Owncloud Nextcloud Kiteworks migration tools

Today, US-based file sync & share vendor Kiteworks announced their acquisition of ownCloud and Dracoon. Kiteworks points out that their customers now have access to their file-sharing application. It is to be expected they will not maintain 3 similar products, but customers will have to migrate to the US firms’ platform or look for another solution.

Nextcloud offers a free hands-on migration service and takes over the remaining runtime of the contracts. Migration is a very quick and easy process, as shown by the many hundreds that have done this already over the last years.

A well-tested migration

Kiteworks seems likely to consolidate its product portfolio over the coming months, reducing the duplication of 3 similar products. ownCloud and Dracoon customers will have to consider the costs and consequences of moving their file sync and share to the platform of the proprietary US vendor.

Some customers need an on-premises collaboration platform from an established European vendor. Others prioritize a forward-looking platform that integrates a wider range of collaboration capabilities or requires an open source solution.

Hundreds of other customers have taken the well-established, easy, and fast migration path to Nextcloud, benefiting from increased functionality, usability, performance, and security. We are certain that Nextcloud will continue to be an appropriate platform for these needs, just like it is for the Archdiocese of Cologne or the Sorbonne University, to name two recent customers.

Reliable partner for the future

Most customers looking for an on-premises document sync and share platform need a reliable, open source, or fully European solution that complies with EU privacy regulations. The US tech firms that fall under the US CLOUD Act seriously hinder compliance efforts. Nextcloud, as the market leader in this space, as well as smaller competitors like ownCloud and Dracoon, delivers this US-independent, compliant, and fully open platform to tens of thousands of customers across the globe.

As of today, Nextcloud is the main remaining independent vendor in this space. Widely deployed in the public sector in most European nations, the German firm has a proven track record in the secure file exchange market. Its customer base is quickly expanding into the Middle East and Asia, with major customers also in Australia, South America, and the United States. It follows an organic growth strategy without external investors which has resulted in a stable 50-60% year-over-year growth since its inception. This makes it a reliable, long-term partner for organizations seeking a secure document exchange solution.

Join us in this webinar about migration from ownCloud to Nextcloud and learn why this is not just an alternative, but a strategic upgrade.

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Expanded functionality

In 2017, Gartner renamed the enterprise file synchronization and sharing market to the content collaboration platform (CCP) market in response to the evolution of the market. Just in 2016, Nextcloud was launched with the vision of bringing exactly this expanded view of collaboration to customers.

The market evolution from enterprise file sync and sharing (EFSS) to services-led platform intensifies the content collaboration platform (CCP) role in digital workplace transformation, making a CCP choice more strategic and less tactical.

— Gartner

Collaboration tools proliferate in modern enterprises, creating a challenge for organizations. Employees don’t know where the latest version of a document is or where to share it. Worse, IT has to track all the tools being used, pay even if they go unused, and manage the fall-out when one of the dozens of systems gets hacked and data or login details leak. This has been the reason behind the rise of all-in-one platforms for collaboration like Nextcloud. Nextcloud offers a wide range of capabilities, from secure document exchange and real-time editing to video chat, calendaring, task handling, secure online web forms, and many more abilities. The tight integration not only saves administrators and users time but also enables faster, easier workflows and improves productivity.

It is perhaps no surprise that at Gartner, users rate Nextcloud significantly higher than Kiteworks. Nextcloud has continued to push in the collaboration space, leading the market with new capabilities in the on-premises Artificial Intelligence and digital assistant space, working on this closely with the European public sector.


Over the coming months, while Kiteworks absorbs its new acquisitions, we expect some customers to look for a different home.

Want to learn more about migration to Nextcloud? Learn more on our web page about migrating to Nextcloud!

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Nextcloud wins the European SFS award

Earlier today, our founder Frank Karlitschek accepted the honorary SFS Award for ongoing contribution to the mission of Free Software. The award is a highlight of the 20th annual SFSCON dedicated to promotion and implementation of FOSS in Europe and beyond. Image source: NOI Techpark

A big day for the Nextcloud community

European SFS Award is a big part of the South Tyrol Free Software Conference (SFSCON), an event centered around promotion and implementation of the Free Software culture.

Each year, the award is presented to an individual who, according to the SFS community, has made a meaningful impact in advancing the principles and adoption of free software in their respective communities and in the broader software industry.

In the 2023 edition, Frank Karlitschek earns the honor, dedicating the award to everyone participating in the Nextcloud project.

I accept this award in the name of Nextcloud, our dynamic and dedicated community, and a hardworking team of bright individuals who made it happen. Today, we all win!

Frank Karlitschek
Founder and CEO of Nextcloud
Frank Karlitschek

In previous years, the European SFS Award has been given to the pioneers of Free Software representing a wide array of backgrounds including software engineering and research, open source project coordination, and free software advocacy. To the Nextcloud community, this is a milestone that recognizes our collective impact on the FOSS industry and the European IT as a whole.

“He is not only a gifted technologist, but also a champion of the idea of digital freedom as a universal right. With his work he lives the ideals of transparency, privacy, and individual control over digital information, but he also laid the foundation for a diverse and engaged community.”

Rafael Barbieri, LUGBZ member, quoted in the FSFE press release
European SFS Award winner: Frank Karlitschek, founder of Nextcloud
Image source: NOI Techpark


SFSCON is one of Europe’s most established annual events focused on Free Software that has a history dating back to 2004. The event’s mission is the promotion of FOSS in digital infrastructures, as a means of creating the environment for better innovation and healthy competition. The event takes place in person in South Tirol, Italy.

