Is Nextcloud for Home Enthusiasts or Home Experts?

i simply don’t see the need of answering every “call” within 48 hrs. this is the open source world. and as you aren’t obliged to BUY something you need to deal with the consequences of being on the free side of life. which means: it could happen that there are problems which aren’t easy to solve… and maybe stay unresolved for you personally if you aren’t ready to search hard and long for their solution.
if you don’t want to wait - PAY for your support. that’s how the game goes.
and of course you can complain that support is too expensive for a common homeuser… but as i said before: your environment isn’t typical homeuser, neither.

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That falls back on the fact this is a community support hub and not an official, SLA-driven portal we all have to pay for. Also touches on the amount of topics I mentioned are created per week - it’s a pretty big task to do pro-bono.

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I have to strongly agree to the basic question of Tom_Forge.

I didnt read all of this subjects discussion thorougly, but I am also somebody who is of course thankful for any response I got here in this forum - and on the same time quite frustrated with the experience in needing assistance for Nextcloud so far. The problems I have certainly do not justify a 1.900 Euro Support contract - for that price, I can use Dropbox with some more features and I think even much more speed (even if there may be some disadvantages over NC).

In the form it´s now, NC is a far cry from being able to drop Dropbox, though i´d love to.

If it wasn´t for the great support of my webhoster domainfactory,de, I would not have been able to get NC running in the first place at all. But still some problems seem to persist and it seems I have to live with them, with some errors and disfunctionalities, which is quite frustrating. And it´s similar to Tom_Forge´s experience: my basic go to place is here, but sometimes I can´t get any help here and I am stuck after that.

Thanks for listening. I hope nextcloud will persist and thrive, and I really would love to replace my Dropbox.

There are more asking for help than helping, so unfortunately as I mention above you’ll need to be proactive about your issues and keep them updated/bumped. Even minor edits bump the topics up to the top of the list.

Imagine just having 1 person for support. With all charges, this will cost about 100 000 €/$ per year (rough estimate). That the device is not getting too expensive, we charge perhaps 10€/$ for support. So we need 10 000 subscriptions for one member of support, but (~1800 working hours per year) this person can only spend on average 10 minutes per subscription. 10 minutes is not much, so the devices need to be so reliable that there is very little need for support.

Currently with different OS, devices, home networks, … the risk to generate support is way too high. So it would work with a dedicated device. To reduce the influence of ISPs (there are some with carrier-grade NAT), we could pass everything through a VPN and provide subdomains, mail relay etc. However, that needs a fair amount of infrastructure, things to develop. Overall, you need to sell a large number of device which need to be very reliable.

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I see NC on your server the same way I see apps and Linux distro: the app is there, it works great, but the integration is a different job.
You don’t compile Firefox, do you?

Like you, (maybe? I know enough but not that much, so I can’t tell), I know my way around computers, Linux, etc. But I simply don’t have the time nor the will to become a full skilled full time admin just to have a family server.

So I cannot but recommend integration solutions made for enthusiastic.

Personnally, I use Yunohost, which allows a very easy and straightforward installation of NC for small servers. There are others alike, just like there are many Linux distro (well, ok, there are less options, but there are multiple ones!).

So, all the hard part of installation, configuration and tweaking is taken care of by skilled enthusiastic, and your moderate skills are sufficient to run a server.

NC devs have to make sure NC can be setup for a large choice of machines, use cases, etc.
Integrators have to tweak it for their “distribution”.

End users like me can be very grateful to all these people to let me run my family cloud so easily.

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It is intended for interested users, but may at time require expert knowledge. The latter for no good reason for the former, or consequentially to the aim of broadening that pool. So when someone like you have trouble, and manage to solve matters, updating the documentation means people of your inclination will have no such issue.

Over the process of users finding the platform unfit for use, and managing to get along anyway, contributing to help all, the curve seen as a barrier to entry is smoothed out over time.

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Just a short answer following several discussions here at the conference:

In principal, we would appreciate it if there was an possibility without deeper knowledge of Linux or network. However, we are not here yet and it’s currently more for Home Experts.

There are projects here like nextcloudpi trying to make the installation as easy as possible. Ideally, we’d have a box which you can just plug into your router and start using Nextcloud. We had the Nextcloud box which was nice but not perfect, so we would have to go further, perhaps look for a more powerful device. It will be challenging to find someone building such a box which is not so easy to do and there are some risks.

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How about a crowdfunded project? Or teaming up with one of the many projects that try to make a “home NAS” out of single board computers?

