But recently, the realities of daily life and the need to share large files with friends and collegues brought me back to considering the cloud. Since cloud storage is hot right now, there are a lot of options and I, systematically, went about trying all of the big ones for at least a week to see which I preferred. The services I tried were Dropbox, SugarSync, SpiderOak, Ubuntu One, and Jungle Disk. I specifically excluded services like SkyDrive since 1) Microsoft seems fairly hostile towards Linux and I am a Linux user and 2) We know, through recent disclosures from Edward Snowden, that Microsoft has gotten cozy on several occassions (and possibly on an ongoing basis) with the US National Security Agency.
After trying each of these services for a week and uploading a few gigabytes of data, the choice of which service I was going to use was exceptionally clear: Ubuntu One. Ubuntu One didn't outperform everyone else or offer the best price on storage space but it had something that none of the others did: my trust.
Overall, I trust the company behind Ubuntu One (Cannonical) to respect my privacy. The entire company is founded on the guiding principles of Free Software and respect for users rights so I feel very comfortable putting my most sensitive data in the company's hands. Price wasn't too bad either. After getting a special deal on six months of 20 gigs of storage and purchasing another year of an additional 20 gigs, I now have 45 gigs for a little over $35 a year. Not the cheapest out there but definitely worth the little extra for the peace of mind I get.
Now, don't get me wrong: I don't trust Ubuntu One completely. I don't just upload everything to the service without taking precautions. While I believe that they are unlikely to be compelled to disclose my data to a government agency, I don't discount the possibility of hackers or even a nosey Cannonical employee checking out my data. For that reason, I have a special folder in my Ubuntu One directory called "Sensitive" that I store any sensitive data too. Data that I deem as sensitive is first encrypted using PGP in another directory then moved into the Sensitive directory for uploading to Ubuntu One. The service never sees unencrypted data that I deem too personal to share even with them.
Overall, I'm very happy with my choice. I feel good because I am using a company I trust and I'm helping to support a great product financially. And, since Ubuntu One is available on Windows, Mac, and Linux, I know that I can easily access my data no matter where I go.
So that's that. My cloud storage search is over. I'm at peace with my decision and am actively recommending it to others who are looking for cloud storage solutions and who don't want to host their own. Ubuntu One seems like the best value for the security, peace of mind, and ease of use, it offers.
If you want to check it out, click on this link. You can get a free 5GB account and start using it immediately. Right now, the service is running a great special whereby if you purchase a single track from the music store for $0.99, you get six months of free streaming to your mobile device and 20gb free!
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