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"O. Sinclair" 01-09-2009 05:53 AM

Linux and "offline folders"
 
Maybe someone can assist on this. I have (and am still) searched the
internet for information on how one can implement the windows concept of
"offline folders" in a linux client environment.

Offline folders means that a folder (could be home, in Windows is My
Documents) is stored on a server but a cached copy is kept on the
client/workstation. The user works with the cache and sees no difference.
On login and logout any changes are synchronized with the serverbased
folder. If you are offline (travelling or server down) you will see no
difference except an error when you log on or off that synch could not
be done.

The advantage is of course that users files can be centrally backed up
and if a computer crashes or gets stolen you simply configure a new one,
"resync" and the user is all set to go. In Windows domains it works with
"roaming profiles" meaning that if you log on to another workstation you
will have access to your files but not your own desktop or configs.

I am looking for a way to implement this concept (minus the roaming
profile if that is not possible) in an environment where the servers are
either Windows or Linux (Ebox) and the clients also mixed Windows and
Linux (Kubuntu hopefully). The organisation are moving away from
Windows, are not going Vista but staying with XP and for new computers
going LInux. But the offline folders is a security aspect for them,
securing that users files gets backed up "automagically".

Any pointers, help, someone did something like this, assistance of any
kind most welcome.

Sinclair

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"Jonas Norlander" 01-09-2009 08:33 AM

Linux and "offline folders"
 
2009/1/9 O. Sinclair <o.sinclair@gmail.com>:
> Maybe someone can assist on this. I have (and am still) searched the
> internet for information on how one can implement the windows concept of
> "offline folders" in a linux client environment.
>
> Offline folders means that a folder (could be home, in Windows is My
> Documents) is stored on a server but a cached copy is kept on the
> client/workstation. The user works with the cache and sees no difference.
> On login and logout any changes are synchronized with the serverbased
> folder. If you are offline (travelling or server down) you will see no
> difference except an error when you log on or off that synch could not
> be done.
>
> The advantage is of course that users files can be centrally backed up
> and if a computer crashes or gets stolen you simply configure a new one,
> "resync" and the user is all set to go. In Windows domains it works with
> "roaming profiles" meaning that if you log on to another workstation you
> will have access to your files but not your own desktop or configs.
>
> I am looking for a way to implement this concept (minus the roaming
> profile if that is not possible) in an environment where the servers are
> either Windows or Linux (Ebox) and the clients also mixed Windows and
> Linux (Kubuntu hopefully). The organisation are moving away from
> Windows, are not going Vista but staying with XP and for new computers
> going LInux. But the offline folders is a security aspect for them,
> securing that users files gets backed up "automagically".
>
> Any pointers, help, someone did something like this, assistance of any
> kind most welcome.
>
> Sinclair
>

Hi!

I'm using unison to sync my files between 3 computers and it has
worked fine for my needs. It don't have the automagical you want, it's
just a secure (SSH) plain and simple synchronization but perhaps it
can be configured to your needs.

Snip from http://www.cis.upenn.edu/~bcpierce/unison/
Unison is a file-synchronization tool for Unix and Windows. It allows
two replicas of a collection of files and directories to be stored on
different hosts (or different disks on the same host), modified
separately, and then brought up to date by propagating the changes in
each replica to the other.

/ Jonas

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"O. Sinclair" 01-09-2009 11:09 AM

Linux and "offline folders"
 
