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'[TECH] Cross platform file repository'
2009\03\26@004901 by Josh Koffman

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Hi all. I have a problem I've never had to solve before. I've been
asked to help setup a file repository that will work with both Mac and
PC clients. Based on my guesses at the competence level of the users,
something simple would probably be best. Based on the available
hardware and software I have at my disposal, it will likely have to be
Windows XP based. Yes, I know this would be easier on Linux, I just
can't do that at the moment.

What I'd ideally love is essentially some sort of web based ftp
server. Users type in the IP of the server machine and are presented
with a directory listing. From there they can navigate around and
download individual files or complete directories. Essentially I'd
love it if there was a way to mimic native folder access to things on
a remote drive. I feel the users of both Windows and OSX could
understand that, and drag and drop is pretty self explanatory now.

Anyway, all ideas are welcome. I'm not sure what the best method for
this is, and I'm unfortunately not a web programmer so I can't make my
own way!

Thanks,

Josh
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2009\03\26@010527 by Jake Anderson

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Josh Koffman wrote:
{Quote hidden}

mac can browse windows folder shares.
If you just want them to be able to download stuff like a web site,
install a web server and make its "root" directory the file share location

2009\03\26@010654 by Randy Glenn

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On Thu, Mar 26, 2009 at 12:48 AM, Josh Koffman <spam_OUTjoshybearTakeThisOuTspamgmail.com> wrote:
> Hi all. I have a problem I've never had to solve before. I've been
> asked to help setup a file repository that will work with both Mac and
> PC clients.
>
<SNIP>
{Quote hidden}

Does it have to be Web based? If all the machines are on the same
network, Windows filesharing from a Windows machine will work quite
nicely on both. SMB shares (standard Windows file sharing) are well
supported on both OS X and Linux (through Samba) - I actually usually
have more trouble with the Windows side of it than the non-Windows, as
Microsoft likes to keep changing how things work.

I don't really know about Web-based frontends for downloading files
like that, especially directories - that would require compressing the
directory server-side with ZIP or something similar, then downloading
that. Above a certain directory size, the request is likely to time
out before the compression is done.

Alternatively, an FTP server hosting the files, and a small Web server
that hosts a Java FTP Applet might be an interesting way to go. Don't
know of any concrete examples of this offhand though, sorry.

> Thanks,
>
> Josh

-Randy

2009\03\26@040223 by cdb

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Why not use something like a lite version of Citrix or NAS type
software?

Colin


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2009\03\26@054014 by Howard Winter

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Josh,

Is there any reason you can't use a "Network Hard Drive" (sometimes called NAS)?  This makes the disk available to anyone with a valid login, and it can then be
treated almost as if it was a local disk, and files copied to and from it as needed.  They are available with Windows/Mac/Linux sharing facilities.  I use Lacie, Iomega
and WD drives - don't like the WD as they try to sell you a service to look after it, and I only wanted the hardware!  I share them all from Windows and OS/2, but I
know the Lacie drives certainly have Mac sharing as an option (I have it turned off).

You may want to set the users' logins to Read Only if they only need copies and don't need to upload anything, to save someone using "Move" instead of "Copy" by
accident.

Here are examples:  http://www.lacie.com/uk/products/range.htm?id=10007

They range from a single disk to RAID arrays, and some can also have USB-connected drives added, which is useful for backup and/or adding to the space available.

Cheers,


Howard Winter
St.Albans, England


2009\03\26@100253 by Josh Koffman

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Hi all. I had thought of using a NAS type approach but was worried
that the OSX folks would have a harder time with it. Since it seems
that isn't the case, that's probably the route to take. Ideally I'd
like to run this as a piece of software on a Windows machine as the
large hard drive is already available.

The idea behind this is that everyone can upload their data and
everyone else can download it. For the record, this is for photos, not
pirated media.

In any case, I'd like to be able to figure out who uploaded what.
Would a system like this tag who the uploader was? Perhaps even make
them log in? The last time I tried to use Windows built in file
sharing was about 5 years ago and I never got it to work. Is there an
additional SMB software that might make it easier and give me more
configurability (ie logins, home directories, etc)?

I'm searching now but I think I'm having trouble since SMB services
are usually provided by the Windows Server products, which I don't
have.

Thanks!

Josh

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completely foolproof is to underestimate the ingenuity of complete
fools.
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2009\03\26@104931 by Ricardo de Azambuja

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Did you try Subversion?