The conference brings together everyone involved: education and research organizations, software developers, Free Software foundations, and decision makers of all levels. Its program covers dedicated tracks for development, AI, cybersecurity, community activities, lawmaking, and more.

At SFSCON 2023, Frank takes the spotlight among the Main Track talks, presenting “What the AI revolution means for Open Source, Open Tech and Open Societies” and becoming a part of the Software Freedom” roundtable. Björn Schließle, computer scientist and Nextcloud’s co-founder, contributes to the Artificial Intelligence Track under the “Nextcloud – did you know?” title.

AI technology has become too useful and accessible to ignore, so more and more users make the choice to sacrifice tomorrow’s privacy for the sake of an excellent result today.

At Nextcloud, we believe that everybody deserves privacy. With Hub 6, we released the first open-source AI assistant that is hosted where you want it to be. It can get a multitude of tasks done inside your content collaboration platform without compromising your data: in content writing, mail communication, team chats, and more.

Introducing Nextcloud AI Assistant

Nextcloud AI Assistant is a capable and versatile tool that enhances your work throughout Nextcloud Hub to keep writing, communication, and other productivity tasks simple and low effort.

Unlike other AI-powered content collaboration tools, Nextcloud doesn’t share your data with a third party technology provider to train the core AI model. This means that all data you work with, including documents, emails, chats and more, stay yours.

How do we accomplish that?

We build the AI Assistant using a flexible, solution-independent approach which gives you a choice between multiple large language models (LLM) and services. It can be fully hosted within your instance, processing all requests in-house, or powered by an external service. This enables unmatched capabilities of language processing across various use scenarios with control of what is running behind your instruments and how. And importantly, you can have a 100% open-source assistant.

Nextcloud AI Assistant features are available in the main Hub navigation to help you with quick text tasks, and in several apps including Text, Mail, and soon Talk, for app-specific actions.

If you want to read about other AI tools available in Nextcloud, we welcome you to read the AI features overview or visit our documentation portal.

Quick access from your navigation bar

Whatever you are working on, Nextcloud AI Assistant is only one click away. Should you need any help with a small task like generating a headline, paraphrasing a text, or translating a sentence, just click on a ✨ icon on the top right corner of the main navigation and give the Assistant its input.

Language assistance in Text

With help of the AI Assistant, Text has you covered when it comes to perfecting your writing and text composition. The tool is available right in the text, freeing you from distractions and extra tab journeys.

Once you select a piece of text to get help with, summon the Assistant menu by clicking the ✨ icon next to the selected paragraph. You can get a summary of your text, generate an accurate headline, reformulate it, or translate it into another language. If you are happy with the result, insert it in your text in a simple click.

Thread summary in Mail

The Nextcloud Assistant summarizes bulky email threads for you, so you save a hefty amount of time when searching back in your conversations in Mail.

All given tasks, suggestions, and questions are displayed in a clear and concise way, so you get an accurate idea of the whole history of communication.

Need help with the answers? Summon the Assistant from the top toolbar to write a response according to your parameters or improve your writing.

Smart communication in Talk

In the following weeks, we are bringing the Nextcloud Assistant to Talk. Building as an intelligent chat bot, we designed it to augment your work conversations and help your team in brainstorming, planning, and clearly expressing ideas.

First and foremost, the Assistant will make sure your discussions flow freely with the ability to translate messages, write texts, and generate media as you chat.

However, we don’t plan to stop there and we want the Assistant to become a real participant in the conversation. We are gifting the bot the ability to communicate with you in a most human way possible by answering your questions and providing helpful suggestions for the issues on your agenda. For example, you can ask the Assistant to outline an event preparation plan or to draft a marketing campaign for you using real inputs from your very tasks.

Processing data completely on your server

In everything we do, Nextcloud commits to transparency and trust. Working hard to combine comfort with responsible handling of your data, we made all core AI apps in Hub, including the Nextcloud AI Assistant, fully open-source and running locally on your server.

Your data belongs to you, and not a single bit of information is shared with a third party provider to improve performance, study user behavior, or train an AI model.

You may still want to use popular services like ChatGPT and Dall-E, and we are giving you the freedom to do so in Nextcloud. Before making your decision, you can refer to the Nextcloud Ethical AI Rating to find out more about how available AI apps in Nextcloud handle your data and estimate the risks related to code availability, deployment options, and access to training data.

The future: dedicated AI for public sector and more

AI is a quickly developing field. One technology that will be important going forward are text generation models optimized for specific tasks. One example is the public sector where employees are working with large amounts of complicated forms.

Together with the German state of Schleswig-Holstein Nextcloud is working to build a digitally sovereign AI model. Its aim is to accelerate the bureaucratic processes in the public sector with ethical AI-powered content collaboration tools.

Minister of Digitization of Schleswig-Holstein and Nextcloud CEO shake hands

The project focuses on crafting a large language model tailored to the specific needs of the offices dealing with state affairs, namely creation of highly standardized texts using accepted language style and wording, optimized search of process-specific information, and other tasks. Anonymized training data provided by the state will be used in its training.

The model in-the-making will be released as Open Source to encourage the adaptation of sovereign, ethical AI within the digitalization strategies of the governments.

There will be other fine-tuned AI models for Nextcloud appearing over the coming months and years, helping employees in all kinds of specializations with their tasks.

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AI-powered content collaboration platform that keeps you in control of your data.

