Nextcloud Desktop Client MSI released, for paying customers only?!

I see that an MSI installer for the desktop client has been released, but is only available for paid subscribers. This seems like bait and switch from a supposedly free and open source cloud platform. How is this considered to be justified? Is the Nextcloud desktop client not free and open source?

maybe it’s all about this announcement here?

i mean you can download the common (and in this case most recent) installer for windows client from here
it’s just not customizable… customizing the client seems to be a paid feature, only. i can live with that

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Yes, that’s what I am talking about. You can download an .exe installer. Where is the .msi installer? I want to install and update Nextcloud through group policy. I have 300 users to support. If Nextcloud is going to force me to manually install for all these users I will be forced to use Owncloud, which offers their .msi desktop installer for free. Your reply doesn’t actually address my questions. Specifically, this bait and switch seems to be in conflict with this platform being presented as free and open source. Is the desktop client free and open source? How is this justified?

breathe, brother, breathe.

well as far as i know the client updates itself. which means your 300 users already have a client installed and so it will update itself for 300 users automatically. right?

i still see no need to vent off here.

maybe if you want to ask “errr… are you planning to get a msi-version for everyone out, eventually?” there would be someone if and when this would happen or if not any why it wouldn’t happen.

further on, my personal drift on that: 300 users support? great! but not really a home-environment. it sounds more than like a somehow professional setup. at least to my ears.
but anyways… it’s not important what i think, really.

happy nc’ing, though


Vent off? I think I’ve been quite civil considering the inconvenience I will go through to deploy Owncloud and switch over all of our users. You seem to be unfamiliar with using Nextcloud in an environment like mine, and I won’t fault you for that, but the Nextcloud automatic updater is useless for standard users. It prompts them to install an update that they are unable to install.

“maybe if you want to ask “errr… are you planning to get a msi-version for everyone out, eventually?” there would be someone if and when this would happen or if not any why it wouldn’t happen.”

There have been threads requesting this feature for years. Supposedly it was in the works. Now it has been released for paying subscribers only.

“further on, my personal drift on that: 300 users support? great! but not really a home-environment. it sounds more than like a somehow professional setup.”

No kidding, but is this a limitation of Nextcloud? If so, they certainly don’t make it obvious. What is the user limit to use Nextcloud for free?

I’m just looking for an explanation as this doesn’t appear to be in line with how Nextcloud advertises their platform, i.e. “Nextcloud gives you access to your files wherever you are. Our easy to use desktop and mobile clients are available for all major platforms at zero cost!” and “Enjoy constant improvements from a thriving and transparent, entirely open-source community development model, free of lockins or paywalls.”

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nicely said.

the trick here might be the way you read it… i read it like Nextcloud gives you access to your files wherever you are - they never said that they would do that for your 300 users.

i mean i see your point. it would make your support-life way easier. but isn’t it up to the company who delivers a piece of software to decide under which licence-model it would be released? i think so. and if they have released software as open source under gpl (or whatsoever) it doesn’t neccessarily mean they would do so with every other code they’d release.

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Yes, I agree that would be their choice, but if that’s the case they shouldn’t advertise their product as being completely free and open source. If it was indicated somewhere that Nextcloud was only free for home use, or that there was some limit to the number of users on the free platform, please point that out. Otherwise I think you and I are talking in circles at this point. You are happy with Nextcloud as a home user and that’s fine, but it really isn’t relevant to my query at all. Hopefully someone with some sway at Nextcloud will see my post and respond. I would really like to hear an explanation from the source for what is still in my opinion a bait and switch.

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you can use it for no coast. and no limitation. even with no user-limit. and if they let a community help developping code they wouldn’t charge you for using it. but have you found the github-page for the msi-client? i think there’s none.

i’ll keep my fingers crossed for you. honestly.

Maybe all this means is that they need to update their webpages to reflect that their software is no longer completely free and open source, but as it stands right now it’s quite misleading.

Thank you. I’ve gotten responses to other queries here from people with sway at Nextcloud, so unless they make a conscious decision not to reply to this post, I expect I will here too. Good day.

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You are saving about 8-10k€ support cost per year, is that fair for a competitor of yours who has paid for the subscription to get this feature implemented and you get it for free? Or businesses could contribute more to the community and could have implemented a feature themselves.

However, I thought back to when Nextcloud and ownCloud separated. One important reason for me was that with Nextcloud everything was freely available. ownCloud had a few features they considered to be enterprise (they still do). Why shouldn’t I use or want the file firewall or some external authentication. It’s not up to a company to decide whether I need something. Slowly more and more features are for enterprise users, e.g. you want to use collabora, perfect you run some test and then you roll out the solution just to find out they put a limit on it?

