UbuntuOne on Debian Testing

I recently installed Debian Testing on my ‘old’ Lenovo x200s.

One part of my standard setup that was unexpectedly hard to migrate from Ubuntu was UbuntuOne, sadly. You can see my frustration via identi.ca here.

How did I do it?

[tl;dr: install these packages from packages.ubuntu.com: gir1.2-webkit-3.0_1.7.5-0ubuntu3_amd64.deb ubuntu-sso-client-gtk_2.99.5-0ubuntu2_all.deb ubuntu-sso-client_2.99.5-0ubuntu2_all.deb python-ubuntu-sso-client_2.99.5-0ubuntu2_all.deb ubuntuone-client-gnome_2.0.1-0ubuntu1_amd64.deb ubuntuone-client_2.0.0-0ubuntu1_all.deb gir1.2-webkit-3.0_1.4.3-0ubuntu4_amd64.deb python-apport_1.23-0ubuntu3_all.deb python-problem-report_1.23-0ubuntu3_all.deb python-ubuntuone-client_2.0.0-0ubuntu1_all.deb python-ubuntuone-storageprotocol_2.0.0-0ubuntu1_all.deb]

First, at the encouragement of my good buddy Asheesh, I tried to “cross-port” the required packages from Ubuntu via adding a deb-src line for Oneiric and doing a bunch of apt-src -bi install $package calls. This ended up being fruitless when I got to the point of being required to build upstart (as a dependency for apport, for whatever reason). I decided that building/installing upstart was a sign that I was doing something wrong.

Second, I tried this AskUbuntu answer. Even though I was building the most important parts from source with that one, I ran into a weird issue when building. Honestly, I forgot the error that made me stop for the night with that guide so if you are adventurous, please do try that one and update it if it works for you.

Third, I tried this HowTo from the Debian User Forums. My first attempt with that ended in me running into an UbuntuOne bug (LP# 910163, specifically the same error as LP# 910091). I was using all 11.10 packages as I didn’t think using 12.04 packages was necessarily the best idea right now. But luckily, that bug was fixed in 12.04 packages and I only needed to update a few packages (gir1.2-webkit-3.0, python-ubuntu-sso-client, ubuntu-sso-client_2.99.5, and ubuntu-sso-client-gtk) to the 12.04 version.

Thankfully, after that, I was able to get u1sdtool to connect and start syncing! Now I am a happy Debian+UbuntuOne user (though I do wish I would get updates via the repositories as needed ;) ).

Postscript: Thinking about this a bit more: Since these packages aren’t in Debian anyway, I could probably just add the proper 12.04 repository line to my sources.list, use apt-pinning and then I’ll get auto-updates as needed. I might do that next Friday night :)

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  1. Given that Ubuntu is based on Debian, why not just use Ubuntu and install the things you want to turn it more into Debian (e.g. if you prefer GNOME Classic instead of Unity)?

  2. Why not package this stuff for Debian!?

  3. @Jono: 2 things:

    1) This is a second laptop; my work laptop is running Ubuntu :)

    2) Because Ubuntu (at least in 11.10) wasn’t playing well with gnome-shell (Unity or something was overriding some gnome-shell settings eg: the gnome-terminal “don’t show menu bar” setting).

    Edit: a couple more things
    3) Since Ubuntu is based on Debian that means that supporting Debian would be really easy for the UbuntuOne team, no? ;)

    4) Also, since the only thing I was missing from Ubuntu that I needed on Debian was UbuntuOne, and given my #2, it seems weird to install Ubuntu just for U1 and have to severely edit/modify things to get an uncompromised gnome-shell.

  4. @foo: Because I have zero experience with packaging? And I have a 2.5 month old boy which severely limits my free time to learn new (complex) things? I think those two answers are sufficient for now :)

  5. Hey Greg,

    Yeah, in terms of GNOME Shell, I believe 11.10 was a bit of a hit or miss release. I have tested GNOME Shell in 12.04 and it is much better (I think because of the continued GNOME 3 transition).

    As for the U1 team supporting Debian, you should check with them, but I suspect it is our of scope.

