One of my biggest complains about Apple is iTunes. Don't get me wrong, I like Apple. They offer fantastic (albeit overpriced) hardware, a solid operating system, and a killer aesthetic. But as for iTunes - you won't find much love in this heart for that powerhouse music mecca. What you will find is contempt. I don't think I need to go off on the why I loathe iTunes. Why? Because everything the UbuntuOne Music Store is is what iTunes is not.
I'm sure there are plenty out there who have yet to hear of the UbuntuOne Music Store. There's a good reason for that - it's only now online, ready to accept your digital cash (in the form of credit cards or Paypal) in exchange for MP3 files of your favorite music. The store was announced shortly after Ubuntu 9.10 was released and is a partnership between Canonical and 7digital. Why 7digital? Because they have the largest collection of non-DRM music available. And I can tell you that Ubuntu One Music Store does, in fact, have a large selection...one that just might rival iTunes or Amazon.
In order to access the Ubuntu One Music Store you can do one of two things: Wait for 10.4 to hit the air (or use a beta as I am doing), because Ubuntu One Music Store will be built into the included Rhythmbox. Or you can take that current 9.04 or 9.10 installation and add/install the following:
The above should pick up all the necessary dependencies.
You can also access Ubuntu One Music Store through Banshee as well. For that you will have to install banshee-ubuntuone-music-store.
Along with the necessary software, you will also have to have a UbuntuOne account. This is simple; just head over to UbuntuOne site and sign up. Once you have signed up you should make sure you add all of the machines you want to allow access to this account (they will all need to be Ubuntu machines of course). Once you have added those machines, all of your UbuntuOne data will sync (ala Dropbox)...and more. You will notice, when you fire up either Rhythmbox or Banshee, that the music you purchased will also sync.
Say what?That's right. You can purchase that music from the UbuntuOne Music Store (see Figure A) on one of the machines listed in your UbuntuOne account, and all machines listed will have access to that music. Now THAT is the right way to run an online music store. And it took a Linux company to figure out how to do it. Go figure.
But that's not all of the tricks UbuntuOne has up its sleeve. You will also be happy to find out that as of 10.4, you can sync that precious iPhone or iPod Touch with Linux...at least with regards to your music.
Now I don't know about you, but from my perspective this is huge. I've been a big fan of a different distro for some time now. I've used Elive as my main desktop OS and Ubuntu for testing and laptops. But this leap forward will have me installing Ubuntu 10.4 on my desktop very soon (of course I will also install E17 so I can have my desktop exactly as I want it ;-) ).
Canonical just keeps doing things right. There are many Linux fans out there who stand up against Ubuntu. I have a feeling the UbuntuOne Music Store will either change their minds completely, or piss them off even more. I, for one, am happily shopping and syncing (and syncing to multiple machines).
You may yet have tried Ubuntu. You may have tried and didn't like it. No matter the reason you are not using Ubuntu, you owe it to yourself to see how a desktop and online music store integration should really be. Ubuntu has a real hit on their hands with this one.
Jack Wallen is an award-winning writer for TechRepublic and Linux.com. He’s an avid promoter of open source and the voice of The Android Expert. For more news about Jack Wallen, visit his website jackwallen.com.