[Oneiric-Foundations-Topic] networked client app updates

Rodney Dawes rodney.dawes at canonical.com
Tue Apr 26 14:02:53 UTC 2011

On Thu, 2011-04-21 at 16:32 +0100, Alan Pope wrote:
> On 21 April 2011 16:14, Allison Randal <allison at canonical.com> wrote:
> > - Only ship a very small shim for the client on the CD (advantage of
> > small footprint), and do the rest of the install the first time someone
> > uses Ubuntu One.
> >
> This is what dropbox does albeit a download and not on CD, and it
> seems to work nicely. You end up with a boatload of statically linked
> libraries in ~/.dropbox-dist as a result though. I don't know if you'd
> look to let the shim install a deb or do a similar think to dropbox,
> but whatever you do, make it "Just Work". That's one significant
> advantage dropbox has over Ubuntu One.

OK, so let's start off by not making comparisons of U1 and Dropbox,
because they are completely different, even on the conceptual level.
Ubuntu One does provide file synchronization, but it is not the only
thing the product is about.

The Dropbox "download and install this one deb" bit sort of works for
what they do, because they ONLY provide file synchronization. They
provide a single extension for a single file manager, and when you
restart that file manager after installing, you get pretty much all
the Dropbox UI you will ever see. The tray icon/indicator, preferences,
file manager integration, and setup wizard, are all in this one plug-in
for Nautilus. When you sign in, it then downloads this huge tarball of
proprietary stuff, extracts it in a dot directory, and starts syncing
your files.

Ubuntu One on the other hand, is a suite of services, and a platform
for extending applications with services, built into the Ubuntu
experience. There is no single entry point into Ubuntu One in the
Ubuntu workspace; and some of our software is used by other core parts
of Ubuntu itself (like Software Center). We don't ship a single plug-in
for a core GNOME component that is on every GNOME-based Linux
distribution. We ship lots of software, with plug-ins for lots of
different types of applications, in lots of different languages:

  - gnome-settings-daemon (C)
  - nautilus (C)
  - evolution-data-server/evolution (C)
  - rhythmbox (python)
  - banshee (in upstream, C#)
  - ubuntu-sso-client (used by Software Center, and anything using U1)
  - firefox (XUL/JS)

There are also some applications which ship (or will be shipping) code
that talks to U1, which are in Ubuntu themselves, as well:

  - deja-dup (Vala)
  - shutter (PERL)
  - shotwell (Vala)

There has also been some work to get extensions written for Chrome and
Thunderbird, to support synchronizing contacts and bookmarks on U1. And
there is always constant talk of providing different types of services
in U1, as well as what applications to extend or write to provide
additional data synchronization features through U1, within Ubuntu.

So you can see where Dropbox's seemingly simple solution, is nowhere
near as feasible for Ubuntu One to implement.

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