Jonas Norlander wrote:
> 2009/1/9 O. Sinclair <o.sinclair@gmail.com>:
>> Maybe someone can assist on this. I have (and am still) searched the
>> internet for information on how one can implement the windows concept of
>> "offline folders" in a linux client environment.
>>
>> Offline folders means that a folder (could be home, in Windows is My
>> Documents) is stored on a server but a cached copy is kept on the
>> client/workstation. The user works with the cache and sees no difference.
>> On login and logout any changes are synchronized with the serverbased
>> folder. If you are offline (travelling or server down) you will see no
>> difference except an error when you log on or off that synch could not
>> be done.
>>
>> The advantage is of course that users files can be centrally backed up
>> and if a computer crashes or gets stolen you simply configure a new one,
>> "resync" and the user is all set to go. In Windows domains it works with
>> "roaming profiles" meaning that if you log on to another workstation you
>> will have access to your files but not your own desktop or configs.
>>
>> I am looking for a way to implement this concept (minus the roaming
>> profile if that is not possible) in an environment where the servers are
>> either Windows or Linux (Ebox) and the clients also mixed Windows and
>> Linux (Kubuntu hopefully). The organisation are moving away from
>> Windows, are not going Vista but staying with XP and for new computers
>> going LInux. But the offline folders is a security aspect for them,
>> securing that users files gets backed up "automagically".
>>
>> Any pointers, help, someone did something like this, assistance of any
>> kind most welcome.
>>
>> Sinclair
>>
>
> Hi!
>
> I'm using unison to sync my files between 3 computers and it has
> worked fine for my needs. It don't have the automagical you want, it's
> just a secure (SSH) plain and simple synchronization but perhaps it
> can be configured to your needs.

I know about unison, have also had a look at "luckybackup" and various
rsync facilities. Eg Smb4K has an excellent syncing facility as has
Krusader. Problem is they all require "user intervention" and I would
like this to be transparent. To me this is almost "last piece of the
puzzle" to get a linux-client to replace Windows w/o users or management
being able to say "and what about this facility/software" etc.

At the moment I am looking at csync, it seems very promising:
http://www.csync.org/

Sinclair

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Derek Broughton 01-09-2009 01:28 PM

Linux and "offline folders"
 
O. Sinclair wrote:

> Jonas Norlander wrote:
>> 2009/1/9 O. Sinclair <o.sinclair@gmail.com>:
>>> Maybe someone can assist on this. I have (and am still) searched the
>>> internet for information on how one can implement the windows concept of
>>> "offline folders" in a linux client environment.

Actually, I'd never even come across the idea in Windows, but I'm thinking I
have a few situations where I'd love to use this.

>>> I am looking for a way to implement this concept (minus the roaming
>>> profile if that is not possible) in an environment where the servers are
>>> either Windows or Linux (Ebox) and the clients also mixed Windows and
>>> Linux (Kubuntu hopefully). The organisation are moving away from
>>> Windows, are not going Vista but staying with XP and for new computers
>>> going LInux. But the offline folders is a security aspect for them,
>>> securing that users files gets backed up "automagically".
>>>
>>> Any pointers, help, someone did something like this, assistance of any
>>> kind most welcome.
>>
>> I'm using unison to sync my files between 3 computers and it has
>> worked fine for my needs. It don't have the automagical you want, it's
>> just a secure (SSH) plain and simple synchronization but perhaps it
>> can be configured to your needs.
>
> I know about unison, have also had a look at "luckybackup" and various
> rsync facilities. Eg Smb4K has an excellent syncing facility as has
> Krusader. Problem is they all require "user intervention" and I would
> like this to be transparent. To me this is almost "last piece of the
> puzzle" to get a linux-client to replace Windows w/o users or management
> being able to say "and what about this facility/software" etc.
>
> At the moment I am looking at csync, it seems very promising:
> http://www.csync.org/

Unison certainly seems like a starting point. To do this right, I think you
really need to define a new "filesystem", say "offlefs", which would be backed
by any other kind of filesystem - obviously particularly useful for things
like Samba/cifs or NFS. I'm not at all sure how much would be involved in
that.
--
derek


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John Hubbard 01-09-2009 02:16 PM

Linux and "offline folders"
 
