[clug] SparkleShare vs. Dropbox

Jamie Carl jazz at funkynerd.com
Mon Apr 15 17:51:59 MDT 2013

On 16/04/13 09:45, Bob Edwards wrote:
> On 15/04/13 10:00 AM, Jamie Carl wrote:
>> On 15/04/13 09:32, Bob Edwards wrote:
>>> I have been using SparkleShare recently (http://sparkleshare.org),
>>> which
>>> is a "Dropbox replacement" built on all the goodness of git and ssh
>>> etc.
>>> (and you can easily run your own server, so complete control over your
>>> files etc. - also runs on Macs, 'doze and Linux - but not Android,
>>> yet).
>>> Anyway, being built on top of git, SparkleShare ends up using up to
>>> twice the disk space on each client as compared to just the files it
>>> is managing.
>>> Eg. I have about 1.5GB of PDFs in a shared "folder" on my client and
>>> git adds another 1.4GB for its compressed, cryptographically hashed
>>> "repository" of those files. On the server, it only stores the 1.4GB
>>> of git stuff, but on each other client that is syncing with my share,
>>> there is the same git "overhead".
>>> Anyway, I was wondering what disk space overheads Dropbox imposes. As
>>> I don't use Dropbox, I was wondering if someone on the list who does
>>> could let me know what extra disk space it might be using.
>> It's minimal.
>> As you are aware, sparkleshare it's just a fancy sync client that sits
>> on top of Git.  So it maintains a local git repository and hence the
>> extra storage requirements.
>> If you really want to see it shine, delete all your files and you'll
>> find that it will STILL take up 1.4GB. ;)  The good thing is you can
>> throw normal Git commands at it from the command line and roll back to
>> any revision.  Such is the nature of Git file versioning.
>> As for dropbox, it only stores the files and then a 'database' of the
>> current state of your files so it doesn't really take up much more
>> space.  Maybe a few MB depending on the number of files you are syncing.
>> On a side note, there IS an Android client for Sparkleshare but I don't
>> think it works anymore.  It requires some extra server-side software in
>> order to function and I think that software is broken.  At least, I was
>> never able to get it to work.
>> Jamie
> Thanks to everyone who responded to my query. I am now much more
> informed.
> I especially like the pointer to ownCloud - don't know how I missed that
> one previously.
> I didn't specify my use requirements, which include easy installation
> on a variety of clients so that, eg. my in-laws can install it on
> whatever they are using these days ('doze, I assume) without any tech
> help from me. I did look at git-annex, but it is very much targetted
> at IT-aware folk (and doesn't easily support 'doze). I wasn't so aware
> of the significance of those sym-links vs. SparkleShare's complete git
> repository approach.
> SparkleShare is really good - covers many platforms and is v. easy to
> install and setup. But I think I'll try ownCloud for a while and see
> how it goes with the disk space issue.
> Cheers,
> Bob Edwards.

I've now been using ownCloud since yesterday and have officially ditched
both SparkleShare and Dropbox completely.  It has happily sync'd about
3GB of data without a problem.  I was originally using both for
different purposes but ownCloud covers everything.

The only issue I've found with it is with renaming.  Git handled that a
lot better.  With ownCloud if you rename a folder it assumes it was
deleted and a new folder was created.  Which means if you have many
files in the folder it will need to resync, which can be painful on a
slow link.

Other than that, I'm loving it.


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