud.
And as I’ve always found the idea of diaspora quite interesting I also want to give it a try. The idea behind diaspora is creating a social network as a cloud of decentral places instead of using one central place like facebook. By creating your own part of the diaspora (or as they call it a “pod”) you can keep total control about what you share and post. And is really deleted when you decide to delete it.

In the next weeks and months I will describe my steps to achieve this big goal. Hope you find it an interesting project too.

The icons (except the diaspora logo) are part of the GNOME icon theme “OpenWorld” by Chandan ( and published under a CC-2.0-BY-SA license.

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