Canonical Voices

Cristian Parrino

So let there be Windows…

Ok, we’ve made the jump. An Ubuntu-branded experience on Windows. Can you believe it?

With the Maverick release, we’re finally delivering a service that gives you a flavor of our broader personal cloud strategy. As we strive to introduce security, control and convenience around the different facets of your digital world, we will be evolving in a number of areas:

    • > Platform ubiquity (Ubuntu, Web and now a Windows Beta) on basic synchronization services and breadth of content synced (Files, Contacts, Bookmarks and Notes are already available)
    • > Services that let you do more with that content (our cloud to mobile music streaming service for Android and iPhone is a first example)
    • > The integration of third party services (like the 7digital music store)

We’re ready to take the next step toward serving the needs of those ‘legacy’ OS users by accepting requests to join the public beta of Ubuntu One for Windows. Expanding to Windows is actually a fantastic thing for Ubuntu users. There are many of you out there that use Ubuntu at home and Windows, for example, at work. This platform expansion will make it easier to integrate Ubuntu into more aspects of your digital world.

For our first release of Ubuntu One for Windows, we decided to start small, with a target of delivering a commercial grade and a more comprehensive offering for Natty in April 2011. Our first Beta release synchronizes files between your Windows computer, your Ubuntu One personal cloud and your Ubuntu computer(s). Please review our wiki page for feature updates to our beta Windows service.

Update: The Windows beta installer is now available for everyone https://one.ubuntu.com/windows/beta

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Joshua Hoover

Ask Ubuntu

The Ubuntu One team has been working hard to improve support of late. We initially focused on our status page, FAQs, and contacting Ubuntu One support directly. All of those areas have gone through several iterations and are continuing to evolve. One part of the support equation we’ve been missing is a definitive place to get help from other Ubuntu One users. Ask Ubuntu is the place to go for this type of community support.

Ask Ubuntu logoTo steal a line from the FAQ, Ask Ubuntu is a Q&A site designed to make it easy for users to get answers to Ubuntu-related questions. It’s easy to get started asking and answering questions. You can use an OpenID login like a Launchpad or Google account, or other options like Facebook, etc. to login to the site. For Ubuntu One related questions, use the ubuntu-one tag. Once you receive an answer you’re satisfied with, mark it as the accepted answer by clicking on the check box outline to the left of the answer.

Beyond asking and answering questions, you can also vote (up or down) questions and answers others have provided. Votes go towards a person’s reputation on the site. For example, if you answer a question and someone votes your answer up, you’ll gain +10. If someone votes up your question, you’ll gain +5. That’s right, good questions go towards building your reputation. For more info on reputation and Ask Ubuntu in general, check out the Ask Ubuntu FAQ.

Some Ubuntu One questions can’t be answered on Ask Ubuntu. These include questions specific to your account (billing, login, etc.) or those that require details about specific content not syncing properly. For example, my file “~/Pictures/Joshua on mongoose hunt.jpg” won’t sync. Questions like these require private information to be exchanged and should be asked via the Ubuntu One contact form.

In general, when looking for Ubuntu One support, you’ll want to consider the following options, in this order:

  1. Status page – There may be a service disruption causing the problem you’re having.
  2. FAQs – We continue to build and groom a list of frequently asked questions that may provide the answer to the question you have.
  3. Ask Ubuntu – If your question is not account related and doesn’t appear to need specifics on your content (file names, contacts, etc.), ask the community for help.
  4. Contact form – If your question is account related or you have specific issues with your content (particular files or contacts not syncing, etc) then contact us directly for support.

We’re excited about Ask Ubuntu. It only takes a minute or so to sign up and start using the site, so please do! See you there.

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Matt Griffin

It’s finally here. Ubuntu One users can now add music streaming to the long list of things that we offer. This is a big step for us and our goal of creating useful services around your content.

We have to thank the Android beta testers who provided great feedback, identified important bugs and streamed enough songs to their phones to help us identify ways that we should improve our infrastructure.

Testing in the wild and sharing the code with everyone has yielded another benefit – feature contributions. We didn’t expect it, but the Ubuntu One Music app for Android will also include last.fm Scrobbling support. Special thanks to Scott Ferguson for that contribution… even before the app was released!

Find out more about Ubuntu One Mobile and music streaming at one.ubuntu.com/mobile.

Ubuntu One Music for Android and iPhone

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Matt Griffin

After over a year’s worth of feedback from users like you and a clear view of where we want to take Ubuntu One in the future, we’ve just made some changes to the Ubuntu One service offering and pricing plans.