  6. @Jono: I wouldn’t be too quick to blame gnome-shell for the issue I was having, see LP# 869326

    Also, it may well be “out of scope” but that doesn’t mean it shouldn’t be in scope. Compared to the major other commercial player in this area (Dropbox) it seems U1 isn’t even supporting its home crowd (GNU/Linux users) as well as it could be.

    I wouldn’t bitch, but since U1 is a commercial product (a la Dropbox) I’ll just play the “luser” part :)

  7. Greg, I wasn’t blaming GNOME Shell; I was saying that I believe GNOME Shell support in 11.10 wasn’t that good.

    As for U1 and it being in scope, to be brutally frank, I suspect whether it is in or out of scope is based on whether people will pay for the service, and there is more opportunity for customers on Windows and Mac than on Debian.

  8. Greg, I’m glad to see that you got this working.

    Based on Jono’s remarks that packaging Ubuntu One for Debian might be unlikely, it seems to me that Canonical’s Ubuntu packaging teams still don’t “get it” in terms how to be a good Ubuntu+Debian citizen.

    The most straightforward way to support both Ubuntu and Debian is to simply target Debian. If you make packages that work on Debian, they will almost always work properly on an auto-import to Ubuntu.

    Note further that this would be trivial if the Launchpad team enabled building packages for Debian’s stable or testing releases in its PPA service. In that case, it would be easy for Greg to just upload the source packages to the Launchpad PPA service — at no time cost to the Ubuntu One team. Greg and others could fiddle with the Ubuntu One packaging until it works properly on Debian. That would be another way for Greg’s cross-platform desires to work properly without extra effort from the Ubuntu One team.

    Ubuntu One is one of the newest and most visible additions to the Ubuntu brand. I think it’ll be great when Ubuntu One has the ever-improving relationship to Debian that Ubuntu has.

  9. Jono: Thanks for the clarification. I guess I was just venting towards you given my frustration with Unity breaking functionality in gnome-shell: I know you get that stuff all the time (mis-directed venting) so I apologize if it came across harshly.

  10. Asheesh: 100% agreed.

    I know the response from the LP team would be “out of scope/no time” to a request to support building packages for Debian stable and/or testing, but I think that is exactly the right way forward.

    Here’s a bug/feature request from 2008: LP: #188564 With this comment from a LP engineer (from 2010) suggesting it would be possible given a restraint that Debian Sid packages wouldn’t be built unless they successfully built on Ubuntu first (fine).

    Nothing since then from anyone in any position of LP responsibility (that I could tell).

  11. Adding one more point about the possibility of LP building for Sid:
    That bug is second in “Heat” for Launchpad. See here. Heat is a way of measuring interest/importance based on a few factors (how many “affects me”, how many subscribed to bug mail, etc).

  12. Gentlemen,
    Thank you for at least looking into this. I am an old newbe stuck in the Unity, Mint, Mate, Cinnamon, KDE, XFCE, Gnome 3 vs Gnome 2 whirlwind. I’ve got CD/DVD install disks everywhere. I can’t find a thing that “works” for me, and is very stable. I was hesitant to try Debian because of several posts that said this and that and how unfriendly it was. In desperation I installed it on my laptop. I really like it! Then I got to installing UbuntuOne. (I tried Dropbox but does not compare with UO) Nothing I tried worked. If this could be done I would be Debian all the way. Help before I go back to either Ubuntu 10.04 LTS or Mint 9 which seems like going backwards but at least they are supposed to be stable and do UO. Thanks again, Don

  13. Hi all,

    I recently migrated from Ubuntu to Debian and had the same problem. I have it running now and have written a detailed blog entry on how to run Ubuntu One on debian.

    The link is here:



  14. Great! Thanks Michael. I’m sure those that found my post lacking in details will appreciate yours!

  15. @Jono Bacon:
    > why not just use Ubuntu and install the things
    > you want to turn it more into Debian
    Because evidently Ubuntu does not play well with others and that should not be enabled.

  16. Did you ever follow through and figured out the right apt-pinning for blocking all packages except the required ones?

  17. @Redsandro: Nope. I gave up on U1 a long time ago. Not worth the effort. I am a happy user of git-annex now.

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