Ubuntu 11.10 Review: Benchmarked Against Windows 7

Ubuntu One

Ubuntu One first launched as a beta product available for Ubuntu 9.04 (Jaunty Jackelope) in April of '09. Ever since, Canonical's cloud sync and storage service has improved with each subsequent release. There are a handful of new features in the Oneiric iteration of Ubuntu One, all of which coalesce to make the service a truly compelling solution.

Features & Pricing

The basic file sync plan for Ubuntu One is free of charge, providing 5 GB of cloud storage. Optional contact and note sync is also available in the basic free package. An additional 20 GB of online storage can be purchased at a cost of $2.99 per month, or $29.99 per year.

While users have always been able to store and sync their music (just like any other type of file), Ubuntu One now offers music streaming. Music files contained in the Ubuntu One folder can be streamed for playback on other systems connected to Ubuntu One (PC or Android/iOS devices). The new music streaming package comes with an extra 20 GB of storage and costs $3.99 on a monthly basis, or $39.99 for a year of service.

The most complete way to interact with Ubuntu One is via the website. Because the Web interface is platform-independent and provides full control of all Ubuntu One features, let's go over the Web client before getting into the Ubuntu, Windows, and mobile clients.

Web Client

Dashboard

Upon logging in to the Ubuntu One website, the Dashboard tab appears. From the Dashboard, you can quickly see the amount of storage currently being used, the number of contacts and notes, service plan options, and help topics.

Ubuntu One DashboardUbuntu One Dashboard

Files

From the Files tab of the Ubuntu One website, files can be uploaded or deleted, new folders can be created, and folders can be shared with other users. Certain files can even be published online. Images, for instance, receive a URL that can be given out to others.

Ubuntu One FilesUbuntu One Files

Music

The Music tab only contains information and controls if you are a paying subscriber of the Music service. We're not, so we can't tell you how well (or poorly) the service works.

Contacts

The Contacts tab of the Ubuntu One website has the option to edit contacts, add new contacts, and merge duplicates. Contacts are automatically filed alphabetically. The alphabet strips along the top and bottom of the Contacts tab allows you to browse through your contacts. Contacts can also be imported and synchronized from supported email clients (Evolution and Thunderbird), mobile devices (Android and iOS), and even Facebook (via Facebook Connect).

Ubuntu One ContactsUbuntu One Contacts

Notes

The Notes tab of the Ubuntu One website allows notes to be created, viewed, trashed, or edited.

Ubuntu One NotesUbuntu One Notes

Any changes to files, music, contacts, and notes are reflected throughout all connected systems, both on the Ubuntu One Web site as well as other clients and supported applications.

Ubuntu Client

Along with a local control panel, which mirrors much of the functionality found on the Ubuntu One website, Ubuntu users have access to local file manager, music manager, email client, and desktop notes integration.

Ubuntu One Control Panel

The Ubuntu One control panel displays the amount of storage space associated with your account (and how much of it is being used), sync status, and the option to connect or disconnect the current system. Below is a screenshot collage showing each of the four tabs in the Ubuntu One control panel.

Ubuntu One control panel tabs.Ubuntu One control panel tabs.

The Account tab holds links to manage account settings, modify the service plan, and get support.

Folder sync is managed via the Cloud Folders tab of the Ubuntu One control panel. Folders other than the Ubuntu One folder, which have been synced on other machines, can be downloaded to the current machine. Local copies then automatically stay synchronized, just like the Ubuntu One folder.

The Devices tab lists all of the devices associated with the Ubuntu One account, and it houses the options to show notifications, limit bandwidth, and remove each device.

The Services tab is where file and contact synchronization service is enabled or disabled on the current system.

Nautilus

An Ubuntu One folder is created in the user home directory. This folder is synchronized to the cloud, and changes are reflected on all other devices running Ubuntu One clients. Other folders on a connected PC can also be synced to the cloud via a right-click menu option in the Nautilus file manager.

Ubuntu One File Manager IntegrationUbuntu One File Manager Integration

Banshee

Banshee, the default music manager of Ubuntu 11.10, contains an entry for the Ubuntu One Music Store in the Online Media sidebar. You can search for, preview, and buy music. Tracks purchased through the Ubuntu One Music Store are automatically stored in the Ubuntu One directory and synced to other Ubuntu One-connected devices. Optional streaming requires an Ubuntu One Music subscription.