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Nextcloud’s momentum continues strongly after last weekend’s announcement of the first private AI assistant embedded in its collaboration platform, with a first significant partnership announcement. As covered in the prominent German public sector-focused Tagesspiegel newsletter, Minister of Digitisation and Head of the State Chancellery Dirk Schrödter, and Nextcloud Founder and CEO Frank Karlitschek shook hands last Tuesday, on a collaboration to build digitally sovereign AI. As part of the AI strategy of the German state, the collaboration will create a generative language model for the state administration that is adapted to the specifics of administrative texts.

Minister of Digitisation and Head of the State Chancellery Dirk Schrödter and Nextcloud founder and CEO Frank Karlitschek shake hands after meeting to discuss collaboration on AI development.
Photo credit: Staatskanzlei SH

Opportunities and risks around AI

As Margrethe Vestager aptly remarked, “With artificial intelligence, trust is a must, not a nice-to-have.” The evaluation of AI should focus not only on its technology but also on its societal and environmental benefits.

The public sector across the EU faces questions around AI with regard to digital sovereignty and data leaks. The latest technologies enable AI’s to access troves of documents and then answer questions from them or generate content out of them. These functions would allow great advances in the speed of handling bureaucratic processes, but current solutions require large swaths of data to be handed over to third-party AI providers. This creates unacceptable risks for the digital sovereignty and security of government data. A digitally sovereign AI is needed.

AI strategy and Nextcloud at Schleswig-Holstein

The German state of Schleswig-Holstein has made a strategic bet on Nextcloud’s on-premises content collaboration platform as part of its focus on digital sovereignty. The latest developments by Nextcloud in the area of ethical AI align strongly with the state’s commitment to digitization of its services. As one of the most innovative states in Germany, it is aiming to dramatically accelerate its bureaucratic processes so that, for example, the approval process for wind turbines or other economic developments can move forward much faster.

In the future, we will make AI services available to colleagues in the state administration directly at the workplace. We want to drive the development of digitally sovereign and open solutions in addition to the use of existing AI services such as ChatGPT. Because, the administration of the future will work in an automated, algortihmized, cloudified and data-based way. To make this vision of the future a reality, we must provide the appropriate tools. This also creates value and jobs in our domestic digital economy.

Minister of Digitisation and Head of the State Chancellery Dirk Schrödter

The plans: digitally sovereign AI

As the Minister points out, AI systems like ChatGPT are already integrated in Nextcloud and used at the state. For some limited use cases, these can be useful.

But Nextcloud has also integrated several open source large language models that can be run locally. These were released as part of Hub 6 last weekend, providing an integrated, private AI Assistant that can summarize, translate, or reword texts, summarize email threads, transcribe video calls, create project plans and so on. Hundreds of organizations in the private and public sectors are expected to deploy these in the coming months.

The next step for Nextcloud will be to develop large language models that can help in specific domains. This way, the Nextcloud AI Assistant will be able to help write specific government documents, answer questions about state processes, and so on, in the style and language used in the government.

Based on Nextcloud Hub, the State Chancellery will expand its current approach to providing artificial intelligence-based services at the workplace. Embedded in the state government’s AI strategy, Nextcloud and the State Chancellery will create a generative language model for the state administration that is adapted to the specifics of administrative texts. For this purpose, the state of Schleswig-Holstein will make anonymized training data available. The model will be available as Open Source.

Schleswig-Holstein and Nextcloud recognize that Europe needs reliable AI technology that protects Europe’s economic and digital sovereignty. Our strategic initiative will lead to the first digitally sovereign AI that can deliver insights based on sensitive government data, without the risk of third-party access.

Frank Karlitschek, Founder and CEO of Nextcloud

The future

The use of AI in the public sector comes with strict privacy, security, and digital sovereignty requirements. Together with Schleswig-Holstein, Nextcloud will develop local, private, digitally sovereign AI technology that can deliver on these needs, 100% open source and able to run locally.

Over the last year, AI has become a popular topic. Some is hype, some is substance. Some is good, some is bad. We want to give you the good, not the bad, and ignore the hype!

AI has a ton of opportunity – but also risk. So we put you in control – off by default!

– Frank Karlitschek, CEO and Founder of Nextcloud

In Nextcloud Hub 4 and 5, we’ve focused on providing you the best tools that AI has to offer. Benefits like improving your work productivity and jump starting creativity, AI features can enhance your Nextcloud experience.

To fit everyone’s needs, we offer several types of integrations for AI, from completely self-hosted options to integrations with external services.

If you’re interested in setting up Nextcloud’s AI features on your instance, then keep reading for a breakdown of how to enable and use each one! 💙

Self-hosted vs. integrations from external services

First, let’s understand the difference between self-hosted AI features versus integrations from external services.

All self-hosted AI features are built-in and only run on YOUR server, meaning no data leaves your premises and you’re in full control. Our self-hosted options can be installed from the Nextcloud App Store. Some are built-in and some require some command line commands to be run to download Ai models.

We also offer AI features using remote AI services from companies like DeepL and OpenAI (ChatGPT and DALL·E). These features can be enabled on your server but data from the app is sent to the third party. Note that nothing is ever sent to external services by default unless you explicitly enable those features or install the related apps. However, if you like these services, then they are available to you!

Nextcloud Ethical AI Rating

Ethical AI Rating

For some use cases, tools like ChatGPT might be a reasonable solution, while for other data, it is paramount to have a local, on-prem, open solution. To differentiate these, we developed an Ethical AI Rating.

For every AI feature that Nextcloud supports, a rating is established. This shows you the risks you take with your data is when using a feature and it gives you a quick insight into the ethical implications of your choice.

Based on these conditions:

Is the software open source? (Both for inferencing and training)

Is the trained model freely available for self-hosting?

Is the training data available and free to use?

