Most users have heard of Dropbox, the online storage application which makes it easy to save files in the “cloud”. As far as consumer-facing cloud storage solutions Dropbox is about the best there is.
But for Ubuntu Linux users there is a pretty handy alternative which integrates really nicely with an Ubuntu desktop machine: UbuntuOne.
UbuntuOne started out as a basic file storage application but over the course of two releases has become a powerful application which does a whole lot more than just store files in the cloud. Recently UbuntuOne has extended its feature set to include a range of additional features. Among these are:
Naturally, UbuntuOne’s primary task is to store documents online and synchronise those with other computers a user has connected to UbuntuOne.
These files are available to all other computers authorised to use the account. The files are also available online through a web browser for when you’re on the road or are using another operating system without UbuntuOne.
Folders stored on UbuntuOne can be shared with friends, family and colleagues. UbuntuOne is tightly integrated into the desktop so simply right-clicking on a folder brings up a sharing menu for making folders available to contacts.
Integrated short URLs
Sharing individual files with users on social networks such as Twitter, Facebook and so on is also easy. UbuntuOne includes a URL-shortening service in the right-click menu. Right-click once and selecting “Publish via UbuntuOne” creates a short URL. Right-clicking again gives the option to copy the short URL to the clipboard for use elsewhere.
Synchronise any folder
Originally UbuntuOne could only synchronise the specified UbuntuOne folder with the online storage. Now, however, it is possible to right-click on any folder in the home directory and synchronise that with UbuntuOne as well.
UbuntuOne now also supports the Evolution email client, which means that users using Evolution can store their contacts on UbuntuOne and have those shared with other computers they use. Contact directories can be stored locally or on UbuntuOne. Most recently UbuntuOne has added the ability to also synchronise mobile phone contacts with the UbuntuOne store. UbuntuOne uses Syncml to manage the contacts so it can be used with most popular mobile handsets.
Another application integrated with UbuntuOne is Tomboy, the note-taking application. UbuntuOne has an option for storing notes created in Tomboy online. Again, any other PC authorised on the user’s UbuntuOne account can access these notes directly from the desktop, or through the web.
Firefox support is also included in UbuntuOne which means that bookmarks stored in Firefox are automatically synchronised with the online UbuntuOne.
UbuntuOne Music Store
Another of the newer features in UbuntuOne is support for the UbuntuOne Music Store. The Music Store itself integrates with desktop music players such as Rhythmbox and allows users to search for and buy songs and albums.
These purchases can be downloaded to the desktop but are also stored online in the UbuntuOne storage area. So even if away from your desktop you still have access to music that you purchased through the Music Store.
UbuntuOne has come a long way since its start as a file storage service and now offers a number of great features. It’s only drawback is the fact that it still only works on Ubuntu Linux, although Windows and Mac OS X users can still access the web-based portion of the service.
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