From the "It just works" department

by Volker Weber

What is Foldershare? It shares folders. Across the Internet. You sign up, download and install a small program, start it and log in. If you add a second computer of yours, you can tell Foldershare to keep two folders on both machines in sync. Or you can invite a different Foldershare user to share one of your folders. Imagine you are working on a small project and you need a "fileserver" but you don't share a common intranet because you are not working in the same office or even the same company.

Now imagine, you were working on your home machine before leaving with your notebook computer. You forgot to put the file you were working on into the shared folder. No problem. Log into Foldershare, search for the file on the remote machine and download it. Foldershare will even use Spotlight, if the remote computer is running Tiger. Yes, it runs on the Mac. And it runs on Windows.

Foldershare does not provide a relay service. Both computers need to be online at the same time to exchange files. But that is good enough for me. I am online quite often. ;-)

ByteTaxi, the makers of Foldershare, have recently been acquired by Microsoft. The service that used to cost $100/year is now free. And I have few doubts that Foldershare will be part of Windows Live. Will they support Macs when that happens? I assume so, but I have no further insights. Until then, enjoy.


...and for those who want to sync multiple systems (without the 'share stuff with the world' and without having to 'expose' your systems to the web and without managing yet another online account just to sychronize their files: SyncToy does the same locally on a local network (which you probably have anyway). And it 'just works', too.

(And no, it's not for 'just' photo sharing...MS just used a stupid category)

Thomas Gumz, 2005-11-19

Interesting, but since Groove has a folder sync feature that works through firewalls and also has a relay service, I wonder why MS would buy another foldershare product?

Bill Wood, 2005-11-19

@ Bill - Very true; the purchase has sparked a lot of interest among the Groove 'community' - I have been exploring Foldershare for a few months now (on Mac) and have concluded that since it has some problems in some firewalled environments, it doesn't quite do the same job as Groove File Sharing, and doesn't fit the bill in quite the same way - but it is an excellent product and I'll be fascinated to see how this pans out!

Nick Daisley, 2005-11-19

Well, it definitely should go in the "it just works" department. I was amazed by the ease of use, especially as I was only using it with Mac computers.
On the other hand so, it feels creepy, that I don't know what it does. The local client doesn't give me the option to not share anything, but the shared folder. From the web ui you can download all files on my computers. I really don't like the idea that a microsoft controlled service can do that and even if I would trust them, what happens if the site is captured.
It's too much all or nothing for my liking. And as almost every time, ease of use comes with security risks.

Mariano Kamp, 2005-11-20

Mariano, go to Settings, Transfers, and deselect "Allow web downloads from this computer".

Volker Weber, 2005-11-20

Grmpfh ... I specifically look for it, but stil missed it ... Happy now.
Thanks for the hint.

Mariano Kamp, 2005-11-20

SyncToy, as much as many other applications, is missing "multiplatformness".

Sidenote: Coda would be an excellent candidate to do this job in a cross-platform manner. Alas, there seem to be no coder folks available to implement the kernel interface for OSX/Darwin. Any takers?

I am not a kernel guru so, honestly, I don't even bother to try working on an IOkit driver implementation.

Karsten W. Rohrbach, 2005-11-20

Hm, I still share the concerns of Mariano's. How is the security implemented? E.g. how does authentication against the service work? Where are passwords being stored? Is the traffic encrypted?

Ragnar Schierholz, 2005-11-21

Ragnar, how about reading their FAQ? It answers your questions.

Volker Weber, 2005-11-21

I thought I turned off Windows firewall...

Obviously not.

Chris Linfoot, 2005-11-21

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