O. Sinclair wrote:
> Jonas Norlander wrote:
>
>> 2009/1/9 O. Sinclair <o.sinclair@gmail.com>:
>>
>>> Maybe someone can assist on this. I have (and am still) searched the
>>> internet for information on how one can implement the windows concept of
>>> "offline folders" in a linux client environment.
>>>
>>> Offline folders means that a folder (could be home, in Windows is My
>>> Documents) is stored on a server but a cached copy is kept on the
>>> client/workstation. The user works with the cache and sees no difference.
>>> On login and logout any changes are synchronized with the serverbased
>>> folder. If you are offline (travelling or server down) you will see no
>>> difference except an error when you log on or off that synch could not
>>> be done.
>>>
>>> The advantage is of course that users files can be centrally backed up
>>> and if a computer crashes or gets stolen you simply configure a new one,
>>> "resync" and the user is all set to go. In Windows domains it works with
>>> "roaming profiles" meaning that if you log on to another workstation you
>>> will have access to your files but not your own desktop or configs.
>>>
>>> I am looking for a way to implement this concept (minus the roaming
>>> profile if that is not possible) in an environment where the servers are
>>> either Windows or Linux (Ebox) and the clients also mixed Windows and
>>> Linux (Kubuntu hopefully). The organisation are moving away from
>>> Windows, are not going Vista but staying with XP and for new computers
>>> going LInux. But the offline folders is a security aspect for them,
>>> securing that users files gets backed up "automagically".
>>>
>>> Any pointers, help, someone did something like this, assistance of any
>>> kind most welcome.
>>>
>>> Sinclair
>>>
>>>
>> Hi!
>>
>> I'm using unison to sync my files between 3 computers and it has
>> worked fine for my needs. It don't have the automagical you want, it's
>> just a secure (SSH) plain and simple synchronization but perhaps it
>> can be configured to your needs.
>>
>
> I know about unison, have also had a look at "luckybackup" and various
> rsync facilities. Eg Smb4K has an excellent syncing facility as has
> Krusader. Problem is they all require "user intervention" and I would
> like this to be transparent. To me this is almost "last piece of the
> puzzle" to get a linux-client to replace Windows w/o users or management
> being able to say "and what about this facility/software" etc.
>
> At the moment I am looking at csync, it seems very promising:
> http://www.csync.org/
>
> Sinclair
>
>
I am not sure where to put it but if you have found a command line sync
tool then you should be able to set us a script do the update at both
login and logout. I know that kde will run anything in ~/.kde/Autostart
every time the user logs in. I am not sure about logout but I bet that
there is some similar mechanism.

Not really the solution that you were looking for but you might checkout
autofs. It uses nfs to mount a shared folder as needed. At work I share
my home folder across a few machines. (It makes passwordless ssh
connections a breeze to set up.)

--
-john

To be or not to be, that is the question
2b || !2b
(0b10)*(0b1100010) || !(0b10)*(0b1100010)
0b11000100 || !0b11000100
0b11000100 || 0b00111011
0b11111111
255, that is the answer.



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Paul Lemmons 01-09-2009 08:23 PM

Linux and "offline folders"
 
-------- Original Message --------
Subject: Linux and "offline folders"
From: "O. Sinclair" <o.sinclair@gmail.com>
To: Kubuntu Help and User Discussions <kubuntu-users@lists.ubuntu.com>
Date: 01/08/2009 11:53 PM
Maybe someone can assist on this. I have (and am still) searched the
internet for information on how one can implement the windows concept of
"offline folders" in a linux client environment.


Offline folders means that a folder (could be home, in Windows is My
Documents) is stored on a server but a cached copy is kept on the
client/workstation. The user works with the cache and sees no difference.
On login and logout any changes are synchronized with the serverbased
folder. If you are offline (travelling or server down) you will see no
difference except an error when you log on or off that synch could not
be done.


The advantage is of course that users files can be centrally backed up
and if a computer crashes or gets stolen you simply configure a new one,
"resync" and the user is all set to go. In Windows domains it works with
"roaming profiles" meaning that if you log on to another workstation you
will have access to your files but not your own desktop or configs.


I am looking for a way to implement this concept (minus the roaming
profile if that is not possible) in an environment where the servers are
either Windows or Linux (Ebox) and the clients also mixed Windows and
Linux (Kubuntu hopefully). The organisation are moving away from
Windows, are not going Vista but staying with XP and for new computers
going LInux. But the offline folders is a security aspect for them,
securing that users files gets backed up "automagically".


Any pointers, help, someone did something like this, assistance of any
kind most welcome.


Sinclair



Sounds like you are describing DropBox.

https://www.getdropbox.com/

Totally transparent synchronization between multiple machines running
diverse operating systems. Files are also cached online so that you have
access even on machines that are not being synchronized.


