At the moment my setup is the following: I have a "file server" machine with the files on it and the laptop connects on each boot via sshfs to a directory on the fileserver. I work on both machines on those files.

Now I would like to have a physical copy of those files on the laptop, so I can work off site. When the laptop gets back on the network I want it to synchronize the files back to the "fileserver".

While in the network I want both machines to recognize changes in that folder by themself and synchronize them as needed. This setup should delete files that are deleted on either side and synchronize changes.

I tried incron but failed to set it up so that the folder in question is synchronized recursively - seems that incron is unable to do that. I on the other side don't know what subfolders will be created and don't want to reconfigure the system every time I change something.

I tried Dropbox of course, thats basically the effect I want to achieve - but it's limited in file size and online. The file synchronization even in a local network somehow never works without Dropbox being online.

Is there any way to achieve some "cloud like" environment without much configuration?


I can think of three options.

Zeroth, is Ubuntu One. It is similar to Dropbox but has more free space and better integration with Ubuntu. For example, you can sync any folder, as long as you have the same folders in each computer. (Ubuntu One is no longer available).

First, is Unision. It is a local network solution and involves more manual intervention. You can run Unision "server" at the server end and "clients" on the laptops. When you are on your "homebase" network you will have to run Unison on the laptop to sync the files at login and before shutdown of each laptop. Unison is available on the Software Center.

Second, rsync / grsync. Rsync is a command line tool for synchronizing files and directories in "Unix-like" systems. The best way to use it is to write a script and set it to run automatically at login and before shutdown on the laptops. Grsync is a GUI for rsync that makes choosing various options a bit easier.

Hope this helps


There is a number of tools that rely on rsync (Unison does at least partly). Unison is robust, feature rich and well tested. It has a gtk-GUI. Also it spawned a few scientific papers and is based on solid research - so very reliable. Bugfixes are still released but no major changes.

Conduit (see this article for info) could just be the easy-to-use solution. It is only good if it its not too many PCs we're talking about.. Unfortunately it seems stagnant and is not developed further but I had good results.

Also NFS shares cache data you recently used offline but they are a hassle to configure.

Everyone who cares for privacy and integrity and mentions Dropbox should drop dead and use Spider Oak instead. Syncany looks very promising as far as cloud storage goes.

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