syncing desktops

Tom Tromey writes:
 > My brother-in-law told me that the one application he'd really like to
 > see on a desktop is a way to synchronize his laptop with some other
 > machine.  Apparently Windows can do this.  Sounds good to me -- except
 > I don't have a laptop, and I don't know how these programs work.
 > Somebody want to give me a clue?
 > - Do you have to explicitly mark the files you want to sync?
 > - Do you have to tell it when to synchronize?  Or does it try to be
 >   smart somehow?
Here's information on how Windows does this (I have to use it at work :-(

- This functionality resides in an application called Briefcase.  

- It does not have to be on a laptop to run.  Basically the
  application forms a link between one's local hard drive and a
  networked drive.  It keeps the files in sync, so that you can work
  on you data whenever you happen to be disconnected to the network.
  When you reconnect, any changes to either the local image or the
  network files are noticed, and the files are updated.  (This is
  similar to CVS, but without version tracking and history.)

- The link is normally formed by right-clicking (button 3) on the
  network directory or file (while in Windows Explorer, the file
  manager) and selecting "Send to Briefcase"

- The link is updated (synced) manually.  You tell Briefcase to update
  all.  It then compares the two files/directories and then tells you
  what needs to be done to get them back in sync.  You can tell it to
  do all or manually adjust what actually gets synced.

- It is supposed to have some of this functionality for a floppy drive
  (so you can carry a floppy back and forth to work), but it didn't
  seem to work the way I expected and so I gave up on it.

Hope this helps.  I have found it useful for the laptop that I have at
work, but it could definitely be improved upon.

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