On Wednesday, April 2nd, it was announced on the Canonical Blog that the Ubuntu One service would be shutting down. Some assumed it was an April Fools joke until Friday when an email was sent to notify the rest of the users. Both the blog post and the email informed users that they will no longer be able to upgrade their accounts, but could still use the service until June 1st, with the remainder of the service shutting down July 31st. After July 31st, all content will be removed from cloud storage. The official statement can be found here: Ubuntu One: Shutdown Notice.
What was Ubuntu One?
Ubuntu One was a free cloud storage service tailored for Ubuntu users. It was very similar to other cloud storage services already available. There was a freemium model in place a lot like the current competition; the first 5 Gb were free and could be upgraded from there for a small fee. Ubuntu One was easy to use, and included real-time syncing. There were Android and IPhone apps, both of which will be discontinued as well. Upon my inspection of the Google Play store, the app was no longer available.
What are Some Alternatives?
There are some other great cloud storage services, including the big three: Google Drive, Microsoft OneDrive (Formerly SkyDrive), and DropBox. These are all established brands who don’t show signs of slowing down, and will probably be around for quite some time.
You get 15 Gb free, right out of the gate. And, of course, as with all cloud storage solutions, it allows you to upgrade to more storage for a small fee. There are app options available for all device options, including PCs, tablets, and phones. A virtual drive is also available for computers. There is a great cloud editor included with the drive that is also included with the apps for the service. The editor allows you to create and update doc, excel, and presentation files. It even allows for an offline mode to work on these files, and when you are back online, it will sync them into the cloud. The service also allows you to publicly share directory and files with other users.
You get 7 Gb free when you sign up. If you activate the automatic photo sync option, you gain an additional 3 Gb, bringing your total free storage to 10 Gb. More storage can be provided for a small fee. The service is available for all of your devices, such as PCs, phones, and tablets. Like Google Drive, OneDrive also has an online editor. The editor is based on, and works flawlessly with, your existing Microsoft programs. OneDrive also provides computer users with a virtual drive to easily drag and drop your files. You can also designate shared folders to share files with other users.
You get 2 Gb free when you sign up, but they have many free upgrade options available such as referring friends, linking accounts, and even taking a tour of the site. If you want to skip the options they already have, you can upgrade for a small fee. Like the previously mentioned solutions, DropBox has apps available for all of your devices, they offer a virtual drive, and directories and files can be shared with other users. However, unlike the other storage solutions, there is not an online editor available. This means that all of your editing will need to take place offline. Don’t let this discourage you though, I have yet to be disappointed with DropBox’s capabilities. I use it quite frequently as a personal Git Repo, and virtual drive for switching between OS’s on my dual-boot laptop; just drag and drop your files and you’re ready to go. Also, while I mainly use the other services for documents, DropBox is great for videos or any other type of file I may want to store in the cloud besides documents.
I can vouch for the previous three cloud storage solutions, as I have extensively used them all. I currently use each one for different purposes, and all have served quite well. If for one reason or another, none of these solutions suit your needs or wants, there are many other alternatives available; some I was unaware even existed.
While doing a little research of my own, I ran across a post over at Ask Ubuntu, asking about alternatives to Ubuntu One. A great and lengthy response was given by another user with an exhausting list of alternatives. The list can be found here. I’ll be checking into myself and will probably post an update in the future about some of my finds.
While it’s sad to see a service like Ubuntu One go, it’s the nature of the landscape. When one service passes, another ten spring up to takes it’s place. When such situations arise, you are forced to slide out of your comfort zone and experiment with new services. This is great for innovation, and allows other groups to inhabit the limelight for a little bit. Some will stay, and some will go, and on the cycle goes.
Good luck in your search.