Ubuntu One Music Store in BansheeUbuntu One Music Store in Banshee

Thunderbird

While contact sync has been available for the Evolution personal information manager for some time, Oneiric adds contact sync to the new default email client, Mozilla Thunderbird. Contacts already in Thunderbird can be exported to Ubuntu One, and contacts from Ubuntu One can be imported to Thunderbird. In our testing, we were unable to configure contact sync with Thunderbird even after installing the required packages. The necessary options to engage cloud sync in Thunderbird never appeared.

Tomboy

Ubuntu comes pre-loaded with the Tomboy Notes application, which has the capability to synchronize notes via Ubuntu One. To enable note sync, open Tomboy, open the Edit menu, select Preferences, and switch to the Synchronization tab. Under the Service drop-down menu, select Tomboy Web. Firefox may open the Ubuntu One website if the local Ubuntu One client isn't already logged in. Notes will automatically sync to other versions of Tomboy on Ubuntu One-enabled PCs as well as the website.

Windows Client

Now out of beta, the Ubuntu One Windows client mirrors its native Ubuntu counterpart. Just like in Ubuntu, Ubuntu One for Windows creates an Ubuntu One folder inside the user directory. All files and folders inside the Ubuntu One folder are synced across all other machines running Ubuntu One. Also like the Ubuntu client, other folders can be syncronized with Ubuntu One, but unlike in Ubuntu, there is no right-click option in Windows Explorer. Additional folders can be synced via the Folders tab of the Ubuntu One control panel.

Ubuntu One Windows client control panelUbuntu One Windows client control panel

Also just like the Ubuntu client, an Ubuntu One icon now appears in the system tray. It provides access to various Ubuntu One controls and notifications regarding file sync status.

Mobile Apps

Ubuntu One apps are available for mobile devices running Android version 2.1 and up, or iOS version 3.1 and up. There are separate apps for the standard file syncing features, and another for the paid music streaming service. The apps can be found in the Android Market or App Store under the names Ubuntu One Files and Ubuntu One Music.

Ubuntu One Apps in the App StoreUbuntu One Apps in the App Store

Although the Ubuntu One website only mentions iPhone and iPad, we tested the Ubuntu One Files app for iOS on a current-generation iPod Touch. Everything worked as stated. As soon as the app was installed, we were asked to automatically upload the contents of the Camera Roll to Ubuntu One. After a few minutes, my test files were available on the iPod Touch, and my Camera Roll photos were on Ubuntu One.

The Ubuntu One FIles App for iOSThe Ubuntu One FIles App for iOS

Versus Dropbox

Contrasted to its biggest competitor, Dropbox only offers two gigabytes of free storage and charges ten bucks a month for 50 GB of extra space. So far, though, Ubuntu One leaves Mac and Blackberry users out in the cold, whereas Dropbox includes these folks. Dropbox lacks the complimentary features like contact and note sync, though, as well as optional music streaming.

Due to equal control panels for the Ubuntu and Windows clients, mobile integration, and the platform-agnostic website, Ubuntu One is a great option for people seeking a good cloud storage option. If you completely divorce Ubuntu One from Ubuntu, it's still a solid service in its own right. If Canonical would support Mac users, Ubuntu One (as a standalone product) would be the best cloud service option in existence today.

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    Top Comments
  • stm1185
    4870, gtx260, doom 3, did i time travel to 2008?
    27
  • Gamer Dude
    jasonpwnsThat's the problem, I've always considered Windows king for gaming, but after looking at Doom 3, and the performance boost over Windows 7. Are we sure we're developing for the right platform? I mean games on Linux theoretically would run a lot better.

    To bad Microsoft has a Monopoly on DX architecture.
    24
  • Anonymous
    Lol. I knew I was gonna see old games on the benchmarks, but all of them id Tech 4? Hahahah.
    23
  • Other Comments
  • compton
    The best part of 11.10 is the renewed appreciation it gave me for Windows 7.
    21
  • Gamer Dude
    comptonThe best part of 11.10 is the renewed appreciation it gave me for Windows 7.

    LOL that bad uh well at leased there is an alternative if the Sopa takes awake my ripped Window 8 copy LOL.
    18
  • jasonpwns
    That's the problem, I've always considered Windows king for gaming, but after looking at Doom 3, and the performance boost over Windows 7. Are we sure we're developing for the right platform? I mean games on Linux theoretically would run a lot better.
    21
  • indian-art
    Happy with the benchmarks. I feel Ubuntu 12.04 will be even better.

