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[Discuss] drop box software

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One comment here regarding e-mail attachments. because email has a
general limitation of 7-bit ASCII (now other things like Unicode),
attachments must be coded in way to convert 8-bit binary to 7-bits. This
is usually done by the base64 method. The bottom line is that
transferring files by email is always very inefficient. Not only is the
encoded attachment much larger than the actual file itself, email is
also a store-and-forward protocol where the email message itself is
stored on several servers along the way, where a direct binary transfer
only stores the file at the destination. (certainly the packets go
through routers). So, if you push a file up to a service such as dropbox
and allow others to download it, it is still much better than email.
Dropbox not only allows you to share data with your other computers it
also allows you to share files with others if you want to allow that.

On 08/31/2011 10:21 AM, Stephen Adler wrote:
> Boy.. do I feel stupid. I had no idea drop box was basically a
> repository on steroids. I thought drop box was a service where I could
> upload a 20 gigabyte file and send a URL with a password to a friend so
> that he could down load that 20G file, thus working around large file
> limits in e-mail attachments. I run a subversion server on my home
> system which suffices for me to deal with keeping key files in a network
> accessible repository. Any time I hear the word cloud, I cringe... What
> happened to "The Grid"?
> So, let me refraise my question, is there any open source packages which
> would allow me to upload a file to a web site (my web site) and have it
> password protected and I could then e-mail the URL and password to my
> friend. I can do this all by hand, with .htaccess files etc, but I would
> prefer a nice web service to do it.
> thanks, and sorry for the confusion on my side...
> On Wed, 2011-08-31 at 10:09 -0400, Edward Ned Harvey wrote:
>>> From: at [mailto:discuss-
>>> at] On Behalf Of Stephen Adler
>>> I'm getting a bit confused. I thought drop box was a service where one
>>> could upload a file, give it a password of some sort, and then you sent
>>> the password to someone else who could use it to grab the file.
>>> typically needed for large files, (multi-gigabyte) which cannot be
>>> e-mailed directly. After some time, the file gets deleted automatically.
>>> Does this drop box like systems mentioned use repository in the back
>>> end? I would assume it would just dump the file in some directory.
>> Hey - Weren't you the guy whose OP said you wanted to build your own
>> dropbox? But it sounds like you don't really know what dropbox does... So
>> ... What is it you're trying to do?
>> Here's a description of dropbox:
>> You have a directory on your computer. It's automatically live synced to
>> some space in the cloud, which means all your file usage happens on local
>> disk, and everything's available both while you're online and offline. So
>> everything's fast and reliable, and you can use it while you're
>> Whenever there is a network connection available, it silently performs a
>> 2-way sync in the background.
>> This has a few nice side effects... If you have more than one computer
>> connected to the same account, it means those computers are always in sync
>> with each other. You edit some file at work, you go home, and you continue
>> working. You can throw away your USB drive. It's faster and more reliable
>> than using a network file share across a WAN. There is no need to perform
>> any manual operations such as "svn commit" and so on. If your computer is
>> destroyed, you just join your account again, and it's all restored. So
>> people tend to use it for backup purposes too...
>> You can share a folder with another user. So people use it for
>> collaboration. You and your sales force are working on some documents. You
>> edit something, and they get it instantly... And vice-versa. You're both
>> always up to date.
>> Since it's all in the cloud, it's trivial for the servers to generate
>> to access stuff. But by default there isn't any such URL, you have to
>> generate it intentionally. So if you right-click a file in your computer,
>> you go to Dropbox / Copy Public URL. And then it will give you a URL you
>> can email to someone else. Hence eliminating large attachments in email.
>> It does versioning. It's compatible with windows & mac & linux & android &
>> iphone. You probably will install the client for convenience, but you
>> need to. You can do all your stuff via web interface if you want.
>> (Convenient when you're visiting somebody else's computer.)
>> I think that's enough of a sales pitch for dropbox. ;-)
>> There are various other competitors out there ---, sugarsync,
>> spideroak, and a few others. They all have some differentiators, but very
>> similar to each other functionally.
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Jerry Feldman <gaf at>
Boston Linux and Unix
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