Nextcloud was announced on Thursday, Berlin time, by Frank Karlitschek, one of the founders of ownCloud, who resigned last week.
His resignation appears to have been sparked by disagreement over the direction ownCloud was taking, with claims that the community's needs were being placed second and the direction sought by investors taking precedence.
Karlitschek has joined with Niels Mache, the owner of Spreedbox, a company that has a thriving video conferencing business. Most of the team that worked at ownCloud appears to have gone over to Nextcloud along with Karlitschek.
The release said Nextcloud would offer "a comprehensive replacement and privacy-aware alternative for existing cloud services for enterprise use and with long term, enterprise grade support".
Nextcloud will feature a secure fully federated universal file access and communication platform. "It integrates with the innovative secure Spreed.ME communication platform and will be available for download as well as for purchase with the international award winning Spreedbox cloud communicator."
Forking of open source projects is no oddity, with recent examples being those of LibreOffice and MariaDB. The first stable Nextcloud release will be made in early July, serving as a drop-in replacement for ownCloud, to provide customers and users with a means to upgrade to Nextcloud.
Along with the engineers who have moved over, Nextcloud has also employed Jos Poortvliet, the former community manager at SUSE Linux and ownCloud.
Poortvliet told iTWire that "the new company is kickstarted as a healthy business: the Spreed part is booming and the ownCloud part is starting up. The combination is Nextcloud and we'll integrate the two products."
He said almost all developers had left for Nextcloud. There were three founders of ownCloud: Holger Dyroff, Markus Rex and Karlitschek. Of them, Dyroff and Rex remain at ownCloud.
In a media release, ownCloud said: "One of Frank’s criticisms concerned the need to strengthen the community. In this regard, we have been working on the creation of the ownCloud Foundation, the formation of which we announced earlier this week.
"Unfortunately, the announcement has consequences for ownCloud, based in Lexington, MA. Our main lenders in the US have cancelled our credit. Following American law, we are forced to close the doors of ownCloud with immediate effect and terminate the contracts of eight employees. The ownCloud GmbH is not directly affected by this and the growth of the ownCloud Foundation will remain a key priority.
"ownCloud will continue to deliver software and maintenance to our future and existing customer base. Support, consulting and professional services continue to be available. Product improvements will continue to be our focus as we deliver on our vision of 'Universal File Access'. We are prepared to face any form of legitimate competition, because we are convinced of the quality of ownCloud."