Making the most of Ubuntu's personal cloud service

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© Thomas Pajot -

© Thomas Pajot -

One Up

Ubuntu One is a service from Canonical that lets you access your documents, photos, music, and files everywhere, and it's in every version of Ubuntu. Instead of just "one weird trick" to get the most out of your Ubuntu One account, here's a bunch.

Ubuntu One is Ubuntu's cloud service. As its own website says, Ubuntu One is "the personal cloud that brings your digital life together, so you can enjoy your content, your way, wherever you are" [1].

Simply put, you can use Ubuntu One to store, sync, and stream photos, documents, and music, and the service is part of Ubuntu as well as available on other devices and platforms, such as Android, Windows and Mac. That much is apparent, but, in this article, I will show you some creative ways to use the service, which will make your life as an Ubuntu user easier.

Beam Up your Folders

If you're already using Ubuntu One (U1), then you know that it creates a new folder named Ubuntu One in your home folder, which is automatically synced with the cloud. However, you can add other folders to Ubuntu One as well.

Some good examples include Documents and Pictures. Simply add your Documents folder to U1 (Figure 1); then a month from now when you're away from your desk and think, "ooh, I wish I had that document," you can just grab it on your phone or borrow someone else's laptop and get from there.

Figure 1: Say Add a folder from this computer and choose your Documents folder.

Think of this as a safety net: You never need to email a file to yourself ever again just to make sure it's on your phone. The documents you've created or saved are instantly accessible to you from anywhere you can access the Internet.


It's fairly common to want to send a file to a business contact, a friend, or a colleague. Obviously, one way to do that is just to attach the file directly to an email; however, that approach is sometimes fairly inconvenient. Gmail will refuse to send attachments larger than 25MB; your recipient may not be able to receive large attachments even if you can send them; and it's often quite nice to be able to read your mail without having to download a large attached file first!

A convenient alternative is to send a link to the file instead, and Ubuntu One makes this really easy. To begin, make sure the file is in Ubuntu One already. If you added your Documents folder to U1 as above, and your file is in there somewhere, then you're already done. If not, simply drop a copy of the file into your Ubuntu One folder. Then, launch the Ubuntu One app from the Dash and, on the Share Links tab, you can search by name for the file you want to share (Figure 2).

Figure 2: Find your file to share within the Ubuntu One app.

Next, click on the file you want and then click on Copy Link (Figure 3). You now have a link that you can send to anyone, and your colleagues can download the file at their leisure (Figure 4).

Figure 3: Ubuntu One has now created a link for your file.
Figure 4: Add the link to an email or a message, and recipients can get your attachment whenever they choose.

Mozilla Thunderbird, the default email app for Ubuntu 11.10 and later, has Ubuntu One support for emailed attachments built in. Visit Mozilla support [2] to learn how to enable what Mozilla calls "FileLink," which is the integration with Ubuntu One.

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