Ubuntu: The desktop Linux with the cloud inside

Who needs Live Mesh, YouSendIt, or Dropbox when desktop Ubuntu Linux comes with its own built-in free cloud file and music-streaming client and service?
Written by Steven Vaughan-Nichols, Senior Contributing Editor

Things can get really confusing when you start working with cloud-computing but we can all agree that having cloud file-storage is a good thing. It's just so much easier to keep files in a universal storage box in the sky than worrying about whether you put the right USB drive in your laptop bag when you left for work. At this time though only one mainstream desktop operating system comes with the cloud built-in: Ubuntu.

Instead of having to use an extra service, like Windows with Live Mesh; wait for Apple to get iCloud deployed; or use a third-party services, such as YouSendIt or Dropbox, Ubuntu's been coming with Ubuntu One, it's built-in cloud file client and service, since Ubuntu 9.10 was released in October 2009.

Ubuntu One, which recently passed the one-million user mark, has had some recent improvements. These have made it much more useful. For those who prefer more storage, which is pretty much everyone, Ubuntu One Basic, the free service, has changed its name to Ubuntu One Free and it now comes with 5GBs of free storage Instead of 2GBs.

If you opt for the paid Ubuntu One Music Streaming service in addition to music streaming, you'll get an additional 20GBs of storage. For $3.99 a month that's not bad. Need more room? It's $2.99 a month for each fresh allotment of 20GBs

On top of that there's also now Ubuntu One file and music streaming clients for Android There's also an Ubuntu One iPod/iPhone/iPad music streaming client. It's my understanding that an iOS file client is also in the works.

If you use Windows as well as Linux, there's also a Windows Ubuntu One client. This is still in beta, but I'm told that it will be getting new features and pushed out to the door for general release soon.

Last, but far from least, Canonical, Ubuntu's parent company, has finally opened up the Ubuntu One App Developer Program. The application programming interfaces (APIs) are also publically available now. Canonical is hoping that will, besides just improving the clients in general, will help lead to the creation of an Ubuntu One client for Macs.

All-in-all, Ubuntu One's a good deal. I use it myself. I'm looking forward to the arrival of the cleaned-up Windows client and the Mac client, so I can recommend Ubuntu One to all my computer using friends-and not just the ones that are sold on Ubuntu Linux.

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