The rating has four levels:

Green 🟢

All conditions are met

Yellow 🟡

2 conditions are met

Orange 🟠

Only 1 condition is met

Red 🔴

No conditions are met

Now, let’s learn about Nextcloud’s AI features, their rating and how to enable and use them!

About LocalAI

LocalAI is an open source API that allows you to set up and use many AI features to run locally on your server. However instead of connecting to the OpenAI API for these, you can also connect to a self-hosted LocalAI instance with the Nextcloud LocalAI integration app.

The AI features LocalAI supports:

1. Image generation

Your cloud is full of photos, but sometimes the image you need isn’t there. Maybe it is somewhere on the web, or maybe you can only visualize it in your head? With AI image generation, you can type in keywords to create the image you’re imagining. Your instant AI generated image can be inserted into a Talk chat, Notes and much more.

3 options to generate images:

  1. Online StableDiffusion based generator via Replicate’s remote API – Yellow rating 🟡
  2. Self-hosted StableDiffusion using the OpenAI app- Yellow rating 🟡
  3. Online DALL·E 2 – Red rating 🔴

How to enable:

To use OpenAI’s DALL·E 2 images or the on-premises StableDiffusion based generator, just install the OpenAI integration app. You can find instructions to get the model in the settings!

This feature is very versatile on Nextcloud, being able to insert an AI generated image in a document, Talk chat and more. To use this feature in your Nextcloud, open up the Smart Picker by typing a slash (/) in your document, Talk chat and more!

2. Text generation

How do you craft intelligent, professional text? With the text generating tool in Nextcloud Talk, Office and Mail of course!

On-premises option: Yellow rating 🟡

External service integration: Red rating 🔴

How to enable:

For the on-premises option, you also install the OpenAI app to communicate with a self-hosted instance of LocalAI which can run language models to generate text. See instructions.

To use OpenAI’s ChatGPT, install the OpenAI integration app.

3. Speech-to-text dictation

Sometimes, it’s easier to say something out loud. With Nextcloud’s speech-to-text dictation feature, you can formulate text through your voice. Use your spoken words to send a message in a Nextcloud Talk chat, in an email and through many more applications.

On-premises option: Green rating 🟢

External service integration: Yellow rating 🟡

4. Speech-to-text transcription

In the speech-to-text transcription feature, your call recordings can be automatically transcribed. This smart feature is great for recording what was said during important meetings for your record keeping.

Nextcloud Talk call transcript

How to enable: Green rating🟢

If the OpenAI integration is installed and configured (using either OpenAI or LocalAI), Talk will be able to automatically produce speech-to-text transcriptions of call recordings. You will receive a transcription file just like the video recording file right after the recorded call ends.

5. Smart Inbox in Mail

Now let’s talk about our smart feature in Mail. Nextcloud Mail uses Machine Learning (ML) to classify the importance of incoming emails based on your historical data and pattern recognition. This provides you a priority inbox, where your most important messages are at the top. Due to the ML technology, your data never leaves the server.

How to enable: Green rating🟢

Luckily for you, this feature is already integrated by default. However, if you want to disable it at any time, you can do so in the bottom left settings of the Mail app.

Smart inbox

Join our upcoming Nextcloud webinar and learn to tap into the power of AI while safeguarding and controlling your data!

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6. Face and object recognition – Green rating 🟢

In your Nextcloud Photos, you can quickly find people, places or objects when using the Recognize app. Recognize goes through your media collection and adds fitting tags which automatically categorize your photos, and even music!

The way Recognize works is through training an artificial neural network that recognizes patterns which yields the results we see. You can learn more about how the app works and facial recognition technology in the blog.

How to enable:

To get face recognition in your Nextcloud, install the Recognize app in the Nextcloud App Store.

“This app is incredible! It works really well. Very easy to set up. It takes a long time for the first recognition, but man, is it worth it! I expected face recognition working well, but I did not expect the tags feature working very well also! It created tags I did not think is possible. Super useful!”

György Kiss, Recognize apps rating

7. Background images and blurring in video calls

Before joining a video call, you have the opportunity to change your background to an image of your choice or add a blur effect. It so happens that this blur “effect” is actually a complex computing contouring that uses Machine Learning (ML). Nextcloud uses the Jitsu library and a model called MediaPipe (both open source) to create this effect.


How to enable: Green rating🟢

This feature is ready to be used once you’ve installed Hub 5.

8. Translation tools

In today’s connected world, you’re bound to be put in a situation where you need to translate a message, word or piece of text in another language. Now you can translate anything with Nextcloud!

Local translation – Green rating 🟢

Nextcloud provides a translation service app that runs locally on your server. Using open source Opus models by University of Helsinki in Finland, you can rest assured no data can leak.

Use local translation in Nextcloud Talk to translate a message in a chat or in a Text document.


Witness how your writing can be instantly translated in Nextcloud Text.

How to enable:

Enable local translation by installing the Translate app! Languages supported are: English, German, French, Spanish and Chinese so far.

LibreTranslate – Green rating 🟢

The LibreTranslate integration provides translations using your own server/api key. This translation tool uses open source OpenNMT models.

DeepL translation – Red rating🔴

You also have the option to use the external service integration DeepL. DeepL is a popular translator based in Germany that provides translations in 29 different languages.

DeepL receives a red rating because they use proprietary models and the app connects to their website. Since DeepL is a separate service, data put into this model on your server will be sent to them. Take care to read about DeepL’s privacy protocols and what they do with your data.

9. Suspicious login detection 🕵️‍♂️

Suspicious login detection detects and warns you about suspicious IPs logging into your Nextcloud.

