Linked by Eugenia Loli on Fri 11th Feb 2005 23:35 UTC
Novell and Ximian iFolder is a file sharing application for Linux, Windows, and Mac. Using iFolder workgroup features, you can easily: Share files across multiple computers and share files with other users. Used with an iFolder Enterprise server, you can maintain a backup of your files on an iFolder Enterprise server, share files with other users and computers and restore deleted files from Backup. The new web site for iFolder is up and some interesting Flash demos are available for your viewing pleasure.
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v Interesting, but...
by Roguelazer on Sat 12th Feb 2005 00:09 UTC
by Psy on Sat 12th Feb 2005 00:10 UTC

Sorry for the stupid question,
but we couldn't do de same with a ftp client?

no , you couldn't
by sniperu on Sat 12th Feb 2005 00:15 UTC

For one iFolder doesn't sync the entire file , just the parts that have been changed . Really low-bandwith-friendly .

by Jon on Sat 12th Feb 2005 00:15 UTC

One part I don't understand: the Simias source code is 64 MBs but it compiles in a 1 MB of actual program. Scary. ;)

iFolder is nice
by James A. Hillyerd on Sat 12th Feb 2005 00:34 UTC

I use iFolder for personal stuff, it's nice because it keeps a local copy of files for speed and offline use, and syncs to the server when it can. You can also access it via a web browser from other locations if needed.

The commercial version seems kinda picky about server URLs, etc... hopefully the open source (serverless I hear?) version will be a little more friendly.

Look! Up in the sky....
by OSXITCO on Sat 12th Feb 2005 00:45 UTC

Very useful app.

Re: ftp
by bleyz on Sat 12th Feb 2005 01:08 UTC

but we couldn't do de same with a ftp client?

Yes, in the sense that there is nothing we can do with a bulldozer that we couldn't do with a pick.

iFolder: It's all about Sharing
by Anonymous on Sat 12th Feb 2005 01:20 UTC

Well, make up your mind. Is it Flash demos
or is it viewing pleasure? It's not possible
for both to occur in the same place...

Good for laptop users?
by Anonymous on Sat 12th Feb 2005 01:23 UTC

Sounds like it might be a good solution for Linux laptop users who need the equivalent of Windows' "Make this folder available offline" feature. Yes, you could probably use rsync, but this sounds a bit easier for the business user who just wants to get work done in and out of the office.

by Anonymous on Sat 12th Feb 2005 01:26 UTC

Can someone tell me if the mac verion is mono based too?

and is not GTK#, does it mean it runs native components on the mac?

RE: ...
by Jon on Sat 12th Feb 2005 01:28 UTC

It probably is GTK#, in which case you will need X, GTK, its deps, GTK# and mono to run it. Hopefully it ain't so though.

There was some native Cocoa# work been done by an Apple engineer, but I think it's stalled atm.

by jaykayess on Sat 12th Feb 2005 01:29 UTC

Well, the RPM on the iFolder site won't install on SuSE 9.2 ("A Novell Company" !!!) because of unsatisfied dependancies. There *is* an iFolder RPM included with SuSE, but it's only v0.10, whereas the iFolder site has version 3.0. I tried the older RPM, and the software was quite buggy; the UI was unresponsive and (get this) you can't dismiss the "about" dialog without first closing down the main application window. Rather sloppy.

It seems like a really cool idea; I can't wait until SuSE deigns to ship a more recent release.

by Anonymous on Sat 12th Feb 2005 01:29 UTC

63 MB of comments? ;)

nice idea and free too.
by Joel Philip on Sat 12th Feb 2005 01:30 UTC

still waiting for OS X version, its nice to Novell supporting OSS.

simplified faq,for no techies
by doo on Sat 12th Feb 2005 01:54 UTC

where is a simplified faq,for no techies to use this on windoze?

i cant start an account,maybe due to my firewall?

nitpick, but still...
by durin42 on Sat 12th Feb 2005 01:56 UTC

"is a file sharing application for Linux, Windows, and Mac"

more like "is a file sharing application for Linux and Windows, currently in development for Mac as well" or something to that effect. It really peeves me as a Mac user to hear "in development" mean "for Mac." That's just a historical thing.

Oh, and how likely is it to arrive for Mac, honestly? I thought Cocoa# was effectively dead?

Oh I get it now..
by iRaq on Sat 12th Feb 2005 01:59 UTC

Ok, so, mono is going to be a little controvertial as far as Microsoft goes, but in order to push this onto the Linux desktop what we'll do it attach killer application projects that require Mono, like Beagle and iFolder!

