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DIY Dropbox Alternatives

Soulskill posted more than 3 years ago | from the not-quite-as-parent-friendly dept.

Cloud 188

jfruhlinger writes "Dropbox was a service that many techies fell in love with, only to be disappointed when they found out about its dodgy security and dubious copyright claims. The company's tried to make amends — but what other options are there for those who have had enough? While there's nothing quite as seamless out there, it's not difficult to build your own Dropbox alternatives from freely available software and services from other vendors."

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First post! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36892792)

First post!First post!

Re:First post! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36892914)

Good job bro!

Is using another third party service (5, Insightful)

Neil_Brown (1568845) | more than 3 years ago | (#36892806)

really "building your own" solution?

I appreciate that one could argue that using software you haven't written yourself shouldn't count, but putting something together with a Linux box running Apache, WebDAV and various other things seems more "building your own" than simply using an existing third party alternative, as the article recommends.

Re:Is using another third party service (2, Insightful)

Neil_Brown (1568845) | more than 3 years ago | (#36892814)

If that is "building your own", I guess I can say proudly that I built my own washing machine, in that I bought a washing machine, put it in place, plumbed it in and switched it on...

Re:Is using another third party service (1, Funny)

vlm (69642) | more than 3 years ago | (#36892924)

If that is "building your own", I guess I can say proudly that I built my own washing machine, in that I bought a washing machine, put it in place, plumbed it in and switched it on...

Don't laugh so hard at this... 99.9999% of modern americans who sign a contract with a corporate house builder will go around telling people "I'm building a house!". In fact pretty much anything real estate related, if an american signs a contract, they don't do the labor but socially claim for all the labor... "I put a new roof on my house (No, a team of illegal aliens put a roof on your house; you merely paid for it)"

The weird part is my Grandfather actually did build his own house... Sears used to sell kits of everything you need, he bought one, and spent most of a summer swinging a hammer (This was in the 50s so no pneumatic nail guns, and he was a middle manager not a carpenter which is why it took "most of a summer"). The house is still standing, and looked pretty good last time I saw it.

As the second great depression winds on, I've noticed a change in workforce. This attitude is fine if the owner does not socially mix with the workers. But, already, building contractors have changed from illegals when they put my roof on, to meth heads when they put my garage siding on. Very soon as unemployment spirals up, average middle class people might be in construction again, and its going to be socially awkward when someone starts bragging at church "how I put up a fence" and the guy in front of him turns around and says "uh, actually, that was me"

Re:Is using another third party service (2)

xaxa (988988) | more than 3 years ago | (#36893044)

If that is "building your own", I guess I can say proudly that I built my own washing machine, in that I bought a washing machine, put it in place, plumbed it in and switched it on...

Don't laugh so hard at this... 99.9999% of modern americans who sign a contract with a corporate house builder will go around telling people "I'm building a house!".

That's shows how the choice of language reflects culture.

In Britain I think we'd normally say "I'm having a house built", or "We've had a new fence put up" or "The garage was re-roofed", though the "I built" way is not uncommon. I think it depends on what follows -- "We've had a new fence put up" will probably continue with a complaint about how expensive/slow/unsatisfactory the process or result was :-)

Re:Is using another third party service (1)

X3J11 (791922) | more than 3 years ago | (#36894004)

In Britain I think we'd normally say "I'm having a house built", or "We've had a new fence put up" or "The garage was re-roofed", though the "I built" way is not uncommon. I think it depends on what follows -- "We've had a new fence put up" will probably continue with a complaint about how expensive/slow/unsatisfactory the process or result was :-)

Same here in Canada, although we did re-roof our house. Well, my father did. The heights where a bit too much for me. Going up was easy enough, but once I got up there I realized that should my fat ass slip or lose my balance, it was a long way down.

"Gravity is a harsh mistress." -- The Tick.

Re:Is using another third party service (1)

asdf7890 (1518587) | more than 3 years ago | (#36894098)

I can confirm that as another brit. Though there are some people woudl would use the "I built..." form. If I might be a bit classist for a moment, more often than not is it the "upper middles" trying to impress at dinner parties (the party being held at the home of someone who "put in an Aga" which means "paid for and had labourers put in an Aga") and other social gatherings where one-up-man-ship is standard practice. Caveat: it is not all people of that standing, just a certain (vocal and irritating) minority, and there are people in lower financial/social categories guilty of it too.

Re:Is using another third party service (3, Insightful)

somersault (912633) | more than 3 years ago | (#36893056)

Well, that is kind of how things work. The person in charge takes the credit. I wouldn't use the turn of phrase myself, but I can imagine some people doing it. Like the general of an army boasting about how he defeated some opposing army, when in fact it was his men that did all the hard work.

Re:Is using another third party service (1)

MightyYar (622222) | more than 3 years ago | (#36893622)

when in fact it was his men that did all the hard work.