This feature works through learning your behavior of logins – when and where – so if a suspicious login occurs, you’ll be notified in time to change your password or upgrade your security controls.

How to enable: Green rating🟢

Suspicious login detection was once an app, but now it is integrated right into your instance. Just go to your admin settings and click on security. As always, the feature can be enabled or disabled per your preference.

Machine learning based suspicious login detection

Join our upcoming Nextcloud webinar and learn to tap into the power of AI while safeguarding and controlling your data!

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We are receiving information requests from customers and users worried about the severe security breaches. These occurred in ownCloud (recently aqcuired by US file sync and share vendor Kiteworks) as reported on by Arstechnica and others.

We want to make clear that these absolutely do not affect Nextcloud. Nextcloud has a strict security process backed by a USD 10K bug bounty program. We, for example, have a policy to remove test data from libraries that are shipped, to avoid risks like these.

Nextcloud has diverged significantly over the last years from ownCloud, accelerating our development. There are serious risks associated with using legacy, minimally-maintained software and we would want to point out to users and customers that migration to Nextcloud is quick, easy, painless, and helps keep their data private.

See here the ArsTechnica article in question.

We are thrilled to announce that Roundcube project has found a new home with Nextcloud. Becoming a new steward for a popular webmail client trusted in highly regulated industries and among security-savvy users alike, we set sail to foster the growth and improvement of the project. This brings about a new milestone for global IT decentralization. Read on to understand why.

Redefining email security with Roundcube

Just like any communication and productivity software, the email is being consumed by technology giants seeking to monopolize the daily tools companies and individuals use for work. Email communication is as relevant as ever and remains a tidbit for user acquisition. Without equally viable alternatives, businesses, governments, and individual users will slowly lose the grip on their own data.

Roundcube Logo Icon

What is Roundcube?

Roundcube is a multilingual IMAP client with an application-like UI that offers MIME support, address book, folders, message search and spell checking. It provides ample security and privacy protection, including PGP, XSS resistance and brute force protection.

Roundcube mailbox

As a self-hosted solution, Roundcube offers a standard of privacy and security in mail communication that is seeing an unfortunate decline at the modern workplace. Its capabilities find application in highly regulated industries like education and government.

The client is a choice of notable universities including Harvard, Cambridge, Tata Institute in Mumbai, University of Victoria and government administrations with examples like India and the European Commission. CPanel includes Roundcube, enabling hosting via numerous service providers like HostGator, OVH, Telekom Italy and GoDaddy. It is the default mail system of the popular Synology NAS devices.

A partnership between privacy-centered projects like Nextcloud and Roundcube draws a complete picture of a decentralized collaboration ecosystem empowered by synergy of shared vision.

What this partnership means to the community

Before choice becomes an illusion, developers of independent solutions need to consolidate their efforts to establish a counter-force. Behind the new partnership stands our shared community-powered mission to respond to challenges brought by technological centralization, both for the public and private sector but also for private users.

The merger not only underscores the collective strength of the open source community but also highlights our enduring commitment to privacy, security, and user empowerment

Frank Karlitschek
Founder of Nextcloud
Frank Karlitschek

Together we can bring a new perspective to the digital Europe as a whole. And the collaboration grows the Nextcloud-led Coalition for a Level Playing Field, our anti-trust campaign which filed complaints about the anti-competitive behavior of Big Tech to the European Union and the German government.

Next steps for Roundcube and Nextcloud

The plan for the upcoming year includes the adaptation and advancement of Roundcube to create a complete offering that will fit a wide range of users. That involves continuous investment to accelerate and oversee the development process while serving the common vision the two projects have.

Both projects share the same ideology about the role and importance of free software as an independent alternative to the big cloud services.

Thomas Brüderli
Roundcube founder
Roundcube logo with background

What sets this collaboration apart is that both projects focus on user empowerment. Using Nextcloud or Roundcube, users can anticipate increased autonomy and control over their digital experiences. Both projects will continue to focus on self-hosting and privacy, as well as great user experiences.

Our short-term plan is to boost development, hiring some new team members for Roundcube. We also hope to support and grow the contributing community, inviting new talent to boost the development and health of the project.

As a product, Roundcube has an established path to success on its own. With opportunities remaining to be explored, a direct merger between Roundcube and Nextcloud is not planned. Neither will Roundcube replace Nextcloud Mail or the other way around. The products both have strengths and weaknesses and as open source products they already do share some underlying libraries and tools, but remain independent offerings for overlapping but different use scenarios. Nextcloud Mail will evolve as it is, focused on being used naturally within Nextcloud. Roundcube will continue to serve its active and new users as a stand-alone secure mail client.

“I‘ve been following the development of Nextcloud and Frank‘s tireless efforts for free software for years. It was the first name to come to my mind when I started thinking about the future of Roundcube.”

Frank Karlitschek and Thomas Brüderli, founders of Nextcloud and Roundcube respectively, discuss the past, the present, and the future of this partnership.

Join the discussion

Roundcube community members, including users and contributors, are welcome to to join the conversation. As a new playground, we offer a separate Roundcube section on the Nextcloud forum where you can raise issues, start discussions, and get in touch with Nextcloud.

Read our official press release about the merger between Nextcloud and Roundcube below.

With our recent announcement of Roundcube joining Nextcloud — psst.. you should definitely read that post for additional context! — both projects’ founders shared their thoughts and additional context on the motivations to have Roundcube find a new home with Nextcloud.

A little context

Roundcube‘s initial release was in 2008 – 15 years ago! – yet this open source webmail software project is still deeply important in today’s tech landscape.

