After a long and interesting journey, today we've released Ubuntu One Files for Android.
The app started being developed by Michał Karnicki as a Google Summer of Code project, and he did such a fantastic job at it that we hired him on full time and teamed him up Chad Miller to end up releasing a fantastically polished app. It got immediately featured in the press!
It was built on top of our public APIs, documented here: https://one.ubuntu.com/developer/
Besides it letting you access all your files stored in Ubuntu One, it has a very cool feature to auto-sync all the pictures on your phone, having an instant backup of them, and a convenient place to share them!
I'm super proud of the work we put out.
Also, as with all the rest of our clients, it's open source and you can get it in Launchpad
In the last few months, I've been lucky enough to be able to hire some exceptional people that were contributing to Ubuntu One in their free time. Every time someone comes in from the community, filled with excitement about being able to work on their pet project full time my job gets that much better.
So, everyone say hello to James Tait and Michał Karnicki!
Now we're looking for a new team member to help us make the Ubuntu One website awesome. Someone who knows CSS and HTML inside out, cares deeply about doing things the best way possible and is passionate about their work.
If you're interested or know anyone who may, the job posting is up on Canonical's website.
I am ZOMG very tired from the exciting release for Ubuntu One, but I wanted to highlight a very pleasant surprise.
We launched the Ubuntu One Music Streaming a week ago, and yesterday, while hadn't yet publicly released, we got a patch that adds support to tell last.fm the music you are listing from the Android app.
A big thank you to Scott Ferguson for being so awesome.
Matt Griffin has written a great blog post, so I'm just going to echo it:
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.
After a solid 6 months of work, music streaming is up for public testing! \o/
One of the questions that took a little while for me to fully understand was a very simple one: why does Ubuntu One exist?
Depending on who you ask, you may get a different answer, but here's my take on it.
Above all, to extend the power of Ubuntu as an environment. Ubuntu One already allows you to many things beyond the basic file sync we started off with, you can keep your contacts from your phone and desktop (and between other Ubuntu devices) in sync and backed up, notes, bookmarks, all your important files are backed up and synced, you can share them privately or publicly, you can buy music that gets delivered right to your music player, and soon you will be able to stream any of your music to your phone. And this is just today. As the project matures, we are working hard to make it easy for more and more third-party projects to use our platform and out-pace us in ideas and code.
All of this allows Ubuntu to extend its reach into mobile devices and even other operating systems. It feels like integrating into the real world today, not only the world we want to build.
Openness is the next thing on my mind. I know about all the criticisms about the server software not being open, I understand them and I've been through this same process with Launchpad. Right now, Canonical doesn't see a way to fund a 30+ developer team of rockstars, a huge infrastructure and bandwidth usage that is mostly used at no cost and still offer up the code to any competitor who could set up a competing project within minutes. I am sure someday, just like with Launchpad, we will figure it out and I will see all my commits push me up thousands of positions on ohloh. Until then, I'll have to continue working on Wikkid or any of the other 20 projects I use and am interested in, to keep me at a decent ranking.
All that said, the Ubuntu One team releases tons of source code all the time. A lot of the libraries we build are open sourced as soon as we get some time to clean them up and split it out of our source tree. All our desktop clients are open source from the start. On top of that, we work on pieces like desktopcouch, enabling couchdb for the desktop. We even got the chance to work with a closed-source iphone application, iSub, to open source his code so we could base our new streaming client on. We get to pay developers of open source projects on the Android platform as well, to work on improving it so we can deliver a better and more secure experience. We also get a chance to learn to package applications and upload new versions of the libraries we use to the Ubuntu repositories. And hundreds of other small things we do that feel so natural we forget to advertise and be proud of. All of this on Canonical's dime.
Finally, a goal that is dear to my heart. Make Canonical profitable. I have been overwhelmed over and over again by the passion with which Mark personally, and the company as a whole, contributes to making open source be the standard way of developing software in the world. I can understand why it's easy to feel uncomfortable with a privately owned company pursuing a profit while sponsoring an open source project which thousands of people contribute to, but after having sat down in dozens of meetings where everybody there cared about making sure we continue to grow as a community and that open source continues to win over tens of thousands of computers each month, I only worry about Canonical *not* being sustainable and constantly growing.
All these reasons for working on Ubuntu One have been close to my heart for many years now, a long time before I took the final step of investing not only my free time, but my work time, leisure time, and not too seldom, my sleep time, and started working for Canonical in a very strict sense of the term "full time".
I've spent time working in a few different teams, all of them are interesting, exceptionally skilled and open source is a core part of their lives. Ubuntu One is where I feel I can do the most impact today, and I'm beyond lucky to have given the opportunity to act on it.
A little while back, I hinted at us delivering new features for mobile phones, specifically Android and iPhone. Now that we're past the initial research, architecture and initial implementation phase, I'd like to share one of the new features we'll be releasing in Ubuntu 10.10: music streaming.
In Ubuntu 10.04, we released the music store, and to compliment that, we will be allowing you to stream any music you have in your Ubuntu One account to your iPhone or Android mobile phone. This feature will be bundled as part of the paid plan, although we are planning some re-structuring to that, yet to be announced.
We've chosen to base this new service on free software, and have picked Subsonic clients as our platform, implementing compatible APIs on our servers.
On the iPhone, Ben Baron, who develops the iSub client for that platform, has decided to open source the code for his application, enabling us to build our iPhone as an open source project. We can't thank him enough, for enabling that for us, you should try out iSub, it's an amazing application.
We hope to slowly start opening up the testing of the service before the 10.10 release, but more on that as we make progress.
More on our epic roadmap to 10.10 soon!
We should have released the source for the iphone client right after we did the upload to the appstore, but a bunch of bureaucracy and crazy work deadlines postponed this until now.
We're going to be doing some work for the Ubuntu 10.10 release on the iphone client as well as on a new Android client, both clients are going to be open source, like all our other Ubuntu One clients.
We've created the projects on Launchpad, pushed the initial source code for the iphone client, and will start pushing Android as soon as we get out of the exploration stage.
The projects are available at:
Stay tuned for more on our new mobile services!
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