The men! Sheesh! It's us munitions workers that deserve all the credit! :)

I think if someone is sponsoring something (like a $20,000 roof), they can be excused for the ambiguity of their language :)

Re:Is using another third party service (1)

ArhcAngel (247594) | more than 3 years ago | (#36894422)

Unless you live in a mansion I would like to come re-roof your house.

Re:Is using another third party service (1)

MightyYar (622222) | more than 3 years ago | (#36894916)

You might not - it needs the old crap all scraped off, new gutters, and a bunch of rot replaced. :) But yeah, that's about $5000 high for my roof.

Re:Is using another third party service (1)

Kashgarinn (1036758) | more than 3 years ago | (#36894796)

If they beat them following his plans.. then that's HIS plan defeating the opposing army, so it's HIS victory isn't it?

Re:Is using another third party service (1)

w1cked5mile (963365) | more than 3 years ago | (#36893706)

"my Grandfather actually did build his own house... Sears used to sell kits of everything you need, he bought one"

What? He put together a kit? How is that DIY? If that's the case I'm a furniture builder when I buy something from IKEA.

When I was a lad building your own house meant fighting the indigenous people and moving them off the land, clearing a plot and using the trees to mill my own lumber, forging nails to put it together, making my own bricks for the foundation and making my own glass for the windows and I liked it. Whipper-snappers building kit houses, Harumph!

This is a stupid argument and boils down to self righteous semantics. Get over it. If I buy or find open source components, put them together and configure them myself to facilitate a working system I've "built" the system. If I buy the whole system ready out of the box, I've financed building the system. The Vanderbilt's built Biltmore. Bill built Microsoft and Steve built Apple. They had help along the way but all of them are credited and synonymous with their creations. How far down the raw materials and tools line do you need to go before it's DIY?

Re:Is using another third party service (1)

Stewie241 (1035724) | more than 3 years ago | (#36893856)

You used pre-grown trees? When I was a lad it took years to build a house because we had to grow our own trees.

Re:Is using another third party service (1)

Lumpy (12016) | more than 3 years ago | (#36894116)

Nails? Amateur...

WE used pegs and interlocking.. Only wanna-be's used nails.

Re:Is using another third party service (1)

asdf7890 (1518587) | more than 3 years ago | (#36894166)

In the case of the above mentioned grandfather I would use the wording "put up a house" which is as unambiguous a phrase as I can think of. It is certainly the wording I would use when I "put up some shelves" I bought from Ikea or "put together" a chest of drawers from the same source.

Your example is far more than than just putting something together, so building (which to me is a word that implies more then "putting up/together") is the least I'd use to describe it. You could probably say you "researched, designed, and built" it and more besides.

What many people mean when they say the did something these days though, is that they commissioned the work and watched someone else do it.

Re:Is using another third party service (1)

LowG1974 (1021485) | more than 3 years ago | (#36894320)

When I was a lad building your own house meant fighting the indigenous people and moving them off the land...

I'm not saying there's no one alive who's that old, necessarily, but if there is, you can bet they don't know how to "write on the inter-webs." ;)

Re:Is using another third party service (1)

PopeRatzo (965947) | more than 3 years ago | (#36894082)

99.9999% of modern americans who sign a contract with a corporate house builder will go around telling people "I'm building a house!"

I don't think the meager number of people who are building new houses in the current economy satisfies the level of precision in your figure.

I'm pretty sure that "8 out of the 9" would be closer to the truth.

Re:Is using another third party service (1, Informative)

Lumpy (12016) | more than 3 years ago | (#36894092)

This is because 99.997% of americans are inept at the tasks to actually do any home building. Go shopping for a older home and look at the nightmares that the DIY network and Places like Home Depot have created. Basements finished by someone that watches too much DIY network or HGTV are pretty on the surface but half assed underneath to the point that I'll pass on any home that I can tell the howmowners tried to be "handy" because I dont want to pay to have it all ripped out and done right.

And yes I know what I am looking at, Grew up as a son of a contractor, I spent EVERY summer until my 22nd birthday building houses, pulling wire, and plumbing homes. I can tell when something is right and when something is a frigging nightmare behind some nice paneling...

Re:Is using another third party service (1)

frap (1806452) | more than 3 years ago | (#36892818)

really "building your own" solution?

I appreciate that one could argue that using software you haven't written yourself shouldn't count, but putting something together with a Linux box running Apache, WebDAV and various other things seems more "building your own" than simply using an existing third party alternative, as the article recommends.

Personally, if you were going to use a third party alternative, I'd go for something like SparkleShare http://sparkleshare.org/ [sparkleshare.org]

Re:Is using another third party service (1)

jawtheshark (198669) | more than 3 years ago | (#36892908)

My experience with WebDAV is that Windows support for it beyond XP is sucky. Heck, even under XP you can't mount it as a drive (that's what users want and expect) if you're using https. There are commercial WebDAV clients and there is an abandonware Novell client, but isn't this stuff that should be supported out of the box? WebDAV is not a solution.