Though many of us may want to escape email for other messaging platforms, the ever-ubiquitous email is just as relevant today as it has been in past decades. As a catch-all for our digital lives and as the central identifier for most of our online identities, the presence of email in today’s internet is still a strong one. As Fortune reinforced recently, email continues to be a cultural staple of communication, especially in the business world. When you consider email is 50+ years old… Roundcube is comparatively in it’s infancy!

It’s not hard to imagine email continuing to play this role as it has for the last half-century, and we feel there is also an opportunity and obligation to keep decentralized email alive too. We’ve seen such a dominating push toward centralized email services in the last decade, especially toward Gmail. We believe it’s extremely important to keep email decentralized, especially for those who value the privacy of their personal and professional communications. That said, Roundcube is an impressively large and important player in the role of email sovereignty, so keeping the project and community healthy and active feels like a natural extension of the values here at Nextcloud: to support decentralized, open source technologies that help everyone take control of their privacy and independence.

Ask the founders…

Frank Karlitschek, CEO and Founder of Nextcloud, and Thomas Bruederli, founder and head developer of Roundcube, answer a few questions to provide insight into the merger:

Thomas, you started Roundcube over 15 years ago. What was your motivation back then to build a webmail client and how do you feel about it now, given it’s one of the most popular mail clients in the world?

Thomas: It all started with the lack of a freely available „modern“ webmail application and my fascination for the new possibilities with web browsers that went beyond just displaying formatted text.

I feel proud of what grew out of this personal side-project and it backs my strong belief in free software and the importance free software still has in our connected world. Apparently I did a few things right although there was no big plan or vision behind it all. It just happened naturally and that’s just a great story.

You’ve decided to step down as maintainer for Roundcube. Why is that?

Thomas: With the birth of our kids my focus how to spend my off-work time clearly moved towards family life and thus I gradually stopped contributing and I lost track of what’s happening in the project.

The Roundcube project deserves a better and a more committed lead and therefore it‘s time for me to step back and let go.

What is the motivation for the close collaboration between Nextcloud and Roundcube? Why did you pick Frank and Nextcloud to take over?

Thomas: I‘ve been following the development of Nextcloud and Frank‘s tireless efforts for free software for years. It was the first name to come to my mind when I started thinking about the future of Roundcube.

Frank: When Thomas reached out with the proposal, I was kind of honored. I’ve known Roundcube for a long time, and used it in the past — it is obviously a well known project with a long history. It isn’t as visible as Nextcloud, but very impactful — tons of universities use it, for example, many hosting providers – and even my own Synology NAS has it installed.

Second, I can relate to Thomas and his situation. I have started and contributed to many open source projects, and I have had many times where I was unable to continue to maintain or contribute to them as other things got in the way. Work, family, other projects. And that is always sad.

So for me, my first motivation is to preserve this great project.

Roundcube is used by many big companies all over the world. Did you consider selling it to them instead?

Thomas: Roundcube is free software at heart and giving its control to a business and service oriented entity never was an option. I want the software to remain as open and general-purpose as it is today and I don’t think that a big company can take over that spirit.

Frank: I respect his decision to not hand Roundcube over to some random company — I’m sure many would have been interested. Instead, he cares about the project itself, the future. There, too, I can relate – I have taken great pains in the past to preserve a project I care about and keep it from falling apart!

Thomas, you seem to think Nextcloud and Roundcube fit well together. Why is that?

Thomas: Both projects share the same ideology about the role and importance of free software as an independent alternative to the big cloud service. Besides that, they also have much in common in terms of technology and maturity.

I very much hope that Nextcloud‘s strong community will bring new ideas and drive into the development of Roundcube which has been mainly backed by a single person during the past few years. I was very happy about Frank‘s immediate response and enthusiasm to my proposal and honestly, I couldn’t imagine a better fit.

What does this mean then for the future of Roundcube both from a maintainership and community perspective?

Frank: So, this is a little unprecedented. I mean, open source projects merge sometimes, but it’s not super common. So how this will go from a technical and community level — not everything is clear at this point. But what we’re looking for is, first, to keep everything going at Roundcube, as-is. Second, Thomas and the community have done a great job with limited resources and we want to build on that. So we plan to hire a few people to work on Roundcube in maintaining and improving infrastructure.

For example, we plan to get a communication channel up where people can talk and build community again, this has been down for a while but would be very helpful for collaborating on issues, bug reports, things like that.

Going forward, things depend on the rest of the community of course! What they can contribute, what direction they would like to see, what features or fixes are needed.

Does Nextcloud have plans to commercialize things around Roundcube?

Frank: That’s a good question, but we have no plans for that, for now. If there are opportunities, ways that fit with the community, and that would allow us to hire more people to work on Roundcube, then we would consider it. But it has to be a win-win, like with Nextcloud! We’re looking to improve Roundcube and do what’s good for the project in the long run.

Nextcloud already features and maintains Nextcloud Mail. Is Roundcube under Nextcloud GmbH’s care seen as a form of acquisition that may replace or otherwise inform Nextcloud Mail?

Frank: There’s an important difference between what typically occurs in Big Tech acquisitions compared to open source projects. We’ve all seen so many startups get gobbled up by the biggest of the tech giants, never to see the light of day again. In projects like Nextcloud and Roundcube, a deeply open-source way of life means that incentives are quite different. Acquisitions usually happen to gain intellectual property or for financial reasons, but that’s far from what’s happening here, and even impossible in the case of IP – the software is all developed in the open!

