Joel Spolsky isn't happy with Ray Ozzie

by Volker Weber

It's Groove, rewritten from scratch, one more time. Ray Ozzie just can't stop rewriting this damn app, again and again and again, and taking 5-7 years each time.

I don't agree with Joel on this one:

Nobody cared then and nobody cares now, because synchronizing files is just not a killer application. I'm sorry. It seems like it should be. But it's not.

I use FolderShare and for me it is a killer app.

More >


How fast is that? I use iDisk as a fairly cheap way of sharing documents with my US based colleagues. It's ok for them. However, accessing it from Europe is pretty grim.

I've been thinking of using ExpanDrive and some remote folder service to get a better iDisk replacement. Is FolderShare good?

chris lindley, 2008-05-02

Joel's article entitled Martian Headsets is just awesome.


Ben Rose, 2008-05-02

Until this week I would have agreed with you about Folder Share. Used it. Loved it. But now MS is forcing everyone onto a new version, that provides no support for Windows 2000 server.

Nick Shelness, 2008-05-02

I just don’t see what the fuss is all about with Mesh. Isn’t that what Amazon have been doing for ages with S3? I’ve found S3 to be a pretty nice set-up, with a decent API and good pricing model.

The astronauts comment though, that’s a good ’un :o)

Ben Poole, 2008-05-02

Chris, that depends very much on the network. FolderShare works peer-to-peer. Very fast on local links, slower over the internet. It only transfers files when two computers are online at the same time. Groove had a relay service that FolderShare is missing.

All file transfers are in the background.

Volker Weber, 2008-05-02

I downloaded the mac vesion of FolderShare from After unpacking the file FolderShareSetup-OSX-6904.pkg shows a change date from 11/6/2005.
While installing and first connecting to the server I receive this message:

"This version of FolderShare is too old. Please download a newer version from"

Ah well, but this is the most recent version available from! Or am I missing something?

Thomas Lang, 2008-05-02

I guess the installer is acting up. I am using exactly this build, but I did not have to install anything. Suggestion: disconnect from network, close all programs, set the clock back two years and install. Reset the clock and reconnect.

Volker Weber, 2008-05-02

Still shipping a 2005 version of the client - that's not good...

Stuart McIntyre, 2008-05-02

It's still the old ByteTaxi code they purchased. I am not holding my breath.

Volker Weber, 2008-05-02

Wow, they bought ByteTaxi on November 3, 2005, and have only just released a beta of Windows Live FolderShare now?

Crikey, I thought IBM took a while to integrate acquisitions ;-)

Stuart McIntyre, 2008-05-02

Volker, have you looked at Dropbox yet? It synchs files between multiple computers and stores them on their website, private or public. If you've got no problem with that storage (or put everything inside encrypted archives) this is a very nice tool.

Oliver Regelmann, 2008-05-02

I side with Joel. It is not a killer app, because a) it is a temporary problem, the more time we spend online, the less file sync is needed and b) there are simpler services out there such as dropbox and and others (Google Apps / Gears) that can be integrated in a web20 way in existing configurations.
Live Mesh is Groove next generation and as before answers questions that nobody really asked. Although Mesh seems quite webby, it looks at the world in a deterministic way, top-down, one-for-all, we know all the answers and trust us, we'll sort it out for you...

Moritz Schroeder, 2008-05-02

Volker, it seems you're right (as so often). Setting the clock back two years changes the behavior of the application. While creating the FolderShare account, the application tries to connect to the server for 30 seconds - unsuccessfully.
And this might depend on the ssl certificates uses. They are valid since Oct. 8th 2007. When setting the clock to that date, the application reports the "too old" message...
It seems they don't want any new users ;-)

Thomas Lang, 2008-05-03

Nick Carr would agree that syncing is out for sure (I'm readin the big switch atm). However that's not true - syncing between different devices and especially different device types was never more important than today as you want to use your data seamlessly with different devices. These devices should not have to be online for every file access and for sure not for the work you want to do with that data but a short time for syncing and afterwards you can use your data locally.

I like foldershre for what it does, but I'm not fully satisfied yet. It's not that warm "everything just works great" feeling in my belly but more an "I found a way to do it" feeling.

Martin Hiegl, 2008-05-03

Well, in the good old days of selling Groove from PopG servers, people would come to us to say with some excitement, "do you realise the full implications of what this product could do for our industry sector?" - what happened was that when Microsoft bought Groove in March 2005, they buried it underground for a year, and (what a surprise) it disappeared off just about everyone's radar. And the rest of the world tried to catch up.

So I don't agree with Joel - Groove used to answer the questions a lot of people had been asking of software, and it sure as hell wasn't just about file synchronisation.

Of course, the world and technology has moved on over the course of those years, but Groove was never well marketed (and I'm certainly not pretending we did brilliantly at it) so in the end few people were left with the understanding, that there were things it did which have not yet been matched by anything since.

Nick Daisley, 2008-05-03

Old archive pages

I explain difficult concepts in simple ways. For free, and for money. Clue procurement and bullshit detection.


Paypal vowe