Ubuntu One or Dropbox?

Most people I know have a Dropbox account nowadays.  If you didn’t know, then Dropbox is a Cloud Service, which is basically just an online storage service.  Instead of storing your files and media on an external hard drive or a NAS, you can store information on a Cloud and access it from any computer with an internet connection.  You can also share files with friends or family who can access your cloud, or folders within your cloud, as long as they have an internet connection.  To read more about Cloud Storage Services, look at the link I posted above.

Dropbox is probably the most popular Cloud Storage Service being used to date.  Most Dropbox accounts come with 2GB of free storage space, and if you refer a friend who signs up with their service, you often get an extra 500MB added to your 2GB, totaling 2.5GB of free storage.  Other companies also have Cloud Storage services, such as Amazon and BlackBerry .  Obviously, being that this is an Ubuntu Blog, I am going to talk about Ubuntu’s Cloud Storage in this post.

I have both a Dropbox account and an Ubuntu One account.  My plan for a while has been to purchase additional storage space beyond the free space provided by each service, so I wanted to do some research and see which one was actually a better deal.  Here are the details of what I found.

Ubuntu One:

  • 5GB of Free Space.
  • Smallest upgrade available is 20GB for $29.99
  • Built-into all versions of Ubuntu Linux.  Also works with Android and iOS mobile devices.  The Windows version is currently in beta, but it is working well.
  • Same-Day support


  • 2GB of Free Space, with an additional 500MB for friend referals.
  • Smallest upgrade available is 50GB for $99/year
  • Available for Windows, Ubuntu, Fedora, Mac, and several mobile phone systems, including BlackBerry
  • Support takes a few days

I’ve decided to go with Ubuntu One, mostly for the reasons I listed above.  Their free package is 5GB instead of 2GB plus 500MB referral pieces.   Also, they let you buy additional space in increments of 20GB for $30 each.  If I needed more than 20GB, I could buy 60GB for $90, which is more space and still cheaper than Dropbox’s 50GB package for $99.  I do wish that Ubuntu One had a BlackBerry app, since that is the Smartphone I use, but that is insignificant on the importance scale to me.  Really, how much information are you going to want to sync to a Smartphone anyway?

I’ve had several questions about the Ubuntu One products and have emailed them from their support page a few times.  I always get a response on that same day, sometimes even within the hour.  However, I have only contacted Dropbox 1 time about an issue I had with setting up my account and it took them about 3 days to reply via email.

So Ubuntu One for me, but of course I still have my 2.5GB Free Dropbox space, if I ever need it.

I’d like to hear your thoughts on which Online Cloud Service you have chosen, and why.

25 Responses to “Ubuntu One or Dropbox?”

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  1. Shawn says:

    Both may be in for a rude awakening soon, as i’ve heard quite a few rumors around the ‘net that Google is about to launch a beta of Drive. And their additional space is only $5 a year for 20G, which is massively better than what DropBox and Ubuntu offer.

    Currently, however, I’m using DropBox, as I’m not on a linux system.

  2. jape says:

    I will be checking out the Google Drive once it drops, but I will also wonder if it will work on Linux and Mac. I assume that it will since all the competitors do. I might change my mind after testing Google Drive, but for now I don’t know that price is all that important to people since Ubuntu One is already cheaper than Dropbox, yet most people use Dropbox.

    Also, Ubuntu One works on Windows or Mac, too. Something else that most people haven’t taken the time to research….

  3. meza says:

    Dropbox on Ubuntu handles its cache really badly. Sometimes I ended up with 60Gb of cache for my 2GB storage! That was the point when I moved to Ubuntu One. I have *some* networking issues with it, but it’s still not eating up my free space.

  4. kautilya says:

    I prefer Ubuntu one….windows beta version works really well.

  5. gazza says:

    I’m currently using both, but if I had to choose one, it would be Ubuntu One.
    Mostly because of the 5GB free space, and because, being built-in, it works perfectly on Ubuntu wich is the system I use on both my computers… and I connot say the same for Dropbox, it works well on one of them, but doesn’t work at all on the other.
    However, if you wanted to use one of these systems to – say – share a folder with some people, you’d find they are more likely to already have a Dropbox account rather than an Ubuntu One’s.

  6. Roberto says:

    I’ve paid for Ubuntu One, and use Dropbox since a long time ago. My veredict: Dropbox is better. But it’s too expensive.

    I don’t know what’s on the backyard of UO (meaning the infrastructure behind it), but the client doesn’t work too well. Synchronization of certain amount of data is like a bear hug to my netbook’s CPU, which spikes to 100% for a while just before downloading anything at all. Dropbox uses 100% CPU too, but for a shorter while (and when it finishes, it has downloaded all the changes). I had to stop UO client in several ocassions, because it was taking too long (>15 mins) to sync, hogging my CPU meanwhile. And nothing seemed to be synchronized, in fact. I guess there’s some heavy MD5/SHA1 calculation involved, and much tree-walking of directories. But the net effect is that UO feels like it’s torturing my poor netbook, while Dropbox just spanks it for a while.

