Re: Online Desktop integration ideas


Alexander Boström wrote:
I thought OD really wasn't at all about moving the home directory to a server, but about making the desktop integrate nicely with the services that are already out there. But both concepts are very much worthwhile. It might be good for everyone to keep the difference in mind, though.

I was thinking of both (though I would not say moving homedir to server, more like "smart and automatic backup/restore of some key pieces of data we know about")

I do feel "work well with Flickr" is superior to "sync my folder of photos rsync-style with a server" but there are still some advantages to backing up the assorted little thingies like .emacs that don't have and will never have an existing service associated with them.

Not sure we have to have a grand unifying principle so much - it's more to do with the demo we showed at guadec for example, creating a guest account and having the new account contain "your stuff"

The file-backup kind of stunts are because we don't have any other way to deal with certain apps, like Emacs or bash, and we have some of "your stuff" associated with those apps.

Network filsystem. Can be slow, but adding a smart cache can help a lot.

Sync it. Like unison. Disadvantage: Doesn't work if the local storage is smaller than the server space. And it takes a while download it all to a new device.

A layered filsystem.

My favorite is kind of a fourth option here: don't be generic.

A generic filesystem that magically syncs everything saved to it tends to be a research problem, and perhaps not what people want anyway. I don't want to sync things like .fonts.cache or .esd_auth or Thunderbird's IMAP cache or the Firefox web cache.

Syncing a set of known pieces of data, on the other hand - with possible special cases for each one - that's easier.

Another thing I'd throw out there is that any solution with "conflict resolution" dialogs is probably a loss. Often there's some domain-specific automatic merge algorithm if merging is necessary, or in a given domain we feel comfortable saying "most recent just wins," or whatever; but we can special-case stuff, rather than trying to solve it generically for whatever crap is in someone's homedir.

This file-sync type approach is more to mop up loose ends, many of them hacker-oriented such as Emacs, while the nicest user experience is in not having local files in the first place a la Google Reader, GMail, Flickr, Facebook, etc.


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