What a year so far!

Busy times folks, last week we announced the launch of the Ubuntu One Mac OS X beta and today the latest Ubuntu release 12.10 went live. This latest Ubuntu release is packed with exciting features, included are some great updates for Ubuntu One and other online services, you can get the full 12.10 low-down on Ubuntu.com

One of the key focus areas has been to put a strong stake in the ground towards our vision to turn the Dash into being the fastest and most stylish way to instantly find things anywhere – whether on your machine or online. We’ve also added new lenses in the Dash including updated Music and Video lenses, making it easier to find your content, whether it’s stored on your hard drive or online.

Another addition is Web Apps, which let you pin commonly-used web applications like GMail, Amazon and Facebook to the Launcher. This lets you access your online applications just like your desktop apps and switch between them more easily when you have several open at the same time. They get their own desktop icon which can be seen in the application switcher and to launch one, there is no need to separately launch a browser and click on a bookmark or enter a URL and passwords.

The Ubuntu One Music Store is a great example of a Web app and is installed by default in 12.10.

Gaming on Ubuntu has been another focus for us and we’ve had a busy couple of months working with new partners such as Humble Bundle, Valve and Unity Technologies who are all investing in the Ubuntu Platform. Ubuntu is a powerful force in the game industry and with the Unity 4.0 release we can’t wait to play the games from their millions of game developers who can now easily publish right to Ubuntu. Watch this space and participate with Valve and Unity at UDS online, as together we continue to make Ubuntu gaming great!

Data Sync Services

For a while now we’ve talked about the need to overhaul our sync infrastructure, enabling us to build better products and deliver higher service levels to our users – well, that vision has been realised in this release with U1DB.

U1DB is a database API for synchronised databases of JSON documents. It’s simple to use in applications, and allows apps to store documents and synchronise them between machines and devices. U1DB itself is not a database: instead, it’s an API and data model which can be backed by any database for storage. This means that you can use U1DB on different platforms, from different languages, and backed on to different databases, and sync between all of them.
Data sync is an essential part of what we want to offer with Ubuntu One. We already offer file sync, and that’s also part of our developer story (the APIs for file sync and music streaming are documented at https://one.ubuntu.com/developer/);

U1DB is designed to offer data sync. Some information in your personal cloud is best done as files: your music, your photos, letters written in Word, things you want to back up. However, applications work with data: contacts, metadata about your files, todo lists, preferences and settings, and most stuff an application works with. We’re building U1DB to allow app developers to work with the same data on every platform and in every language; to save data and sync it between devices without having to manage that themselves.

The above coupled with all the other stuff we’ve had going on has made it quite a year so far, with lots of crunching and hard work, phew!  A few highlights being the recent Mac OS X beta, the U1 referrals program which lets users earn up to 20GB free storage by inviting family and friends. Our Web and mobile Music Store, Ubuntu One Filelink in Thunderbird mail,Ubuntu One Files Java library  and our Send to U1 preview.
Plus, continuing to fix bugs, regular updates for our Windows, Android and iOS apps, general speed and performance improvements and our commitment to speedy customer service, means no wonder we’re now on our way to serving nearly 3 million of you all over the world!

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