See, now everyone is happy to use mono.

RE: Oh I get it now..
by Jon on Sat 12th Feb 2005 02:00 UTC

iFolder also works with the .NET framework, no Mono is needed under Windows.

RE: RE: Oh I get it now...
by Roguelazer on Sat 12th Feb 2005 02:27 UTC

iFolder for Windows reports to ZoneAlarm that it's running as "Mono-XSP Server". Funnily enough, it also recreates a UNIX directory structure within its folder in Program Files.

kind of like iDisk?
by Jon Maddox on Sat 12th Feb 2005 02:35 UTC

Basically this looks like it works like Apple's iDisk with .Mac. If anyone has used this they know its a wonderful feature, especially with latptops. I maintain 3 computers for myself. My iBook, my desktop and my work computer. When i'm on my iBook i keep the stuff i need everywhere to my iDisk and work off of that. Panther treats it like a seperate file system and it just syncs in the background (no, "Sync is done" messages in a task bar ;) , so do the other computers, every hour or every file change. So when i'm at work, i just pop open the iDisk and there is my file for school. I print it and i'm done. Same at home. Its extremely seamless and really great to use.

RE: iFolder: It's all about Sharing
by Anonymous on Sat 12th Feb 2005 05:17 UTC

Gee, the current release according to the web site doesn't support workgroup sharing or sharing between multiple computers.
Kind of useless without that capability.
In addition, the requirement of .Net on Windows is just plain stupid.
Why would anyone want to run that monstroucity just to use one app?
And I wonder what the memory cost will be of using ifolder.

RE: Oh I get it now
by Lumbergh on Sat 12th Feb 2005 05:18 UTC

Yep, that's pretty much the plan. Make it the killer app so everybody's got mono.

by Anonymous on Sat 12th Feb 2005 05:50 UTC

Yep, that's pretty much the plan. Make it the killer app so everybody's got mono.

And looks like they are on the right path, I can't waith to have beagle and iFolder in my NetWork.

by Miguel de Icaza on Sat 12th Feb 2005 05:56 UTC


The MacOS X client for iFolder is a native client.

Cocoa# is not dead, but it is not at the level of
maturity needed to write an application that must be
supported on the long run, it will still be changing in
the short term.

The upcoming version of Mono ships with Cocoa# by
default on MacOS X

Some notes
by Bert Plat on Sat 12th Feb 2005 06:22 UTC

I've been an avid iFolder fan ever since I had the pleasure of using it. It's excellent for us folks out here doing most of the work on laptops. As in any IT company, personal backups are mythical procedures, performed only when we've got nothing better to do. This has led to a number of collegues losing data when their laptop went AWOL. OTOH, My wife's laptop had a faulty HDD, but once she received the new company laptop and installed the iFolder client on it, all she had to do was wait half an hour for the data to come back from the server and she was back in business.

iFolder in its current, non-open source 2.x incarnation, has a number of limitations:
-only one account active at any one time,
-only one directory branch per account,
-no sharing of data with other users unless you also share your account details,
-delta sync mechanism isn't very smart on Windows (Word files aren't delta-synced, because of the way Word saves the file)

With iFolder "Denali" they've done a couple of interesting things. First, the client bit has gone open source. Second, this client can do the old-fashioned client-to-server syncing, but it can also do peer-to-peer syncing.

Now, before anyone rushes off and downloads the iFolder o/s code it should be noted that the p2p bit is NOT working at the moment. The Novell folks have concentrated on the c/s code, as they need to have a functional iFolder client for the closed beta that's currently being done. Until they get back to the p2p bit you can use something called a SimpleServer to play with iFolder.

Anyone interested in iFolder should subscribe to the mailing list.

This is totally what linux needs (and Mac oS X)
by cendrizzi on Sat 12th Feb 2005 07:42 UTC

I can't way for this product. Seriously a sweet solution that is overdue on linux.

As far a mono goes I'm already sold on it since tomboy is pretty much a requirement for me in my life. No other program has simply become so useful for me without making an effort to make it so. Seriously a great program.

For all the griping about mono it has proven its worth in creating polished apps very quickly, something linux has really needed.

by Michael Thaler on Sat 12th Feb 2005 08:02 UTC

What is the advantage of iFolder to rsync?