For starters, we will no longer offer the 50 GB plan to new subscribers. Everyone will get the basic plan and then have the option to add various ‘add-ons’ of services and storage as needed. But here are the details:

Ubuntu One Basic – available now
This is the same as the current free 2 GB option but with a new name. Users can continue to sync files, contacts, bookmarks and notes for free as part of our basic service and access the integrated Ubuntu One Music Store. We are also extending our platform support to include a Windows client, which will be available in Beta very soon.

Ubuntu One Mobile – available October 7th
Ubuntu One Mobile is our first example of a service that helps you do more with the content stored in your personal cloud. With Ubuntu One Mobile’s main feature – mobile music streaming – users can listen to any MP3 songs in their personal cloud (any owned MP3s, not just those purchased from the Ubuntu One Music Store) using our custom developed apps for iPhone and Android (coming soon to their respective marketplaces). These will be open source and available from Launchpad. Ubuntu One Mobile will also include the mobile contacts sync feature that was launched in Beta for the 10.04 release.

Ubuntu One Mobile is available for $3.99 (USD) per month or $39.99 (USD) per year. Users interested in this add-on can try the service free for 30 days. Ubuntu One Mobile will be the perfect companion to your morning exercise, daily commute, and weekend at the beach – we’re really excited to bring you this service!

Ubuntu One 20-Packs – available now
A 20-Pack is 20 GB of storage for files, contacts, notes, and bookmarks. Users will be able to add multiple 20-Packs at $2.99 (USD) per month or $29.99 (USD) per year each. If you start with Ubuntu One Basic (2 GB) and add 1 20-Pack (20 GB), you will have 22 GB of storage.

All add-ons are available for purchase in multiple currencies – USD, EUR and, recently added, GBP.

Users currently paying for the old 50 GB plan (including mobile contacts sync) can either keep their existing service or switch to the new plans structure to get more value from Ubuntu One at a lower price.

We know that you will enjoy these new add-ons as well as the performance enhancements we’ve made to Ubuntu One in recent months. If you have questions, our recently updated support area is a great place to start. There you’ll find a link to the current status of Ubuntu One services, a link to our frequently updated list of frequently asked questions, and a way to send us a direct message. As always, you can also ping the team on IRC (#ubuntuone in freenode). We welcome your questions, comments and suggestions.

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Matt Griffin

Some of you may remember this blueprint about music steaming and the discussion at UDS-M earlier this year. Well we have some great news to share.

This new Ubuntu One service is almost complete and we’d like to invite you to help us test. The mobile music streaming service will enable you to enjoy your music, just like you do with Rhythmbox on your desktop, from your mobile phone.

  • Stream your entire library from your Ubuntu One personal cloud over a Wi-Fi or 3G connection.
  • Listen using the new Ubuntu One Music app for Android and iPhone. Apps coming soon.

Want to know more about this new feature? Take a look at the beta test information page which includes a link to join the beta test, a few screenshots, and answers to questions that you may have.

Ubuntu One Music on your Android phone

Get started with Ubuntu One Music

Listen to all of your artists and albums

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Matt Griffin

Ubuntu One Maverick beta update

Special thanks go out to the Ubuntu Maverick alpha and beta testers and those that are informing us of Ubuntu One bugs in the release. Our team has been hard at work resolving them so I thought I’d provide a brief summary of a few of the most recent fixes.

  • Ubuntu One is now using the new Ubuntu SSO authentication service. There have been many bug fixes along with this change that will make creating an Ubuntu One account more convenient and signing-in to add a computer more reliable
  • Fixed the application name “Ubuntu One” that we display at https://login.ubuntu.com/+applications
  • Added the Nautilus Ubuntu One ribbon and implemented fixes for when it is visible, how it functions, and some related Nautilus crashing issues
  • Fixes to Nautilus displaying published files
  • Many server side improvements to improve server resource efficiency and enhance desktop sync speed
  • Usability enhancements to the contact picker which will make privately sharing folders using your Evolution address book an easier process
  • The Ubuntu One Music Store is now available to Maverick testers using Rhythmbox. A fix is coming soon for Banshee

These are only a few areas that the team has worked on to make it a better service for all customers. Thanks again for the Maverick beta testers for providing important feedback on Ubuntu One. If you notice problems with Ubuntu One on Maverick or any other release, please file bugs at our Launchpad project page.

UPDATE:

Just a reminder that if you are filing a bug, it’s best to at least include this basic information (courtesy of Dave Winer via Joshua Hoover).

  1. What you were doing.
  2. What you expected to happen.
  3. What actually happened.

Thanks!

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Matt Griffin

We have some great news to share about Ubuntu One support for Android devices.

