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I am currently using Dropbox. Just decided to sync my huge (about 5 GB) iTunes Library (music collection) in Dropbox. For that I must subscribe to their paid account. But before I do so, I'd like evaluate the alternatives.

Is there an alternative that does this?

  • Local LAN sync (eg: sync my huge music collection across computers in local network without uploading/downloading them to internet)

The following would be nice (but not required):

  • Native android client - so music will be made available in the Android music app / SDHC card
  • Selective sync: sync particular folders / exclude certain folders on certain computers .. eg: excluding porn folder on work computers ;-)

Just like Dropbox, it MUST work on 64-bit Windows, Linux and Mac.

Know of any? (I am currently evaluating Spideroak. Boy, was it so complicated to use?)

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up vote 8 down vote accepted

Doh! Dropbox recently (6 days ago) added support for LAN sync. I'm sold!

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Dropbox LAN syncing has been around for more than a month. The first “stable release” build of 0.7 was on 2009-12-11: Also, it still uploads for the “to the cloud” sync, but it will use the local network for inter-machine syncs. See also and – Chris Johnsen Jan 28 '10 at 9:10
Thanks Chris. I am now subscribed to their 50gb edition. – Sridhar Ratnakumar Jan 29 '10 at 23:59
... and selective syncing (v1.0 or greater, or v0.8 beta), and an Android client. Looks like Dropbox is your solution. – Pat Dec 21 '10 at 17:07

Well, in both cases, the underlying answer is rsync and optionally a frontend for it. works on all 3 major OSes, open source, and only syncs what's changed.

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I'm afraid rsync is the solution. Why, how about manually copying files around? ;-) – Sridhar Ratnakumar Jan 28 '10 at 7:23
rsync is more efficient with file changes, and works over a network, or locally. – Journeyman Geek Jan 28 '10 at 10:45
I was hinting at usability of a rsync-based solution. With Dropbox, I don't even have to do anything to get my files in sync (it "just works"). Whereas with rsync I presumably have to manually invoke it once in a while (or add it to Scheduled Tasks, cron, so on) for each pair of the computers I have. – Sridhar Ratnakumar Feb 17 '10 at 7:17
look into a daemon called lsyncd for automatic rsyncing – jweede Apr 8 '10 at 14:50

I'm a bit late to the party, but you might want to look at Unison.

It will synchronise files between two arbitrary folders/drives (which can be on the same computer, or accessed via shared drives or SSH). As a bonus, it will safely (!) synchronise in both directions (i.e. you can work on both copies, then sync, and Unison will figure out the correct version of each file).

It can be a bit slow due to the complex work it does, but after the initial synch it will only copy changed files, so should be OK.

Unison runs on Windows, MacOS X and just about any Unix/Linux system. Dunno about Android, but seems to work as well.

Setup is a bit clumsy (text config), but once it's setup you usually don't touch it. Ah, it also allows customizable inclusion/exclusion of files.

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You can check out SparkleShare. You provide a remote Git folder (you can install one on your local network) and download their open-source client (currently only Linux is offered as alpha). Seems to demonstrate a lot of promise.

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Of course, since it's based on git, it's not going to perform well with large media files. – Ryan Thompson Aug 13 '10 at 22:02
@Ryan Thompson: however, git's merge conflict solution for textfiles is a great plus. But I just noticed it's only beta and only for linux so far... – Tobias Kienzler Jan 21 '11 at 8:13
Actually, I tested git with editing the ID3 tags on some mp3 files, and it stored them quite efficiently. I suspect that the majority of use cases for large media files are perfectly fine in terms of incremental storage. The main problem is that as a distributed VCS, git needs to keep at least a full copy of all the data locally, which means your stuff takes up double the disk space. And also, you can't easily prune history, so if you accidentally add a large file once and then delete it, it still takes up space in the repository. – Ryan Thompson Jan 21 '11 at 16:17

Ubuntu One is a service that is growing in support. The Windows client is in beta testing, and there are clients available for Android and iPhone.

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Here is the best alternative I found after a LOT of searching. It's called broolz and it works perfectly syncing my files/folders over 2 PCs that are connected via LAN. It pretty much works almost exactly like dropbox, with exception of not having online storage and using LAN instead. Same as dropbox, it synchronizes files in real time whenever it detects they are changed/added/removed. Enjoy!

EDIT: scrach that, seems that the program is java based and is a huge memory hog, it started using half a gig of ram just like that, while dropbox usually sits at around 50 MB ram. I'll try to check out GoodSync next and see if that's a viable sollution.

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