Build your own Creative Cloud

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About a year ago I started thinking about how much money I was spending on my webserver and how much I was spending on services to run my life and business (like Dropbox, Evernote, proxy, Pandora, creative cloud, office365) and decided I should try to consolidate as many of these services on to my webserver as possible. This would conserve costs, but also afford me some intangible benefits like using one login, and only have to remember one url or domain name.

This meant closing accounts and services with companies that I had come to rely and trust, but the majority of these services or companies had already begun the onslot of offers to migrate me to their premium services. To them I was just another number with an additional $9 or $29 floating around in my wallet for an upgrade.

After researching these products more thoroughly it became clear there were open source free alternatives of these programs, apps, servers etc. To completely replace the services I had come to rely on.

DropBox: NextCloud is the best alternative to DropBox, this one is listed first because this alternative can be used to fullfill requirements of the other services. I’ll explain later.

Simply put, the WebDav capabilities of NextCloud allow sharing a file structure through port 80 or 443 to any operating system.

This means a user with suitable privileges may create a share on their filesystem, which will communicate across the internet and act as a slow hard drive resident on their computer. This can be done securely and encrypted with the correct features enabled on the NextCloud installation for pretty much all modern client operating systems like Windows, Macintosh, Linux, Android and iOS.

Evernote: Joplin is an amazing little application alternative for Evernote, and the way Joplin does it is really creative because it does not use a central server solution of it’s own. Instead the app simply saves and syncs it’s markup files to an online storage solution like DropBox(default), OneDrive, NextCloud or any other WebDav alternative.

For my setup, I created a folder on my NextCloud account named NotesSynced and connected it using WebDav to the Joplin app.

Joplin now saves it’s notes to NextCloud folder, and syncs with each Joplin devices that has the WebDav credentials.

CreativeCloud: Adobe CreativeCloud alternative is just Adobe software you have already accumulated over the years installed in a WINE environment sharing from VNC, using usermin to launch the service when you need it. This setup is not uncomplicated, and does require a few different versions of WINE within PlayonLinux to function and can hog CPU resources. A side benefit of executing your Adobe software this way, is that with a few minor tweaks the software is runable within an Android tablet, making even the cheapest of Amazon Fire tablets a functioning “thin client” to some very full fuctional media creation Applications. I have a full write up of how to get the majority of your Adobe catalog working in WINE in Ubuntu.

Office365:
Libre office does a good job. The familiar look of Libre Office to Microsoft Office can be frustrating to a user when they scroll up to find a common menu item, and it’s missing or placed differently in Libre Office.