September 24, 2008 in en, open source, privacy, software

I had this in my “almost-finished-near-ready-to-publish” folder for some time already. Past week was again a little crazy in my personal life, so no real time to finish this small piece until now… :)

Do you frequently switch between two computers not connected with local network? If so, I guess you wanted to share data between them at least once before. It used to be a hassle. Now it’s easy. Dropbox started public open beta-testing of their service few weeks ago. If you haven’t heard of Dropbox here is my little intro. Dropbox is essentially centralized version tracking accessible from anywhere without need to configure anything. You copy files you want to share with other machines to your Dropbox directory and they are automatically uploaded to Dropbox server. If another machine on the other end of the world is running with same Dropbox account, it is automatically synced. If it sounds confusing, I encourage you to read the introduction tour on their website. Free account enables you to use 2GB storage and unlimited bandwith, so it’s not that bad. Most of all, it “just works(tm)“. And you can later upgrade to Pro versio with 50GB space for $9.99/month or $99.99/year. I am not sure about availability outside US, but I guess that’s not gonna be a problem.

You can synchronize files between Windows, MacOS X and Linux machines.There are still a few rough edges, but I guess that’s why it’s beta :)..It would be really nice if the protocol for communication with Dropbox server was made public, but I guess I am asking for too much. At least the Nautilus interface in Linux is GPLed and there are already alternative “clients” forĀ  retrieving status of your Dropbox account.

Good thing is that you can also share files with the rest of the world. Just like you would with for example Rapidshare account. The difference? No limits on file sizes (so far, as far as I know). I just wonder how will they fight sharing of illegal data.

With services like this privacy is always a concern. You give up certain amount of privacy by uploading your files to 3rd party server. So whatever you do, be sure to encrypt your private files. Happy sharing.