Category Archives: Technology

ownCloud – An open-source cloud solution – Part 3

Well, my ownCloud server has been sitting idle since April, and this week I decided to revisit it.  Mostly because Calgary experienced the worst flood in recorded history.  The Bow River estimated flow at it’s peak was 1740 cubic meters per second, which is greater than the flood of 1932 (  The result was that Downtown Calgary was shutdown and my office was without power for six days.  During this time, I was unable to access some of my files as I hadn’t sync’d them in a week.  This was nothing more than a minor annoyance, but it got me thinking about syncing my files.

So, I finally got ar0und to installing the Desktop client (get them here), and within a few minutes, my files were syncing.  It was just as easy as Dropbox (which I love btw.  I’m just not willing to pay for it).  While setting up the sync, I noticed that I had not setup SSL and decided to tackle that.  I found a good tutorial here, with a few changes.

  • Move the owncloud.crt to /etc/ssl (not /etc/pki/tls/certs/)
  • Move the owncloud.key to /etc/ssl (not /etc/pki/tls/certs/)
  • the virtual host entry gets added to the /etc/httpd/conf.d/httpd.conf file (not the owncloud.conf file

Lastly, I enabled the Bookmark app.  I have been trying out Diigo and delicious, but I’m just not happy with them.   So far, I haven’t found a good way to condense these sites to show more than a dozen bookmarks.  Both show you between 5 and 10 links at a time.  You could easily fit 35 to 50 if you tried.  I created my own startup page that have very neat, clean, small dropdown list for my most frequent bookmarks but it’s very cumbersome to update, and doesn’t sync.   The bookmarks app for ownCloud is cool, but it’s yet another real estate hog.

As I was looking around, I just noticed Draggo.  That’s what I’m talking about, but I want my own version of that.

ownCloud – An open-source cloud solution – Part 2

Well, two agonizing weeks later, I have finally managed to get a ownCloud working with my NSS 6000 appliance.  The hurdle?  SELinux.  SElinux was preventing me from writing data through ownCloud to the symbolic link to the NFS share.  Once I turned it to permissive mode, it started working.  I plan on turning it back on, but for now, it’s off.

Step 4b:  Install missing PHP modules.
The following PHP modules are required for ownCloud.

yum install gd gd-devel php-gd php-intl php-xml  php-mbstring

Step 5:  Install PHPMYADMIN
PHPMYADMIN is not a part of the default repositories, so I found a tutorial to get this working.

The only exception is that rpm file is out of date. The update link is:

Otherwise the tutorial works great.

Step 6a:  Install ownCloud
I tried using the Linux packages, but found that I couldn’t get them working.  After serveral tries, I manually installed ownCloud.  Mostly this was due to frustration from the NFS security problems, and it was just easier for me to do it manually.

cd /home/{username}/Downloads
tar -xjf owncloud-5.0.3.tar.bz2
cd /owncloud
cp -r * /var/www/html
chown -R apache:apache /var/www/html

Step 6b:  Create NFS symbolic link
Back in Step 3, I mounted my NFS share to /mnt/nfs/public.  In this step, I create a symbolic link within the /var/www/html directory that points to /mnt/nfs/public

Create a separate directory on the NFS share and give the apache account ownership.
mkdir /mnt/nfs/public/owncloud
chown -R apache:apache /mnt/nfs/public/owncloud

Create the Symbolic link
cd /var/www/html
ln -s /mnt/nfs/public/owncloud data

Step 6c:  Create mySQL database
Open up PHPMYADMIN, and click on the Users Tab.  Then click Add User.

Enter in the database user, choose localhost, and enter a password.  Next select “Create database with the same name and grant all privileges”.  Click Add user.


Step 6d:  Create Admin account and Configure Database
Now head to your URL http://server/, and you should see the ownCloud startup wizard.  You will also see a couple of security warnings.  A note about this in a bit.

Enter a admin account name and password.
Click on the Advanced arrow to drop down the advanced options.
Edit the Data folder;  In my case it was /www/var/html/data/owncloud  (because I went through the setup first, I stole this screenshot from the web.  Thanks Daniel whomever you are.).
In my case, there was also a button to switch to mySQL (not shown in screenshot).
Enter the details from step 6c.
Click Finish setup.

Congrats!  ownCloud Achievement Unlocked!  Create a few users and test away.

A quick note about a few things.

  1. The first is SELinux.  I plan on turning this back on before I unleash my ownCloud to the net.  It’s not something I am familiar with, so I’m sure it will take some time before I get it working.
  2. The PHP version installed is 5.3.3 and at when you first go to setup ownCloud from the web front end, the error “Your PHP version is vulnerable to the NULL Byte attack (CVE-2006-7243)
    Please update your PHP installation to use ownCloud securely.”  appears.  I tried installing updated versions of PHP from various tutorials, but either they weren’t complete, were incorrect, or broke ownCloud.   This is also something I mean to fix, but again will take some time for me to figure out.
  3. There is an iOS app.  It costs $1.  If this works, I have 700GB as opposed to 3GB of Dropbox.  Well worth the cost, and hopefully that $1 goes to greater and greater innovation.  Dropbox is a great product and I use the free storage for all my devices.  There are just other things I would rather spend money on.  Like my SWTOR subscription.

All in all, this was a fun/frustrating project that got me using way more Linux than I normally use.  It was a challenge for me and I enjoyed working on it.  One day I might be a Linux expert, but for now, it’s just Beginners mind.

ownCloud – An open-source cloud solution – Part 1

So a couple of weeks ago, I came across ownCloud, an open source php platform that allows you to access files, calendar, contacts, and bookmarks.  As my Dropbox is almost full (free service only), I thought I would give ownCloud a try.

So far, it’s been steep learning curve.  Primarily because I chose to use CentOS 6.3 instead of Windows.  I do not know Linux very well and want to learn it a bit more.  It’s all an experiment anyway.

My first attempt was installing Ubuntu Server 12.04 because it has the option to install LAMP during install.  I can’t remember , but I struggled getting something to work, and I don’t really like Unity.  My second attempt was CentOS 6.3 minimal, but I have to admit, I lost patience with the lack of GUI.  /sigh_of_frustration.

Once I moved onto CentOS (with GUI), I seemed to have an easier time.  Most likely I just was less frustrated and had more patience to keep going.

Step 1:  Install and configure CentOS.
My first step was getting CentOS working on a Microsoft Hyper V Server 2012 host.  Microsoft published Linux Integration Services to support Linux drivers on Hyper V and such.  Once LIS was installed, I was off to the races.

Step 2:  Learn, install, and configure NIS.
I have a old hand-me-down Linksys NSS 6000 storage appliance, and in order setup NFS from the CentOS box, it needs to be part of a NIS domain.  To get the NIS server working, I found a great tutorial.  Once I turned the firewall off, I was able to bind the NSS 6000 to the CentOS box.

Step 3:  Setup NFS
Again, I went to the internet to see what I could find on how to setup CentOS as a client for NFS.  I found this great tutorial.  Once I setup the client, I was able to mount the NFS share to CentOS.

Step 4:  Install LAMP
Another tutorial later, and I have LAMP installed.

My next steps are getting PHPMYADMIN or similar software installed so that I can manage mySQL a bit easier.  I still like/need GUIs mostly because I’m quicker with them, and don’t have to look up every command all the time.  After that, I should be able to move on to getting ownCloud installed.

HP Flex 10