2014-12-18 Can we live without Google and co?

The tools offered by so-called "cloud services" are useful but most often rely on the capacity to lock you in. Without leaving them completely, is there an alternative?

In a previous post on how to live with open-source cloud services and to not depend on centralized private cloud services (see here), let's focus on an install on a empty android phone.

I followed these steps:

  1. started up the phone, installed system update, on the prompt to enter a gmail account, I created a new account that will be used for this phone (no e-mail or sync or whatsoever),
  2. uninstalled all bloatware by deactivating play book and al - installed using play store an app to backup restore SMS - then uninstalled it (and checked it does not leave to much mess).
  3. installed firefox, synced my bookmarks and al, and from there, went to the fdroid website using duckduckgo (this necessitate to allow the installation of "insecure" applications - it means ones not controlled centrally),
  4. in fdroid, install owncloud, launch the app and install it.
  5. install k9-mail, I then imported settings from another android device - the file was in the owncloud filesystem. There, I could even read my standard gmail account (you need to generate a code if you use two-step verification),
  6. addressbook: integration works with DAVdroid which is available @ fdroid
  7. calendar: again, owncloud provides a nice solution using a caldav link. on android, you can similarly use DAVdroid which is available @ fdroid and do the same process as above. Integrates perfectly with the agenda client from google (they are not so evil after all...)
  8. tasks: everything revolves under the http://todotxt.com/ specifications -- all in one, simple todo.txt file, I use the folowing solution: https://blog.portknox.net/2014/11/how-to-manage-todo-txt-with-owncloud/ (that is, by using simpletask)

As a conclusion, it's quite easy to set up a self-hosted cloud solution to use with android!

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