Livin' La Vida Canonical Ain't Easy
Linux is free as in beer. Yeah, and speech too, but I'm concentrating on the beer right now. The same is true for Ubuntu's brand of Linux. You can download a free beer, er, I mean a free ISO image of the latest Ubuntu from the Ubuntu servers, burn that ISO, and install it on as many PCs as you want. You can then hand that CD to a friend and let them do the same. I've done this countless times over the years. I've also paid for Linux many times over the years and frankly, I don't object to doing that when I think paying a little here and there supports the companies that support and promote Linux and other free and open source software.
I especially don't mind paying when those open source companies, like Canonical, offer me (or my customers) additional services like support, online storage, music stores . . .
Yeah, you can see where this is going. I'm talking about Ubuntu One. It seems that the perfect way for me to give Canonical a monthly cheque, part of which supports Canonical and its efforts to market and develop Ubuntu, and part of which, I am hoping, makes its way back to the FOSS community in some way. In exchange for my dollars, I get however many gigabytes of online storage I'm willing to pay for.
I already pay for online storage through Amazon S3 which, coincidentally, is what Ubuntu One uses for its storage. Rather than give the money to Amazon, I could give it to Ubuntu and they could hand Amazon's share back to Amazon. I could also buy my music through Ubuntu One's music store and listen to some tunes while my data is backed up. It seems like the perfect system, except I can't do it.
Ubuntu One doesn't work particularly well if you are running Kubuntu. The music store doesn't work at all with Amarok, the multimedia player that's a part of KDE. I just don't use Banshee or Rhythmbox because my desktop runs KDE. I use GNOME aplenty on servers, just not on my desktop. Ubuntu One also doesn't yet have a native KDE client which is also mildly problematic. Finally, when I use S3, I can mount my storage on any Linux server, whether CentOS, Red Hat, OpenSUSE, or whatever, then use those mounted file systems as external drives onto which I can do unattended backups. I can't do any of that with Ubuntu One.
Seriously, dudes, I actually want to live La Vida Canonical. I am your perfect customer, ready and willing to spend my money. I'm a huge supporter of Canonical's work to promote the consumer Linux desktop. Trust me. But you've got to make it worthwhile, and you've got to make it easy.
Still, the open source community is nothing if not resourceful. But somewhere behind that Ubuntu One connection is a simple hook to S3 (or simple-ish). It should be relatively easy for some bright developer to unearth it. Consider this a call, nay, a challenge, to that resourceful community. Find out what happens when Ubuntu One mounts its folder on your Ubuntu desktop. Then, translate that hook into something that can be mounted using s3fs. Then all of us can start living la vida Canonical if we so desire.
As for the music store, the plugin to Amarok, that would be good too. But I want the storage more.
Until next time . . .