Go iFolder and Drop-that-Box now! MOTUs step up to the task, please…

As a follow in up my last entry on mono related tech I wanted to thank Rui Boon for beeing a true iFolder hero!

The problem is that compulsory military service has taken him away from Ubuntu business so we need someone else to take on this task. Rui Boon was the guy that made some packages available for the 3.6 release on his PPA and he started to work on the 3.7 but didn’t haqve time to finish. On an email he told me:

Good news here. Managed to get simias to run. Just need to follow the instruction at https://help.ubuntu.com/community/iFolderEnterpriseServer under “Setup environment”

(Not enough time to get my hand on the client though)

As Jorge and many other have remarked iFolder is the Free Software answer to Dropbox and the like. Really just drop that box and go iFolder: You will never go back!

The good thing about the 3.7 release is its community commitment. Novell is finally learning to cooperate with the Free Software ecosystem, they are slow learners as a corporation, but still they have done things right this time!

So why do I want to use blogging time on this? Well because iFolder needs packaging in both Ubuntu and debian!

Now that someone took the trouble to make this awesomeness, we should actually strive to distribute it as mcuh as we can. Alien won’t cut it this time around, it needs real packaging!

If you like challenges and result-based fame join this great effort and make this awesomeness shine for the Karmic Koala release. This would be one of the most awesome features you can add to an OS both in the server and a multi-platform client. People has been waiting for ages to do “apt-get install ifolder” forever!

Why? See iFolder’s features:

  • iFolder clients for Macintosh and Vista
  • SSL Communication
  • LDAPGroup Support
  • Auto-Account creation using response files
  • iFolder Merge (existing folders can be merged with iFolders)
  • Improved file conflict management
  • Enhanced web administration
  • Mechanism to re-provision users to other iFolder servers

Not sure yet? See the data sheet

And no, I am not a Novell or Suse fanboy, I have never sold any of their products but I still believe that iFolder is one of the most awesome projects in the Free Software world the last 5 years, that Novell is behind it just shows that there’s still something backing up those shares.

So, please do not make me use unison when I can use this instead! If you know of other, similar options, let me know in the comments.

Thanks in advance!


~ by huayra on 2009 May 5.

34 Responses to “Go iFolder and Drop-that-Box now! MOTUs step up to the task, please…”

  1. Hi there,
    after reading the “data sheet” you provide, i understood that you need a server of your own (server on which you have root access) to get ifolder to work.

    But as a normal ubuntu user, who doesnt have his own server, where do you get actual space? on what server? will Canonical provide some space automatically (when creating a launchpad account?)

    Well, in other terms, is iFolder really similar to Dropbox, who provides 2Go of space by default, extensible to 50Go for 10$/month?

    What you provide with iFolder is just the software, but not the service, right?

    • I do not provide anything!, but yes iFolder is the software to run the service, not the service itself.

      I am just a Free Software lover who likes the functionality that DropBox gives but does not like its lack of freedom. That problem can be fixed by using iFolder in your own server. A while ago there was a version of iFolder that was trying to extend the concept to be Peer-to-Peer (in other words: Server-less) but I have no idea how that ended…

      For your own cheap server see Slicehost or EuroVPS. Having that in place you can have your own DropBox for you and your friends! 🙂

      I used iFolder back in 2006 in my old job and it worked like a charm. Now I want to see ti propertly packaged and as a cool feature that makes Ubuntu even more attractive 🙂

    • I have working scripts that are building debs and installing for Ubuntu. Simias on the server side works on Ubuntu 9.04 and iFolder on the cliemt end. Join the group. Post your experiences, errors, ideas, and bugs.

      I have a working Simias server for people who need to test clients. Email me:
      sanjaya dot yogi at gmail dot com

  2. Does it work on non-i386 arches yet? That was the killer last time I looked at this.

    Generally, I would strongly recommend that Rui contact the Debian Mono Group for packaging advice before submitting anything to the archive, though, either way

  3. Yes, it’s just the software, that way you’re not stuck having to trust them not to lose your data or go out of business. They go out of business, your data’s gone. You have your own spare computer that can run as a server or you buy hosting, and you know the server’s not gonna just disappear one day.

