Ubuntu One

27 May

Ubuntu One is the next step in personal cloud computing, which in the developers view ” simplifies your digital life” to quote the homepage of the project. It is worth reading up on all the information on the site, however I will explain in detail the features of it as well as the upsides and downsides of using it.

Ubuntu One Logo

Ubuntu One Logo

Ubuntu One features

Upgrade, downgrade or cancel at any time

Ubuntu One offers a couple of subscription options. Choose from the free subscription plan and receive 2 GB of storage or pay a monthly fee for more storage and additional features.

Subscribers can upgrade, downgrade, change billing information or cancel a subscription at any time. Choose the Account tab on the Ubuntu One website to view details or make any of these changes to your account.

Ubuntu One uses Ubuntu SSO (single sign-on) for user accounts. If you already have an Ubuntu SSO account or even a Launchpad account, you can use the same username and password.

Setup unlimited computers

All Ubuntu One subscribers (free or paid) can add all of their computers to their account for synchronization. There is no limit.

To add an additional computer to Ubuntu One, Ubuntu 10.04 LTS users should launch the Ubuntu One Preferences application from System > Preferences. This will open a web browser to start the process.

Next, log into Ubuntu One using your Ubuntu SSO username and password. Ubuntu One will detect that you have a subscription and complete the configuration process for your computer. Ubuntu One Preferences will display your Ubuntu One subscription information after closing and re-opening the application.

Setup instructions for previous or pre-release versions of Ubuntu 10.04 LTS may be different.

Files

Files with various status

A personal cloud to store, sync, and share your files.

Automatically store and sync your documents, images and media with your personal cloud and your other computers. Share folders with project collaborators or publish files with the world.

Sync files to your personal cloud and other computers

Ubuntu One automatically synchronizes folders and files with all of your computers. You even have a copy available online in your personal cloud storage. Everyone gets 2 GB of cloud storage for free or can pay for more space and features.

Share folders with contacts

Share folders with your trusted colleagues.

Folder sharing is integrated into the Ubuntu desktop. Right-click on any synchronizing folder and pick contacts from your Evolution address book to share with. You can even grant the recipient read-only access for simple file viewing or write-access for complete control. Share recipients must have an Ubuntu One account to receive shared folders.

Publish files via Ubuntu One

Publish with short URLs

Publish files to share with anyone directly from your Ubuntu desktop. Right-click on any synchronizing file and choose to “Publish via Ubuntu One” then right-click again and choose “Copy Ubuntu One public URL” to store a short URL on your computer’s clipboard. Now paste the URL anywhere – IM, IRC, twitter, or even email – for anyone to download the file. Right-click on the file again to stop file publishing.

Sync any folder in your home directory

Right-click on any folder and choose “Synchronize on Ubuntu One”. All of your Ubuntu 10.04 LTS computers can now synchronize your default folders like Documents, Pictures and Music.

Users should keep a few things in mind. If other computers added to Ubuntu One have different files within synchronizing folders, all files will be merged. Also, if you already synchronize a folder, you cannot enable it’s parent folder to synchronize. Just disable sync and enable sync for the parent folder.

Contacts

Your contacts in Evolution

All your contacts stay in sync

Ubuntu One Contacts is integrated with Evolution, the email application in Ubuntu. Ubuntu One automatically synchronize your address book contacts with your personal cloud so they’re always available when you need them. If you have multiple computers, Ubuntu One can synchronize your contacts between them. The Ubuntu One website also provides an easy way to browse and even modify your contacts.

Your contacts on the Ubuntu One website

For Ubuntu 10.04 LTS, we have extended our contacts synchronization capabilities to support Windows and Mac users. This feature is currently in beta and is only available to paid Ubuntu One subscribers. To use Ubuntu One Contacts, add your computer to Ubuntu One (Link to Official website) , move your contacts to the Ubuntu One address book and let sync do the rest.

Notes

Tomboy notes get synced to Ubuntu One

Notes travel with you

Ubuntu One Notes is integrated with Tomboy, the notes application in Ubuntu, and automatically synchronize with your personal cloud and your other computers. You can also use the Ubuntu One website to browse and modify all of your notes.

Tomboy is also available for Windows and Mac users. To setup Ubuntu One Notes synchronization on these platforms, follow the same instructions as on Ubuntu.