Instead Nextcloud is providing Roundcube with a new home, so to speak, by hosting the project, providing investments in talent, development, community resources. The goal is to allow Roundcube to exist and flourish for many years to come, even in areas where both Nextcloud and Roundcube differ. There are no short-term plans for merging, and Roundcube will not replace Nextcloud Mail.

Nextcloud already features Nextcloud Mail — why place resources into a project like Roundcube? How do both webmail offerings complement each other? Do they each offer a unique set of features from one-another that Nextcloud sees as strategically beneficial in the content collaboration landscape?

Frank: Firstly, Roundcube is simply an important open source project — tons of people from Harvard University to the Tata Institute of Social Sciences in Mumbai use Roundcube as their institution’s chosen webmail solution. There are also countless hosting companies around the world, like OVH who bundle Roundcube with their CPanel offerings.

As a modern webmail offering already within Nextcloud Hub, Nextcloud Mail is a powerful client in its own right. We do not plan to merge them, and as open source projects, the possibility to collaborate already existed previously. In fact, both do share some code in the underlying back-end, I believe, and perhaps that possibility may expand a bit now that the projects are closer. But we have no plans to abandon either Nextcloud Mail or Roundcube in favor of the other. Nextcloud Mail makes a ton of sense if you use Nextcloud heavily, while Roundcube is an important stand-alone product with many users.

Will Thomas still be part of the Roundcube project after the transition? What about others who contribute? Who will replace him as maintainer?

Frank: So Thomas will dedicate himself to his family and job, though I hope to still see him at events, or perhaps an occasional code drop! For the other contributors, I hope and think they will continue to contribute. We offered some existing contributors a job, but they were already doing other things so they will stay community members. Hopefully, when we hire people who start moving Roundcube forward faster, we can grow the community, too.

Technically, I’ll be the maintainer, like I lead the Nextcloud project, going forward.

How will Nextcloud ensure the Roundcube project can survive long term, i.e. not succumb to economic or financial pressures of the current tech industry in a few years? Put differently, what is the guarantee of longevity for Roundcube in this new partnership?

Frank: While we can’t ever make guarantees, Nextcloud has a long and deep history in open source, and a successful one at that! We’re committing to being stewards of Roundcube as, what we believe, is a deeply important project and community in today’s world. The tech industry can certainly be challenging, but open source projects have proven to be uniquely resilient in ways that we think are really helpful.

Will this mean any changes for current users of Roundcube, or hosting companies around the world? How will these changes affect those users and hosting businesses? The developer community?

Frank: We’re seeing Roundcube and Nextcloud as unique projects — we’re happy that Roundcube can continue it’s success with a little help from Nextcloud, but we don’t plan to make big sweeping changes to an already successful way of life for the project. The best thing we can do is add to those successful strategies, and we hope by sharing our passion for Roundcube that even more people discover it, and even grow to love it too.

Dive in to learn more about Roundcube and it’s modern webmail offering:

Read our announcement blog for more details:

Read our official press release about the merger between Nextcloud and Roundcube:

Creating polls are an excellent way to collect information for meetings, events, and daily work. Not only do they get you the feedback you need fast and efficiently, but are a fun tool to interact and collaborate with others on.

The Nextcloud Polls App is a social and communication tool that allows you create, share, and implement access options for polls. For example, if you want to create a poll only open to a specific group of users, this app makes it simple.

In this special edition blog, we’ve interviewed the creators behind the Nextcloud Polls app: Vinzenz and René. Read on to discover their stories and how the Polls app came to be!

polls app

Meet Vinzenz and René

Tell us about yourself!

Vinzenz: I studied Computer Science in Tübingen, Germany focusing on 3D topics and graduated in 2015. During my studies, I was amazed by free and open source software, so I began to switch to Linux on all my work-related computers. I discovered alternatives to proprietary software but also still had to be able to work together with other students and their proprietary software. This wasn’t always easy – especially back in 2009! Back then, MS Windows and it’s Office suite were the default and could be acquired by students for free at the university. Now, over the last six years, I work as a software developer at the university and help institutions that want to have cultural heritage digitized in 3D. Besides my job, my hobbies are playing football (soccer) and (landscape) photography.

René: First, I have to mention, that I never learned programming and never wanted to be a programmer. I have an economic education and studied economics. However, I always loved to automate things and make routine work easier; out of pure laziness. In the 80s, I started to try programming in GW-BASIC and pure batch files, later dBase and Clipper, VBA and VB. I sometimes earned some money with that, but it was all just for fun or done as a hobby.

Why did you develop this app and publish it?

Vinzenz: Back in the late 2000s and early 2010s, there wasn’t much awareness for data privacy and cloud services such as Dropbox or Doodle offering easy to use and “free” applications. Learning groups and even professors have been using these services to share documents and schedule appointments or exams. By then, my web development skills were far from good and I only used HTML, PHP and other (outdated) web languages at school and the university. However, I wanted to create a better and FOSS Doodle. There have been some alternatives like Dudle, but I wanted to have a solution where all polls I attended on, created or shared with me are in one place. That is, not have to have another account or host another software. At the time, I used ownCloud despite the learning curve for such a big app. Luckily, someone already had the same idea as me and released a polls app for ownCloud. This allowed me to start working on smaller parts of the app instead of starting one big project. This was back in 2014. In late 2015/early 2016, unfortunately the developer no longer had time to maintain the polls app so we decided that I take over development and released “my” first version (0.6.9).

René: Initially, I was searching for an app that could help me organize meeting polls for a sports club where I was volunteering at. I found polls and ownCloud and judged it as quite usable for our purpose. Vinzenz was the maintainer of the app in these days, which he forked from another app. In 2017, I wrote my first change request for this app. A few months later, I contributed my first pull request and then things evolved.

