June 28, 2012

Ubuntu One For Kubuntu And KDE

Ubuntu One And Kubuntu

One of the longstanding pests in Kubuntu-land has been the lack of integration with some of the more useful tools developed by Canonical. I call these "missed opportunities for synergistic benefits"...or something like that. These include things like a lack of an Ubuntu-like Software Center that includes the music store and commercial apps like the Ubuntu client does, as well as (and maybe more importantly) a proper Ubuntu One client for KDE. The way I see it, one of the potential differentiators that separates Kubuntu from other KDE-centric distributions is the opportunity to benefit from all of the development that goes on in the Ubuntu Community and also via paid development that is sponsored directly via Canonical.

One developer has stepped up and gotten us a little bit closer to scratching an important item off of this list: Namely, the development of a proper  Service Menu for KDE's Dolphin that allows easy synchronization between file(s) and / or folder(s) from directly within the powerful file manager.

If you are not familiar with Ubuntu One, you can get re-acquainted here: https://one.ubuntu.com/. Basically, in a nutshell, Ubuntu One (U1) is the following:

  • Cloud Storage (5GB free, more can be purchased)
  • File access
  • File / folder sharing via URL to public or private recipients
  • Streaming music
  • Access to all of the above on any device, including Android and iOS
  • You can also sync Tomboy notes
Today in Ubuntu there are three basic ways to interact with Ubuntu One on the desktop. These include the Ubuntu One Desktop Client, which is a daemon that  runs in the background and syncs your /Home/Ubuntu One folder with the cloud storage, the Nautilus service menu which allows you to sync (or stop synching) a file or folder of your choosing, as seen in the picture below. Finally, there is a web client as well for management of your files through a web interface. This last method is, for example, how you would go about sharing files or folders within your U1 account in Kubuntu.

Ubuntu One in Ubuntu's Native File Manager, Nautilus
Well that's all well and good, but what about some love for Kubuntu and KDE you ask? Well, thanks to an Irishman named ShaneQful, we Kubuntu users can now enjoy Ubuntu One via a new Service Menu right from with Dolphin! This is the same functionality that exists in a stock Ubuntu installation. Pretty sweet!

Ubuntu One in Kubuntu's Native File Manager, Dolphin
Installation is pretty straightforward: Basically you download and extract the tar package to your .kde/share/kde4/services/ServiceMenus folder. Open Dolphin, and you'll see that the U1 menu option is now available! Full details are in his blog post. According to the post, future plans include a way to verify visually what files are currently in sync and which are not.

Many thanks go out to Shane for developing this as I'm sure many Kubuntu users will find this most useful. To me, this provides a deeper integration into the desktop in Kubuntu and positions Ubuntu One to be on par and in some ways surpass using other services, such as Drop Box in day to day computer use.

What do you think? Would you like to see the U1 client for KDE become standard in the upcoming Kubuntu 12.10? Such a move would have our vote.

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