See your notes in the Ubuntu One web interfaceTo setup, open Tomboy, choose Edit > Preferences and click the Synchronization tab. Select the “Tomboy Web” Service and click the “Connect” button. Login to the Ubuntu One website and add your computer to synchronize notes. When you see the confirmation page appear, close your web browser and click “Save” in the Tomboy preferences window. You can also enable automatic synchronization by clicking the checkbox.

Synchronize your bookmarks

Ubuntu One Bookmarks (also called the Bindwood project) automatically synchronizes your Firefox bookmarks with your personal cloud and your other computers. You don’t have to change anything about how you use bookmarks today because Ubuntu One works behind the scenes to keep everything in sync.

For Ubuntu 10.04 LTS, we have enhanced this feature to support more aspects of bookmark organization including managing folders and separators. We will also soon launch a website interface for your bookmarks at one.ubuntu.com where you can see, use and even edit them.

Mobile contacts sync

Address book sync for mobile phones

Ubuntu One now enables you to keep all of your address book contacts in sync with your mobile phone. No matter how many contacts you have, Ubuntu One will sync them all.

Edit contacts anywhere

Mange changes anywhere and sync updates between Evolution, your personal cloud, and your mobile phone.

Setup is easy

Follow our step-by-step process to setup your phone. Ubuntu One supports thousands of mobile phones including smartphones such as iPhone and Android devices.

Try for 30 days

Mobile Contacts Sync is part of the paid Ubuntu One plan but free subscribers can try it out free for 30 days. Your trial starts at your first sync. This service is currently in beta test.

Try mobile contacts sync free for 30 days

Ubuntu One Music Store

Combines a music store with the power of a personal cloud

  • Buy songs from the biggest bands
  • Integrated on your desktop with Rhythmbox
  • High quality DRM-free music
  • Automatically sync your purchases with all of your computers
  • Learn more about the Ubuntu One Music Store
All of this info is from the official website. I thought it would be best to show you all about it before I went into the pros and cons of using it, whether it be at home or at work.
Before I go into the pros and cons here are the options for using Ubuntu One.

Free

Ubuntu One subscription

Your essential personal cloud

These Ubuntu One features are available to everyone for free.

  • Sync up to 2 GB of files, contacts, notes, bookmarks, purchased music, and Gwibber broadcast messages
  • Automatically sync your digital life to your personal cloud and with all of your computers
  • Free 30-day trial of Mobile Contacts Sync
  • Mark any directory in your home folder for sync
  • Share folders with trusted contacts or publish files to the Internet with convenient short URLs
  • Sync purchased songs from the Ubuntu One Music Store
  • Integrated with your Ubuntu computer
  • Convenient web browser access to your personal cloud

Fee Paying ($10.00 USD per Month)

Subscribe to the paid plan and get all free plan features plus these enhancements.

  • 50 GB total of storage to sync more of your digital life
  • Keep your address book updated when you’re on the move with Mobile Contacts Sync
  • Mobile sync supports thousands of phones including smartphones like iPhone and Android
  • Synchronize your contacts with more applications (like Thunderbird) and operating systems (Windows and OS X)

Okay Now for the pros and cons!

Pros!

  1. Everyone loves free storage.
  2. An alternative to itunes is a brilliant thing.
  3. It will encourage new users to check out Ubuntu.
  4. Is great for designers or coders who need access to there files everywhere.
  5. Children can save their homework on it and download it in school.
  6. You can save important files on it as another guaranteed backup

Cons

  1. $10.00 Per Month is quite steep for only 50Gb as a TB External Drive is about $110.
  2. Mobile Sync is fee paying only (may put off new users)

I’ll be doing a few articles on how it could be used and in what scenarios it is used soon so keep and eye on the blog!


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22 Responses to “Ubuntu One”

  1. Steven May 27, 2010 at 10:35 pm #

    What about performance? And what about operating systems that aren’t Ubuntu? Dropbox had some advantages in those situations.

    • linuxandall May 27, 2010 at 10:41 pm #

      Performance is very good and I believe that it works under Mint from what I’ve heard. And yes dropbox is really good.

      • nitroflow May 27, 2010 at 10:51 pm #

        Mint is an ubuntu derivative. So the real question is what about non-ubuntu/debian derivatives?

