The ‘cloud’ has been a buzzword for quite a while. While some are still rather cynical towards the concept, products like mobile phones with Android have shown the value of putting your data in that huge, amorphous network of servers somewhere. Apple recently introduced their new cloud service and Microsoft has their cloud too. So with the other major players talking cloudy, what does Linux have?
Let’s define Cloud technology as ‘related to putting data online & sharing among devices’ which is a reasonable definition for our purposes. There is a huge number of technologies connecting openSUSE users to online services. However there is a distinction to be made between commercial or proprietary operating systems and ours. We don’t create a vendor lock-in scenario because we focus on tools that freely connect you to your choice of publicly available services. This is a key distinction because we’re not owning or controlling the cloud that you place your data in. You, the user, get to decide the place where it best fits your needs and comfort level. Today and tomorrow we will highlight some of them here, starting with integration in our every day applications.
Integration with online services
openSUSE brings online services like Facebook, Flickr and Youtube to your desktop in a variety of applications. New applications like UMPlayer and Tomahawk go out of their way to deeply integrate twitter or last.fm, with Tomahawk even able to play music over a jabber (google-talk) chat connection. Of course, old-timers like Banshee and Amarok also feature music from music stores, pod casts and other on-line services.
Image viewers have engaged online services for a while. F-Spot can export to Flickr, 23, Picasa Web or SmugMug. Shotwell can even export to Youtube. KDE applications Digikam and it’s companion Showfoto add Facebook, piwigo, shwup, zooomr and some other sites to the list. They can also export to a HTML gallery and put the images with the locations they were taken at on Google Maps. This is shared KDE infrastructure so you can expect image viewer Gwenview and even screenshot application ksnapshot to be able to directly share over these services.
It’s not just media tools which integrate with online services. LibreOffice can export and import documents from online office suites like Google Docs and Zoho. And of course, mail/agenda/news clients like Evolution and KDE PIM have offered integration with online services like mail or calendaring forever. Feed readers like Liferea offer syncing your news feed with Google Reader and TinyTinyRSS.
Besides integrating with existing services, Free Software projects are starting their own. Prominent examples are GNOME’s Tomboy which synchronizes your notes between instances using an online service.
But there is more available for openSUSE. There are several file sharing and syncing services out there. Read about that in part II.