Maverick Meerkat's Personal Cloud for Ubuntu, Mac, and Windows
In contrast to the public cloud, where applications are served, the personal cloud is all about user data, content and synchronization. With Ubuntu 10.10, the Maverick Linux distribution will also take aim at improving the way users view their desktops and acquire new software.
For Canonical, Ubuntu's lead commercial sponsor, both the personal cloud and software acquisition improvements could also lead to new revenue opportunities.
"The personal cloud is this idea that the operating system, from the consumer perspective, is a window to Internet services," Steve George, Canonical's vice president of business development, told InternetNews.com. "So we need to make sure that Ubuntu is very interactive with the Internet and the services we build for Ubuntu users pull that capability in. A lot of the things around Ubuntu One show how we're trying to build those things overall."
The Ubuntu One service first debuted a year ago with the 9.10 Karmic Koala release. The first features included in Ubuntu One were basic file backup and synchronization services. With the 10.10 release, Canonical is expanding the model beyond just Ubuntu to Windows users as well.
"In previous releases we had a native client for Ubuntu, and then we had a browser viewable capability if you were on a different operating system," George said."In this release, we're adding a native Windows client as well."
The Windows client might cater to users with Microsoft Windows PCs at work who then want to access their business files or folders at home on an Ubuntu-based machine, George explained.
"It's also a way to ease the transition for users that are coming from Windows to Ubuntu," he said. "It means they can access the same files and folders on whatever operating system they are using."
Going a step further, Ubuntu One will also provide music-streaming services. So if a user is listening to a piece of music on an Ubuntu workstation, he can synchronize the content with Ubuntu One to access on other machines connected to the service.
"Because Ubuntu One is in the cloud, another use case is for people that are mobile and want to listen to their music," George said. "So for those release we have a streaming client for Android and iPhone smartphones."
The Ubuntu One service is also a key opportunity for Canonical to generate revenue from its Linux operating system. Canonical offers users 2 GB of storage for free, with an additional 20 GB of storage available for a$29.99 a year. The mobile service carries an annual fee of $39.99.