I am not asking this question to start a flame war. I am not attempting to dictate another’s policies. However, I am interested in discussing the scope of Nextcloud support in a civil and constructive manner. I would go so far as to say it’s a very important question for Nextcloud to revisit from time to time.
I will bring this up in the context of my issue, but my motivation is not to solve 1 problem I am having. It is to find out if I will have meaningful support should I have a 2nd problem two months from now.
My story starts with my search for a slick way to “Access, share and protect your files, calendars, contacts, communication & more at home and in your enterprise,” as stated on the Nextcloud homepage. [Asterisks added for emphasis – not for shouting.] From there I looked at the support page and options and visited Youtube for some reviews and interviews with some of the Nextcloud developers. Based on the information I was coming across, Nextcloud was presented as something that could be a little tricky to get installed but you didn’t have to be a LAMP expert to install or maintain because there would be community support available to help competent computer users.
I looked at the paid support option and found Basic Enterprise support is 1900 Euros a year and it goes up from there. I assumed that when Nextcloud said that it is for the “home” it did not expect its run-of-the-mill home users to pay 1900 a year? Please let me know if that is an unfair assumption.
The ordinary home user was primarily looking at documentation, these forums, and social media for support – at least that’s what I garnered from consulting the nextcloud.com/support page.
I decided to try out Nextcloud and built a nice little home server with a ne 4tb HD, and 8gb of RAM. I installed my distro of choice, Linux Mint 18.2 on it and with that fresh install, after setting up a Mumble server I started tackling Nextcloud. I had some installations issues with it. I tried the Snap installation and it worked but I was worried that any advice I got to tweak Apache, MySQL, or even PHP would have to be interpreted for use with the Snap. I didn’t feel Snap was going to be as well supported as a traditional install. So I removed the Snap and started over. Even then I had a couple of issues, but by going over the installation instructions a bit more carefully and consulting YT I figured out the step I had overlooked.
After installation I basically have two known issues left: (1) getting the self-SSL certificate to work; and (2) Nextcloud telling me to move my data to protect it. (The third claim in access, share, and protect is protect and that’s really important to me because I would like to have my tax records and financial files stored on the Nextcloud server.) So I consulted the online documentation which did not provide a solution to move the user files out of the web root folder/subfolder structure. So I visited these forums and found a thread that discussed the issue and there was a myriad of advice on how to do it. All the advice was from folks way above my skill set level so there isn’t really a good way for me to discern, in a timely manner, which advice to follow in a timely manner. Plus, forums being what they are some of the information may not have been relevant to a 12.0.0 given the heavy development being done with Nextcloud.
So, on July 29th, 2017 I asked for help in the thread I found with some followup questions. Four days went by without any response. and I started a new thread and asked for the same help. I am patient and happy to have waited three days or so to see if a user would come along and help out. I completely understand that the user community just may not have had the time or inclination to help in my case. What baffles me is that nobody from Nextcloud itself seems to be around to pick up the pieces when the user community hasn’t attempted to help one of its newcomers?
As of this writing, seventeen days have passed since I asked for help. So I am wondering if in reality Nextcloud is not a solution for home users unless the home user is an experienced Apache website administrator, a pretty serious hacker, or working towards becoming a serious hacker? I have dabbled in computers and programming, off and on, since having a Radio Shack TRS-80 in the 80s. I am not a hacker but I know my way around a PC and I certainly can follow step-by-step terminal instructions. So maybe Nextcloud is not supported well enough for persons in my situation to become users? I don’t say that to be accusatory, if Nextcloud is for veteran LAMP users only – that’s perfectly fine – I have no complaint.
I am just confused because I have seen interviews with some of the developers and other tech folks and they present that Nextcloud is both a “home” and enterprise solution to get away from entrusting your data to cloud services. Yet that “home” claim is pretty thin if there is no meaningful support option for homes that have competent computer users in them.
So I offer this suggestion. Nextcloud should consider qualifying “home” use more up front or do something to make their claim more realistic by providing reasonably priced home support or having some folks on the payroll that primarily work with helping folks that the user community did not get to in a timely manner, say 48 hours or so. Also, a support wiki that is version conscience would also help.
For those that have worked on Nextcloud, even if I don’t end up using it, you still have my thanks because this is an important privacy and freedom project that the business community needs. I wish Nextcloud success in its business model and promoting and developing freedom software.