Furthermore, DropBox is more something like an automatic rsync to a remote drive. I can do this on Linux, using rsync (duh) and a ssh-server (preferably using ssh keys). Windows used to have a half-baked sultion called "Briefcases", but it didn't work all that well. I'm not all up to snuff with Windows recently, so it might have become better.

A DIY dropbox alternative thus needs:

  • Accessible from everywhere on the Internet, encrypted
  • Integration in your desktop environment (regardless platform): It must look and act as a local drive and be usable for non-command-line users.
  • Automatic synchronization from the local files (local cache) with the remote "share"
  • Ability to share certain files (or at least folders) with other people using the same DIY system.

I'm probably forgetting something. Can you do it with off the shelf open source software? With Windows as a client. As said, I do fine with rsync and a remote sftp machine, but it doesn't really integrate with my desktop environment, I can't really share files unless I move them to my ~/www folder and I use Linux on the desktop.

Re:Is using another third party service (2)

simoncpu was here (1601629) | more than 3 years ago | (#36892988)

My experience with WebDAV is that Windows support for it beyond XP is sucky. Heck, even under XP you can't mount it as a drive (that's what users want and expect) if you're using https. There are commercial WebDAV clients and there is an abandonware Novell client, but isn't this stuff that should be supported out of the box? WebDAV is not a solution.

I've just made a Dropbox-like alternative for a client. We used S3 for the storage and exposed it via WebDAV. Yeah, Windows support is sucky; however the trick into making it work is to use Digest Auth (not Basic), and to use a valid certificate (the CN should correctly match).

Re:Is using another third party service (1)

jawtheshark (198669) | more than 3 years ago | (#36893060)

My WebDAV experience is from work. We have a valid wildcard certificate, so that should be covered. I'll have to look into using Digest Auth, as I think (but might recall incorrectly) that we use Basic. Thanks for the tip.

Re:Is using another third party service (2)

jawtheshark (198669) | more than 3 years ago | (#36893072)

Just checked, it's Digest Auth. Damn... Our main troubles lie within the fact that PDFs work badly on it (Load in a browser in the Adobe Plugin), sometimes office files corrupt on it and in rare cases files just vanish. It's always office files that vanish. My users usually want my head at that point and I have to go and fetch from backup.

Re:Is using another third party service (1)

qxcv (2422318) | more than 3 years ago | (#36893016)

Duplicity [nongnu.org] is handy if you're just wanting the same rsync experience, but with encryption. If you need a nice Duplicity-like tool with a user friendly GUI, there's also Duplicati [google.com] .

Re:Is using another third party service (2)

GillyGuthrie (1515855) | more than 3 years ago | (#36893260)

When somebody says they "built a house," do you ask them if they grew the trees that supplied the lumber? I can smell your superiority complex from here.

If you wish to make an apple pie from scratch ... (1)

skegg (666571) | more than 3 years ago | (#36893334)

... you must first ... invent the universe [youtube.com]

Re:Is using another third party service (1)

GameboyRMH (1153867) | more than 3 years ago | (#36893574)

AND, didn't we have a much better article (in Ask Slashdot form) on this topic recently anyways?

Re:Is using another third party service (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36893972)

iFolder - does the same thing...

Re:Is using another third party service (1)

poetmatt (793785) | more than 3 years ago | (#36894226)

The comedy was that instead of building your own solution the site was an advertisement for windows skydrive and goodsync, paid solutions -which are not solutions, then. To also act like you can trust microsoft over dropbox is also completely hilarious. You really think Microsoft of all companies should be trusted with *any* form of data? I bet their privacy policy on skydrive, if it's still as I recall it, is basically nonexistent.

My solution (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36892810)

I use DriveShare from a company called Webmaster. Your files are kept on your machine, it has windows and Linux versions, an iPhone client (for whatever that's worth). It has some fancy dyndns setup built-in which is nice so i dont need to worry about cox changing my IP every few days and it works behind NAT. Overall I'm pretty happy with it. YMMV.

The site is at http://www.webmaster.com/

That's not DIY! (4, Insightful)

Robert Zenz (1680268) | more than 3 years ago | (#36892826)

DIY stand for Do-It-Yourself...installing other third-party-applications which are doing the same does not count as DIY!

Re:That's not DIY! (3, Funny)

dr.newton (648217) | more than 3 years ago | (#36893382)

I know, right?

He probably didn't even write the kernel his machines are running, or the compiler he used to build it (if he even compiled it himself)!