[ ]s

---------------------------------
Ricardo de Azambuja
http://www.azamec.com.br



On Thu, Mar 26, 2009 at 1:48 AM, Josh Koffman <joshybearspamKILLspamgmail.com> wrote:
{Quote hidden}

>

2009\03\26@112510 by Harold Hallikainen

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Since this is for photos, you might try Gallery, which is a php
application, so it should run under any OS that supports PHP and a web
server. It can be set up to have an album per user, supports logins, etc.
Nothing other than a web browser needs to run on the client machines, so
it's pretty platform independent. A couple Galleries I host are at

http://www.kcpralumni.org/gallery

http://www.cccds.org:8080/gallery

For a pure file repository, it seems like just an FTP server with clients
running something like FileZilla would work.

Harold


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2009\03\26@120024 by Josh Koffman

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On Thu, Mar 26, 2009 at 10:49 AM, Ricardo de Azambuja
<.....ricardo.azambujaKILLspamspam.....gmail.com> wrote:
> Did you try Subversion?

No, it hadn't really crossed my mind. I figured a repository like that
is more geared to individual files rather than transferring hundreds
at a time. Plus I don't really need the locking/check in/check out
features.

Josh
--
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completely foolproof is to underestimate the ingenuity of complete
fools.
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2009\03\26@120455 by Josh Koffman

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On Thu, Mar 26, 2009 at 11:30 AM, Harold Hallikainen
<EraseMEharoldspam_OUTspamTakeThisOuThallikainen.org> wrote:
> Since this is for photos, you might try Gallery, which is a php
> application, so it should run under any OS that supports PHP and a web
> server. It can be set up to have an album per user, supports logins, etc.
> Nothing other than a web browser needs to run on the client machines, so
> it's pretty platform independent. A couple Galleries I host are at
>
> http://www.kcpralumni.org/gallery
>
> http://www.cccds.org:8080/gallery
>
> For a pure file repository, it seems like just an FTP server with clients
> running something like FileZilla would work.

Hmm, interesting. I think the only problem might be if they want to
start storing other files. Something to look in to though.

As for FTP, that was my first thought too, but I wasn't sure how well
OSX supported FTP natively. Trying to teach these folks how to use an
FTP client might not be pretty.

In any case, I'm continuing my search for a SMB server. I might even
be able to flip over to Linux to use Samba if it's a live CD or USB
boot based. The most promising one I found didn't support NTFS though,
which the hard drive is currently formatted in.

Josh
--
A common mistake that people make when trying to design something
completely foolproof is to underestimate the ingenuity of complete
fools.
       -Douglas Adams

2009\03\26@122845 by Harold Hallikainen

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> As for FTP, that was my first thought too, but I wasn't sure how well
> OSX supported FTP natively. Trying to teach these folks how to use an
> FTP client might not be pretty.

Filezilla (http://filezilla-project.org/) is pretty easy to use and is
cross platform.

>
> In any case, I'm continuing my search for a SMB server. I might even
> be able to flip over to Linux to use Samba if it's a live CD or USB
> boot based. The most promising one I found didn't support NTFS though,
> which the hard drive is currently formatted in.


Fedora (http://fedoraproject.org/) has a live CD and, I think, supports
NTFS drives (I think I used it to deal with a USB hard drive before I
changed it to ext3).

Good luck!

Harold

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2009\03\26@125955 by Randy Glenn

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On Thu, Mar 26, 2009 at 12:04 PM, Josh Koffman <joshybearspamspam_OUTgmail.com> wrote:
> As for FTP, that was my first thought too, but I wasn't sure how well
> OSX supported FTP natively. Trying to teach these folks how to use an
> FTP client might not be pretty.

I think you can connect to an FTP server in OS X using Go -> Connect
to Server. I can't get it working right now, but that's more than
likely because I deactivated FTP on my server (all SFTP, all the time
for me). Once you have it connected there, it works the same as any
drive.

> In any case, I'm continuing my search for a SMB server. I might even
> be able to flip over to Linux to use Samba if it's a live CD or USB
> boot based. The most promising one I found didn't support NTFS though,
> which the hard drive is currently formatted in.

One weird thing with Windows XP is that you basically need to run the
Network Connection Wizard to get File Sharing set up properly. You can
skip the Network Setup Disc bit at the end - just use the wizard to
turn on File and Printer Sharing. It'll set up a Shared Documents
share called SharedDocs automagically - or at least it should...