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Art Alexion 01-10-2009 03:15 AM

Linux and "offline folders"
 
On 01/09/2009 Paul Lemmons wrote:
> Sounds like you are describing DropBox.
>
> https://www.getdropbox.com/
>
> Totally transparent synchronization between multiple machines running diverse operating systems. Files are also cached online so that you have access even on machines that are not being synchronized.

I've been using this a lot, and other than privacy concerns, it is quite
nice. Contrary to the advertised functionality, it works as well with
KDE as it does with gnome. With nautilus, you get special icon marks
that tell you whether a file has not yet been uploaded, whether the
upload is in progress or whether all syncing is done. With kde it is
not shown on a per file basis.

I have it running on gnome, kde and windows, and the syncing works fine.

I have used it for work docs that I want to edit at home, and things
like comparing sources.list files among machines.

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"O. Sinclair" 01-10-2009 05:26 AM

Linux and "offline folders"
 
Art Alexion wrote:
> On 01/09/2009 Paul Lemmons wrote:
>> Sounds like you are describing DropBox.
>>
>> https://www.getdropbox.com/
>>
>> Totally transparent synchronization between multiple machines running diverse operating systems. Files are also cached online so that you have access even on machines that are not being synchronized.
>
> I've been using this a lot, and other than privacy concerns, it is quite
> nice. Contrary to the advertised functionality, it works as well with
> KDE as it does with gnome. With nautilus, you get special icon marks
> that tell you whether a file has not yet been uploaded, whether the
> upload is in progress or whether all syncing is done. With kde it is
> not shown on a per file basis.
>
> I have it running on gnome, kde and windows, and the syncing works fine.
>
> I have used it for work docs that I want to edit at home, and things
> like comparing sources.list files among machines.
>
could be nice but I don't want to involve internet - if I could install
it on a server perhaps. Bandwidth is a MAJOR issue where I reside. You
are looking at an office with 256 Kb DSL - shared by +10 staff...



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Art Alexion 01-10-2009 04:12 PM

Linux and "offline folders"
 
On Saturday 10 January 2009 01:26:12 O. Sinclair wrote:
> Art Alexion wrote:
> > On 01/09/2009 Paul Lemmons wrote:
> >> Sounds like you are describing DropBox.
> >>
> >> https://www.getdropbox.com/
> >>
> >> Totally transparent synchronization between multiple machines running
> >> diverse operating systems.
>
> could be nice but I don't want to involve internet - if I could install
> it on a server perhaps. Bandwidth is a MAJOR issue where I reside. You
> are looking at an office with 256 Kb DSL - shared by +10 staff...

Not quite certain but I think it is OpenSource (I know parts of it are for
sure). If you have the skills, you might be able to hack it to run on a
local server.


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Paul Lemmons 01-10-2009 07:54 PM

Linux and "offline folders"
 
O. Sinclair wrote:

Art Alexion wrote:


On 01/09/2009 Paul Lemmons wrote:


Sounds like you are describing DropBox.

https://www.getdropbox.com/

Totally transparent synchronization between multiple machines running diverse operating systems. Files are also cached online so that you have access even on machines that are not being synchronized.


I've been using this a lot, and other than privacy concerns, it is quite
nice. Contrary to the advertised functionality, it works as well with
KDE as it does with gnome. With nautilus, you get special icon marks
that tell you whether a file has not yet been uploaded, whether the
upload is in progress or whether all syncing is done. With kde it is
not shown on a per file basis.

I have it running on gnome, kde and windows, and the syncing works fine.

I have used it for work docs that I want to edit at home, and things
like comparing sources.list files among machines.



could be nice but I don't want to involve internet - if I could install
it on a server perhaps. Bandwidth is a MAJOR issue where I reside. You
are looking at an office with 256 Kb DSL - shared by +10 staff...


There may be an initial sync that might be slow but once synced the
bandwidth tax is incredibly low. When you update a file it only sends
the updated blocks so the whole file is not unnecessarily resent. Also
it does it all in the background so you will probably not even notice.
I would at least give it a try to see just how bad or good it is. I
think you will be pleasantly surprised.



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