Re:That's not DIY! (1)

GreatBunzinni (642500) | more than 3 years ago | (#36894538)

In this context, installing a third-party application can be a DIY approach. After all, dropbox is nothing more than a set of servers somewhere that you can access by downloading a specialized client. If you happen to set up your very own personal server by installing software written by a third-party so that it provides essentially the same services as dropbox then that is in fact something you did it on your own. That is, instead of relying on a third-party service you built your server yourself. Hence, the DIY.

To put it in another way, if you write software by making calls to an API then your software will fit the DIY criteria. The same goes with building some electronics by using components made by a third-party. You don't need to build everything from scratch to be considered DIY.

I thought we cleared these up already (2)

F69631 (2421974) | more than 3 years ago | (#36892838)

DropBox includes sharing functionality (you can choose that some of the files are accessible by anyone through browser) and DropBox doesn't want you to sue them for that so they need you to give them a permission to share your files. It's as simple as that and is the same reason why Google+ asks similar rights to all the content you upload. As for the dodgy security... When a program is configured to login automatically, it stores the login credentials somewhere that a hostile person with access to your files can probably copy. I doubt you get around this with DIY version...

Even ignoring those (=assuming that dropbox isn't to be trusted with your data and that their security sucks)...What problem do you want to solve that you can't solve with DropBox + encryption?

Re:I thought we cleared these up already (2)

shish (588640) | more than 3 years ago | (#36892952)

I thought the problems were that dropbox employees have access to your files, they just aren't allowed to read them (they originally said they didn't have access to the files); and that for a few hours it was possible to log into any account without needing a password; you don't seem to have addressed either of those...

Re:I thought we cleared these up already (0)

khakipuce (625944) | more than 3 years ago | (#36893196)

Nice try at the sig, although I think you have prepended an extra "To be" to the quote.

Spideroak? (2)

jimwormold (1451913) | more than 3 years ago | (#36892842)

Why not use Spideroak instead of dropbox. Spideroak have a zero-knowledge privacy policy. I'd say it's not quite as polished a product as dropbox, but everything is encrypted before it leaves my computer (come on spideroak open source your client so we can check!) and stored encrypted, so NO ONE can read it. I have access to files from android to. (I am not affiliated with Spideroak in away way.) Join via this link and we both get an extra 1GB (I believe you start with 2GB free): https://spideroak.com/signup/referral/dd998cb68d2fba5eb916a000411c2263/ [spideroak.com]

Re:Spideroak? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36893156)

Plugging my own referral link: https://spideroak.com/download/referral/51147d38546a6f5732f981e052082a76 [spideroak.com]

If you use the Promo code WORLDBACKUPDAY you start with even more free space (6 or 7 GB)

Re:Spideroak? (1)

spokenoise (2140056) | more than 3 years ago | (#36893364)

still only gets you the standard 2 gig as the parent

Re:Spideroak? (1)

jimwormold (1451913) | more than 3 years ago | (#36893604)

From https://spideroak.com/referral/ [spideroak.com]

When you refer a friend to SpiderOak then you and your friend get an additional free GB of space.

Is this not correct then?

Re:Spideroak? (1)

gbjbaanb (229885) | more than 3 years ago | (#36893296)

Its hardly the first one to do this, Mozy [mozy.com] does the same - it allows you to use your own keys to encrypt all your data that's transferred. (you can use Mozy's keys instead which provides for more convenience, but hey - your choice)

It also has a nice interface to download your files - integrated as an Explorer shell extension (if you're on Windows). It doesn't provide a 'ftp' facility though.. but I think I'll suggest that to them .. instead its more a backup tool - just like Spideroak.

note: that link is an affiliate, they'll give me more backup space if you use it, if you don't want to, google 'Mozy' instead.

Re:Spideroak? (1)

jimwormold (1451913) | more than 3 years ago | (#36893554)

"instead its more a backup tool - just like Spideroak."

Well spideroak allows syncing of different folders on different machines, so in that respect it's more like dropbox on steroids than mozy.

Additionally Spideroak has standard backup features that numerous providers give (including mozy) but gives you up to 50GB storage free.

Re:Spideroak? (1)

godefroi (52421) | more than 3 years ago | (#36894936)

Mozy is the most completely shit service+software combination I've ever had the displeasure to work with.

Go JungleDisk, you'll never go back.

Re:Spideroak? (1)

Cro Magnon (467622) | more than 3 years ago | (#36894028)

Last time I tried SpiderOak, its sync wasn't working right. Unless they've fixed it, SO isn't an option.

Re:Spideroak? (1)

jimwormold (1451913) | more than 3 years ago | (#36894090)

YMMV I guess. What was wrong with it?

It's always worked a charm for me. I wouldn't post a referral link to a broken product! Well not purposefully anyway.

