My thoughts on Slackware, life and everything

Tag: storage

Barracuda’s Copy cloud storage

copy-clientA while ago I posted a blurb (well… not here but on Google+) about Barracuda‘s  cloud-based backup service analogous to Dropbox. is an interesting contender in the playing field of cloudbackup. This is what the company has to say about data protection and security: “Because Copy is the product of network security and backup giant Barracuda, your files are stored on servers we control and manage, not with a 3rd party like most cloud storage services. For increased security, your data is protected by multiple layers of encryption, including top-secret grade AES 256, both during transfer and while at rest on Barracuda’s enterprise-class cloud storage“.

It’s up to you how seriously you take that claim, but let me just give this advice: if you trust your most sensitive files to the cloud, apply your own encryption first! For example, I have a TrueCrypt container in my cloud storage which contains everything private I have on my computers. This encrypted container is replicated to all my computers as well as to the cloud, providing sufficient backup safety and still keeping my data hidden from secret snoopers without supercomputers.

The site advertises that they use a data-deduplication mechanism, therefore I doubt that your files will be stored in such a way that the NSA is unable to access them… still, it’s a lot of storage for a safety copy of your photos. I guess I’ll take their claims at face value.

Back to Copy: this is a free storage solution, although there are business subscriptions. New free accounts get 15 GB cloud storage for free, and that is quite a bit. When you refer someone else to start using this service, both sides get an additional free 5 GB storage. Click on the link below to get your 20 GB for free, it gives me an additional 5 GB too.

Bonus referral link:

They have an interesting twist to the concept of file-sharing. WIth Dropbox, you can share part of your own dropbox with other Dropbox users. That shared space will count in the quota calculations of everyone who takes part in the share. So for instance, if you have a free 10 GB dropbox quota you will not be able to add your friend’s shared folder if that folder is larger than 10 GB. With Copy on the other hand, the calculation is different. If you share an amount of data with others, then the used quota is divided among the sharers. So, if you are sharing 10 GB with 4 of your friends, everyone in your group of 5 will not be taxed for 10 GB, but only for 10/5 = 2 GB of quota usage. That is nice.

Sync clients are available for many platforms, Linux (32-bit and 64-bit) and Android included. It took a while to deliver on my promise to create a Slackware package for the Linux sync client, because I was not sure how I wanted to wrap the binaries. But finally here it is. I decided to call the package “copy-client” in analogy to my “dropbox-client” package.

A copy-client package for Slackware, 64-bit as well as 32-bit. Working on versions 13.37 and onwards (those are the Slackware versions I tried at least).

Have fun! Don’t forget to claim your 20 GB free storage using my referral link, and make me a happy camper.


Dropbox 1.0 is out

Dropbox 1.0 was released a few days ago.

As you may recall, dropbox is a “cloud storage” service with 2 GB of free storage which you can expand (for free) by referring dropbox to your friends, or by paying a monthly fee.

There is no new client package available. The version 1.0.10 is an update to the closed-source daemon process. New features are: selective sync (you can exclude certain subdirectories in your main dropbox from synchronizing with the server) and the sync process can be paused if you need that. There are supposedly speed enhancements but I have not witnessed those yet. I am always amazed at the speed at which the server sync works anyway.

So, how do you update the Dropbox daemon to version 1.0.10 if you cannot download a newer client package?

The steps are really simple: stop dropbox, remove the daemon’s directory entirely, and start dropbox again:

$ dropbox stop
Stopping Dropbox…Done
$ dropbox status
Dropbox isn’t running!
$ rm -r ~/.dropbox-dist/
$ dropbox start -i
Starting Dropbox…Done

The dropbox client will ask you if it can download the daemon again, and if you click OK, it will do so (which will not take long at all). After the download dialog disappears, check your dropbox icon in the system tray – it will show version “1.0.10” and the “Pause syncing” will be clearly visible in the right-mouseclick popup menu.

My dropbox client packages for Slackware: .

