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Minus cloud storage

Does the world need yet another cloud storage/sharing service? Dropbox, SpiderOak, UbuntuOne – all of them provide the ability to upload a variety of files and then “publish” them for sharing.

New York-based startup ‘Minus’ thinks so.

John Xie, one of Minus’ co-founders, got in touch with us asking if we’d give the service a shout out.

Now, we get a lot of company’s, services and start-ups asking us to pimp them on our pages. Most of the time we say no (simply because most of the products aren’t even tangentially related to Linux) but Minus intrigued me.

Firstly the name gives nothing away about the service offered: “minus” could easily be the name of a file deletion app, system cleaner or calculator. But actually it’s a file sharing service that pitches itself as ‘minus’ the hassle.

What do you get?

Signing up to Minus gives you 10GB of free storage space for uploading images. Besting referral offers from other cloud-storage services, Minus offers an additional 50GB available when you invite someone else.

You can upload just about any file type – including archives and folders.

‘Follow’ other Minus users  to see their uploads in your feed, along with quick links to view and comment on their files.

A “vanity URL” ( can be blagged by signing up. This makes directing folk to see your files an easily-remembered affair.

Uploading Files to Minus

Uploading files to Minus can be done in a number of ways. The “main” method is by visiting the Minus website in an HTML5-enabled browser and ‘drag and dropping’ files on to the designated area.

Although the ‘drag and drop’ web interface for Minus is sleek to use – so much so that one could argue it negates the need for desktop apps – the folks are Minus also provide desktop apps for all major desktop and mobile platforms, as well as browser extensions for Chrome and Firefox. 

And the fun doesn’t end there as 3rd party app developers can make use of the Minus API to integrate the service into their applications.

Unity drag and drop uploader anyone? ;)

The Desktop App for Ubuntu

The Ubuntu “desktop” Minus provides comprises for 2 parts:

  • A panel-based ‘drag and drop’ uploader
  • A window for viewing your ‘feed’; managing uploads; managing your account, etc.


The great thing about Minus is that uploading is incredibly simple; gone is the  need to set up and configure a folder to ‘sync’ with – you just grab a file/folder, hover over Minus tray icon to reveal ‘drop’ zone, then release your file to upload.

The main window shows: -

  • “My Files” shows just that – your files
  • “Feed” displays uploads from those you follow
  • “History” shows any recent activity (uploads, comments, etc)

From here you can search for users, files and folders; set a customisable Hot Key for screen capture; and delete or edit your uploads


The Ubuntu app can be downloaded from in super-easy-to-install .Deb format. The installer should work on Ubuntu 10.04 and up.

once caveat to use is the need to sign up for a Minus account – thankfully this is super quick and took me less than 20 seconds to complete.

Enable ‘Minus’ Panel Applet in Unity

Due to the panel applet change in Ubuntu 11.04 you’ll need to manually whitelist Minus to show on the panel in the Unity desktop. This is a bit of a faff, but requires one command: -

gsettings set com.canonical.Unity.Panel systray-whitelist "['JavaEmbeddedFrame', 'Wine', 'Skype', 'Dropbox', 'minus', 'clementine', 'scp-dbus-service']"

You’ll need to log out and back in before the ‘whitelisting’ will take effect.

The panel icon can be changed to suit your personal taste. Sadly an ‘Ubuntu Mono’ coloured icon isn’t present, but the ‘grey’ option (below, top) blends well.