      • linuxandall May 28, 2010 at 2:41 am #

        The web services certainly work, however, I’m not sure about the application.

    • Joshua May 28, 2010 at 6:52 pm #

      Canonical will be swamped by the number of users for ubuntu alone. It will be extremely hard on the company, to expect them to support every Linux distro.

      1) The 50GB that you receive for $10 has to be replicated many times as a back up measure.

      2) The cost of running these cloud services , for ex: Manpower (Administrators) , and Hardware (servers) to support that harddrive isn’t cheap either. Imagine the electricity bill they must be getting per day (air-conditioning, power to run the servers)

      3) This is a profit making venture, not a non-profit. Money is needed for rapid development of Ubuntu and making sure that Ubuntu sticks to the policies that Canonical set out with. Mainly, Ubuntu remaining free of charge, but at the same time paying the salaries of the Canonical staff, who I think deserve to be paid for what they are doing.

      4) How do you think they are going to afford to keep 2GB (excluding extra space for backup) alloted for free accounts? And the number of free accounts is going to be much higher than the number of premium accounts.

      Canonical has done a lot for the community and the brand Linux. Everything that Ubuntu achieves is available for everyone to implement in their projects, and Canonical encourages it. I am not a Canonical or Ubuntu fanboy. In fact , I use ArchLinux and am a Linux fanboy.

      All I can say is that ten years ago, everybody thought that I was weird for using linux. But today I have achieved a lot of respect for envisioning that Linux is the future. Ubuntu, Chrome OS, Android, Meego, even Tivo , have helped Linux attain the respect that it rightly deserves.

      So let every Linux user stop the distro-fighting and march together to help the penguin trample our more real enemies. Ten years from now, I would prefer to see Ubuntu on every desktop rather than have a Windows or any other closed source dominated world.

      • linuxandall May 28, 2010 at 9:12 pm #

        Those are some brilliant points you’ve made there dude. I totally agree with everything you have said and particularly think your point about the so-called distro-wars and how all Linux users should march together.

  2. GonzoDark May 27, 2010 at 11:51 pm #

    How does it compare to dropbox?, that’s the real question.

    Dropbox can also be installed on Linux and you can get up to 8GB if you invite friends.. there is no music store, but it works.

    • linuxandall May 28, 2010 at 12:14 am #

      I’ll admit Dropbox is great but what really makes Ubuntu One stand out is the music store. Also many people cannot be bothered with inviting friends for the 8gbs.

      • Petur Ingi May 28, 2010 at 10:03 am #

        Cannot be bothered? So what… then they’ll simple get their 2GB, same as ubuntuone gives you.

        After using Ubuntu One for about a year i decided to switch to dropbox.
        Why?
        I was sick of conflicts, which UbuntuOne does not alert the user about.
        As a matter of a fact, UbuntuOne does not inform the user of anything, it simple sits there running as a silent daemon in the background.

        A great feature in dropbox is the ability to roll back to a previous version of the file and to undo-delete files. That way if i accidentally delete something or make changes i can always rollback.
        UbuntuOne is missing that feature, meaning if my harddrive starts to die and decides to corrupt my files they’ll be synced into the cloud and down onto all of my other computers hooked up to my account.

        Ubuntu One on ubuntu only was driving me crazy. After switching to dropbox i can access my files from my openSuSE and my windows machine.

        I use dropbox for collaboration on projects with other students, they can’t run UbuntuOne on their windows machines.

        Using dropbox i can make nice photo galleries, like this one: http://www.dropbox.com/gallery/6906110/1/glosur?h=c8a7fb
        ubuntuone does not have anything similiar…

        Those interested in checking out dropbox.. please use this link to register.. will give both of us 250MB of extra space 🙂 https://www.dropbox.com/referrals/NTY5MDYxMTA5

      • linuxandall May 28, 2010 at 4:45 pm #

        I’ll check out your referral link :D. And yes DropBox, for the moment, is a much better service, however, I think that Ubuntu One has more potential in the Ubuntu market. I also think it is better for the community as any profits made on purchases in the store or on extra storage goes towards Ubuntu development. As I’ve said already Ubuntu One is very new and still has a long long way to go before it reaches the level of DropBox however you have to admit that having your files stored somewhere else as an extra backup if you were say a; photographer or a student is undeniable helpful.