Anyway, if something breaks, there will always be some need to know how to fix things. Depending on the type/severity of the problem, it could require more or less knowledge which could become a problem for people who do not care about the “nuts and bolts” of the technology used.

Yes, croudfunding could be an option. We first need to figure out which device suits best our purposes.

In my opinion:

That’s a forthright and fair answer. Thank you!

I would encourage that forthrightness to be at the very top of both the Download page and the Nextcloud 12 Server Administration Manual. Maybe saying that help is available through the forums if you are willing to roll up your sleeves and build up your LAMP skills.

When I first got into Linux I signed up with Treehouse and picked up a lot (and forgot a lot by now) but if there was something like that people could do over and over again at no charge, well that could really help bridge the gap for the enthusiast. And there’s probably free of charge courses and-or material out there so it would not have to be necessarily Nextcloud created content. But if Nextcloud could mini-review and point the enthusiast to helpful content not only would Nextcloud help move the freedom march forward in terms of data, it would also be supporting the expanding skills and knowledge of the people. A win-win for us and a lose-lose for privacy invaders and techonology horders.

On an upbeat and personal note, I can report that I needed help with 3 or 4 items to get it up and self-signed secure. It just took way too long to get a response the first time I asked for help. But since then I have been able to get help when I don’t understand something in quick order. Thank you community because I do love that you are all helping people get their computing freedom and privacy back!

Definitely not unique to NC naturally, so we can look to other projects/products/solutions for how they handle these situations and perhaps work towards a solution

It´s also quite frustrating for those of us, who jumped on the Nextcloud train, spread the news enthusiastically and are stuck since the evolution from Nextcloud 9, 10, 11 to even 12 with the same basic error messages and small problems…

Well, create/bump your issues and we’ll either help to resolve or direct the devs to the issue.

I’ve no issues on my installs so getting to an error-free state is totally possible.

That’s a bit of encouragement that is really good to hear! I am getting things ironed out one at a time, but you really have to be an enthusiast and dedicated to it. There’s no way NC can be for the average home user and it just may have to be that way until AI comes in and takes over the world :wink:

That’s sort of a disheartening way to handle lowering the entry bar to home/small business installations of NC (which devs have said is one of their long-term goals). I understand that you are trying to help folks get attention to their issues, and that’s great! But your answer reveals a systemic problem that NC admits to and I think it would be better towards their long-term goals if NC did something proactive to correct the systemic issue.

Here’s just another personal example that I am running into: I have upgrade to nextcloud 11, but I found there is some problem with text editor The original poster sought help – what about 8 months ago I guess – and never got even a response. And yet, as far as I can tell it’s still an issue. The issue is not a dealbreaker by any means but tweaking the text editor to eliminate hundreds of revisions – which appear unnecessary – seems like a legit question and concern.

Yes, I have to respond also to that “bump your issue”-answer.

Please be sure I very much appreciate the help of everybody given here - I dont see an obligation for people who are probably spending their free time here to help others with issues.

But actually I did ask some of those questions and I asked again and it led nowhere or nobody answered any more - so at some point it doesnt feel like it makes any sense or is appropriate to ask again and again “Why are you not answering?”

I have run dead on a few issues:

Strange Contacts problem, never got any more answers, all my use of adressbook via Nextcloud is completely dead, for me its a big issue, thats why i deployed NC and didnt go for Dropbox:

Automated logout in webinterface, also persisting through all versions I had of Nextcloud and frankly quite annoying:

Integrity issue, may not be top important, but goes unresolved for me:

Almost every day I get problems with files which suddenly dont sync. Now this problem may be on a path to be resolved - but when is the client coming? its actually sometimes quite a problem in production enviroment when suddenly a file is on error again:

Collaboration, this is really not important, but its also gone unanswered: Using NC 12 to collaborate on Apple´s Pages, Numbers, iCloud Drive?

So in total, you see, there are at least 2-3 very important issues which have been bumped by me but run dead and a few minor issues (we call “Schönheitsfehler” in germany, just nice to have stuff or nice to be answered), but those important things not going anywhere, thats frustrating.

Thanks

Creating and bumping topics should not be disheartening, it’s standard community support and has been for many years. Linux distros, developer tools and more all use self-help resources and community forums (see stack exchange, ask Ubuntu, etc). Even Google’s home-user products are all self-help (arguably their paid products aren’t as expensive of course but still)

NC might want to lower the bar, but at the moment they follow in the footsteps of huge open source projects and that isn’t going to change overnight; more, it’s not going to change by the hiring of one or two community support people (see topic numbers above, huge undertaking).

