Monday, April 29, 2013

Sync Folders On Your LAN with BitTorrent Sync

There's a new syncing service and this one's a little different. Have you ever just wanted to sync your folders without involving the cloud? Here's your chance with BitTorrent Sync. As the name suggests, it uses BitTorrent technology to sync any folder across all your PCs and NAS devices on your home network. The only caveat is you need the client running on both computers, and the OS X version requires Snow Leopard, so Tiger and Leopard users are out of luck. So why is this appearing on a PowerPC blog? Because incredibly BitTorrent Labs compiled a PowerPC version for their Linux client. I've used it to sync folders on a MintPPC desktop and a Debian laptop, and though it's still in alpha and doesn't have many advanced features, it worked flawlessly.

Here's how to get it going. First, download the correct version (Linux PowerPC for your PowerPC Macs) and extract it to any directory in your home folder. Then either use your file manager to open that directory in a terminal, or in a terminal type the command cd path to directory holding the btsync binary. Then get the btsync daemon running by entering ./btsync.

Nothing happened. That's 'cause you have to use the web interface, silly! So get your IP address with sudo ifconfig (among other methods), fire up a web browser and go to yourIPaddress:8888/gui. In my case:

192.168.1.105:8888/gui

Next you should see the web interface where you can click Add Folder. Type the path to it, /home/yourusername/whatever, and then click the generate secret button. You will enter that secret into your other computer to sync to that folder. So do the same thing on your other computer. Extract the binary, startup the daemon, bring up the GUI, and add a folder to sync, this time entering the secret from your other computer into the Secret field instead of generating a new one. Now the syncing should start--Snow Leopard users may see a delay of up to ten minutes which BitTorrent Labs implies is strictly the fault of Snow Leopard ;)

I got pretty much full speed out of my wireless connection, though I haven't tested it over ethernet so I'll defer comment. Also, in their Get Started guide, they mention disabling the "Delete files to Sync trash" option means your deleted files will instead go to your system's trash folder, but on my system they just disappeared. So be mindful of that. Also there's no versioning yet, but I'd expect that in the near future. But overall, pretty cool stuff.

13 comments:

  1. Thx very much for this, was looking for an easy way to share stuff via torrents, and this seems to be it.

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  2. I was so glad to find this solution but unfortunatly, executing ./btsync sends me the error : ./btsync: cannot execute binary file
    I tried to run a chmod +x ./btsync and chmod +x btsync, no luck.

    I'm on a Mac Mini PPC G4, 10.5.8.

    Thanks !

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    Replies
    1. The OS X client requires Snow Leopard. To use this on a G4 mini, you need Linux and the PowerPC Linux client.

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    2. Thanks for the reply, that's too bad :-(

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  3. I'm running 10.5.8 on PPC. I'm getting the same issue as Anonymous. Based on your article I was under the assumption that the PPC linux version would run under the terminal on OS X 10.5. Is that not the case?

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    Replies
    1. It must have 10.6 dependencies...

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    2. What dependencies are that? Is there any way to compile them in myself?

      I can't find anything except that PPC version requires Linux kernel 2.6.

      The OSX version is obviously Intel only, so that's a no go.

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    3. Btsync is closed source, so I think it would be hopeless to try and compile the dependencies yourself.

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  4. Hi.
    A little Question I would sync my own /home/user
    folder. Os. is Arch Linux.
    Some FOLDERS ..
    musix, documents, cache, gnome-priv, fonts
    are not sync.
    How is the correct entry in the .SyncIgnore list file ??

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  5. How do I set up Bittorrent Sync as a LaunchDaemon on OS X Lion?

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    Replies
    1. Yes .. but with some applications, you can't run them unless you are logged in and have the UI visible. I'm looking for an answer that lets me know if the btsync also runs as a true daemon that can mute the UI.

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