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Thread: Ubuntu One vs. Dropbox

  1. #11
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    Re: Ubuntu One vs. Dropbox

    I was wondering if there are some application that makes it possible to set up a "dropbox/ubuntuone" service on our own server?
    Currently not, Dropbox will add it in the future, I don't know what Ubuntu One's plans are.

  2. #12
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    Re: Ubuntu One vs. Dropbox

    Quote Originally Posted by Fl0ris View Post
    Currently not, Dropbox will add it in the future, I don't know what Ubuntu One's plans are.
    In the future, we're going to provide the ability to sync across a local network without any interaction with our server. This is a ways out, but it is on our roadmap.

  3. #13
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    Re: Ubuntu One vs. Dropbox

    Currently Dropbox has two important advantages that keep me from moving to Ubuntu One:

    1. Symlinks support. With Dropbox I know every document I have in my Documents folder is safe on the web the moment I saved it with my editor application.

    2. Politeness and manners. Ubuntu One is hard-coded to create its folder in my home folder. I like my home folder neat - it is a home, after all - and I want nothing but my own custom folders there. Dropbox allows me to choose where I want it located, while Ubuntu One treats my home folder like its back yard.

  4. #14
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    Re: Ubuntu One vs. Dropbox

    Quote Originally Posted by Wise Ferret View Post
    Currently Dropbox has two important advantages that keep me from moving to Ubuntu One:

    1. Symlinks support. With Dropbox I know every document I have in my Documents folder is safe on the web the moment I saved it with my editor application.

    2. Politeness and manners. Ubuntu One is hard-coded to create its folder in my home folder. I like my home folder neat - it is a home, after all - and I want nothing but my own custom folders there. Dropbox allows me to choose where I want it located, while Ubuntu One treats my home folder like its back yard.
    Hi Wise Ferret,

    These are two of the more popular feature requests we get for Ubuntu One. We intend on delivering these in a future release.

    Thanks,

    Joshua

  5. #15
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    Re: Ubuntu One vs. Dropbox

    New feature in Dropbox' last forum release: the option to sync via LAN... Faster than via their server.

  6. #16
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    Re: DropBox and SpiderOak experiences

    I've used and given up on both Dropbox and SpiderOak, using Ubuntu Gutsy and Hardy. I last used Dropbox in early 2009 and SpiderOak in mid 2009. They both have some nice features, but here I am going to focus on the parts that don't work well, as you can read about the features elsewhere.

    Unfortunately, I have to recommend you avoid both these services, because they are just too immature to be used, at least in my experience. Other people may have quite different experiences - I wanted a backup service primarily, and I had a lot of files (over 100,000), which maybe stressed them too much.

    I wasted a lot of time trying to get both services to work. I really wanted to just buy a solid Linux backup service that was priced for a home user, but I didn't find it in these two at least. This may sound like I have an axe to grind, but I am just a very disappointed customer.

    Bottom line: I lost some less important data with Dropbox, finding it not suitable for Linux file permissions. With SpiderOak I found a vast amount of data had not been backed up, without any warning error messages, and recovery failed in several ways as well.

    I'm a Linux geek since mid 1990s, so it wasn't a lack of technical expertise either...

    DropBox
    • I tried to sync 50GB of files from Linux but couldn't get more than 2 GB to sync (on a paid account)
    • Really Dropbox is a sync application, and is not designed for (or good at) doing backups.
    • (When I tried it at least) Dropbox did not support Linux file permissions, so you could only use it for file where this doesn't matter, e.g. plain data files but not your ~/.ssh directory and certainly not /etc (which I tried).
    • Dropbox got confused about which side was master at one point so it synced my server-side /etc files on top of my newer /etc files on the PC. Not helpful for something I was trying to use for backups...
    • A lot of people seemed to be having problems with syncs not completing, but the Dropbox team were adding new features rather than focusing on reliability.
    • Doesn't provide specific error messages when things go wrong, i.e. your data is not being synced.
    • Support was helpful generally but couldn't solve these problems before I gave up.