  4. ifolder is most likely going to be an important piece of clientside tech for the UbuntuOne services. You’ll note that UbuntuOne integration into F-spot has been proposed as a Karmic UDS sprint topic. I would imagine UbuntuOne integration into ifolder would be something Canonical is looking at as well. Too bad bad UbuntuOne is still primarily a private discussion inside Canonical and not something they are willing to discuss in the open with the general Ubuntu community. Transparency and all that jazz.


    • I found this for your enjoyment: http://en.oreilly.com/oscon2009/public/schedule/detail/8843

      Community and all that jazz you know… We are so interested into Canonical’s business that we can’t help it…

      • Oh goodie goodie.. a conference talk in july. Any Ubuntu community specific QA session planned before that that you know of to give the Ubuntu community a heads up? Know when the beta testing will be open to the public including a public mailinglist? Know when any of the source will be made public? Well I guess that conference talk means its probably okay to assume that atleast the client side codebases will no longer be private by then and they will be exposed as publicly accessible bzr trees…so that’s something..not exactly a transparent roadmap or a transparent development process..but something.


    • UbuntuOne is currently in internal beta at Canonical. They started approaching some community members months ago, asking if we’d like to participate in a private beta. I followed up with a Canonical employee recently, and he said official invitations should be going out soon.

      • Ah yes…internal beta..and “official” invitations to participate…clearly recognized hallmarks of a company committed to the ideals of open development and transparency. Did they happen to say when they’ll be opening up the code repository for inspection and contribution?

      • No. I don’t even know if there’s supposed to be much code out there, except maybe a client. I don’t know what it really is yet, except that I think it’ll involve storage. I get the impression it’s like .mac but the person I heard about it from said he doesn’t know too much about it except that he was asked to offer beta invites to a few people.

        And of course they are doing an internal beta first. That makes sense to at least get any big data loss errors ironed out before a bunch of pissed off Ubuntu contributors start complaining that they lost a bunch of our data during the beta testing period.

      • And I shouldn’t have said “official invitations,” just “invitations” since he didn’t say “Official” in describing it. He just went “you didn’t get an invite yet? Huh, ok. Guess it should be soon…”

  5. Well, anyhow, online storage has a cost, wether you buy your “own” server, or through a service like dropbox (which offers space for free tho). Either way, if the company thats provides a server to you or Dropbox fail, you get the same result.

    If ubuntu could provide optional features like synchronization of your ~ , having “key” folders like /etc managed using a version control system and stored using iFolder etc…

    (Tho i’m pretty sure this will hurt Ubuntu’s image because most “hard core” freedom supporters (i mean those who think making money with Open source is bad) will block on the fact that it costs… money.)

    • You have to a little careful about storing the result of etckeper in the cloud. /etc can leak information about your system that you don’t want people to know…like custom sshd configuration settings just as an example. What you really need to do is have a layer between you and the remote location that encrypted/decrypted the information on your client…ensuring the remote location only had encrypted blobs. I wonder if the encryptfs stuff Kirkland has been working on extends to Ubuntu One storage or ifolder storage to provide this sort of protection? If so that would be a real advancement in data security in the cloud. Too bad there isn’t a public discussion forum about Ubuntu One capabilities where that discussion would be relevant and impactful.


    • What the heck does money have to do with freedom? What you’re talking about are cheapskates, not freedom-lovers.

    • > i’m pretty sure this will hurt Ubuntu’s image because most “hard core” freedom supporters (i mean those who think making money with Open source is bad) will block on the fact that it costs… money.

      No, the fact that it costs money will block those who don’t want to spend money.

      The fact that the service is not free software will block those who care about free software.

      • A part of me says:

        * If it was up to me everything would be AGPL

        Another part of me says:

        * Just go BSD! Total Freedom!

        And the last part:

        * Use WTFPL

  6. Does anyone have directions for 8.04 Ubuntu client and server?

    Also you don’t have to worry about Dropbox going out of business. Since the backend to Dropbox is Amazons Elastic computing, your files can be gotten back if Dropbox goes out of business. Also Dropbox makes a copy of what you have on a particular computer but does not remove it from your computer so you will always have your data. Lastly Dropbox has no reason to go out of business since Amazon charges pennies on the dollar per GB of space. Which is why DB can give 2 GB for free and 50 GB for $10 USD. I am thinking they make about $5 or more per paying customer.

