The Living Thing / Notebooks : Synchronising files and backing up your computer


Pure network drives just aren’t as awesome as working locally, and synchronising changes globally. Realising this is why the Dropbox founders are now rich. Well done them. Dependence on single remote servers for every trifling step is stupid. Git has shown us that for code - and for that matter, distributed databases have shown us that for the rest of the data. (Hello google.) [1]

[1]For that matter, git also has a file-syncing extension called git-lfs.

Peer to peer is more robust. (Taking it still further, how about everything be sneakernets?)

Anyway, file synchronising is handy, and tricky to do.

File storage/sync/sharing is tricky. I have been using Dropbox, but their technical and legal shortcomings are laughably bad. More secure alternatives:


Listing encrypted backups only, because I ma not crazy.

Also, I’m only listing open-source options or ones not in a jurisdiction with poor privacy laws, such as China, Russia or the USA.

Windows, OSX, Linux, duplicati:

Duplicati works with standard protocols like FTP, SSH, WebDAV as well as popular services like Microsoft OneDrive, Amazon Cloud Drive ” S3, Google Drive,, Mega, hubiC and many others.

Features Backup files and folders with strong AES-256 encryption. Save space with incremental backups and data deduplication. Run backups on any machine through the web-based interface or via command line interface. Duplicati has a built-in scheduler and auto-updater.

OSX, linux, more bare-bones, duplicity:

Duplicity backs directories by producing encrypted tar-format volumes and uploading them to a remote or local file server. Because duplicity uses librsync, the incremental archives are space efficient and only record the parts of files that have changed since the last backup. Because duplicity uses GnuPG to encrypt and/or sign these archives, they will be safe from spying and/or modification by the server.

Linux, OSX, tarsnap. comes with a server for $0.25/gb/month:

Tarsnap is a secure, efficient online backup service:

Encryption: your data can only be accessed with your personal keys. We can’t access your data even if we wanted to! Source code: the client code is available. You don’t need to trust us; you can check the encryption yourself! Deduplication: only the unique data between your current files and encrypted archives is uploaded. This reduces the bandwidth and storage required, saving you money! Tarsnap runs on UNIX-like operating systems (BSD, Linux, MacOS X, Cygwin, etc)