Home-Grown DropBoxes

Let me be clear: I love [DropBox][]. I depend on [DropBox][]. I use [DropBox][] everyday. [Dropbox][] makes it possible for me to be as productive as I am. (All failings in productivity are entirely my own fault — well, and I’d like to blame Apple for its continuous jinking of iTools, MobileMe, iCloud, on-line name *du jour*.) Until [DropBox][] there was no reliable syncing of files. Sometimes I would forget if I had remembered to sync to my flash drive or if I had synced a computer before I had started working on a document. Or, when I tried to rely on iDisk, I realized that I could not rely on it.

In short, before there was DropBox, there was hope and there was chaos and there was swearing.

After DropBox: certainty, calm, confidence.

As great as DropBox is, and other services like it — please note, I am not looking at you (yet) iCloud — it still requires two things: a subscription and a willingness to have your data on other people’s boxes.

I’m not really opposed to having my data live on other people’s boxes. My real problem is that I can’t afford to have as much of my data as I would like live on other people’s boxes. There is a host of data, mostly media, that I would prefer to have more ready access to, but I can’t, because I can’t afford the cost of that many gigs in the sky.

Now, DropBox or DropBox clones can’t fix all of my problem, because in part the way these services work is they sync files across machines, and so that means that you need to have room enough on all machines for the synced files to live.

No can do, Houston. This MBA only has 128GB, and I can’t afford to bump it. And even if I could afford it to 256GB or 512GB, I’m not entirely sure that would fix the problem.

And so I it’s time to explore the DropBox clones to see how well they might serve my large, complex problem.

*Please note: all the links to DropBox are to the primary home page. No affiliate links, no bonuses for me. And that’s okay, the good folks at DropBox have proven themselves.*

[DropBox]: http://dropbox.com/

## The Alternatives

* AeroFS
* Bitcasa (reports are its buggy and immature)
* Cubby
* Owncloud (buggy and limited)
* Symform
* [Tonido Sync](http://www.tonido.com/app_sync_home.html). Also has a [low-powered hardware setup](http://www.tonidoplug.com/tonido_plug.html).
* Unison (for the ambitious DIYer)