Starting a proprietary network service like this, and trying to sell it to the free software community like this, is sending the worst possible message at the worst possible time. Right now the autonomo.us group and others are trying to define the importance of free network services as an issue. At this very time, Canonical is sending the message that it is simply a non-issue.
Allow me to quote directly from this article:
"Unlike the client components, the server software will not be released under an open source license. Canonical will keep the server software closed for now so that it can build a healthy business on top of the service."
The irony is that I would have been happy to pay money for such a service if I felt that it was helping to develop free network services. I am well aware that storage, bandwidth, and datacenter space take precious resources and money to deploy, so I am happy to pay for the convenience. However, I am not happy to pay for either lock-down or lock-in. The message that Canonical is sending here is that a locked in system is the only business model that they have faith in.
The naming issue is technically a separate issue, and it is true that naming really does not matter too much in a certain sense. However, there is a component in which the issue of the network services being nonfree and being branded as Ubuntu that *is* relevant. Canonical may have the legal right to do this, but what message does it send? There are plenty of Ubuntu Local teams that rally around that word. Clearly, Canonical is trying to brand this project as part of the Ubuntu desktop (to say otherwise would be to advocate doublespeak). I don't think anyone reasonable objects to Canonical trying to make a business out of Ubuntu as a free desktop system. But selling Ubuntu as a free desktop tied and branded to a series of nonfree and controlled services.. I don't think that's the kind of project these many local teams of volunteers mean to dedicate themselves and their time to. So in that sense, it *is* kind of a slap in the face.
Please reconsider making Ubuntu One a flagship proprietary project. You have the opportunity of making Ubuntu One a flagship free network service. Now that would be actually interesting innovation... and a project I'd actually be interested in investing my money in.