    Just around a couple of months for its launch!
    15
  • malimbar
    One major irrelevancy in beginning of the article: while Mint overtook Ubuntu in Distrowatch, it's nowhere near the actual userbase: http://www.omgubuntu.co.uk/2012/02/stats-show-ubuntu-not-losing-ground-to-linux-mint/

    Interesting article otherwise, and very well done. I particularly like how it highlights major areas that ubuntu developers need to work on, but still gives ubuntu as a OS credit where it deserves it. It's more worthwhile IMO to review LTS releases (and one is coming up soon), but in the meantime it's great to see where Ubuntu is right now.
    9
  • Anonymous
    Lol. I knew I was gonna see old games on the benchmarks, but all of them id Tech 4? Hahahah.
    23
  • rmpumper
    jasonpwnsThat's the problem, I've always considered Windows king for gaming, but after looking at Doom 3, and the performance boost over Windows 7. Are we sure we're developing for the right platform? I mean games on Linux theoretically would run a lot better.


    If you did not notice, all of the 3 tested games are OpenGL which is barely supported in Win7. How about we see some DirectX9 10 and 11 games before making silly conclusions? And in any case, who gives a rat's ass about Doom3 - 7 year old awful game?
    -12
  • Gamer Dude
    jasonpwnsThat's the problem, I've always considered Windows king for gaming, but after looking at Doom 3, and the performance boost over Windows 7. Are we sure we're developing for the right platform? I mean games on Linux theoretically would run a lot better.

    To bad Microsoft has a Monopoly on DX architecture.
    24
  • nekromobo
    Linux is only free if your time has no value.
    17
  • stm1185
    4870, gtx260, doom 3, did i time travel to 2008?
    27
  • Gamer Dude
    rmpumperIf you did not notice, all of the 3 tested games are OpenGL which is barely supported in Win7. How about we see some DirectX9 10 and 11 games before making silly conclusions? And in any case, who gives a rat's ass about Doom3 - 7 year old awful game?

    DX11 sucks and its in few games and the ones it is even in mostly run like ass with terrible codding and patch jobs plus The Witcher 2 looks better than any DX11 game.
    -22
  • Gamer Dude
    rmpumperIf you did not notice, all of the 3 tested games are OpenGL which is barely supported in Win7. How about we see some DirectX9 10 and 11 games before making silly conclusions? And in any case, who gives a rat's ass about Doom3 - 7 year old awful game?

    You know what else Doom3 was a monumental achievement do be dissing John Carmack.
    -9
  • jimmysmitty
    jasonpwnsThat's the problem, I've always considered Windows king for gaming, but after looking at Doom 3, and the performance boost over Windows 7. Are we sure we're developing for the right platform? I mean games on Linux theoretically would run a lot better.


    Sorry but those benchmarks for games are almost pointless. They are old games and the only reason they run on Linux is due to OpenGL. I do wonder though why RAGE was not tested, as its OpenGL. Maybe it didn't work since its a much newer engine using a much newer OGL standard. Or maybe it just didn't show Ubuntu doing very well.

    Windows is still the king of games since the majority of the games out there are DX based, not OGL.

    And from my experience with Ubuntu, 11.04, the 64Bit version is not stable enough and its finicky with ATI GPUs. Had to buld a system for a customer and with 64Bit, it would just flicker as well on 32bit with a HD6450. Had to swap to a nVidia GT210 on 32Bit to get it stable. And then to enable multi monitor support, that was another nightmare. You still have to do everything via a shell prompt with the X (X meaning the GUI) disabled to install the drivers. And thats just the start, If it goes well, you are in business, if not you may just reboot to a shell prompt and no GUI. Or at least thats what happened to me. Had to reinstall Ubuntu over it to get the GUI then reinstall nVidias drivers. Luckilly third time was the charm and it worked.

    Ubuntu has its place, but for the majority of consumers its not the best option as it takes more technical knowledge to operate it efficiently. Windows is for the majority who just need a system to do what they need. Or Android.

    For now I will stick with Windows 7 and enjoy my games.

    I would have liked to see this done on an SSD too.

