Apple today lifted the lid on the next iteration of their OS X operating system – OS X 10.8 Mountain Lion.

Exciting news in itself for Mac fans, but the reveal introduces a number of new features to the OS X desktop that Ubuntu users have enjoyed for a little while…

Cloud Storage Built In

OS X 10.8 is Apple’s first release since the introduction of iCloud – their free online storage service. Signing into Mountain Lion is achieved using your Apple ID (which, in turn, is linked to iCloud), thus automatically pulling in contacts, bookmarks, calendars and other data in ‘sync’ with the service when you first log in.

Canonical’s cloud storage service Ubuntu One has shipped in Ubuntu for a number of releases now. The installation slideshow of Ubuntu 12.04 features an Ubuntu One slide, and although signing in to the OS with your Ubuntu One details was mooted at the last Ubuntu Developer Summit, Ubuntu makes no demands on using it.

Mac Notification Center

Notification Centre

Having never used an iOS there is only one thing the new ‘notification centre’ in 10.8 reminds me of: The Ubuntu Messaging Menu – the alert icon even turns blue!

Now, to be fair, a centralised place for application/system notifications is a rather logical feature to add to an OS – mobile or desktop – but its introduction in OS X does point to the fact that, despite the vocal minority deriding it, the Ubuntu Messaging Menu was a sensible, forward-thinking addition to the desktop.

Software updates integrated into the App Store – that’s on the roadmap for the Ubuntu Software Center, too.

A Notes App That Syncs to the Cloud

I’m happy to admit that the new ‘notes’ app in Mountain Lion looks a little nicer than Ubuntu’s default notes tool ‘Tomboy’, but it’s the cloud-syncing feature I’m highlighting here. Tomboy has, and has had, Ubuntu One sync support for a while, a feature that I, like many Ubuntu users, rely on regularly.

Things to Learn from 10.8


10.8 introduces ‘Share Sheets’ – a small, in app button that lets you share whatever you’re looking at/working on with social networks.

It would be fantastic to see Linux applications offer something similar, perhaps by taking advantage of elementary’s Contractor specification.

With a few simple lines of code app developers could add seamless sharing from one app to another; e.g. preview a photo in one app, say Eye of GNOME (Ubuntu’s default image viewer) and be able to seamlessly attach it to an e-mail in your mail app or upload it to Twitter via a social networking app, etc.

Dexter Contacts App using Contractor

Gaming Center

The Ubuntu Software Center does a diligent job of providing games for download – but could Ubuntu go a bit further and offer some of the features set to appear in OS X 10.8’s Gaming Center?

A dedicated app for browsing and buying games, logging achievements, sharing high scores, and challenging online buddies to multi-player fun. A social hub for gamers – both casual and committed – on the Ubuntu desktop.

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