In a nutshell

Ownstagram works much like infamous Instagram, allowing you to quickly shoot a picture, upload it and share it with your friends. It’s still a little rough around the edges but looks very promising.

Installation: [rating=4]

Price: [rating=5]


What it does

A couple of weeks back, Instagram, preferred quick and dirty image sharing app of the world, got into hot water for a change in their TOS. What this change would allow would be to sell their user’s uploaded pictures (actually it was mainly bad wording of a clause that would allow them to use these pictures for advertising and work closer together with their mother-company Facebook). Anyway, users were up in arms, and the change also inspired German developer Aresch Yavari to create something that would allow people to post pictures quickly AND still own all their photos.

He gave his creation the name Ownstagram (I hope that’s not a lawsuit in waiting), which would replicate the basic feature of Instagram – taking a picture and easily upload it, then share it with others.



Ownstagram consists of two parts: one is the script to install on the server, the other is an Android application, similar to the Instagram one (only still a bit rough around the edges).

Installation on the server requires a database and PHP, that is about it. A configuration file needs to be edited, as well as a database file imported into the database you’ve just created. This is easy, but might be a bit too difficult still for the everyday user. Once you’re done, register on the site you’ve just set up with the Email address you’ve entered into the config file. You’re now done with setting up the server side.

You can then head on over to the Android Play store and install the mobile application. The first time you start it, enter the credentials of your server and your login details and you’re good to go!

You can then take pictures right out of the app (using one of the camera apps installed) or select from your gallery. There’s, in good old Instagram manner, a few filters available to give your shots that faded look, but they’re not very extensive for now, so you might want to just pre-process them with another app before uploading.

The built-in sharing function of Android then lets you share your pictures to wherever you want to. These links only link to the picture you’ve uploaded, so nobody except you can see all the pictures you’ve uploaded. You can sort them into groups, and according to the author of Ownstagram, he’s planning to implement being able to send out these links to people so they have access to all the pictures in the group.

Now, a fair word of warning: Ownstagram is very, very young (as in only a couple of weeks) and it’s a one-man project. That does not, by any means, make it bad software, but it’s a labour of love, created out of the author’s own desire to be the sole owner of his content. But, he’s got a few ideas on how to enhance the software, for example creating buddylists, which will have a basic permission setting. He is also toying with the idea of allowing a user with his own instance of Ownstagram installed on his own server to register on an instance installed on another user’s server (think Diaspora and their pod system). He’s currently only implementing the things he himself needs and wants, as there hasn’t been too much feedback yet. So chances are, if you’re missing something, tell him and he might implement it.

If you are, like me, concerned about who owns your pictures, I strongly advise you to have a look at Ownstagram. You can get the server script here, have a look at what a basic installation looks like here and download the Android app right here.


Ownstagram is free and open source.

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