    I think it’s just question of time before UO gets to the level of Dropbox. But currently, it lags behind. Dropbox is still snappier, more responsive, and seems to work better: sometimes, the UO client seems to be stuck for unknown reasons.

    I don’t plan on cancelling my subscription to UO, but for things that I use often I still use Dropbox.

  7. Juan Montoya says:

    Ubuntu one does not update mtimes. The date of each file is the date when it was synced, not the time I modified it.

    Ubuntu One is also very heavy when it has lots of files. It usually keeps my computer slow and my discs spinning for 15m after boot.

    So, one of the first things I do on Ubuntu is sudo apt-get remove ubuntuone-client

  8. Tibi says:

    Ubuntu One cannot compare to Dropbox.
    Ubuntu One cannot:
    – upload multiple files with web interface
    – displays info about update speed, update done so far
    – it does not work on Mac OS

    • jape says:

      Both services have a client for Windows, so I don’t really see a need for uploading multiple files on the website.
      I do wish upload speeds were displayed, but honestly I have never seen this on Dropbox either. It might be there, I’ve never really looked.
      I have no care whatsoever about Mac or anything Mac related. In fact, I am glad it doesn’t work on Mac, it is more for real computer users.

  9. COD says:

    I’ve been getting a little concerned about how much info on me is accumulating at Google, and Facebook. I’ve taken my email back to my own server, using Horde, and it works just fine. I’m searching with Duck Duck Go, which I’ve decided is returning more useful results than Google. Even if GDrive is $5 for 20GB, I don’t think I’m going there.

    I’m currently using Dropbox, Ubuntu One, and Amazon S3. S3 for archival / back up stuff, currently about 70GB of mostly photos and music that is costing me $7.00 a month. Dropbox and Ubuntu One are for sharing / syncing between computers. Although with the Windows client out for Ubuntu One now, I’m going to consolidate onto Ubuntu One.

  10. Ramon Nunez says:

    I have Ubuntu and Dropbox accounts too. Both are great. I would preferred a Ubuntu One account but the only iphone app I found works only with music. Do you know if is an equivalent app for Dropbox in Ubuntu One? (complete Ubuntu One service iPhone App).
    Thanks for your research. Ramon.

    • jape says:

      Hi Ramon,
      No I am not aware of a full iPhone app from Ubuntu One. I personally do not use the iPhone, so it isn’t something I have ever researched. However, if you reach out to the tech guys over at Ubuntu One, they will probably respond to your question on the same day. They are very fast and quick to help over there, which is one reason I picked Ubuntu One.

  11. rustynail says:

    I just have not been able to duplicate the dropbox functions with U1 on my android devices. And i need more space the free. In fact I want ALL my stuff. So for my cloud storage I started using my own FreeNAS box along with Foldersync Pro. I still have Dropbox and U1, like them equally, but mine suites me better 🙂

    • jape says:

      I run an internal network NAS at my home also. However, I like to link cloud services to my work PC and my laptop that I take on travel. U1 services work perfectly for this. I use a BlackBerry Smartphone, and while there are some things on it that I would like to save, I don’t really see the need to access hundreds of files from my cloud storage on my Smartphone.

  12. dave says:

    8 Gb with dropbox, 5 Gb with ubuntu one, 5 gb with amazon cloud drive, “25 Gb with Skydrive”, more and more space for videos on youtube!..i can let my uusb pens at home!:)

    Very kind! 🙂

  13. SK says:

    I just bought a years subscription to ubuntu one and really regret it – the service is extremely slow. The pricing is great, and the Ubuntu brand is reputable for technical quality, but Ubuntu One is ridiculously bad

    • jape says:

      I have noticed that Ubuntu One runs somewhat slow on Windows. In Ubuntu, synching files is almost instantaneous. But the Windows version of the software is somewhat new, so I don’t mind dealing with it until they do some updates. It is slow, but not annoyingly so..

  14. Router says:

    I have been using Idrivesync for my storage purposes. Cheap, reliable and very efficient !!!

  15. Parag says:

    I have IDriveSync. 5 GB free account or Unlimited sync storage at $4.95/month!.

  16. miblon says:

    Another reason to choose ubuntu one: canonical is a UK based company, their cloud service therefore legaly resides under UK law. Using ubuntu one keeps you a little safer from the “terrorist act”…

  17. Adam says:

    I would like to recomended you sugarsync. You have at start 5GB of totally free storage. You can synchronize every folder on disk [not only special one like in dropbox]. You can easy share your files to everyone simple clicking right mouse button in windows explorer and pick option “get public link for this file”.
    Very simple and very usefull!
    I use this feature to insert pictures into forums and blogs, and for send files to my friends/coworkers [it’s simpler that send big files via email].

    From referal link you can increase your free storage up to 32GB totally free!

    So, I very recomend sugarsync.

    If you are interested please login via this link:


    You have extra free space at beginning, and I get also extra 500MB. Thanks!

  18. LinuxFan says:

    If anybody wants to get a 500MB bonus on sign up, adding a referral link: https://one.ubuntu.com/referrals/referee/1070719/

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