Wuala

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Wuala
Wuala logo.svg
Original author(s) Dominik Grolimund, Luzius Meisser
Developer(s) LaCie Inc., Switzerland
Initial release August 14, 2008; 6 years ago (2008-08-14)
Stable release Olympus[1] / February 27, 2014; 5 months ago (2014-02-27)
Development status Active, Public Beta
Operating system Microsoft Windows XP, Vista, 7, 8, Linux, Mac OS X 10.4 and greater, Android, iOS
Platform Java
Available in English, German, Portuguese, French, Simplified Chinese, Spanish, Italian, Dutch
Type Online file storage
License Proprietary
Website www.wuala.com

Wuala /wɑːˈlɑː/ is a secure online file storage, file synchronization, versioning and backup service originally developed and run by Caleido Inc.,[2] which is now part of Seagate Technology (formerly LaCie). The service stores files in data centres that are provided by Wuala in multiple European countries (France, Germany, Switzerland).[3] An earlier version also supported distributed storage on other users' machines, however this feature has been dropped.[4]

History[edit]

Most research and development occurred at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETH) in Zürich.

Old logo for Wuala

14 August 2008

An "open beta"-java-applet, available from the website, could be run from a web browser.

19 September 2008

The Wuala Webstart[5] project was registered on SourceForge.net.[6]

26 October 2008

An Alpha release REST API, at a very early stage of development, supported HTTP GET requests for content that was either public, or shared through a keyed hyperlink.[7]

16 December 2008

The Uniform Resource Locator changed from http://wua.la/ to http://www.wuala.com/ and files that were public, or shared through a keyed hyperlink, were made accessible through web browsers.[8]

19 March 2009

LaCie announced a merger with Caleido AG.[9][10] Wuala described the merger as being between Wuala and LaCie[11] (not Caleido AG and LaCie).

5 January 2010

Post-merger announcement of the first joint products.[12][13]

23 May 2011

All pro features - backup, sync, file versioning and time travel - are available for everyone at no cost[14]

28 September 2011

The "trade storage" feature was discontinued.[15]

11 June 2014

The storage plan was shifted to a paid-only service [16]

Features[edit]

Any registered user can:

  • keep files private
  • share files with other registered users
  • share files with unregistered users, through a keyed hyperlink
  • publish files
  • backup
  • file synchronization
  • file versioning.

Registered and unregistered users can:

When a user adds a file to Wuala, or saves changes to a file that is served by Wuala, the user's local copy of file is:

  • first encrypted
  • then chunked into redundant fragments using Reed-Solomon error correction codes.
  • The fragments are then uploaded to the data centers

Storage[edit]

Wuala offered free accounts that had 5 GB of storage for free. As of 11 June 2014 they shifted to a paid-only service [18]

Users of joint products may start with greater amounts of storage for a limited period:

Additional storage may be bought.[20] As of June 2014, the referral system was shut down due to the new paid-only policy.

For bought storage: prices range from 29 EUR/year for 20 GB to 999 EUR/year for 1 TB.[21] Pricing changed in June 2014: The storage plan starts with 0.99 € per month (9 € per year) for 5 GB and ends at 159.90 € per Month (1799 € per year) for 2 TB of storage.[22]

Trading[edit]

One of the distinguishing features of Wuala, the ability to trade local disk storage space against cloud storage is no longer available.

User interfaces[edit]

Desktop application[edit]

The user interface offers most of the features that are normally associated with a file manager. Additional features come through integration.

A registered user can install the Java-based client application (SWT-GUI):

Wuala Webstart and web browsers[edit]

Through a web browser, on a computer that has Java installed:

  • the user can start/trust a Java applet,[23] which downloads and runs a class loader allowing fast start of the latest version of the Wuala application.[24]

If the computer is without Java, or if running of the class loader is prevented:

  • any folder that is public, or shared with a weblink, can be browsed.

Non-graphical interfaces[edit]

Support for the following may be limited:

Security[edit]

According to Wuala's FAQ,[25] the software uses AES-256 for encryption and RSA-2048 for key exchange and signatures. Keys are organized in a key management scheme called Cryptree.[26]

According to the FAQ,[27] Wuala employs full client-side encryption. All files and their metadata – most OS X metadata is not supported – get encrypted before they are uploaded. The encryption key is stored such that no one, not even LaCie that operates the service, can decrypt the stored files. The disadvantage of this is that Wuala has no password recovery and all data processing needs to be done in the client (for example creating a search index). The advantage is significantly improved privacy.

Since the source code to Wuala has not been released, it is difficult to ensure that the software does what it states it does (including proper client-side encryption). Also, updates are pushed automatically to the client machine. These facts mean that users of Wuala are not safe from possible backdoors in code.

Reviews[edit]

See also[edit]

Notes and references[edit]

  1. ^ "Olympus Release Notes". 
  2. ^ Wuala | FAQ | General Questions | Who is behind Wuala?
  3. ^ Wuala | How it Works
  4. ^ A measurement study of the Wuala on-line storage service
  5. ^ Wuala Webstart | Download Wuala Webstart software for free at SourceForge.net
  6. ^ SourceForge.net: Wuala Webstart - Project Web Hosting - Open Source Software
  7. ^ Wuala Rest API | Wuala API (Alpha)
  8. ^ Wuala Blog | Jingle Bell Rock
  9. ^ LaCie and Wuala Merge to Create a Cloud of Storage Devices
  10. ^ Wuala | FAQ | Wuala and LaCie
  11. ^ Who is behind Wuala?
  12. ^ Introducing: LaCie CooKey and LaCie WhizKey with Wuala Inside
  13. ^ LaCie Unveils New USB "Keys" with Wuala Online Storage Inside
  14. ^ Hottingen: New Style & Full-Feature Set
  15. ^ Wuala dropping p2p trading
  16. ^ https://support.wuala.com/2014/06/shifting-to-paid-only-service/
  17. ^ Wuala | FAQ | Files and Folders | How do I stream my files?
  18. ^ https://support.wuala.com/2014/06/shifting-to-paid-only-service/
  19. ^ comment from Wuala, 2010-12-03 at Introducing: LaCie CooKey and LaCie WhizKey with Wuala Inside
  20. ^ "Wuala Knowledge Base". Retrieved 7 July 2014. 
  21. ^ Wuala | Pricing
  22. ^ https://www.wuala.com/en/pricing/
  23. ^ Wuala | Remote Access
  24. ^ Wuala Webstart: Launching a Java Application directly from a Website, 2009-06-25 presentation to Jazoon09, the international conference on Java technology
  25. ^ FAQ entry at http://www.wuala.com/en/support/faq/c/20#id002003
  26. ^ "Cryptree: A Folder Tree Structure for Cryptographic File Systems" by Meisser et al. http://www.dcg.ethz.ch/publications/srds06.pdf
  27. ^ FAQ entry at http://www.wuala.com/en/support/faq/c/20#id002001

External links[edit]