Make sure you get a version of my dropbox-client package that is at least 0.6.7. If you have a Slackware without Gnome (and thus without the nautilus file manager) you also have to overwrite an older version of the script “/usr/bin/nautilus” which is installed by my dropbox-client package, with the newer version “/usr/bin/”. That script contains a compatibility fix for the new dropbox daemon. If you forget this, you will notice that clicking the dropbox icon will not start a file manager, and if you ran dropbox start -i” from the commandline you will see the error “xdg-open: unexpected option ‘–no-desktop’“.

If you want to try a dropbox account yourself, please use this referral link to create and start using it. In that case, both you and I will receive an additional 500 MB of storage for free on top of the standard 2 GB:

Have fun! Eric


Dropbox Logo

Is your head in the clouds yet?

For years now, I have been waiting for Google’s promise of free online storage, called the “GDrive“. In the meantime Google (and it’s competitors) have made it much easier to store your data online in various ways (look at Picasa Web Albums, Google Docs, Gmail etc), but that is not quite the same.

With the current expansion of “cloud computing” –  yet another small step toward the Matrix becoming reality – it was just a matter of time to see new free cloud services emerging.

One of those cloud services made a click in my brain the moment I saw it. Dropbox gives you a free 2.5 GB of online “cloud” storage. As if this is not enough, the Dropbox folks increase your storage limit with 250MB increments – also for free – when you go through the Dropbox tutorial, and/or invide your friends to use the service as well. You can buy even more storage , if you need it.

What exactly does it do? Well, think of it as a two interconnected “boxes”, one on your own computer and the other on the Internet, in which you store your files. In fact, the manifestation of that “dropbox” is just a directory on your local computer. Everything in the local Dropbox is immediately synchronized with the server’s Dropbox. It is a real-time backup facility! Beware of modifying large files though – because any change to a file inside the Dropbox triggers it’s upload to the server. That will eat your bandwidth if the file would be hundreds of megabytes in size.

By installing Dropbox on another computer using the same account, you are able to access your online backup there as well. The Dropbox on the other computer will be synchronized with the server – i.e. all files on the server will be downloaded to that computer. Dropbox is intelligent enough to allow multiple people using the same Dropbox at the same time! If more than one person changes the same file (so that two versions of that file will be uploaded to  the server) you end up with all versions of the file being stored on the server with slightly changed filenames, nothing gets deleted. Bonus: the changed files that were uploaded to the server by the other person’s Dropbox, will find their way to your own local dropbox and vice versa. The synchronization works both ways.

I have been using Dropbox for a while now and it works very well for me. It is platform independent (clients for Linux, Windows and Mac are available).  It has built-in collaboration: you can share a directory in your Dropbox. When someone joins a shared folder, the folder appears inside their Dropbox, and syncs to their computers automatically. You can even make  files available to people who themselves have no dropbox account: one directory in your dropbox is considered “public”, and that is how it is named too. Every file in that directory is publicly accessible using a web browser.

In true alien tradition, I created a Slackware package which gives you the dropbox-client, a system tray applet. Depending on your DE, it will either start dolphin (in KDE4), or thunar (in XFCE), or whatever application is your default file manager when you click the applet’s icon. The first time this Dropbox client starts (from the system menu or by running /usr/bin/dropbox), you will be asked to fill in your account data and if you did not download the server component yourself, the client will proceed to download the binary closed-source dropbox server and install that to ~/.dropbox-dist/ (yes, the program lives in your homedirectory). Oh, I hear your “gulp!” but it is really basic stuff, and you will find it easy to setup.

If you do not care for a GUI because you run a server, you’re not left out in the cold. You can simply forget my package, and download the dropbox daemon yourself. There is a page on the Dropbox Wiki which explains the steps.

Enough talk! Get Dropbox at or even better, use my referral link to create your account. Using the referral gives you and me both an additional 500 MB of free online storage (up to a maximum of 16 GB bonus space).

And remember: backups are important! It can not be stressed enough. However, if you intend to save sensitive data in your dropbox, be sure to encrypt that first, for instance using KeePass or Truecrypt, both programs are cross-platform (Linux and Windows).

Take care,  Eric

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