    SpiderOak
    • Generally worked better re file permissions and two-way syncing.
    • Very heavy on machine, and slow, when using a large number of files (100,000 plus). I used this on a couple of PCs, both modern dual core based with 1 GB or 4 GB RAM. Despite this, I had to frequently disable the SpiderOak client or set it to run at night, because the PC became unusable. In the 1GB PC's case, SpiderOak started using swap so much that I could barely kill the client - ironically it was just pulling down the 100,000 filenames synced from the other PC, which I didn't need on that PC. (SpiderOak does this for all machines in your account, no way to turn it off I'm aware of.)
    • Unreliable connection to servers. Often would not be able to connect, or would take so long I'd give up.
    • No access control on retrieval. Any SpiderOak client on the same account can see and download any file from any other client PC. Only usable for a set of PCs used by people you trust implicitly. No way to restrict this I could find.
    • Good encryption model, but when you have errors you may have to send in log files which expose more details. Also logging into their website even for forums breaks this model, as the forums use your main password used for web access to data.
    • Very hard to track what is going on. Unlike a backup tool, SpiderOak is based on continuous syncing, but it's very hard to check if it's working OK. I had such a huge queue at most times that it was difficult to know if it was near finishing, and the client UI was hard to understand (although I'm a Linux geek, many terms aren't defined). The client doesn't provide any useful specific errors on what has gone wrong.
    • Silently failed to back up my data. In one case this was a near disaster, because the PC had lost thousands of files (due to ext3, LVM and disk level writeback caching - "hdparm -W0 /dev/sdX" is strongly recommended!!), yet SpiderOak had failed to back up 95% of the files, including all the digital photos... In another case I didn't have a PC crash but I noticed SpiderOak didn't backup my files for at least a month, without me noticing.
    • Recovery failed in a couple of ways when I needed it. First, the GUI client wouldn't download files (got stuck after a few files, but I had about 10,000 files to recover over tens of directories), then when I tried the web client, it recovered some directories but generated a corrupt and truncated ZIP file for the largest directory.
    • Support took several days to respond about recovery problems, and wasn't able to fix the problem.


    What do I use for backup now? I did look at some other backup/sync services but decided using open source tools would be more reliable given my experiences with these two.
    1. sbackup (Simple Backup Suite - type "sudo aptitude install sbackup" or use Synaptic) - this is a GREAT simple tool that automates the whole backup process, almost no technical expertise needed to ensure that /home, /etc and so on are backed up. You do need to configure it to point to an external drive, a NAS, or another PC with Windows filesharing (otherwise your backup is just more files on the same disk, which is not really a backup). But it has a nice simple user interface, makes recovering files easy, takes care of scheduling everything, has sensible defaults, and even gets rid of older backups using a sensible scheme. If you don't have backups now, try using sbackup - although it's not offsite backup it's the closest I've seen to Mozy for an easy to use backup tool on Linux.
    2. For offsite backups, I have a more complex setup using a combination of DAR (strongly recommended if you like a file archive approach, can do encryption and archive splitting, better than tar) and rsnapshot (using this now, great if you have enough disk space - very easy recovery, very fast backups, efficient use of network through rsync, can back up webhosts without installing software on them.) However, a non-geek would have challenges getting this working as rsnapshot/rsync relies on SSH quite heavily.

    There are many other backup tools out there. BackupPC is very complete, but with bigger learning curve and optimised for businesses / enterprises. Duplicity and rdiff-backup are somewhat like rsnapshot but have disadvantages in my view for large amounts of data.

    For syncing, I hope Ubuntu One will learn from these mistakes, but I'd expect that it will take a year or two to mature fully. In the interim you might want to look at using Unison (two way syncing for Linux and Windows, open source) and a separate server, perhaps a web host.
    Last edited by Cato2; October 3rd, 2009 at 11:53 AM.

  7. #17
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    Re: DropBox and SpiderOak experiences

    @Cato2

    Those services aren't meant to be used as backup software. They are sync services. Vast difference there.
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  8. #18
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    Re: Ubuntu One vs. Dropbox

    i just started using ubuntu one on 9.04, and it looks promising. I wish that it came with more then 2GB

    There are a lot of people out there driving cars. The majority of them are intimidated by looking under the hood. Arch Linux is targeting people who are not.
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  9. #19
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    Re: Ubuntu One vs. Dropbox

    Quote Originally Posted by itsbrad212 View Post
    i just started using ubuntu one on 9.04, and it looks promising. I wish that it came with more then 2GB

    You can pay for more...
    WARNING: "sudo rm -rf /" = BAD Read this for more information.
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  10. #20
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    Re: DropBox and SpiderOak experiences

    Quote Originally Posted by zekopeko View Post
    @Cato2

    Those services aren't meant to be used as backup software. They are sync services. Vast difference there.
    Actually they are marketed as backup services, not just sync:
    • https://spideroak.com/ mentions 'online backup' very prominently (first of three headlines).
    • http://www.getdropbox.com/ doesn't say much on the front page but the prominent Take a Tour link leads to a page where Online Backup is mentioned as the third major feature.

    Since both support storing multiple versions of a file, they could be used as backup services, or even near-CDP (Continuous Data Protection) services, if they sorted out the sort of problem I'm talking about (which might need some redesign). They would also need better error logging, like Mozy which does continuous backups as well as scheduled backups, but reports for each backup attempt with a summary of what it did (including any error status) and lets you see a detailed log file to troubleshoot errors.

    Dropbox and SpiderOak are not suitable for whole-system backup unless you first back up all files to an archive, but they could do the sort of backups that Mozy or Carbonite do on Windows, i.e. backup your most important data, which is what I wanted.
    Last edited by Cato2; October 5th, 2009 at 08:53 PM. Reason: clarification

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