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How to Share Files Online with Ubuntu One

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Ubuntu One, Ubuntu’s built-in cloud file storage service, allows you to make files publically available online or share them privately with others. You can share files over the Internet right from Ubuntu’s file browser.

Ubuntu One has two file-sharing methods: Publish, which makes a file publically available on the web to anyone who knows its address, and Share, which shares a folder with other Ubuntu One users.

Getting Started

You’ll need to enable Ubuntu One to share files, if you haven’t already. To do so, click the U-shaped Ubuntu One icon on Ubuntu’s dock. You can also launch Ubuntu One from the dash.

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Ubuntu One uses Ubuntu’s single sign-on service. If you already have a Launchpad account or any other Ubuntu single sign-on account, you can log in with your existing account. If you don’t have an account yet, click the I don’t have an account yet — sign me up button to create one from within the application.

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After it’s enabled, you can place files in the Ubuntu One folder in your home directory to synchronize them with your Ubuntu One account online. You can also use the Ubuntu One application to specify different folders you want to synchronize – or right-click a folder in Ubuntu’s file browser, point to Ubuntu One, and select Synchronize This Folder.

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Publish Files Online

Ubuntu One can make files available publically online. You’ll receive a special short URL, or web address, that you can send to others. Anyone that knows the address can view the files without signing up or logging in, so it’s a convenient way to share files – but it’s probably not a good idea to share sensitive data this way.

To publish a file online from Ubuntu’s Nautilus file manager, right-click the file, point to the Ubuntu One submenu, and select Publish. You must select a file that’s already being synchronized with Ubuntu One – if it isn’t being synchronized, you can move it to your Ubuntu One folder.

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After publishing the file, right-click it again and select the Copy Web Link option in the Ubuntu One submenu.

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Ubuntu will copy the file’s web address to your clipboard. You can paste it into your web browser’s address bar to view it online or send the link to anyone else.

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You can also share files publically from your web browser. Log into your Ubuntu One account on the Ubuntu One website or click the Go to the web for public and private sharing options link in the Ubuntu One application.

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Click the More link to the right of the file you want to publish online. Click the Publish File link and Ubuntu One will present you with an URL you can share with others. You can stop sharing a file from here by clicking the Stop publishing link.

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Share Files Privately

You can also share folders with one or more specific email addresses. Everyone you share the folder with will receive a notification email. If they don’t already have a Ubuntu One account, they’ll be asked to sign up. Shared folders appear under the Shared With Me folder in the Ubuntu One folder and will be synchronized to each person’s computer when they sign online. You can share folders in read-only mode or allow people to modify them.

To share a folder, right-click a folder that’s already being synchronized with Ubuntu One, point to the Ubuntu One submenu, and select Share.

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You’ll be presented with a list of email addresses from your address book. If you want to share the folder with an email address not in your address book, you can add the email address to your address book from this window.

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Select one or more people you want to share the folder with, then click Share to continue. To select multiple people, hold the Ctrl key while clicking each.

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You can also click the Share this folder link on Ubuntu One’s website to share a folder.

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Enter the email address, specify your options, and click the Share this folder button to share the folder.

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You can stop sharing folders from the Ubuntu One website.

Chris Hoffman is a technology writer and all-around computer geek. He's as at home using the Linux terminal as he is digging into the Windows registry. Connect with him on Google+.

  • Published 06/20/12

Comments (2)

  1. jperkin

    thanks. i set up Ubuntu on laptop as I was having some issues (of course) with Windows. Much better now and like Ubuntu One. ALso, i was going to try out the music sharing and hook to iPhone. the monthly cost is pretty good and a little lower than Spotify. so i’ll give it a try.

  2. cam2644

    Thanks for this well presented article. I had trouble with Ubuntu One some time back with an earlier edition but no longer.It’s a good system

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