How was the development experience?

Vinzenz: It was really easy to start working on smaller parts and fixing bugs in existing features. Later on, it took more time to keep the app up-to-date. When I started my job in late 2016, I had to accept that developing a large software from scratch as well as learning a couple of web frameworks already took a lot of time. Nextcloud also has their own frameworks and APIs. With every new release and possible changes, I had to do a lot more research and investigation of these changes. Doing this after doing the same in a full-time job I realized that I can not work on the polls app the way I’d like to, to get a feature-rich polls app.

René: It was tough in the beginning because the learning curve was very steep and all I used was git and a text editor. However, it was quite impressive how low the barrier for cooperation of total strangers was. The communication on GitHub was straightforward and there was an absolute understanding of the people involved. This cured the pain with the local dev environment. I really enjoy the focused way development within the community works. As the development environment developed further, it was more fun. 😉 For me personally, all experiences help me to keep up with the times and handle developers at the same eye level.

What are Nextcloud Polls best features?


René: I would say it (Nexctloud Polls) is an absolute replacement for comparable commercial tools. Also, the features you have to pay for when using the competitors tools are included in ours for free.

Have you had any feedback from the community yet?

Vinzenz: There has always been a lot of feedback from the community which I really, really appreciate! This showed me that this app is needed and helps a lot of users in their daily routine. Also the feedback from the dev community was awesome! Especially René helped to push the app forward and in 2018 he took over development when I couldn’t find the time to maintain it. Since then, he’s puts in a lot of work and effort into it to develop new features and keeping everything up to date.

Nextcloud Polls review

René: Unfortunately, not as much direct feedback as I’d wish. However, since Polls was voted in the top 20 apps of Nextcloud, I think we did a good job until now.

What are your plans for the future with the app?

Vinzenz: Whatever René’s plans are!

René: There are still some key features missing that I would like to make a reality. One thing is a smart calendar integration (a heavily desired feature judging from the change request on GitHub). The other thing is to offer public poll creation.

Install the app

Install the Nextcloud Polls app on your server at our App Store

Nextcloud Polls App

Our new Nextcloud Podcast host, Brent Gervais, had the opportunity to sit down with Max Schrems – privacy lawyer and pioneer in the European data privacy movement – to explore some thoughts and ideas that stemmed from Max’s keynote given at the Nextcloud Conference 2023.

We explore the newly adopted Transatlantic Data Privacy Framework, it’s implications and why we all need to care and pay attention. We also touch on the 15-year debate on EU-US data transfers, surveillance law, anti-competitive behaviours in Big Tech, and the need for regulation despite the challenges presented by the process.

“If we move into this information age, and information is the new gold or the new currency, how do we distribute the rights to that information in a fair and balanced way? Different cultures and different democracies will have different answers to that.. there can be parts that are open source that allows you to move your data out into another system, which is one of your rights as an individual – your right to privacy.”
– Max Schrems

Max became known for campaigns against Facebook for its privacy violations, including violations of European privacy laws and the alleged transfer of personal data to the US National Security Agency (NSA). He is most well known for his lawsuits on the Safe Harbor agreement (Schrems I) and the EU-U.S. Privacy Shield (Schrems II).

Today he is the Founder & Honorary Chair of NOYB – European Center for Digital Rights.

Your new host, Brent Gervais, had the opportunity to sit down with Max Schrems – privacy lawyer and pioneer in the European data privacy movement – to explore some thoughts and ideas that stemmed from Max’s keynote given at the Nextcloud Conference 2023.

We explore the newly adopted Transatlantic Data Privacy Framework, it’s implications and why we all need to care and pay attention. We also touch on the 15-year debate on EU-US data transfers, surveillance law, anti-competitive behaviours in Big Tech, and the need for regulation despite the challenges presented by the process.

“If we move into this information age, and information is the new gold or the new currency, how do we distribute the rights to that information in a fair and balanced way? Different cultures and different democracies will have different answers to that.. there can be parts that are open source that allows you to move your data out into another system, which is one of your rights as an individual – your right to privacy.”
– Max Schrems

Max became known for campaigns against Facebook for its privacy violations, including violations of European privacy laws and the alleged transfer of personal data to the US National Security Agency (NSA). He is most well known for his lawsuits on the Safe Harbor agreement (Schrems I) and the EU-U.S. Privacy Shield (Schrems II).

Today he is the Founder & Honorary Chair of NOYB – European Center for Digital Rights.


When the Schrems II court ruling outlawed the current data privacy laws, the Archdiocese of Cologne knew it was time to find a GDPR compliant solution.

Read on to find out how the Archdiocese of Cologne created their own private cloud solution with Nextcloud.

About the Archdiocese of Cologne

The Archdiocese of Cologne, or Erzbistum Köln in German, is the largest Catholic diocese in all of Germany. Home to 1.8 million Catholics, the institution has been around for over 1,700 years and continues to bring people together and preach the Catholic faith.

The Nextcloud solution

The team at the Archdiocese of Cologne needed a solution that enabled their employees and volunteers to be able to communicate and collaborate effectively. With Nextcloud, this and all the requirements of their IT department were met:

A diocese-wide collaboration platform

With the help of Nextcloud and their IT provider, an on-premises collaboration platform for all diocese members was implemented. Coined “communis,” employees and volunteers can now use Nextcloud Files, Talk, Office and more.

Read the full case study

In the case study, learn more about the Archdiocese’s implementation of Nextcloud and its results.

Learn all about Nextcloud’s customer success stories, case studies, whitepapers and data sheets!

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