Ubuntu One Madness

For those of you who have been living under a rock the last few months, Ubuntu One is:


...your personal cloud. But it's not just about syncing files — whether you need to access your contacts, notes or bookmarks from any computer or the web, enjoy your favorite music from a cloud integrated store or stream your entire collection to iPhone and Android mobile phones — we've raised the bar on personal clouds.
Clearly the marketing department at Canonical have been hard at work!
Unfortunately, the ubuntu one client has no support for any desktop environment other than Gnome. For a service that offers file synchronisation, having to launch a non-native client application makes the whole system rather useless. At first, this seems fair enough - a company with limited budget must allocate resources where they will do the most work. However, after a bit more digging, things seem to be in a rather poor state of affairs.

It's worth noting that the Kubuntu project is an official derivative of Ubuntu. It's listed as such on the Ubuntu derivatives page, you can purchase official canonical support for Kubuntu, purchase printed CDs through shipit, and the two projects use exactly the same software package repositories.

For a while there was light at the end of the tunnel: Harald Sitter started work on a KDE ubuntu one client. At one stage there were packages for it in a PPA, and people started using it. It even got a few independant web articles written about it. Then everything died. The PPA was removed, and development halted. Why? Harald commented on a bug report, and had this to say:

Well, Google Summer of Code is over.

And after having spent more than a week shaking a new graphical frontend for the now third version of authentication handling out my sleeve, I have learned but one thing. While you work on building something, something else will surely break in a way that will requrie half a work day to track down.
It is somewhat impossible to develop a KDE frontend while sitting outside of canonical and being in a completely different time zone than the Ubuntu One team.
On top of that I have seen crappy code design, crappy packaging, inexistance of cross-desktop awareness and cross-operatingsystem awareness and unavailability of a stable working target to develop against...

So I would put it as "I am giving up".

In the future I will devote time towards making ownCloud (a truely free "Cloud" implementation) more accessibile to the masses.

So what can we do? owncloud is not yet at a point where it can be used, and I cannot see any further development on an Ubuntu One client for KDE. Probably the most useful thing non-developers can do is to ask for clarification on the main bug report (politely please!), and make sure you click the "This bug affects me" link at the top of that page.

The real tragedy in all this isn't that there is no officially supported U1 client for KDE, or even that Canonical decided to support Windows and Mobile OSes before it's second-most popular operating system, it's that the upstream sources are (apparently) being built with no consideration to portability to other desktop environments. For a product with so many derivatives, you'd think this would be a required part of the development & planning process.

4 comments:

john said...

Thanks for clearing that up...unfortunate.

jetp said...

unfortunate indeed. i clicked the "this bug affects me" and am following. hopefully some positive change in the future. harald sounded pretty unhappy in his report...

Anonymous said...

just use dropbox. it works with gnome, xfce, and kde.

Peterson Silva said...

Doesn't dropbox require Nautilus? I wouldn't say it, hum, works with kde the way it should.

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