    Gamer DudeDX11 sucks and its in few games and the ones it is even in mostly run like ass with terrible codding and patch jobs plus The Witcher 2 looks better than any DX11 game.


    I disagree. DX11 is actually faster than DX9, when coded properly. Its been shown. Add in the Tesselation, which DX9 cannot do, and its a great setup. Just wait till the games start doing it more in DX11. It will get better.
    22
  • sseyler
    nekromoboLinux is only free if your time has no value.


    Or if you can save a huge amount of money (compilers come to mind) by getting free Linux software, or if you know what you're doing and it doesn't really take that much time, or if what you can do with Linux outweighs the cost in time that it takes to set up and run Linux, or...
    7
  • Gamer Dude
    jimmysmittySorry but those benchmarks for games are almost pointless. They are old games and the only reason they run on Linux is due to OpenGL. I do wonder though why RAGE was not tested, as its OpenGL. Maybe it didn't work since its a much newer engine using a much newer OGL standard. Or maybe it just didn't show Ubuntu doing very well.Windows is still the king of games since the majority of the games out there are DX based, not OGL.And from my experience with Ubuntu, 11.04, the 64Bit version is not stable enough and its finicky with ATI GPUs. Had to buld a system for a customer and with 64Bit, it would just flicker as well on 32bit with a HD6450. Had to swap to a nVidia GT210 on 32Bit to get it stable. And then to enable multi monitor support, that was another nightmare. You still have to do everything via a shell prompt with the X (X meaning the GUI) disabled to install the drivers. And thats just the start, If it goes well, you are in business, if not you may just reboot to a shell prompt and no GUI. Or at least thats what happened to me. Had to reinstall Ubuntu over it to get the GUI then reinstall nVidias drivers. Luckilly third time was the charm and it worked.Ubuntu has its place, but for the majority of consumers its not the best option as it takes more technical knowledge to operate it efficiently. Windows is for the majority who just need a system to do what they need. Or Android.For now I will stick with Windows 7 and enjoy my games.I would have liked to see this done on an SSD too.I disagree. DX11 is actually faster than DX9, when coded properly. Its been shown. Add in the Tesselation, which DX9 cannot do, and its a great setup. Just wait till the games start doing it more in DX11. It will get better.

    When coded proper DX11 can be faster if it was implemented for performance enhancements and not graphical enhancements but mostly the devs have botched DX11 up in most circumstances DX9 performed better and can still look the dickens The Witcher 2 case in point. DX 11 will be allot better and come into its own only when the next gen of DX11 enabled console arrive in another 50years.
    -3
  • Gamer Dude
    Gamer DudeYou know what else Doom3 was a monumental achievement dont be dissing John Carmack.
    -9
  • adamovera
    hotsacomanLol. I knew I was gonna see old games on the benchmarks, but all of them id Tech 4? Hahahah.

    That's the best of what runs natively on Linux. OilRush is out, but has no benchmarking tools, so we have the three Ungine benchmarks. Hopefully, Postal 3 (Source engine) and Rage will be available later this year. Amnesia is also available for Linux, but it isn't really a benchmark-type of game.
    12
  • adamovera
    rmpumperIf you did not notice, all of the 3 tested games are OpenGL which is barely supported in Win7. How about we see some DirectX9 10 and 11 games before making silly conclusions? And in any case, who gives a rat's ass about Doom3 - 7 year old awful game?

    On Windows we ran the Unigine tests in OpenGL AND DirectX. Linux doesn't do DirectX.
    8
  • wildkitten
    jasonpwnsThat's the problem, I've always considered Windows king for gaming, but after looking at Doom 3, and the performance boost over Windows 7. Are we sure we're developing for the right platform? I mean games on Linux theoretically would run a lot better.

    Except which distro do game developers supports?

    A lot of game developers actually tried doing Linux versions a few years ago. The problem they ran into was there was enough variation between each distro, they almost each distro had to be supported, so they gave up shortly after they started supporting it because there simply was not enough customers to be able to do so much support.
    15
  • Gamer Dude
    sseylerOr if you can save a huge amount of money (compilers come to mind) by getting free Linux software, or if you know what you're doing and it doesn't really take that much time, or if what you can do with Linux outweighs the cost in time that it takes to set up and run Linux, or...

    TH members have no seance of humor geez what a drag always life and death serious around here GODDDDDDDDD !
    -12