Ubuntu One Contacts for Android

We recently released an Android version of the Ubuntu One Contacts sync application. This app will sync your phone address book with your Ubuntu One personal cloud to help keep your digital life together. An Ubuntu One account is required.

Ubuntu One Contacts is based on the existing Funambol application but we’ve made a few enhancements.

  • You no longer need a custom username and password. Sign in with your standard Ubuntu One username and password (same as your Ubuntu SSO account)
  • Many interface updates to improve the application’s overall usability

Ubuntu One Contacts is now available for free from the Android Market. Just search for “Ubuntu One” and install. Remember that we’ve temporarily removed the time limit on the mobile contacts sync trial so more people can experience this feature. After the Ubuntu 10.10 release on October 10, we will re-enable the 30-day time limit.

The hackers among you are also welcome to download the source code of our Android application and learn how it works.

More Android devices

Ubuntu One Mobile Contacts Sync now supports more Android devices. In fact, these are some of the most popular Android devices available. They include the following:

  • Google Nexus One
  • HTC Dragon
  • Motorola A855 Tao
  • Motorola Driod
  • Motorola Milestone
  • Motorola Moto XT701
  • Motorola Motorio XT720
  • Motorola Moto XT800
  • Motorola Sholes
  • Motorola Sholes Tablet
  • Motorola Zeppelin

If you have one of these devices, sign up for Ubuntu One and try out Mobile Contacts Sync today.

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Matt Griffin

The Ubuntu One team is working hard to finish our many enhancements for Ubuntu 10.10. Read a preview of some of the features we’re building. Highlights include:

  • Mobile music streaming
  • Mobile contacts sync enhancements
  • Significantly improved sync performance
  • File sync for Windows

More information coming soon about the other ways Ubuntu One will help bring your digital life together this October.

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Matt Griffin

Ubuntu One dashboard update

Ubuntu One August 2010 dashboard update

Some of you may have noticed that we recently updated the Ubuntu One dashboard. A few of the changes include:

  • Clearer view of how you’re using Ubuntu One with your files, contacts, and notes
  • Links to important Ubuntu One account management resources
  • Highlight our YouTube channel (more info on that coming soon)

We also added a link to the current Ubuntu One status at the bottom of all pages. This is an area that we update frequently with news about the current status of all Ubuntu One services. It’s a great first place to visit if you notice a problem and are curious if it’s been reported.

As we get closer to Ubuntu 10.10, we’ll release many more updates to the website so stay tuned.

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Matt Griffin

Search the Ubuntu One Music Store for these top selling albums and singles. All items listed may not be available for purchase in all regional stores. Sorry about that.

Top albums

  1. Jack Johnson – To The Sea
  2. Gorillaz – Plastic Beach
  3. Ministry of Sound – Chilled Acoustic
  4. The National – High Violet
  5. Zac Brown Band – The Foundation
  6. Train – Save Me, San Francisco
  7. The Rural Alberta Advantage – Hometowns
  8. LCD Soundsystem – This Is Happening
  9. Green Day – International Superhits!
  10. Lady Antebellum – Need You Now

Top singles

  • Jack Johnson – You And Your Heart
  • Train – Hey, Soul Sister
  • Shakira featuring Freshlyground – Waka Waka (This Time for Africa) – It’s the Official World Cup song!
  • Katy Perry – California Gurls (featuring Snoop Dogg)
  • Ke$ha – Your Love Is My Drug

New & Noteworthy

  • Twilight – The Twilight Saga: Eclipse
  • Christina Aguilera – Bionic – A Deluxe Version with 23 songs is available.
  • Devo – Something For Everybody – The guys from Akron, Ohio are back with a new album!
  • Tom Petty & the Heardbreakers – Mojo
  • Sarah McLachlan – Laws of Illusion – Catch her on tour this summer throughout North America.
  • Oasis – Time Flies… 1994-2009 – 27 fantastic songs.
  • Drake – Thank Me Later
  • The Steve Miller Band – BINGO! – Also don’t forget the Steve Miller Band – Greatest Hits: 1974-1978. It’s like Frampton Comes Alive – everyone needs it.
  • Morcheeba – Blood Like Lemonade
  • Wilco – A.M. – Wilco’s first album. Heard this last night at a pizza place and it brought back some great memories :)

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Matt Griffin

Search the Ubuntu One Music Store for these top selling albums and singles.

