Ask Ubuntu is a question and answer site for Ubuntu users and developers. Join them; it only takes a minute:

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

I am trying to find a solution to sharing my /home directories between my home computers. I have one desktop, with a 1TB disk, and a laptop with a 500GB disk. I also have a home server, which has a 1TB disk. The server's disk is completely usable for the solution.

I'd like a solution that would be able to run on my home network - so Ubuntu One is out of the question, and it's prohibitively expensive for the amount of data - and would allow my laptop, with a smaller total hard drive space than my desktop, to access all my files - I believe this removes an rsync based solution.

I would also like to be able to access files that have been "synchronised", for lack of a better word, to my laptop when I am not connected to my home network. This would also be useful for my desktop, in the case of the server being powered down.

I am quite competent with Linux, as well as networking, so I am not afraid of any technical issues.

Thanks in advance, Joe.

share|improve this question

I think you would like to make your own personal "Dropbox" at your home server.

There is a project called lipsync:

"A lightweight service that provides automated file synchronization between multiple hosts

lipsync is an open source, lightweight service that provides automated two-way, Dropbox file synchronization in Linux by utilizing OpenSSH, rsync, and lsyncd. lipsync is a the realization of a popular blog post of mine named HOWTO build your own open source Dropbox clone Since I made the posting I’ve received a great deal of interest, and had time to test and architect a workable solution. Thanks to everyone that read, commented and encouraged the further development of this idea!"

Here is the idea:
enter image description here

share|improve this answer
While a cool project, that requires all computers to have the same sized discs - my laptop has a smaller hard-drive than my desktop, and I would still like access to all my files, so I don't believe an rsync based method would work. – Joe Salisbury Aug 16 '11 at 1:00
I think I misunderstood you before :-( Do you have more than 500 GB and want to access these files (at your server for example) from your laptop? Can't you just make a shared folder then? – desgua Aug 16 '11 at 1:21
There are more than 500GB of data, and I'd like to be able to access it all on my laptop. WHile a shared folder would work, I'd like to be able to access as many files as possible on my laptop while it's disconnected. – Joe Salisbury Aug 16 '11 at 10:28
Now I got it :-) May be something with file compression would be good for the laptop? Or maybe have some folders priority? – desgua Aug 16 '11 at 10:37

Joe, I'm not sure how all your requirements can be satisfied - on the one hand, you want the files to be synchronized (i.e. physically copied) between the laptop and the other machines so you can access them offline, on the other - you state that you don't have enough space on the laptop for all your files, which kinda implies you want to access the files remotely without copying them to the laptop (via a SMB share, for example) - but in this case you're loosing the offline capability, of course.

The only solution I see is to sync some of your files using lipsync as suggested by desgua or even using Ubuntu One (it's quite possible that your really important files take less than a few gigabytes) and access the rest (videos?) via a share.

share|improve this answer
I was wondering if there's a possibility of synchronising file metadata, and then caching the file's data when it's accessed, when the network is available? – Joe Salisbury Aug 16 '11 at 10:29

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.