RE: rsync?
by Jon on Sat 12th Feb 2005 08:03 UTC

it doesn't involve arcane commands. ;)

three target platforms
by Dimble on Sat 12th Feb 2005 09:22 UTC


what about SUSE and Ximian?

Cool. Miguel lurks around here
by gatolas on Sat 12th Feb 2005 11:36 UTC

Cool! Miguel de Icaza post a comment here!
Eugenia, will this comment qualify me for the comments prize?

Server or Client
by Utter on Sat 12th Feb 2005 11:38 UTC

Looking through the site and documentation has left me confused... Do you need the Server (iFolder 2.1?) and if not how does the client work on its own?

I use iDisk a lot and it's one of the best services I've ever tried but I want to extend it so colleagues on other platforms can use it too.

Unison anyone?
by gaga on Sat 12th Feb 2005 13:30 UTC

How is it different from this (I hope this wasn't already mentioned but I didn't see it =):

it seems to do much of the same but unison is GPL doesn't need Mono and additionally offers (as far as I see it iFolder doesn't unless you buy their server but I could be wrong) a command line client which is very useful for automatization and if you want to sync on a server (i.e. let it run on a server.

Has iFolder any important advantages?

Re: Unison anyone?
by Ville on Sat 12th Feb 2005 14:24 UTC

Well, for one, people know about the existence of iFolder ;-).

Unison people haven't really done too much marketing / mindshare grabbing attempts. Perhaps they should put up some sweet Flash animations and screenshots on their web page.

RE: Server or Client
by Bert Plat on Sat 12th Feb 2005 14:27 UTC

The iFolder client can communicate with a central (commercial, non-open source) server in client/server mode, or with another iFolder client in p2p mode. That is, once it's ready. The p2p code isn't finished, though, so if you download it now, you need (a) an iFolder server (currently in closed beta), OR (b) the 'SimpleServer' which is freely downloadable.

Does this help?

by EVApilot on Sat 12th Feb 2005 14:58 UTC

I'm using Unison at the moment, but I find I can hardly be bothered to sync on a regular basis, and when I do, it seems I have to recreate the Unison directory, which leads to some lengthy sync times. Also, the GUI part doesn't render correctly on many metacity themes, which is a pain.

iFolder's Mac OSX client
by Brady Anderson on Sat 12th Feb 2005 15:05 UTC


The iFolder client is split into two components a user daemon and the application itself. The user daemon is written to Mono/.NET and is basically the same on all platforms (Linux, Mac OSX and Windows). The user application is specific to each platform. On OSX the application is written against Cocoa and completely native. On Linux it's a mix, mostly GTK# and Mono and a small native piece for Nautilus integration. On Windows, Windows.System.Forms and .NET along with a small native dll for Explorer integration.

no good arguments?
by d on Sat 12th Feb 2005 15:45 UTC

I haven't heard a good argument against FTP yet?

Isn't FileZilla EXACTLY the same thing?

You can resume damaged files or new ones?

You guys sure its not just an ftp client?

re: Bert Plat
by Zeke on Sat 12th Feb 2005 16:58 UTC

Hey can you give a link to this SimpleServer. I have searched high and low and can not seem to find it. I really want to test out iFolder, but because of the unfinished p2p, code as you mentioned, I need the SimpleServer that is not so simple to find.

iFolder SimpleServer
by Antonio Censi on Sat 12th Feb 2005 17:40 UTC

Only available thru CVS.

Go to

looks nice
by linkfix on Sat 12th Feb 2005 17:52 UTC

can we have some debian packages for this?
no more need for samba, and nfs sharing with a mac didnt worked that well.
Had many trouble to copy some files from linux to OSX.

Read their news section on that link.
by Anonymous on Sat 12th Feb 2005 22:53 UTC

It has an item posted 2/11/09, that's 4 years into the future and they still haven't finished the workgroup feature. I don't think I can wait that long, I'd better have a go using their SimpleServer ;)

re: no good arguements against ftp
by Ophidian on Sun 13th Feb 2005 01:00 UTC

as someone who uses ftp extensively for when moving large amounts of data must happen as fast as possible, i would not consider ftp to be "good enough" to stop ifolder development or not use rsync.

rsync and ifolder are awesome when you have a large amount of data to keep in sync, but only minor changes happen to that data. with ftp the entire file must be overwritten when you want to update to reflect your changes. with rsync/ifolder (if done properly) only the parts of the file that are actually different now have to be pushed accross to the other machine.

