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Canonical Ubuntu One Music Streaming review


Essential for Ubuntu users, but it lacks the version control and polished interfaces of some rivals

Review Date: 22 Jun 2012

Price when reviewed: £3


Reviewed By: Kat Orphanides

Our Rating 3 stars out of 5

Canonical is best known for Ubuntu 12.04, which is widely regarded as the most approachable version of the Linux operating system. Ubuntu One cloud storage and synchronisation is an integral part of recent Ubuntu distributions, but it's also available to Windows, Android and iOS users. Ubuntu One is completely integrated with the Unity desktop, which is convenient if you’re an Ubuntu Linux user. It's also linked to the Ubuntu One Music Store, which you can use to buy music in MP3 format.

Ubuntu One's basic 5GB package is free, but if you want to stream the music you've bought or uploaded via your browser or mobile, you'll have to subscribe to the Music Streaming package, which enables streaming and increases your storage to 20GB. It's $3.99 per month (approximately £2.60), making it reasonably priced. Beyond that, every extra 20GB costs another $2.99 (£1.95) per month, and you can also get space without adding audio streaming.

The One client makes it easy to manage your synchronised folders. The default Ubuntu One folder is always synchronised across every computer on which you install the software; you can add other folders to individual computers by ticking the Sync Locally box. The Devices tab lets you see a list of all the systems associated with your account. The settings menu lets you limit your upload and download speeds.

Ubuntu One

We're fairly pleased with Ubuntu's paid-for service. It's purely oriented towards synchronisation, so you can’t schedule backups, although you can set up an Ubuntu One shared directory as a target for other backup software. Even though you can add folders from anywhere on your computer, it lacks some fairly common features such as versioning. It’s also worth noting that your stored files are not encrypted, although there’s nothing to prevent you encrypting them yourself.

Its web interface is easy to navigate and it’s simple to download files and share them with others using the Publish option. A music player lets you play any tracks uploaded to your share or bought via the Ubuntu Music Store (currently only available under Ubuntu Linux) directly from your browser. OGG and MP3 files streamed perfectly, but the player couldn’t read our FLAC audio tracks. There’s no photo browser, but there are apps for iOS and Android that can stream music and let you access your files.

Ubuntu One’s ability to work across both Linux and Windows platforms is rare. Dropbox can do it and it provides more space, but it costs more and lacks Ubuntu One's music streaming. An Ubuntu One account is a must-have if you already use Ubuntu because of its convenient integration with the operating system and the Ubuntu Music Store. Sadly, it needs more features before it can really compete with rivals such as SugarSync.

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