Therefore unfortunately community support is all you have unless you want to hand over the cash for dedicated support and battling the current approach isn’t going to make anything better while NC work towards a solution.

I appreciate the frustration, but yours is one of >200 topics a week, if it isn’t in that first page or so of topics when I log on (daily, normally) I’ll miss it, same for others here. I’m planning an alert capability to improve this but it’s simply not a 5 minute job :slight_smile:

Development milestones (has this bug been found? Is a release incoming?), issues you consider to be bugs and other things you feel need developer engagement need to go to github, or can be viewed on github. We’re looking into better integration between the two however some separation is inevitable. Developer response on GH is typically quite fast too, since they’re all paid to squash bugs and develop the solution right there on GH, not so much answer user questions on forums (that would be a support team which doesn’t exist at the moment outside of enterprise).

Having visibility I can go through your linked topics now, and visibility is all it takes :+1:

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Definitely not unique to NC naturally, so we can look to other
projects/products/solutions for how they handle these situations and
perhaps work towards a solution

Indeed, it is not limited to Nextcloud. Actually it is quite common with everything, even the supposed “easy to use” solutions aren’t that easy at all at one point or another because something non-trivial breaks.

Learning from others might be a good way to deal with it, but I think an easy to use system has to be narrowly defined because otherwise it overwhelms the people supporting such a mess very, very fast. Hundreds or thousands of different configurations cannot be dealt with by a small organization/community at all.

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Dear Tom.

As a professional who has to deal regularly with trainees, coming from other IT Jobs who have no or less knowledge about Unix/Linux Solaris I understand your concerns.

Unfortunately, I only can tell you what i have to tell all the people, there is no way to run a solution without knowledge.
With all due respects, Nextcloud/Owncloud or several Competitors are FOSS Software, yes its true they also offer Enterprise Support. Redhat SuSE are offering this to, also Ubuntu. As always if you want to install such a product and more important… keep it running, you have to educate yourself.

Yes it is time consuming, but you won’t buy a car, a fridge, or a law mower without any knowledge of those products or how to handle them, it also a question about personal responsibility.

Don’t get me wrong I’m not an Nexctloud employee, so i don’t have to sell it to you.

But would like to encourage you, about to educate yourself, cause you will face the same problems on any other FOSS Cloud Product, you have the Freedom of Choice to pick the Product that fulfill your needs, but as always you have to learn, to succeed.

That said, I hope you succeed. :slight_smile:

Take Care.

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Thanks for the encouragement. As an enthusiast, I so love to tinker with this stuff and learn, but the thing is – and I am sure you already know this – once you setup something like NC it’s probably going to run and run and run without much tinkering until some update breaks it or my hardware fails. And that’s why a lot of the details just aren’t going to stick in the enthusiast’s head – even though he availed himself to the various educational opportunities before him (including these forums). Also, while this NC thing chunks away for years without crashing or breaking up, the IT world is advancing whilst I may be distracted by other pursuits (educational, tinkering, entrepreneurial, community service, etc.)

Supporting NC by making it easier to install and configure is probably going on daily based upon what I am seeing here in the forums. So the goal seems to be there and shared by many at NC. What is lacking, in my view, is a wiki and home support options and tickets. I understand that documentation and the community will have to be the first tools resorted to, but when issues fall through the cracks and problems persist, NC should – again IMO – step it up a bit.

First, I would like to see someone on the NC payroll make sure that issues are considered community resolved, and if not done so in a reasonable time that the issue is at least officially answered. Taking on this responsibility is likely to result in better code and better documentation because why keep resolving issues individually when you can code in a fix or write up a wiki article?

Second, I would like to see NC have – pay as you go – assistance for home users. Now this could be NC sub-contractors, but if I am really at wits end and I have a $200 bucks to spare, I’d gladly create an account and have an expert get on this machine of mine and help me sort out my issue.

Anyway, the analogy of fridges, cars, and lawn mowers is a good one. I look up the features and operational costs, and when stuff goes wrong I call a repair person and they charge me a few clams to fix it up. Usually, I don’t sink $1900 into fixing up a fridge or a lawnmower. I’ll just get a new one (i.e. LinuxDistro + NC reinstall). But if I can get it fixed for a $200 and avoid that – man I am glad to do so.

Most consumers cannot really fix cars and fridges and even lawnmowers when things really go wrong and need special knowledge and tools to work on. Mainly, you only expect consumers to do maintenance and to fix things that don’t require too much knowledge. So I think your analogy is really good at the start there, but you seem to suggest that everyone should know how to fix everything they own or use. I don’t think societies that rely on specialization to the degree ours do can function efficiently that way.