Top albums

  1. Jack Johnson – To The Sea
  2. Lady Antebellum – Need You Now
  3. LCD Soundsystem – This Is Happening
  4. Green Day – International Superhits!
  5. Pink Floyd – Wish You Were Here
  6. Stone Temple Pilots – Stone Temple Pilots
  7. The Black Keys – Brothers
  8. Lady GaGa – The Fame Monster
  9. Florence + The Machine – Lungs
  10. Band Of Horses – Infinite Arms

Top singles

  • Rush – Caravan
  • La Roux – Bulletproof
  • Katy Perry featuring Snoop Dog - California Gurls
  • Lena – Satellite

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Matt Griffin

Ubuntu 10.04 LTS is now available. With this release of Ubuntu, there are many new Ubuntu One features. Here are just a few.

Ubuntu One Music Store
Ubuntu users have access to purchase popular music from all of their favorite artists that make up an expanding catalog of millions of songs available in the Ubuntu One Music Store. Select from top pics and new releases or search for your favorite artist, album or song. Ensure that your computer is setup for sync and launch the store in Rhythmbox for a cloud-enabled shopping experience.

Mobile Contacts Sync
Synchronize your mobile phone address book with your Ubuntu One personal cloud and Evolution on your Ubuntu desktops. Mobile Contacts Sync also enables subscribers to synchronize your Ubuntu One contacts with Thunderbird, Outlook on Windows, and the Mac Address Book.

Ubuntu One Preferences
All subscribers now have more control over their synchronization settings. Launch the Ubuntu One Preferences application to view current personal cloud storage usage, link to support options, manage synchronizing computers, and even control which Ubuntu One features are synchronized on the machine you are currently using.

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.

Publish files
Easily share files with anyone directly from your Ubuntu desktop. We even provide you with a short URL to use on services like identi.ca, twitter, and facebook.

Infrastructure upgrades
Not only do we have many new features for Ubuntu 10.04 LTS, the Ubuntu One team spent a great deal of time improving the infrastructure. Subscribers should see faster file and folder synchronization on their desktops as well as a website tools that are snappier.

Ubuntu One provides a free subscription with 2 GB of storage for everyone and a monthly subscription that includes more storage and additional features.

Learn more about all of the great Ubuntu One features and subscription plans.

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Matt Griffin

We had a very successful public alpha for Mobile Contacts Sync and have to thank the many that participated for their valuable feedback. Mobile Contacts Sync is now an improved service and we’re ready to move to beta.

In case you don’t know about it, this service enables you to synchronize your mobile phone with your Ubuntu One personal cloud. We support 1000s of mobile phones so chances are that your phone will work. We even have an iPhone client and support Android 2.0 devices.

For those of you that participated in the alpha, we will reset your 30-day trial on Monday, May 3rd, so you can continue to use the service for another 30 days.

If you haven’t used Mobile Contacts Sync yet, it is available to everyone. All free Ubuntu One subscribers can even try the feature for 30 days at no charge.

Learn more about it at the Ubuntu One website.

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Joshua Hoover

While we provide contacts sync out of the box for Evolution, some users prefer to use other email clients like Mozilla’s Thunderbird. Up until recently, there wasn’t an option to synchronize your contacts in Thunderbird with Ubuntu One. Now that we offer mobile contacts sync there is a way to do this. In order to try syncing your Thunderbird contacts you’ll need to use a 30-day free trial of our mobile sync service. If you decide you like it, you’ll need to upgrade to the paid plan. Along with mobile contacts sync, which provides syncing contacts across many mobile phones in addition to Thunderbird contacts syncing, you’ll get 50 GB of storage with a paid plan. Ready to try out syncing Thunderbird contacts with Ubuntu One? Sign up for Ubuntu One and follow these step-by-step instructions on our wiki.

Funambol Thunderbird client sync success screenshot

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Matt Griffin

Ubuntu One users running Ubuntu 10.04 LTS will have access to two great new features (among many others).

Sync any folder
You no longer have to put everything that you want synchronized into the Ubuntu One folder. Right-click on any folder in your home directory and choose “Synchronize on Ubuntu One”. Now the folder will sync with your personal cloud and your other computers. If the same folder exists on your other computers, the contents will be merged. Now it’s easy to sync your Documents, Music, Pictures, or any folder in your home directory.

File publishing
Ubuntu One already supports sharing folders with specific people who are also Ubuntu One subscribers. We now enable you to publish your files for anyone to see. We call it file publishing and it even comes with a convenient short URL to send to all of your friends. Right-click on any synchronizing file and choose “Publish via Ubuntu One”. Right-click again and choose “Copy Ubuntu One public URL” to add the short URL to your clipboard. Now you can sync, share and publish… directly from your Ubuntu desktop.

More information on these and many other great Ubuntu One features for Ubuntu 10.04 LTS will be available soon at one.ubuntu.com.

