Revision 6 as of 2006-04-27 01:21:29

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This spec discuss the inclusion and integration of a remote synchronization/storage/sharing solution in Edgy. The proposed solution is currently iFolder.


Having a multiple computers configuration is more and more common everyday : one desktop at work, one desktop at home, one laptop. Keeping tracks of a given file or synchronisation is often a real pain. Also, there's no easy way to share a file across the internet if you don't have webserver and the knowledge of ftp/sftp.

Use cases

  • Emma will soon fly to a conference in America with his whole new laptop. She want to be sure that she can access all the needed file that are on his home computer.
  • Joe want to share a 6 Mo file with Jack. Unfortunatly, his SMTP service only allow mail that are less than 5Mo.
  • William never remember if a given file is on his laptop or desktop. Sometimes, the file is on the desktop AND on the laptop but he want only the newest version.




Existing solutions :

  • ["iFolder"] , an opensource solution from Novell would fit quite nicely.
  • [ Unison] a command line program that can keep multiple directories in sync. (even if there are changes on both) Works great, but would need a good nautilus extension (with a real gtk/gnome frontend) to really make it amazing.


Data preservation and migration

Outstanding issues

BoF agenda and discussion

  • Added unison as existing solution
    • I use this program to keep my usb key in sync with a directory on my hard drive. This allows me to work on either and still sync the changes. The only minor issue is that if you change a non-text file on both directories you will have to decide which one to keep. It will not merge the differences. This program can keep complete backups if necessary and can merge more then two directories, in any order. Amazingly powerful it just needs a GUI and to be integrated into nautilus. -- PeterVanderKlippe DateTime(2006-04-24T13:23:53Z)

  • iFolder looks like a good product, but I think the enterprise mode server would be a bit much for Ubuntu's main purpose (though great for a server). The workgroup mode seems to be more appropriate, but it is not yet complete, according to Novell. It is also unclear how workgroup mode will work; to some extent it sounds like it will operate as extensions to chat clients and such. Also, a solution that can operate behind a firewall (and NAT) would be ideal, because, in my experience, many people are do not know how to modify the settings on their firewall/router (or can not because of their ISP). -- MatthewIsaacs DateTime(2006-04-27T01:16:14Z)

  • Unison seems like a good product. It currently works without the need for a central server, though it lacks a gui. A linux/Ubuntu gui could be modeled after gui for the windows version. The Unison FAQ points out some deficiencies that may arise in more complicated situations, such as sync loops and differences in timestamp granularity between different filesytems, and others. I'm not sure if iFolder has some of these problems or not. If Unison were used as a basis for the Ubuntu sync tool, some mechanism to handle this would probably have to be developed (though Unison does fail gracefully). -- MatthewIsaacs DateTime(2006-04-27T01:21:29Z)