Offline folders and linux

Neil Coetzer ncoetzer at
Fri Jan 9 07:27:13 GMT 2009

On Fri, 2009-01-09 at 08:53 +0200, O. Sinclair wrote:
> Maybe someone can assist on this. I have (and am still) searched the 
> internet for information on how one can implement the windows concept of 
> "offline folders" in a linux client environment.
> Offline folders means that a folder (could be home, in Windows is My 
> Documents) is stored on a server but a cached copy is kept on the 
> client/workstation. The user works with the cache and sees no difference.
> On login and logout any changes are synchronized with the serverbased 
> folder. If you are offline (travelling or server down) you will see no 
> difference except an error when you log on or off that synch could not 
> be done.
> The advantage is of course that users files can be centrally backed up 
> and if a computer crashes or gets stolen you simply configure a new one, 
> "resync" and the user is all set to go. In Windows domains it works with 
> "roaming profiles" meaning that if you log on to another workstation you 
> will have access to your files but not your own desktop or configs.
> I am looking for a way to implement this concept (minus the roaming 
> profile if that is not possible) in an environment where the servers are 
> either Windows or Linux (Ebox) and the clients also mixed Windows and 
> Linux (Kubuntu hopefully). The organisation are moving away from 
> Windows, are not going Vista but staying with XP and for new computers 
> going LInux. But the offline folders is a security aspect for them, 
> securing that users files gets backed up "automagically".
> Any pointers, help, someone did something like this, assistance of any 
> kind most welcome.
> Sinclair
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Hi Sinclair,

I don't know of an easy low-maintenance way of doing this. The only
option I can think of is to have a small script that runs when a user
logs in or logs off, that would sync the files (best bet being rsync to
only transfer changes instead of everything)... but this would need to
be set up and customised for each user. This would also only work if
they are always working on the same workstation and would be set up
specifically for their profile on that workstation. 

Failing that, the alternative might be to use completely remote
sessions, all stored and running off the server, with all files stored
on the server only, and then backed up elsewhere... but of course if you
need the folders to be available offline then that's not an option

Not sure if that helps at all? I'm not aware of any other options at
this point.

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