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These days, I'm the director of the American Library Association' s Office for Intellectual Freedom. I'm also executive director and secretary of the Freedom to Read Foundation. See "About Me" for contact information.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Rethinking Ubuntu One and the cloud

In the rain of Sunday and Monday, I fiddled with various Ubuntu downloads, and am now downloading the latest Ubuntu Netbook Edition (UNE). I've also been playing with Dropbox at work (on Windows XP) and on my home PC (using Ubuntu 10.04). To complicate things, I've also been trying out some things on my Aspire Aspire One netbook (Linpus Lite, a sort of tweaked Fedora 8).

After poking into Ubuntu, I suddenly "got" something that has no doubt been obvious to many others for some time: with Ubuntu One, and its integration both into the OS and the Rhythmbox music player's access to the Ubuntu One music store, Ubuntu is now not just a Linux distribution, it's an ecosystem.

There are some files I work on - mostly newspaper columns and project notes - that do spread across all three computers (home, work, and netbook). And sure enough, putting them on Dropbox suddenly made it easier to keep the same file accessible everywhere.

I don't listen to a lot of music on my PC, but I can get why synching those files across multiple computers would be handy, too.

Maybe I'm just getting paranoid about some of my files (I also downloaded "Back in Time" for Ubuntu, a very handy backup tool to dump to a USB hard drive). But I also, on occasion, get paranoid about handing over all my files to the "cloud" when who knows who might also have access to them.

Nonetheless, it does feel as though the Internet is linking together remote storage, and making the local device just the processing point - a return, really, to the mainframe days of old. And like those days, there's a meter running for the use.

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