    Using Slicehost or EuroVPS costs twice as much as DB and you have to do all the work yourself. Now if you have your own server or want to make VM’s (I use HyperVM on my server) and you have the bandwidth then you can do it all for free. 🙂

  7. Seems like I’m slightly behind the curve as I just commented on this idea here:

    Idea #2326: Multiple Computer Syncing

    (iFolder’s) mono dependency isn’t the most popular one within the community but in any case it is nice to see that Canonical are working on this idea already.

  8. […] is one week ago I heard about it for the first time after blogging about iFolder, weird […]

  9. […] is one week ago I heard about it for the first time after blogging about iFolder, weird […]

  10. jef:

    “Any Ubuntu community specific QA session planned before that that you know of to give the Ubuntu community a heads up?”

    Yes; there’s at least one session at UDS next week.

    “Know when the beta testing will be open to the public”

    At the moment the beta is limited purely to control the number of people signed up so we can get a picture of how our servers manage the load. You can request an invite, or anyone who already has an account can invite you by sharing a folder with you.

    “including a public mailinglist?”

    There’s a public mailing list: https://edge.launchpad.net/~ubuntuone-users

    “Know when any of the source will be made public?”

    All the client source is now public.

  11. > “Know when any of the source will be made public?”
    > All the client source is now public.

    Know when the server source will be made public?

    • it’s all public and released.

      Check the iFolder.com site and their community page in sourceforge.

      It’s worth mentioning that the client part is called iFolder and the server part is called simias.

  12. […] Anyway I hope to be able to tell you that iFolder is soon ready to be sponsored into Ubuntu within the Karmic release cycle, and that this bug can finally be closed. So we all can finally just drop that box! […]

  13. Dropbox started 2007
    iFolder started 2001.

    How can iFolder be a response to dropbox ?

    • Dropbox !free
      iFolder is free

      What you are failing to see is what you take for granted: Freedom!

      • I have been using linux on my main computers for 13 years, so please don’t call me on the Free thing. I could have said

        dropbox free (for some usages), iFolder Free.

        I’ll repeat myself: iFolder is not an answer: it was there before. Call it an alternative if you want, but not an answer.

        It’s Freer, but that’s another aspect.

        I’ve followed the project on an off for several years. It’s not the most open nor successful project out there (probably for many reasons). It requires mono. That sets some people off. It’s probably more targeted at corporate users than private ones. They don’t produce (anymore) binaries for other platform than SUSE. I don’t easily find the link to the source code from the project site, nor to the developer mailing list archives. Things that I care about. Maybe because the site has been restructured recently.

        I wish them good luck. It’s an interesting piece of infrastructure. But to me, the mess of the project site may reflect the mess of the project itself.

        Look at things like Android, arguably bigger in magnitude. Their site is much much easier to navigate both from a user and developer perspective (http://source.android.com/)

  14. There’s a PPA for iFolder. I hope to get time this weekend for testing:


    Marcelo Boveto Shima YOU ROCK!

  15. I haven’t tried this yet, but somebody built iFolder as an appliance for vmware, disk image, live image, and xen server. Here is the link:


  16. Looking forward to any results on the packaging of iFolder.

    I have seen a 3.8 server rpm and source version here:

    I may try the alien route of installing this on a ubuntu 64-bit box. I have a VM setup now to give it a go. Wish me luck. Anyone let me know if this setup will/wont work.

  17. Sweeeet, I ended up using Marcelo’s PPA package listing. Here are the commands i ran. I had never done PPAs before, so you have to set marcellos (or whoevers) PPA up with those first two commands. Then, you can install his pre-built packages just like any other package (apt-get).

    sudo apt-get install python-software-properties
    sudo add-apt-repository ppa:marceloshima/ppa
    sudo apt-get install ifolder3

  18. a “source package” for ifolder client / server is available at http://groups.google.com/group/ifolder-ubuntu-debian-dev?hl=en .

  19. I know that online storage solution offers ifolder accounts as part of the service. You are still paying for storage but it works out to be about 10 cents a day for unlimited space. I have up about 2TB on the service so it’s dirt cheap. Check it out onlinestoragesolution.com

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