rsync for PDAs?

Donovan Baarda abo at
Mon Aug 5 21:07:01 EST 2002

On Mon, Aug 05, 2002 at 12:13:49PM -0700, Cliff L. Biffle wrote:
> I've been working for the past few months with open-source solutions for 
> syncing Palm PDAs (Coldsync, mostly).  I've been becoming increasingly 
> annoyed with Palm's Desktop Link Protocol and the sync mechanism, and am 
> considering replacing it with a third-party application for the Palm.  Since 
> I've had good luck with rsync in the past, its seemed an obvious choice.
> I've read over the technical documentation and the algorithm looks like it 
> could be implemented on a 'small' system.  (In this case small is roughly 
> 20mhz+, with very little RAM available on top of that used for storing 
> files.)  However, theory rarely reflects reality.  My question is for anyone 
> who has experience implementing rsync: how processor/RAM intensive is it 
> really?  Is this a pipe dream for resource reasons?
> (Now, I'd probably be using a slightly modified rsync, because files in PalmOS 
> aren't flat files, but rather record databases.  However, that'd just mean 
> the software should be record-aware, but probably won't require a lot of 
> modification.)

If you are using a modified rsync that is not backwards compatible, I'd look
at librsync as a way to implement it, rather than modifying rsync.

If you want a relatively easy to understand and experiment with
implementation of the rsync algorithm, have a look at pysync (a working
rsync+xdelta in ~500 lines of heavily commented python).

<disclaimer> I'm involved in both of these projects </disclaimer>

ABO: finger abo at for more info, including pgp key

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