Watch Joshua’s screencast to learn how to use these new features.

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Joshua Hoover

Thanks to the hard work by Jo Shields you can now enjoy the Ubuntu One Music Store within Banshee! You’ll need to be running Lucid Beta 2 with all the latest and greatest updates. Watch the screencast below for details on how to get this installed.

To download and install the extension, type the following in a Terminal:

sudo apt-get install banshee-extension-ubuntuonemusicstore

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Matt Griffin

Along with the start of the mobile contacts sync public alpha test, we’re also happy to announce the availability of the Ubuntu One Contacts sync application in the iTunes App Store. iPhone users can join the public alpha by downloading the application for free and adding their phone sync username and password. The other sync configuration settings are pre-populated in the app.

Again, since this is a test, we encourage you to backup your contacts before synchronizing. Please review the Phone Sync FAQ and report all testing results (the good and the bad) at https://wiki.ubuntu.com/UbuntuOne/PhoneSync/.

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Matt Griffin

We’re excited to finally make this announcement. For over a year now, the Ubuntu One team has been working on an address book contacts synchronization service that will raise the bar for what’s currently available on Linux desktops.

Getting contacts on CouchDB and replicating between desktops and the cloud was the first big step. The second, and much bigger step, is to actually get those contacts from and to mobile phones. To achieve this, we have partnered with a company called Funambol, who share our views on open source, and have an established a proven software stack that synchronizes thousands of mobile phones and other devices. Funambol has built a community around different client plugins, virtually supporting the majority of the existing software on all platforms that have contacts (Thunderbird, Outlook, Mac OS X Mail, etc). We are excited to be working with them.

Due to the costs of implementing the Funambol server, the phone synchronization service will only be part of Ubuntu One paid plans. But everyone (free and paid users) will have the opportunity to try the service and get all of their contacts onto their desktop for free with a 30-day trial!. The 30 days will only start counting once Ubuntu 10.04 LTS is released at the end of April.

More information about the mobile contacts synchronization service can be found at the Phone Sync FAQ.

Right now we’re at a stage where we feel confident opening up the service for wider testing. Before joining the test, we strongly recommend that you backup your contacts since we’ve only tested with a hand-full of phone models at this point.

We’re still ramping up our servers to support new record level loads, so we expect the next week or two to be a bit bumpy. We should have these infrastructure improvements ready before the Ubuntu 10.04 LTS release.

All of the information to start testing is available at: https://wiki.ubuntu.com/UbuntuOne/PhoneSync/. No matter how successful or unsuccessful the mobile contacts synchronization is for you, we would like to ask everyone to please fill out the test cases. They are critical to improving this new service for everyone.

At this point of testing, we favor IRC chats (freenode, #ubuntuone) rather than creating new bugs in Launchpad. We would feel better if the developers filed the bugs with the proper debugging information rather than having dozens of bugs we can’t act on. This will change in the near future, but for this stage, it’s easier for us.

Thank you! We look forward to getting your testing results.

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Matt Griffin

The Ubuntu One Music Store sells high quality MP3 songs – most at 256 kbps and some at 320 kbps. One way to enhance your music even further is by using an equalizer. Rhythmbox doesn’t include this functionality out-of-the-box but I found a great plugin that does a fantastic job.

rbeq plugin

rbeq Rhythmbox equalizer plugin

Jorge at The Road to Elysium writes about the rbeq project. I tested it out over the weekend and was very impressed. Unlike some other equalizer plugins I’ve tried, you can make changes without restarting Rhythmbox and can even save presets. The plugin worked well most of the time though I occasionally experienced Rhythmbox crashes. Follow Christopher Kruse at the Corner of Seven blog for news on future updates.

I also made an rbeq equalizer presets file that adds to the existing equalizer settings. After installing rbeq, copy this file to ~/.gnome2/rhythmbox/plugins/rbeq, remove the ‘.txt’ from it, and restart Rhythmbox. I’ve found that the ‘presets’ file sometimes gets deleted so you may want to keep a backup handy.

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Matt Griffin

There’s a lot of great activity going on in the Ubuntu One team these days. Over the coming weeks leading up to Ubuntu 10.04 LTS, you will start to see more and more information about new desktop and website features and improvements that will make Ubuntu One a more stable service and a joy to use.

Contacts update

We recently made some changes to the contacts page by grouping your address book in an A-to-Z format. This should make it load faster and be easier to use whether you have 10 contacts or thousands. There are also a few more enhancements to this tool coming soon.

Stay tuned for more news on all of the improvements coming soon to Ubuntu One.

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