Right now, three main companies dominate the online cloud productivity space: Google with GSuite and Gmail, Microsoft with Office 365 and outlook.com, and Apple with iCloud. However, there are ways of removing you and/or your organization from having to use these companies altogether.
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You might be using Gmail, iCloud, or outlook.com and wish to get away from these solutions. These solutions typically come with calendar and contact synchronization in addition to email, and we’ll cover those topics in a later section.
Running your own email server is ill-advised. Due to spamming and other more nefarious activities it has become increasingly difficult as it requires server certifications and trust from other email providers to receive your email. This can often take years to accomplish.
The best way to accomplish this is to use an existing email service provider. One that is very privacy-conscious is proton mail and provides full IMAP and SMTP support, which can be used via Thunderbird, via their web interface, or via the solution described in the next section.
We recommend Nextcloud as the basis for the rest of what it takes to have an inclusive environment for synchronization and collaboration. There are a variety of hosted options, or you can do a self-hosted option.
If you choose a self-hosted option, we recommend a NextCloud snap which is easy to install and run. The snap includes all dependencies, meaning it is all you need to get up and running.
Hopefully, your server is an Ubuntu server, in which case snap should be ready to go out of the box. In which case, installing the snap is easy:
For help configuring the Nextcloud snap, see this document.
Once it's running, you will need to log-in as your administrator user. By default, you will have Files and Photos apps installed. If you would like to use Nextcloud as a web-based email client as well, you can install the Mail app.
You can synchronize your files to Nextcloud using the Nextcloud Desktop app or via browser drag-and-drop.
For Music, simply upload your music files to your Nextcloud instance, and install an audio player app to your Nextcloud instance such as this one.
Nextcloud is highly configurable and has many other features and integration options. To see a full set of features, check out their app store.
Nextcloud can be integrated with the Plasma desktop environment. For instance, and as mentioned above, a desktop client exists to synchronize your files similarly to Google Drive or Dropbox. However, Plasma's Dolphin can also add a Nextcloud instance as a network drive.
Additionally, Thunderbird can be used to integrate with the calendar and contacts features of Nextcloud, and does so natively via CalDAV and CardDav.
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2022-08-29 645f5706First Publication
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