We now have our own instance of http://ownCloud.org running at http://cloud.OSCEdays.org - anyone who wants a login to create, edit and collaborate on documents and to share and sync OSCEdays-related files, just send me a direct message here on the forum.
So far, in the core team, we’ve been planning and keeping track of developments, people we’ve contacted, schedules etc by using Google docs. Now that we have the ownCloud, @TechnicalNature asked in an email what we should do about our spreadsheets - I had copied them over but they’re not directly editable in the browser. So what do we do?
The spreadsheet issue complicates matters somewhat. Although we can collaboratively edit text documents with ownCloud, there’s no support for editing xls/ods spreadsheets yet.
This is definitely a problem, and something we need to come up with a solution for. Continuing to use gdocs for spreadsheets may be that solution, but the main points to consider when choosing are:
a) that you feel comfortable and confident using whatever tool you end up using, and that your needs are met.
b) that it is as easy as possible for others to collaborate with you. As I see it, this comes down to knowing where to find the information/spreadsheet, familiarity with or intuitiveness of the tool, integration with other workflows and software, a smooth process of collaboration and (near) real-time updating, and an understanding of ethical concerns in the choice of software.
For point a) I think it’s entirely up to you. For point b) there are strong pros and cons for both Google and ownCloud.
For me, just to reiterate, the reasons to go with ownCloud over Google (and why it’s a clear choice for ownCloud regarding non-spreadsheet documents) are:
We have a clearly designated spot where file storage and collaborative editing can happen, where people know they will be able to find the OSCEdays-related info they’re looking for.
this can be more closely integrated with our website and forum -as well as being hosted at OSCEdays.org, I’ve made an OSCEdays theme which Pierre and I will integrate very soon.
our data is under our control, not sold to 3rd parties or handed over to government agencies.
our platform and its files will still be accessible and useful in the future. ownCloud isn’t going to disappear as a project anytime soon, its continued development isn’t dependent on its profit-making status, our instance of the software is not dependent on a central service, and data is stored in an open standard format (odt/ods) which has longevity built into its design.
ownCloud is free/libre - it doesn’t harvest information about us to sell to advertisers, our use of it for collaboration doesn’t force others to conform to that norm, we can be confident there are no hidden backdoors in the software, and should we in our experimentation with the software find interesting new use cases for it, community members are able to build upon ownCloud as a base for new software projects.
My personal suggestions would be:
Download the ownCloud desktop client so that you can sync files on your computer with our server. From the ownCloud folder on your computer, you can then edit the ods document in LibreOffice (probably Word as well?) And every time you save the document (even if it’s still open) it will update and sync with our ownCloud. The drawback here is that you don’t get truly contemporaneous real-time collaboration.
When real-time collaboration is required, you can import to http://ethercalc.org for multi-user editing and export to .ods again afterwards.
(A mid-term solution would be setting up http://ethercalc.net on our server as well, but I’ll put that aside for the moment)
But that’s just one opinion, and it’s up to the people who will actually be working with the spreadsheets to decide what workflow suits them, and if that’s Google, then I totally understand.
Just make sure that if documents are being edited elsewhere, you keep a file in the most logical space on the ownCloud with a link to the current document, so collaborators can find it.