October 04, 2011, 9:34 AM — Canonical has released its long-promised Windows client which gives Ubuntu desktop users a way to share files hosted on the company's One cloud service across platforms.
The emergence of the Windows client from its beta gestation answers an obvious weakness of the One cloud storage service, namely that it could only be accessed from Ubuntu PCs and some smartphones.
The company acknowledges that many of its committed users also work with Windows PCs - possibly during their employed hours - and need a cloud storage system that allows files to be made available on both.
"We have long received feedback from Ubuntu users regarding their evolving needs to manage all their content from a single, secure place across multiple platforms and devices," said a company blog announcing the new software.
"Ubuntu One has a clearly defined strategy of being multi-platform, Windows is one element of that strategy," it said. Canonical also hopes that by increasing the convenience of its Ubuntu One Cloud, it will improve revenues from that side of the business.
Ubuntu One is currently free for 5GB of storage, with an monthly fee of $2.99 for extra chunks of up to 20GB each. A music streaming service costs $3.99 per month.
The Windows client itself is a straightforward 21.8MB download, which can be made to load automatically at startup. From there on it works more or less like a sophisticated if clunky version of Dropbox, allowing folders on different PCVs to be mirrored to the cloud and other PCs.
It's more involved than bare-bones Dropbox, which won't be a drawback for computer-savvy Ubuntu users, but it also has more configuration options. There did seem to be the odd gremlin when using the service - we had trouble getting it to synch with the cloud share on one PC for instance. It also showed some instability on XP.
Ubuntu One is also available for Android 2.1 and above, and Apple's iPhone.