with ftp there is always the possibility of the data stream having a bit error of some form (and yes, i have seen it happen, albeit very rarely). with rsync and ifolder (actually i am not 100% certain with ifolder, but i am pretty certain) the files and file peices are hashed and compared on both sides to ensure data integrity. the closest equivalent in the ftp world would be md5sums or sfv crc32 checks.

a case in point for rsync, one day i was trying to show a friend knoppix, it wouldnt boot because the disk was damaged. i had linux installed on my laptop and had a burner and a couple of blanks so i ripped an image of this damaged disk. i then used rsync to sync against a copy i knew was good on a server with a low end business package dsl connection. 128kbit/s upstream. rsync was done fixing my copy of the image file after about 20-25 minutes had passed. the internet connection i was on was nowhere near fast enough to download a brand new image that quickly (my friend was on a crap wireless internet service that gave low end residential 256 kbit/s half duplex service). ftp would never have been able to do that and even after doing the ftp i would still have had to check the md5sum to make sure everything was kosher with the image.

i dont know what all functionality ifolder is going to have when it is all said and done, but if it offers half the functionality of rsync only underneath a good gui, it will definately have a place on every system i own.

People are forgetting
by Werner on Sun 13th Feb 2005 02:28 UTC

That you pretty much can get the same functionaliy and versioning with a good versioning server and an ssh tunnel into it and a client which hooks into the file browser.
You can achieve that with tortoise and svn or various clients and cvs.
IFolder in this regard is redundant.
I have been using this kindof functionality for a long time and have been thinking bout hooking friends into my SVN infrastructure (with tortoise and dedicated clients)

RE: ifolder
by Carlos Daniel Ruvalcaba Vlz on Sun 13th Feb 2005 07:50 UTC

The whole concept is interesting but dated, i have downloaded the latest client and tested a bit, albeit it has a very big downside, you must have the server, which is closed and only available with Novell Open Server betas.

You can use the SimpleServer, but you have to download it from CVS, play around trying to compile.

Is cool as new stuff from Novell, but i won't use it till p2p is done on client or an OpenSource server is madded available. This SimpleServer is not good unless it is easyer to compile or even packaged, it takes more time to fiddle around the source to compile it than downloading all the simias source from cvs.

by Niran on Sun 13th Feb 2005 10:35 UTC

I love how so many comments imply that iFolder is useless since Cryptic Command X can give you the same functionality. The whole point is that it's a lot easier than setting up a cron job to rsync a folder every once in a while. I've found a way to untar a file by using my tongue to connect leads on a serial cable in specific patterns, but I don't discount the utility of File Roller and its ilk. My method is far less pleasant. Personally, I'd rather click a few times using iFolder than hack together my own solution. The concept of being able to share changing files with other people has been around for so long that there's bound to be other ways to do it out there. The point is that iFolder is supposed to be better than those. You be the judge.

If you're comparing iFolder to FTP, you're either overestimating what FTP can do, of you haven't read what iFolder is supposed to do when it's finished.

by markus grau on Sun 13th Feb 2005 11:57 UTC

the advantages are:

- sync only file differences and not the whole file
- communication is done over HTTPS(no native Port required)
- on Windows you can use Novell NetDrive to map an iFolder as a "local" drive

samba anyone?
by ramez.hanna on Sun 13th Feb 2005 13:36 UTC

does that mean it is a replacement for the samba project in any way

Great for some games I think
by Corey on Sun 13th Feb 2005 17:27 UTC

If you can control how it sync's then for those mmo gamers that have wives and children playing and it's a pain to patch them all becuase of firewalls and such you patch one then sync the folders and files that get patched. I'm sure you can tell it to ignore any personal settings files locally on each pc.

Re:Simple Server
by Bolero on Sun 13th Feb 2005 17:49 UTC

Is simple server just available for Linux, or do they have plans to release it for windows as well?

iFolder ... not new
by Jim Norton on Mon 14th Feb 2005 18:52 UTC

iFolder is not a new product. Maybe the open-source version is (though the official release was a while back) but iFolder on Netware has been around for a couple years now (since NW6)

It works pretty well. The client is very easy to use (on Windows it really only asks you where the iFolder is on your current workstation during the installation), you just save all your files to that directory on your workstation and iFolder just takes care of it from there.

The process is mostly transparent to the user (you can see what's going on by clicking the systray icon, but otherwise you don't really know it's working)

No comments on the open-source version. Haven't tried it.