Re:Spideroak? (1)

Cro Magnon (467622) | more than 3 years ago | (#36894222)

On several occasions, I changed a file on one machine, and it didn't get changed on the other. Someone on another website I'm on had the same complaint, and I saw an undefined complaint about syncing (it was too vague to tell if it was the same problem, but it sounded like it could have been) on the SO forums.

2 simple and one complex solutions (2)

roman_mir (125474) | more than 3 years ago | (#36892852)

First simple solution: host your own secure ftp.

Second simple solution: call Dropbox and tell them you'll pay to use their service if they sign your contract. Write your contract and mail it to them.

Complex solution: build your own software to do what they do. I don't see how that's going to be cheaper or easier than the first 2 simple solutions.

Re:2 simple and one complex solutions (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36893006)

Exactly what I came here to say:

FTP, for godâ(TM)s sake!! Duh!
Or even better: SFTP.

And Apache can automatically create directory listings, with proper authentication, authorization, path restrictions, bells and whistles. You can even change the (X)HTML to have your own personal style.
Just point apache to your FTP upload directory, and you're done.

Takes 10 minutes, costs perhaps $5 a month (cheap web hosting only offer), and if you do it via DynDNS, pointing to your own home server (which you, as a geek, should have anyway), like I do, it doesn't cost you a cent, and you don't even have to upload anything. (They do the downloading from you.)

I bet there are even pre-made solutions, taking the time down to 1 minute for downloading, 1 for unpacking and 1 for starting and trying out.

Re:2 simple and one complex solutions (1)

zAPPzAPP (1207370) | more than 3 years ago | (#36893168)

The crucial part about dropbox is not the file sharing. Any ftp can give you that. Most NAS come with one, or you can easily setup one on a linux box if you're willing to leave it switched on 24/7.
No, the thing that dropbox has and why I'd use it, is automatic file synchronization over all local devices, even when files are accessed from mutiple users at the same time.

Re:2 simple and one complex solutions (1)

roman_mir (125474) | more than 3 years ago | (#36893170)

Well, you can run your own version control as well.

Re:2 simple and one complex solutions (1)

daid303 (843777) | more than 3 years ago | (#36893482)

Which is harder to use. The "automatic" is important! Forgot to commit? Manual updates? Notifications about updates? no issue with dropbox.

I'm using dropbox a lot these days. I use 3 computers (work, home desktop, laptop), it's easy to have files accessible by al 3 by just putting the files in the right folder, no thinking beyond a single copy. I also have 3 shared folders which are used by other people, one of them even contains code, which is synced with a linux server, which runs the php code in the dropbox (rapid development) you can do all these things with other tools, but nothing matches the ease of use from dropbox.

Re:2 simple and one complex solutions (1)

roman_mir (125474) | more than 3 years ago | (#36893652)

That's your choice, I prefer rsync personally and cvs for development that I do for myself.

Re:2 simple and one complex solutions (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36893800)

I have to come up with something that moves files from computer A to computer B for processing, where computer A is run by a highschool dropout who can't be relied on to push a button.

Inevitably I'm going to have to write my own windows service that starts all by itself, watches the folder for changes, uploads the file, checks the hash on the other end, then deletes it from the local file once it's confirmed.

Re:2 simple and one complex solutions (1)

roman_mir (125474) | more than 3 years ago | (#36894238)

Windows? Don't they have something like 'at' command? You probably can just use that and put a perl script to check the files.

unison (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36892860)

if you have a linux shell with enough space for your files, you could use unison. its rsync-like, and can operate between two machines, or with a server (master) and multiple clients. unison is available for windows, mac and linux, but its probably simpler if the machine that's always on is running linux.

Lame article. DNRTFA. (2)

subreality (157447) | more than 3 years ago | (#36892868)

#1, "building your own" misses the entire point of using a cloud service. The whole idea is that I don't have to build my own infrastructure - I just sign up and use theirs.

#2, changing to another provider or buying a piece of sync software is not building your own.

Re:Lame article. DNRTFA. (1)

jellomizer (103300) | more than 3 years ago | (#36892910)

I would agree. This is a "I HATE CLOUD SOLUTIONS BECAUSE THEY ARE CLOUD SOLUTIONS" type of response. You can't judge Cloud solutions as one evil entitiy but as each one individually. There are good ones, there are bad ones, they are ones where you can work with a predefined contract of rules to follow, and they are ones you just agree to their rules. Cloud is the same as SaaS with is the same as Hosted Software, which is quite similar to Time Sharing. The Cloud name caught on, SaaS didn't, and Hosted Software just sounded too old.

I was hoping for some cool non-centralized server alternative coded with at least some neat scripts... No that article was lame.

Re:Lame article. DNRTFA. (1)

Pieroxy (222434) | more than 3 years ago | (#36893416)

You most certainly can judge Cloud solutions as one evil entity. Data is not in your hands. Even if you find a good vendor, he might get hacked, he might sell to some evil counterpart, etc...

