First off, this not a whinging moaning message: I'm interested to see if other people have similar problems to the ones I've had, and I'm trying to be constructive.

I am comparing U1 with DropBox. I would like to drop the other product due to security issues and problems I have with support, terms of use, etc.. The trouble is DropBox is rather good and well, 'just works'

I've been playing with/testing U1 using 4 machines.

In general it works but I have lots of occasional problems.

  1. Conflicts ... For a file that hasn't changed for a few days, I make a change and it becomes a conflict file. Why? All 4 machines where consistent until I edited the file on one machine.

  2. Files not uploading ... Certain files just don't upload. No clue why. I've looked at the ini (ignore_default) file, and checked the files names to make sure that they don't match.

  3. Files/Directories disappearing ... could be connected to the conflict problem but whole directory trees just disappear! I have now started to keep a local copy of everything in the U1 directory, 'just in case'. This is not optimal.

Now, because of these problem, I have installed a few tools to help me look at what is going on. Could they be making things worse? Magicicana and ubuntuone-indicator.

Also I have a few shell files to monitor the log .

tail -f ~/.cache/ubuntuone/log/syncdaemon.log

and the current transfers

u1sdtool --current-transfers
sleep 20

Plus very occasionally when things are looking bad I use the following ..

u1sdtool -q
find ~/.local/share/ubuntuone/syncdaemon -depth -type d -empty -delete
u1sdtool --start
u1sdtool -c

Although I avoid that and it was not used when the conflict problem(s) occurred.

I've not mentioned the Windows client. I would like this and I want it to work, but I've ignored it for now as it's Beta. I have tried it but all these problems occurred without the Windows client involved. Ultimately a working reliable Windows client is a must-have but I know that this is a 'Work in Progress' and 'don't run before you can walk' applies.

Any advice or thoughts about my problems would be gratefully received.

As a normal user I would have thought that DropBox users are a target audience for U1 and I, for one, would love to stop using DropBox. (DropBox client is not installed on any of the 4 test machines )

Thanks for bearing with me through with this long message!

Thank you for your thoughts, I'm comparing U1 to the more established, sync software out there, DropBox and SpiderOak (Thanks Allan, I had already spotted this, but thanks anyway )

As I said in the Post DropBox 'just works' and with my admittedly brief encounter with SpiderOak that also 'just Works'.

Maybe I'm looking too hard, but for example when a file has been stable for 4 days across all 4 of my test systems ( and on the Web Site ), an edit to the file causes a conflict, I just can't put that into the 'just works' category.

I'm trying to discuss the problems with a positive spin, I don't consider U1 yet to be of 'industrial strength' but I would like it to be and I would be happy to help in any way I can. There is no point in burying our heads in the sand and repeating the Mantra 'UbuntuOne is great', if it isn't.

As an example some people I know, new to this file syncing, just don't trust it and don't use it -- bring out the old USB stick is their response. Having had this negative attitude now, it will take a lot to bring them around. They had been doing things like editing files in the U1 Directory which as you said is asking for problems, but if no-one tells them they're going to lose faith in the technology, as it doesn't seem to work for them.

  • If you are worried about security with dropbox you could use encfs to encrypt certain files. It works well with Dropbox other than say Truecrypt cause it's container files are rather bad for syncing. – imbaer Aug 6 '11 at 11:24
  • Yea I've tried that but a one byte change means the whole volume has to uploaded again. Also did you know that any user can get at any file on dropbox if they can get the encryption key ( which is common across all dropbox users ). As for encfs I haven't found a reliable client for windows. – Adrian Evans Aug 6 '11 at 11:30
  • And spideroak is not an alternative? – Allan Aug 6 '11 at 18:24
  • 3
    I've been looking at that today, still doesn't make the question invalid. – Adrian Evans Aug 7 '11 at 0:09
  • I have also seen u1conflicts and it is very troublesome, I work only on once machine, never touched or viewed online files, still sometimes it renames file with .u1conflict and does not let me rename it back, which is pathetic for temporary code I want to backup but doesn't want to put it under version control, and I am on latest Ubuntu 11.10 – Anurag Uniyal Feb 7 '12 at 22:16

The syncdaemon should be very robust in 11.04; however, if you're running 10.04 (or possibly even 10.10) then you might still be seeing some of the problems you described. If you are in 11.04 and are seeing these issues, please file a bug because we'd love to look into it more (and this isn't the place to do debugging).

The "files disappearing" thing should never happen, so please do let us know if you're seeing that.

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I've used Ubuntu One filesync daily for a few months and I've never had any unreasonable conflicts. When I work in LibreOffice on files stored in a synced folder, then I've gotten some conflicts, and I've come to understand that's because of LOs auto-save feature. So I've stopped doing that and instead work in an unsynced folder and just copy. It isn't perfect, but it's quite reliable. I don't know enough about syncs to understand how this could be fixed. I mean, if the local file is changed while the previous save is being uploaded, then the uploaded file will not be the same as either the local or the remote file. How should this be handled? Well, a better tool for handling conflicts are necessary. But I don't think those conflicts itself can be avoided.

So I've had no reason to question Ubuntu One filesyncs robustness. Sync of DesktopCouch is not at all robust or stable -- except that it's been reliably unavailable for months.

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