Set up Collabora Online on the Nextcloud Ubuntu Appliance

Alongside five popular software projects, we recently launched a new initiative called Ubuntu Appliances. A portfolio of software that allows users to turn a Raspberry Pi or an Intel NUC into a secure, self-hosted device. The initial launch included the Nextcloud Ubuntu Appliance. An application that enables you to host your own cloud, on your own hardware. In this blog, we discuss the benefits of the Nextcloud Appliance, and the addition of Collabora Online for use on the Intel NUC. To get set up, follow our extended tutorial, or, to install Nextcloud on Raspberry Pi or in a virtual machine, head to our website for instructions.

Nextcloud

As more of our lives go online into the cloud, more of our data lives on other people’s hardware. This can raise privacy and security concerns as families, businesses and enterprises come to rely on clouds to house their data. You can share and effectively lose total control of your data. The Nextcloud Ubuntu Appliance is the solution to get back control of your privacy, running your own cloud, on your own hardware.

For home or for work, the Nextcloud Ubuntu Appliance lets you host your own cloud that’s kept up to date without you having to manually configure anything. Store your data, your documents and your photos on your own hardware and control access to it from your workstation or your phone. With Nextcloud, you can manage calendars, answer email, share documents, keep notes and more. Follow our tutorial and hook it up to some external storage for a home cloud experience that you control. For more details on Nextcloud specifically, check out their blog about the benefits of Nextcloud as an Ubuntu Appliance.

Collabora Online

Once your Nextcloud is up and running you’re going to want to write, share and work on documents. Then sharing documents using the same big tech companies you’re avoiding in the cloud defeats a lot of the purpose. Nextcloud gives you control of your files and communication, but working with documents, is just as important. Collabora Online is a suite of office applications that you can use with your Nextcloud Ubuntu Appliance to edit and collaborate on your own server. 

Collabora Online is built-in to the Ubuntu Appliance. A LibreOffice-based content office suite similar to Microsoft Office, it lets you edit and create office documents in Nextcloud, on your own hardware, under your control. It’s all open-source, always improving and as more features come to Collabora, they come to the Ubuntu Appliance so you can benefit from them right away. You can read what they have to say about it in their blog about Collabora Online coming to the Nextcloud Ubuntu Appliance

Ubuntu Appliances

IoT devices and smart appliances are becoming increasingly popular and more present in our daily lives. Unfortunately, such devices have a well-earned reputation of being insecure and not standing the test of time. The software goes out of date and unmaintained, and the hardware is niche and is quickly forgotten. Putting a lot of IoT devices in your home can have a real risk associated with them. Ubuntu Appliances mitigate that risk and bring you the software you want, on trusted, popular hardware as production-grade appliances.

The Nextcloud and Collabora Online software is supported and maintained by the upstream community. That software is packaged as a snap so when a new update or feature is ready, it can be sent straight to the device.  And you can install it on any certified Ubuntu hardware, like a Raspberry Pi or an Intel NUC. Right now Collabora Online will only work on the Intel NUC. To do so, follow the tutorial and get your appliance up and running.

What’s next?

We want to give publishers and developers a platform to get their software in the hands of their users. A stage and a secure, production-grade base to projects like Nextcloud. There are no restrictions on who can make an Ubuntu Appliance; all you need is an application that runs on a certified board, and to let us know

All that’s left to say is to try it out. Instructions to get set up with the Nextcloud appliance are all on our website. For a NUC all you’ll need is:

  • Two USB 2.0 or 3.0 flash drives (2GB minimum)
  • An Intel NUC with BIOS updated to the latest version (update instructions)
  • A Mini HDMI to HDMI cable
  • A monitor with VGA or HDMI interface
  • A VGA or HDMI cable
  • A USB keyboard and mouse
  • A network connection with Internet access
  • An Ubuntu 20.04 LTS desktop image

Similar instructions for the Raspberry Pi or to try Nextcloud in a VM can be found on the appliances website. Once you’re up and running, have a look at the other appliances in the portfolio too. To tell us what appliances you’d like to see next, just start a thread.

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