Canonical, the commercial company behind the popular Ubuntu distribution, has announced their plans to offer a Cloud based storage service called Ubuntu One. You can sign up for this service, add a repository and download the software using apt-get or synaptic. Once you install, it adds a folder called Ubuntu One and any files/folders put inside this folder is shared between all the computers where the software is installed. I haven’t played around with it yet but it sounds more like Dropbox.
Ubuntu has already announced plans to integrate Eucalyptus into their distro and with this announcement, they are planning to integrate the desktop features of the Cloud. Right now, it is under invite only mode but it will eventually be released to the public. Currently, this service runs on Amazon EC2 and S3 but it appears there are plans to move the service to Canonical’s own infrastructure later. Currently, they offer a free 2 GB account and a 10 GB account for $10 a month. This is pretty expensive for a Cloud storage. I am not sure what kind of traction it will get when it is possible to just mount Amazon S3 on to any Linux machine and dropbox even has a Linux client. Unless they offer a competitive pricing, we are not going to see mass migrations into Ubuntu One.
In fact, I am waiting for a deeper integration between Linux and the Clouds and Ubuntu One is not the solution I am waiting for. Instead of jumping into the Storage as a Service bandwagon, Ubuntu could develop apps that integrates Ubuntu desktop with exisiting storage services. As a Linux user, I don’t think lack of availability of storage services by Open Source vendors to be a problem waiting to be solved. Instead the problem is to find a way to deeply integrate Linux OSes, in general, and Ubuntu, in particular to the existing set of Cloud based storage solutions. Cloning existing services and charging more than the original service is downright naive.