What is in your home is under your responsibility. For the rest, you have to trust someone.

Re:Lame article. DNRTFA. (1)

MightyYar (622222) | more than 3 years ago | (#36893804)

What is in your home is under your responsibility. For the rest, you have to trust someone.

I disagree with your premise. Presuming you have network connectivity, you are "trusting" all the vendors that stand between your data and the internet. Windows, Linux, MacOS, even ssh, all have a history of exploits. You are trusting Microsoft or Apple or some open source developer. You are also trusting the vendor who makes your router or modem. You are also trusting your locksmith or lockmaker and security system installer.

I understand the concern with control over your data in the cloud - but nothing stops you from limiting or encrypting the data you send into it.

Re:Lame article. DNRTFA. (1)

outsider007 (115534) | more than 3 years ago | (#36892958)

So encrypt your stuff and push it to s3. I think that's what the article's talking about anyway.

Re:Lame article. DNRTFA. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36893184)

Home server + git + gitweb + webserver + httpauth + cron

if you need all file: git pull / clone
if you need a specified file: open gitweb

Re:Lame article. DNRTFA. (1)

GreatBunzinni (642500) | more than 3 years ago | (#36894716)

#1, "building your own" misses the entire point of using a cloud service. The whole idea is that I don't have to build my own infrastructure - I just sign up and use theirs.

First of all, this "cloud" idiocy is nothing more than marketing speak to fool idiots into believing that a corporation providing web-services through their is something new and, more astonishingly, something desireable.

Regarding your claim, it is nonsense. The whole idea of using a web-service is to access some service through a network. A web service is always a web service, no matter who owns the hardware or who pays to run things. Therefore, it is obvious that "the whole idea" of using a web service is not to mindlessly use some third-party service without questioning the consequences or costs. Instead, the whole idea of using a web service is to benefit from a service provided through a network. Nothing more, nothing less.

Therefore, if someone happens to have an old computer taking up space somewhere and if that person happens to need to host files on a server which is connected to a network then, instead of relying on a third-party to provide that service, that person can very well set up their own personal server and provide the service that he needs. And the best part is that by doing it that person is no longer bound to a mutable contract which no one really knows what it states but guarantees privacy breeches and can, in practice, benefit from a limit-less service. If you don't see the point in this then you are clueless to the implications of the choice you are advocating.

changing to another provider or buying a piece of sync software is not building your own.

Although changing to another provider is not "building your own", installing a server on your own hardware so that you yourself are able to provide your own unlimited, customized service does in fact mean that you are building your own service. And if you don't believe it is then try to mention it in any conversation, and see how you would refer to it as "my own service" instead of "dropbox's service".

Wuala (2)

pfiver (993546) | more than 3 years ago | (#36892890)

Although offtopic, because not DIY, the answer, for now, for me, is "Wuala". http://www.wuala.com/ [wuala.com] High quality java software, all content fully encrypted, sophisticated neatly designed access rights management (cryptree [google.com] ). It's not open source, but otherwise really close to perfect. I am in no way associated with the company (originally "Caleido", now merged into "Lacie").

Re:Wuala (1)

Lieutenant_Dan (583843) | more than 3 years ago | (#36892966)

Thanks for sharing. It looks like same folks (or group) that developed Cryptree are also running Wuala.

I'll try it out. Servers are based out of EU and Switzerland; so no PATRIOT Act to worry about.

Re:Wuala (2)

moronoxyd (1000371) | more than 3 years ago | (#36893190)

Same here.

I have been using Dropbox for quite some time and loved it's ease of use. But security concerns and the rather steep price of additional space made me look for alternatives. Enter Wuala.

Support for Linux, Windows and Android? Check (+ others like Mac)
Encrypted on client, Passphrase nevers leaves the Client? Check (as long as we trust the makers, of course)
Mobile access via web browser? Check (Java, so not available everywhere, but almost)
Inexpensive options to add additional space? Check (I currently can use 50 GB withouth paying a cent, by sharing some of my hard drive space to store encrypted data of other users, only viable if you have a rather decent broadband connection without data caps)

I do agree: Wuala is not perfect, but close enough.

Try iFolder (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36892896)

When I had security concerns about dropbox in the past, I was very pleased to find iFolder (http://www.ifolder.com). It runs on mono and authenticates with our company LDAP; it also has clients for linux/macosx/windows.

Give it a try, it's a bitch to install but when it's set up it just works

rsync (2)

AVryhof (142320) | more than 3 years ago | (#36892900)

rsync + ssh + cron + unlimited web hosting (that allows ssh access)

or

rsync + ssh + cron + a tunnel between the computers you want to sync

You might also want a manual update script to update between cron syncs.... or better yet.... write your manual update script and have cron call it for easy maintenance.