        Watch out for an article I will be doing soon about how I would deploy Linux in a school and I have being toying with the idea of whether to chose DropBox or Ubuntu One.

  3. Mark Waters May 28, 2010 at 9:31 am #

    I really want to use this but the X dependency is really annoying , I would love to run this on headless servers like I can with Dropbox.

    • linuxandall May 28, 2010 at 11:55 am #

      Yeah thats a fault compared to dropbox

  4. Eddie Wilson May 28, 2010 at 12:25 pm #

    On be able to access Ubuntu One on other systems, of course you can. On my Windows boxes at work I access, upload, download, and manage files, even on a Win2k box. As far as 10.00 USD a month for 50 gig of space goes, you really can’t compare it with an external or internal hd. This is not the same thing. If you want to carry around an external hd all the time then this may serve no purpose. This is cloud computing. All I use Ubuntu One for is access to current information I may need when I’m not at my home. For this it works perfect. I have used DropBox in the pass and it is good also. My main system at home runs Ubuntu and has for years so it makes sense that I would use Ubuntu One. It is a new service and will get even better with time.

    • linuxandall May 28, 2010 at 4:29 pm #

      In my comparison to the external drive I didn’t totally articulate what I was talking about as what I mean (I accept it isn’t clear at all) for people with older computers runnign Ubuntu with perhaps only a 60gb hard drive. And yes Ubuntu One is literally brand new and will improve greatly over time and develop new features and so on.

  5. Required May 28, 2010 at 12:33 pm #

    If it doesn’t work in other linux distro’s then whats the point. just another example of ubuntu’s lack of contribution to the Linux community. only fixing, changing, and building for ubuntu and not contributing upstream or including the linux community as a whole. sound like vendor lockin to me. Next thing you know they will hide everything in unusable formats, fork gnome and make a mess out of it, then start suing everyone like they invented linux. Ubuntu, the new microsoft.

    • linuxandall May 28, 2010 at 4:35 pm #

      I do agree with you that it sucks that it doesn’t work on other Linux distros, however, this is a brand new product. That’s like saying it sucked when computers were first invented that you couldn’t watch VHS tapes on them. Ubuntu in my opinion, as a dedicated user and contributor in the forums, has the best community for help and support as well as advice.

      Ubuntu is not becoming the Linux equivalent of Microsoft as it doesn’t sue anyone over small resolvable issues and as far as I know aren’t putting everything in unusable formats.

      May I ask what Linux distro you are using.

      Don’t forget to subscribe to the blog for updates.

      Sandy

      • jackd June 1, 2010 at 3:24 pm #

        The the original poster: Of course it can be ported to your favrorite distro. The client code is already open. Their announced plan is to open the server code as well.

        It’s not canonical’s job to support your favorite distro. That’s your job.

  6. Joshua May 28, 2010 at 6:27 pm #

    10$ per month seems very reasonable, this should actually be a Pro , not a Con,

    1) The 50GB that you receive has to be replicated many times as a back up measure.

    2) The cost of running these cloud services , for ex: Manpower (Administrators) , and Hardware (servers) to support that harddrive isn’t cheap either. Imagine the electricity bill they must be getting per day (air-conditioning, power to run the servers)

    3) This is a profit making venture, not a non-profit. Money is needed for rapid development of Ubuntu and making sure that Ubuntu sticks to the policies that Canonical set out with. Mainly, Ubuntu remaining free of charge, but at the same time paying the salaries of the Canonical staff, who I think deserve to be paid for what they are doing.

    4) How do you think they are going to afford to keep 2GB (excluding extra space for backup) alloted for free accounts? And the number of free accounts is going to be much higher than the number of premium accounts.

    Does $10 per month seem reasonable now? I definitely think so.

    • linuxandall May 28, 2010 at 9:13 pm #

      In retrospect those are very good points you make and yes 10$ does seem more reasonable.

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    […] Ubuntu One is the next step in personal cloud computing, which in the developers view ” simplifies your digital life” to quote the homepage of the project. It is worth reading up on all the information on the site, however I will explain in detail the features of it as well as the upsides and downsides of using it More here […]

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