Oh Ubuntu, you are my favorite linux-based OS…

Dec 31, 2010

…but boy, your Cloud (Ubuntu One) and Music (Ubuntu One Music & Ubuntu One Music App) connectivity smells!

This is a rant, and my first on Ubuntu, so unless you want to blow off some pressure, this won’t be your favorite post ;). Whilst the title is a quote copied from one of my favorite shows – The Big Bang Theory – the intro is going to be my quote!

So for a few years now, I have enjoyed Ubuntu immensely, the ease with which it is installed and managed, the fact that it is free and gives you the choice of financially rewarding them if you like what they did with it (which I did on numerous occasions at their shop, but I also try and support them by promoting the system to anyone who will listen).

So, the more I read into one of their newer system – Ubuntu One – I figured I should give it a go and continue to support them. But kicking it off didn’t seem all that easy, getting the free 2GB account to sync my rather small Documents folder proved to be a slight nightmare. I then added a couple of mp3 to see whether their apparently awesome new iPhone App would recognize and seamlessly play it, but to no avail.

Still faithful and thankful for all Ubuntu had done for me, I decided to go ahead anyway, and purchased a subscription for 40GB so I could upload my entire music collection I had at hand.

I have posted to askubuntu.com where a nice guy has tried hard to help me, and I have posted a second message unanswered, plus I submitted an official support request as a paying customer.

Here’s what’s not working:

  • The first night, it synced less than 180MB! Not GB, MB!
  • The second and third days, it managed to increase this to 5GB… 72 hours for 5GB? 14 hours per GB? Nearly 600 hours to sync my music library?? That’s more than 3 weeks!!! Plus, this is only happening if I monitor it, and after it stops working for a longer period of time, I reboot and restart all services.

(Note that on a bad connection day, I should still be able to upload 1GB per 4 hours, which would mean 6 per day, 7 days for the whole library. On a bad day. And my download is 4GB per hour!)

  • Everytime it is restarted, it checks every single file before doing squat. 40GB of songs takes a long time to check!
  • It only starts the sync if I tell it to start it. What sort of a sync is that?!
  • Now that it has uploaded 5GB, I checked the Ubuntu 1 Music app, and some songs showed, but all .m4a are shown as Unknown Artist/Album! Guess how handy that is if 95% of your library was purchased on the iTunes Store!
  • Now, I’ve posted the support request more than 24 hours ago, and I’ve checked their status page and community support, but the way it looks now is that they won’t stick to their next day rule, and postpone it to next year, which will be on monday night?
  • And just now, to top it all off, again:


xxx@xxx:~$ u1sdtool –start

Oops, an error ocurred:Traceback (most recent call last):Failure: dbus.exceptions.DBusException: org.freedesktop.DBus.Error.NoReply: Did not receive a reply. Possible causes include: the remote application did not send a reply, the message bus security policy blocked the reply, the reply timeout expired, or the network connection was broken.

I am spending so much time on this these days! And this is really not what I had expected!! Spideroak seemed good enough and cheaper, so I subscribed to it about 8 months ago. I thought I’d just drop the 100GB subscription for Ubuntu as “Ubuntu works out the box”. Yes, right. Good choice.

But just to make sure this is not just about ranting and blowing off steam, there is also something to learn:

  1. If you provide a service free of charge, it is verys difficult to develop side products that are no longer free. People’s perceptions are not all that easy to handle.
  2. If you then provide a community-based support channel, ALWAYS make sure there is no “official” message saying: you didn’t pay for it, so you can’t really make any requests. Something I stumbled upon a number of times on askubuntu.com – it made me doubt any future financial investments in Ubuntu.
  3. If you suggest a quick get-back, stick to it. No excuse, no snow, no bank holidays, just do it. At least acknowledge the request.
  4. If you launch a new service, test it. And then test it again. Then beta-test it, and once it all works, at least once, you may start charging. From what I skimread on google, there have been hickups on Ubuntu One since it was launched!
  5. And lastly, if you know there are service issues, make it easy to ask for help! At least easier than to buy extra services! (As those funnily enough have been the easiest “in-app” purchases I ever made! Gives the wrong impression.)

Come on Ubuntu! I don’t want to give up on you! I want to continue to throw money your way, but if it gets to the point where I must pay and get poor quality and service, I might as well just switch back to Windows or worse…



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