Re:rsync (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36893140)

rsync + ssh + cron + unlimited web hosting (that allows ssh access)

I can forsee a security issue with this one...

Re:rsync (1)

2fuf (993808) | more than 3 years ago | (#36893412)

vsftpd

Re:rsync (1)

Zebedeu (739988) | more than 3 years ago | (#36894280)

I'm currently doing this, but I thought it only worked one-way (I'm using it to mirror my hard drive as a poor man's backup solution).

Dropbox syncs in both directions, which is much more interesting.

goodsync.com (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36892948)

goodsync.com

thats where its at hombre.

Their software is only whats responsible for SYNCING your files. You get to specify your own sotrage solutions. Amazons3, webdav, sftp etc...

DIY doesn't work for multiple offices (1)

costas (38724) | more than 3 years ago | (#36893008)

We evaluated WebDAV on a hosted system and various open-source solutions (like hosted Alfresco) as alternatives to a company-wide Dropbox license. The fact is that if you want to have anything more sophisticated than a simple fileserver (e.g. different folder permissions, multiple file versions, somewhat sane conflict resolution), there is no good free alternative at this point if you have remote people --if you've heard of one, I'd love a pointer.

For a local LAN, I'd stick with Alfresco on a decent box, but Alfresco falls apart on remote connections, and plain WebDAV is too slow / buggy.

In the end we went with Egnyte [egnyte.com] . It's not without its faults (buggy iOS client for one, and the Windows clients need some optimization), but it does more than Dropbox/Box.net/Sugarsync/Syncplicity, works great for SOHOs and it's actually cheaper than a VPS that can handle Alfresco and the like.

Re:DIY doesn't work for multiple offices (1)

Zebedeu (739988) | more than 3 years ago | (#36894318)

I'm waiting for these guys to get their stuff up to release quality: http://sparkleshare.org/ [sparkleshare.org]

I'm not brave enough to trust my data to them at this point, but it seems to be the most promising open-source dropbox replacement so far.

Simples - Just continue to use Dropbox... (1)

Serif (87265) | more than 3 years ago | (#36893040)

... but use something like EncFS to keep all your files encrypted. You still get the advantages of on the fly synchronization over your various computers, but Dropbox loses the ability to do de-duplication to keep their storage costs down. That's what happens when you start playing silly legal games, users work around them and usually to your detriment.

AjaXplorer (1)

kramulous (977841) | more than 3 years ago | (#36893050)

I've never used DropBox but when family was wanting me to join so they could share some family movies (Canada and Australia) I set up AjaXplorer [sourceforge.net]

It may not be the same but everyone liked it, used it and found it easy to use.

It just got easier on Android (2)

phonewebcam (446772) | more than 3 years ago | (#36893076)

The basic "cloning a commercial service is easy" tone of this article used to be ok up to a point - realtime push notifications. All clients need to know when items were dropped, not just what. For Android, up until version 2.2 this was a pain - you had to implement long poll http battery-draining lookup schemes. Not so nowadays - 2.2+ gives developers C2DM [google.com] - cloud to device messaging - which should put the nail amongst the pigeons, to deliberately mix my metaphors. Now any app/server can basically push to any handset (that's running your listening software, natch), so it's hello to IM'ing every app etc, and a genuine worry for those previously in this exclusive space.

Disclaimer - I wrote the drop.io Android client before Facebook bought them out and I never heard from them again.

Anything from FTP up is an improvement (1)

dbIII (701233) | more than 3 years ago | (#36893118)

It's really depressing that dropbox didn't even come up the the standard of ordinary FTP from about twenty years ago.
If you want something that behaves a bit more like dropbox for the UI but is orders of magnitude more secure you could probably do it with rsync, ssh, zenity for the UI and half a dozen lines of bash script - probably in under a day even if you have to google for what all those terms I used are. That's how appallingly bad dropbox is - with all that is freely available today they couldn't even put something together that was as good as FTP twenty years ago. That's truly an epic fail.

Re:Anything from FTP up is an improvement (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36893350)

they just had good seed pr, probably from few "cool" bloggers. I know people who have multiple servers of their own.. yet they insist on using dropbox for things they should keep private.

Can't beat unison (2)

digitalderbs (718388) | more than 3 years ago | (#36893160)

Every two years or so, I critically evaluate my options for this problem--even going through the trouble of posting an AskSlashdot [slashdot.org] on the topic--and every time, I always come back to unison [upenn.edu] . There are many DIY, non-cloud managed solutions out there; see this article [wikipedia.org] for a useful comparison matrix. I've even tried using git for automated versioning and syncing. However, none seem to work as cleanly as a unison setup combined with a DynDNS IP forward to my home box. Include snapshot backups using StoreBackup [nongnu.org] --the best backup tool, IMHO--and you have a setup that is tough to beat.

