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openSUSE and online services

June 16th, 2011 by

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

install Tomahawk

openSUSE 11.4

openSUSE 11.3

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.

install UMPlayer

openSUSE 11.4

openSUSE 11.3

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.

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6 Responses to “openSUSE and online services”

  1. pblouin

    I sure hope you don’t forget to include iFolder in the group of file sharing and syncing services. Everyone seems to want their own personal Dropbox and iFolder is pretty darn close to that – and pretty close to serving as your own private / internal cloud.

  2. or Frank’s Owncloud stuff, which appears to be coming along nicely………..

  3. jdd

    cloud is a very vague concept. Linux/openSUSE have (and always had) all the tools to synchronise data from two computers, said laptop and cloud storage.
    But cloud should mean that *all* the data is always online, the local computer being able to store nothing if necessary.
    And this is not to be possible anytime soon. Nowaday, people want more and more large files, let’s only speak of 18Mpix photos with 8MB each, HD Video with 10Gb for one hour, HD films for 25Gb a Blu-Ray. It’s fairly simple to catch them *from* the cloud, like Video On Demand do, but what about your own photos, films or either good quality music?
    You certainly wont *upload* them to the cloud from wireless! You need at least fiberglass connection, and that is not to be available for anybody before many years, if ever.
    So your own cloud is better be an USB disk :-)))

    • Well, in NL several parties are rolling out Fiber to the Home and with speeds of 50 to over 100 MBit/s, we’re getting close to reasonable connection speeds ;-)

      But you’re right that having a local ‘cache’ will, for the time being, be needed. That’s what most cloudy storage solutions offer – including Dropbox, iFolder and ownCloud. Fully working without local storage, yes, that’s quite hard. And frankly I’m not sure if I ever want to, there are places without network connection, you know…