-Randy

2009\03\26@143639 by Josh Koffman

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On Thu, Mar 26, 2009 at 12:59 PM, Randy Glenn <@spam@randyKILLspamspamsurrealitylabs.com> wrote:
> One weird thing with Windows XP is that you basically need to run the
> Network Connection Wizard to get File Sharing set up properly. You can
> skip the Network Setup Disc bit at the end - just use the wizard to
> turn on File and Printer Sharing. It'll set up a Shared Documents
> share called SharedDocs automagically - or at least it should...


Wow that is weird. I don't really need people to be able to see each
other's machines, just the server machine.

I went to local mall here and found a few wireless routers that
support various file sharing options. Now I'll have to see what
protocol they use and figure out if they need a client software. Wee!

Josh
--
A common mistake that people make when trying to design something
completely foolproof is to underestimate the ingenuity of complete
fools.
       -Douglas Adams

2009\03\26@145750 by Bob Blick

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On Thu, 26 Mar 2009 14:36:38 -0400, "Josh Koffman" <KILLspamjoshybearKILLspamspamgmail.com>
said:

> I went to local mall here and found a few wireless routers that
> support various file sharing options. Now I'll have to see what
> protocol they use and figure out if they need a client software. Wee!

How fast/how big files are you dealing with? Will you be working from
the shared drive, or with local copies?

I ask because if you don't need super performance, any cheap NAS or
media router like a Western Digital MyBook World or a Linksys NSLU2 with
a USB drive attached work pretty well. They aren't fast enough for what
I needed because in my case everything, mail folders, you name it, was
on a shared drive. Even though the MyBook World had gigabit ethernet, it
didn't have the processing horsepower to move data faster than
65Mbits/sec under optimum conditions and typically 1/5 of that.

But for most uses either of the devices I mentioned will work fine.
Though they use Windows file sharing your Mac OSX machines will have no
problem with that. And either device has plenty of options when it comes
to permissions and file ownership. Not stamping the last user's name on
a file, I'm afraid. But you can have groups. And the NSLU2 supports NTFS
drives.

There are other cheap NAS devices out there, too, as you have seen with
those media sharing routers. Performance is basically what you pay for.
I have used both the NSLU2 and the MyBook World and they are both decent
devices. Make sure you also have a backup solution, though. Someone
knocks an external drive over while it's running, quite often it's
good-bye. Drives tend to run hot in those external cases, too.

Cheeful regards,

Bob


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2009\03\26@175350 by Nate Duehr

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CIFS shares (Windows file sharing) can be read/written to fine over the
network from any Mac.  I copy things from the MacBook to the Windows XP
machine in the basement all the time.

You also mentioned FTP... tons of graphical FTP clients out there, like
FileZilla... if you have an FTP server somewhere in the network.

Nothing tricky about any of your current requirements.  If you start to get
into file locking, or have any strange permissions or other requirements, it
starts to get more interesting.

To just "share files", it's all built into modern OS's these days, and
generally works.

Adding in the web-based requirement adds unnecessary complexity, but there
are a number of PHP-based "groupware" applications that can do this, if you
want to go through the brain-damage of setting them up on a dedicated Linux
server, or similar.

Nate

{Original Message removed}

2009\03\26@175640 by Nate Duehr

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p.s. If you're looking for "pretty big, pretty safe, easy to use" you could
buy something like a "Drobo" NAS and a DroboShare, and put it on the
network.  Buffalo and others also make similar things.  The Drobo gets
points for ridiculously easy setup and maintenance... and you can stuff it
with smaller drives or bigger ones as your needs change.

Nate

{Original Message removed}

2009\03\26@232221 by Josh Koffman

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On Thu, Mar 26, 2009 at 2:57 PM, Bob Blick <RemoveMEbobblickTakeThisOuTspamftml.net> wrote:
{Quote hidden}

Well, I've narrowed it down so far to a Buffalo external NAS drive or
an Asus WL-500gP v2.

The Buffalo is nice since it's self contained and I won't have to do
much work. I don't know what sort of client it works with...I'm
currently doing research online though. The downside is that this
model doesn't have an external USB port so the storage size is fixed
and finite.

The Asus is nice in that it has two USB ports and I can run DD-WRT on
it. There is even a tutorial to get Samba on it as well. The downside
is that there will be a bunch of work for me and I have read reports
that this router isn't the most powerful. This may be a problem at the
beginning when everyone needs to upload their files at the same time
as the router CPU will be a bottleneck.

Anyway, I'm going to try a different store tomorrow to see if there
are any other options.

Thanks!

Josh
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