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Make Your Personal Linux Cloud With Tonido

Getting Started

February 18, 2010

Despite all the hype surrounding cloud computing, the idea of handing over control of your data and applications to third-party services may not appeal to everyone. If you don't want to compromise your privacy and you prefer to be in control of your applications, you can, of course, roll out your own personal cloud server. Setting up and configuring a dedicated server may sound like a daunting proposition, but with Tonido you can turn any machine running Ubuntu, Fedora, openSUSE, or Arch Linux into a nifty cloud server in a matter of minutes. Although Tonido won't replace Web-based applications like Google Docs, Flickr, and Blogger, it does provide an excellent platform for deploying a secure and easy-to-use collaboration and sharing peer-to-peer environment. Besides being easy to install and maintain, Tonido offers another important advantage: it doesn't require a continuous Internet connection. If your Internet link is down, you can still use Tonido on the local network, and once the connection is established again, Tonido will sync the data with other peers.

<em>Tonido control panel</em>
Tonido control panel

Getting Started with Tonido

Tonido is available only as binary packages for Ubuntu and its derivatives, RPM-based distros like Fedora and openSUSE as well as Arch Linux. This means that you can install Tonido on these distros using the package management tools. On the first run Tonido prompts you to create a profile. Creating the profile is as easy as specifying a unique profile name, password, and a few other pieces of information. The profile name is the only thing that is sent to the Tonido service, and it's done only once.

Tonido features two graphical interfaces. The simple interface provides quick access to Tonido's core applications such as blog, workspace, file sharing and torrent tools, and so on. To get access to Tonido's other features and settings, you can switch to the advanced interface. Despite its name, the advanced interface is pretty straightforward. The left sidebar lets you launch Tonido applications, while the toolbar at the top provides access to various settings and modules.

Before you start using Tonido, though, there are a couple of important things you have to do. By default, Tonido accepts only local connections, so if you plan to access the server from the Internet, you have to enable the Web access feature. To do this, click on the Setup link next to the server's URL in the Summary pane. This starts the Web Access Setup Wizard that helps you to enable and configure the Web access feature. If you haven't yet configured port forwarding, the wizard can do this for you, provided your router supports the UPnP (Universal Plug-and-plug) feature. If you plan to use the Tonido server to collaborate and share data with other users, you can add groups and invite users. To do this, switch to the Groups section, click on the Create tab, enter the required information for the new group, and hit the Create Group button. Once the group is created, you have the option to send group invites.

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