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Topic: Unison File Synchronizer (Read 2021 times)

  • Frenzie
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Unison File Synchronizer
For several years now, I've been using Unison to have access to all the files I might need on all devices where I might need them. Thanks to today's HDD capacities, I can have all my important files on my netbook available without an Internet connection, and due to the duplication it's also a backup in case my desktop HDD ever has any issues.  Before HDDs reached this size, I used to be more selective about my synchronization, synchronizing e.g. only documents past and present while excluding music or photographs.

Anyway, if you're looking for a good way to synchronize significantly more data than Dropbox offers, or just to do it without sticking anything in the so-called cloud, especially on an American server, Unison might be just what you're looking for.

http://www.micahcarrick.com/unison-synchronize-ubuntu.html
http://www.pgbovine.net/unison_guide.htm
http://www.pgbovine.net/unison-for-your-mom.htm
http://fransdejonge.com/2013/07/unison-set-times-to-true-if-you-want/

  • Frenzie
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Re: Unison File Synchronizer
Reply #1
It might also be interesting to note that, while I haven't tried it, Unison is available on Android. Even though Dropbox is typically more convenient for files you're currently working on, its crippled Android client makes one look for different solutions.

  • ersi
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Re: Unison File Synchronizer
Reply #2
Hail Unison! (even tho I haven't tried it)

Ubuntu comes with Ubuntu One cloud service that syncs /home directory like Opera Link does with Opera's profile, only better.

- Same as in Opera Link, you can (un)select some folders-places to sync.
- Different from Opera Link, you can sync the whole profile mercilessly. The files will be neatly viewable in the cloud like in a file manager. There's a storage limit of course, so it can't be abused without second thought.
- Optional encryption. In this case the files in the cloud won't remain neatly viewable like in the file manager.

But Richard Stallman says Ubuntu services are bad for you, so...

For my own backup needs I have used good old copy-paste to an external HDD. Experiments with cp, mv, and rsync have been fun.

  • Frenzie
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Re: Unison File Synchronizer
Reply #3
Wasn't that about the automatic Amazon results in the Unity Dash?

  • ersi
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Re: Unison File Synchronizer
Reply #4

Wasn't that about the automatic Amazon results in the Unity Dash?
Yes, about the fact that the search terms get sent to Amazon so that their offers may serve you better. The whole Zeitgeist and other software that record your moves is implicated as suspicious this way.

  • ersi
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Re: Unison File Synchronizer
Reply #5
Here I found a good short description what Unison does http://www.cis.upenn.edu/~bcpierce/unison/
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Unlike simple mirroring or backup utilities, Unison can deal with updates to both replicas of a distributed directory structure. Updates that do not conflict are propagated automatically. Conflicting updates are detected and displayed.


Rsync is of course just for mirroring. The files should be static when syncing. Each and every update gets displayed and asks interaction unless the action is specified beforehand.

In contrast, Unison seems a proper merge tool, not a mechanical copier. How does it compare to Git in your opinion?

Ah, somebody already tried http://joeyh.name/blog/entry/gitless/

  • Frenzie
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Re: Unison File Synchronizer
Reply #6
https://help.github.com/articles/what-is-my-disk-quota
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Though it sounds like Git would make an amazing backup tool, Git really doesn't work out well for backups over the long term. Many solutions that are specifically designed for performing backups are even less expensive than GitHub's Micro plan.

Still, looking at the Git book, it's not immediately obvious why this should be the case. Perhaps the issue is simply that they're talking about Github, while Git itself might still be a brilliant general backup tool. A quick search shows roughly the same conclusion by someone more knowledgeable, including some of the defects.

In any case, for everything that isn't collaborative, I set up Git repositories of my plain text files. Zim even comes with built-in Git support, which I use. To quote myself:
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The great thing about versioning software isn't necessarily that you can go back to a former version, but the knowledge that you can go back. Normally I'm always busy commenting out text or putting it at the bottom, but when it's versioned I feel much more free about just deleting it. Maybe I'll put some of it back in later, but it lets the machine take the work off of my hands.


Edit: no fair, edits don't show up as a new post in preview mode. :)