I use a lot of open source software without limits and I neither paid anything nor did any substantial contribution. Apache doesn’t limit the number of virtual hosts or domain names, and there is tons of other software I can fully use without workarounds and without limits. If you build a company around such as solution, I think it takes courage to offer it for free and only trust on your service knowing that many will use it for free even though some could afford to pay for it.

As a government entity, we don’t have competitors per se. Also, although I am supporting ~300 users in our environment, our budget is very tight. We would not have a cloud solution if we had to pay 8-10k€ support cost per year.

You do make some interesting points though that I would be interested to hear more about. You mentioned enterprise only features of Owncloud that informed your decision to go with Nextcloud. Could you elaborate on what those limitations were? I am currently in the process of deploying Owncloud on a virtual machine so that I can migrate our users off of Nextcloud and I hope I’m not setting myself up for more problems, but the fact that they make an .msi installer that is freely available is a huge win for Owncloud in an environment that will otherwise require manual client updates.

For starters, you will have fun with updating your Owncloud server alone with every release all the time. As for “enterprise” features, you can take a look at their “Marketplace” which ones are for enterprise users only. Two reasons for a lot of trouble with Owncloud that were heavily improved by Nextcloud.

At the time it was the file firewall, file drop, external storage (I think as primary storage). I don’t know today, they should have some overview on their website. But the problem was which solution to go with, and I didn’t want a solution where they perhaps have a nice feature but just for enterprise users.
The same for seafile, if you want a complete feature list, you need the pro version that is free up to 3 users.

Ironic, isn’t it? I did have a look at their enterprise only features, and there are some features that I would consider nice to have. Namely:

  • External storage on windows shares
  • Ransomware protection
  • Auditing

Unless I am misinterpreting what I’m seeing, file drop is possible in the community edition now, but I will test to confirm later on today. While the features I listed above would be nice to have, I’m not actually using them on our current Nextcloud instance. We are using filedrop, so it would be a shame to lose that capability.

I’m not sure what you mean by this. I had a look at the instructions here:

It doesn’t look as easy as the Nextcloud updater, but at least I would have total control over updates. It seems control over updates is becoming an enterprise feature of Nextcloud, so I’m not sure I would chalk the Nextcloud update process up as a win for Nextcloud. I will have my Owncloud instance up and running later on today and will begin testing. It’s possible I will find that the update process is more cumbersome than I anticipate, but I have a hard time envisioning a scenario in which manually updating the server is more cumbersome than manually updating clients on user PCs.

That was and is indeed the way you had/have to upgrade Owncloud. If you run some additional apps it gets especially funny. Or, if you use packages for distributions you are in for a nasty surprise too many times.

I did not say there aren’t flaws in existence, just that it became much better than it was in the past. More fine-grained options and a polish for the updater are definitely something that should be improved.

What exactly do you want to archive with an MSI-based updater? The Owncloud client cannot set any advanced options like doing complete account setup if the documentation is correct. Deploying the Nextcloud client can be done using the *.exe file and applying the /s (silent) option, it works perfectly with Manageengine Desktopcentral for example. SCCM should be able to do the same:

Anyway, if you are a government entity you are probably eligible for a heavy discount anyway (like for all your Microsoft products). FLOSS software also needs to live from something, so supporting them so they can fix your problems is surely not a bad idea.

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I agree with you on principle, but we have no money in our budget for a private cloud. If we were unable to use a free open source solution, we would not have a private cloud.

This looks promising. I will give it a try. I personally only have experience with deploying .msi installers through group policy, but this looks like a potentially workable solution. Thank you for the link.

I had hoped this solution would work, but I didn’t realize that we don’t have a license for System Center and it is very expensive. Back to the drawing board… :frowning:

How do you deploy your software then? Just FYI Manageengine Desktopcentral is free for up to 25 users. There is also Chocolatey (basically a Windows package management system like almost all Linux distributions have).

Well… if your organization is not willing to get any paid support, than they leave this to you - the administrator of this setup, congrats!

You can also educate yourself about how to build a msi package yourself. This will also cost time and depending on the amount of work you’ll need to put into that, your organization may be better off to go ahead and purchase some kind of support.

Organizations need to understand that they either:

  • have the knowledge and skills themselves
  • get the needed assistance/support from a vendor

if they intend to utilize a free product in a way, that makes it become critical to their infrastructure. NC is no exception in this regard. Free and OpenSoure never meant, that you can demand anything from the makers of that product, other than to be able to use their product freely.