I’ve previously blogged about the Ubuntu One Music Store. Since then along with a few others, I’ve been helping privately beta test the store. Very shortly it will enter an open beta phase. In this blog post I’ve outlined some preparation you can do to be ready for the beta test.
In the default install of Ubuntu Lucid, the music store will be found in Rhythmbox. Other music players (such as Banshee and Amarok) may also get the functionality later, but right now the first and only delivered client for the store is the default player, Rhythmbox. To access the store, simply open Rhythmbox and click “Ubuntu One” under “Stores”.
Note the open beta has not started yet but it will do very soon. So right now you won’t see the store in Rhythmbox. In the meantime, you can get yourself ready for testing with the guide below. To do this you’ll either need to be running an up to date Ubuntu Luicd on your machine, or in a virtual machine such as VirtualBox or kvm. Testdrive is a great way to test Lucid on a previous release of Ubuntu.
Before we go on, some important notes:-
- The music store is not finished yet, so if things break, or the store eats your music, your money, your credit card or your cat, then act appropriately
- The look and feel of the store may change between these screenshots and the final release
- Not all music is available in all regions/countries. This is pretty much out of control of Canonical and the Ubuntu project
- The world is carved up into ‘UK’, ‘US’, ‘Germany’, ‘Rest of EU’ (i.e. not UK & Germany) and ‘Rest of World’ (i.e. excluding all those previously mentioned territories)
- It’s possible that purchased tracks may not immediately download/sync to your computer. This may be a bug or due to server-side maintenance during the beta. Patience helps here
- Some of the 5 regional stores (see above) contain some free (of cost) music, so if you would like to test the store without spending any money on tracks, you can do that. Unfortunately this only applies to ‘UK’, ‘US’ and ‘Germany’ store, not ‘Rest of EU’ or ‘Rest of World’
- Bugs can be filed against the Rhythmbox plugin or Ubuntu One Client tools as appropriate
- I’ve shown screenshots of the Ubuntu File Sync service however note that you will not be able to see your music through that web interface. I have shown these only to illustrate getting file sync working which is a pre-requisite for using the music store
So with that said, if you’re unhappy about any of the above, I’d recommend you don’t use the store until Ubuntu 10.04 is released. If you’re okay with testing, filing bugs and don’t mind if the store breaks (which it could) during the period leading up to release, then crack on!
These are the steps I went through to prepare for the Ubuntu One Music Store Beta. As with the store itself, some of these screens may change between now and release time. The process by which a computer is authorised will certainly change, but the main bulk of this is valid and still will after the release.
Ubuntu One Account
In order to buy stuff in the store you need an Ubuntu One account. You can connect to Ubuntu One using an Ubuntu single sign on account (confusingly).
Historically this was your Launchpad.net account, so if you already have one of those, you can use that. New users who have not previously signed up at Launchpad.net or login.ubuntu.com will need to create a new account.
Right now the process by which a new user to the Music Store is walked through the sign-up process is in flux. It could be a popup application which prompts for an email address, account name and password, or something embedded within Rhythmbox. Alternatively a browser could be spawned which sends the user to the sign-up process at login.ubuntu.com. Once Ubuntu Lucid releases in April, this process should be sorted out, but for now I’d recommend signing up to Ubuntu single sign on before using the Ubuntu One Music Store.
You need to confirm your email address by clicking the link in the mail.
Clicking the link takes you back to the Ubuntu One sign up process.
Enable File Sync
The second step which needs to be setup before the Music Store works is file syncing with Ubuntu One. Music purchased in the store is delivered directly to your Ubuntu One synchronised folders, so this has to be working or you’ll never actually get the music you buy. Configuring Ubuntu One is detailed at one.ubuntu.com/support/installation although for Lucid there’s very little to do other than activate as the components are pre-installed. That documentation should be updated before Lucid is released.
In these screenshots I subscribed to the free 2G plan. The screens are slightly different if you choose the 50G paid plan.
Login using your Ubuntu One (or old migrated Launchpad.net) account.
Confirm you agree to the terms and conditions..
Now you’re signed up to Ubuntu One.
Activate a Computer
To enable the file sync on this laptop I needed to add/authorise this computer. When Lucid releases there should be a graphical ‘control panel’ for Ubuntu One which allows you to press a button to connect a machine to your Ubuntu One account. You can of course connect multiple machines to one account in order to keep them all in sync. That tool doesn’t exist yet, so I had to run the following to trigger the process below.
Once the system has been connected to Ubuntu One once, there is a ‘Connect’ icon in nautilus file browser, but in a typical chicken/egg problem, that ‘Connect’ button doesn’t appear until you have connected at least once.
Pretty soon after that the
~/Ubuntu One/ folder should appear.
Which is of course initially empty. There is another special folder in which stuff appears that has been shared with you by other people. It too is initially empty.
Testing File Sync
It’s a very good idea to test the file syncing service, because if it doesn’t work the music won’t download, no matter what else you do. It could save time during bug triage if users ensure this file sync works before filing bugs in the music store.
A simple test of the file sync is to create a folder or upload a file via the web interface and wait for them to appear in your
~/Ubuntu One/ folder on the local machine. Alternatively create files on your local PC in
~/Ubuntu One/ and go to the website to see if they appear.
Here I’ve created a file on my computer in the
~/Ubuntu One/ folder
If I then go to the Ubuntu One web interface I can see the file has arrived.
So at this point you’re ready to test the Ubuntu One Music Store. All you need now is some disk space and some taste in music. Neither of which I can help with – as my friends and family can confirm.