the plan is to built a debian-based sever with owncloud for syncing addressbooks, calendars, files etc. and also access large video-files in the LAN via webdav from some kodi-clients (maybe also use MySQL to store the kodi-settings).
from time to time the same machine will be used via GUI (VNC and/or direct screen) for resource-hungry tasks like ripping, video-encoding etc., everything else will be done with mobile devices and lightweight SBCs.

my question is how can i link the home-folder (/home/"os_user"/) and the owncloud data-files (/var/www/owncloud/data/"oc_user"/files/)? - i don't want to normally "upload"/sync the files since it is the same machine and will use twice the space!
and i'm also afraid of messing up the user-rights...!

my answers/research/guesses so far:

  • hardlinks are unusable because i have to create every folder twice, link every file one by one (via command-line) and also have to delete every file twice.
  • softlinks work, but i'm not sure if it is the best solution (i still have problems with the user-rights)... and what should be the master?
  • is mount --bind (executed via /etc/fstab) the better way? ...what should be the master? and what's with the user-rights?!?
  • or is there a completely different solution i never thought about...?

2 Answers 2


You can simply symlink /home/os_user to /var/www/owncloud/data/oc_user/files/home and be done with it. By default you will have a read-only access to those files (if at all), pepending on how permissions on your system are configured. You will have to tweak the permissions to obtain full access.

What I would recommend intead is to create a special folder with relaxed permissions (e.g. /home/os_user/share and symlink it to Owncloud tree. That would keep important files (like ~/.Xauthority) safe even if your OwnCloud account is compromised.

Also note that if you modify/remove files via the OS, OwnCloud will not be able to track versions and undelete them (which is kind of obvious if you think about it).

  • 1
    thank you for your answer! -- i unfortunately had to stop this project because lack of time but in a few months i will go further and confirm your answer if it works/helped...! Jan 26, 2016 at 11:21
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    Hint: on my machine Owncloud runs as www-data user, so you'll have to give that user RX permissions to /home/os_user and RWX permissions to /home/os_user/share. Putting os_user and www-data in the same group might make sense. Jan 26, 2016 at 11:26

I am running a nextcloud cloud in a similar setup (and it's basically owncloud as of 2018). My research led me to believe that there was really no way around the duplicate-file problem! If I wanted nextcloud to pay attention to any edits I made in my home directory, I have to have it synced with the nextcloud repository. So, basically, :(

If you don't care about ever editing files - e.g., movies, large videos, whatever - you could "upload" them to the server (making 2 copies) and then delete the local copy (back to one), and then just have a soft link to the repository for that directory.

It's not ideal, I know, but I wasn't able to find a way around it. Maybe you will have more luck and/or someone will write a solution at some point!

I do quite like having my own person cloud, though, so that's good at least!

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