SVN (1)

chrisreichel (598919) | more than 3 years ago | (#36893194)

I have an account on Dreamhost. In my case I use SVN as my 'poors guy dropbox.' Works on Windows (turtoise), android, Linux and Mac....

Re:SVN (1)

CastrTroy (595695) | more than 3 years ago | (#36893714)

Exactly. Although I use my SVN only for code projects, it would work equally well for documents and other files. Dreamhost also gives you (as part of the $10 package) 50 GB of "backup" storage in which you can store whatever you want. So if you have a big archive of family photos you want to upload, you can go right ahead and do that.

Tarsnap (1)

Monoecus (1761264) | more than 3 years ago | (#36893208)

I use tarsnap.com for backup because

1) the source code is public
2) encryption and compression takes place on your machine before being sent over
3) it offers incremental backup
4) it is extremely cheap...

For collaboration I use bazaar... Anything else?

Why is this in Slashdot? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36893224)

Seriously... such a dumb article in the front page of Slashdot?

Plug computers (1)

Yvanhoe (564877) | more than 3 years ago | (#36893230)

That's a job for plug computers : buy one, plug it to AC, plug it to ethernet, ssh to it, change root password, create users. Voila, you have a sFTP server ! You could even automatize the last step so that the user would never see the much dreaded command line that really gives too much power to users in this area of dumbed down GUIs.

Re:Plug computers (1)

Yvanhoe (564877) | more than 3 years ago | (#36893326)

s/area/era

tears for redundancy (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36893262)

FTP

Wuala (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36893306)

There's still Wuala.

Re:Wuala (2)

aarongadberry (1232868) | more than 3 years ago | (#36894452)

If you like(d) dropbox then go to Wuala.

http://www.gadberry.com/aaron/2011/04/29/wuala-for-dropbox-users/ [gadberry.com]

It is so much more, and so much better.

"The design of a worldwide, fully transparent distributed file system for simultaneous use by millions of mobile and frequently disconnected users is left as an exercise for the reader."

- Andrew S. Tanenbaum (Distributed Operating Systems)

Certificate Authentication? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36893462)

Are there any personal (non-business specific) online storage services that use certificate authentication instead of username / password ? It would be nice if the certificate was also used to encrypt the data on the client side. I have so far only found one service (http://www.lock-box.com/processes-and-keys/) and it appears to be aimed specifically at businesses. It does not have to be a free service, just aimed at end-users (multiple) and reasonably priced.

ifolder (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36893698)

We've had good success with ifolder running our file sharing system. It can be a bit of a bear to get up and running (especially on debian based systems), but once it's up and running it's very easy to use and admin. It's particularly nice because of the distributed nature, everyone gets their own copy of the file, so even if you can get access to the server, you can work on your files, push them when you get a chance, pull new ones down, whatever. Finally, it's designed for you to host your own server, and setting up that server is trivial.

The downside is that it's a novell castaway, and support is not particularly good. I'm hoping the community will rally and improve support as it's finally become open-source, but until then....

Mod parent up (1)

TBBle (72184) | more than 3 years ago | (#36893900)

I was going to suggest iFolder, but this post's already here. I like it because I set it up, handed it off to a non-IT person to run, and only hear a complaint when someone shuts down the server.

It's basically a dropbox workalike from user perspective, as far as I can tell. With cross-platform client support to boot.

Well, except one bug involving a user with admin privileges somehow removing all owners for a particular folder. You can still use it, but can't access it with the admin interface. There's a data repair I've never managed to apply...

But yeah, overall, very happy with it. The main Debian pain is to do with Debian's mono-apache integration setup getting in the way, if I recall correctly. I ended up turning that off. ^_^

ampache (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36893878)

Ampache (not a misspelling) is great. Check it out, Linux action show did a feature on it.

Unison (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36893884)

As long as you don't have any filenames that aren't in the English character set, I've found UNISON works perfectly no matter where in the world you travel so long as you can SSH into your box..

apt-get install unison-gtk

The password prompt even allows you to use One-Time-Passwords (Yubikeys) with Unison after you set up your PAM for OTP..

http://www.cis.upenn.edu/~bcpierce/unison/

DataOnDemand anyone? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36894206)

With all the recent trouble dropbox had our company IT chief didn't allow use it anymore so we had find something else. We were looking for DIY solutions as well until we found dataondemand. Our company has been using it for a while now and it feels pretty much like a dropbox replacement except the higher ups are happy now as we are allowed to run the servers on the company network instead of some untrusted 3rd party.

Demo versions are available on their website I believe http://dataondemand.se

how about syncany (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36894394)

http://www.syncany.org/ is an open source program which can sync data to a variety of cloud backend's but encrypts it first. However its not hit its first release yet.

What about Jungledisk? (1)

slipangle (859826) | more than 3 years ago | (#36894478)

They appear to have better security than Dropbox, but how can I be sure?
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