iFolder, Great for Fans of Dropbox, Source Code, and Lots of Control
For the past few weeks, off and on, I've heard some low-level, excited buzzing about iFolder. What is it? Think of it as an open source Dropbox service that lives on your servers under your jurisdiction, with a few added perks.
iFolder isn't new, per se, but it hasn't seen an updated source code release since 2007. Late last week, Novell, which sponsors the iFolder project, announced that iFolder 3.7.2 client and server packages -- as well as source code -- were available for download. The new release runs on Mac, Windows (including Vista) and Linux 32- and 64- bit environments. The push is now on to keep iFolder a very community-driven initiative.
A major component of that push centers on packaging -- client support is a bit more diverse, but for now, the most recent version of the iFolder server runs only on SLES10 (service pack 2) or openSUSE 10.3. It is important to note, however, that the iFolder client operates two ways -- through an enterprise sharing mode, which requires a server, and a peer-to-peer (serverless) workgroup mode.
The server-free workgroup mode, according to the iFolder FAQs, is largely due to community-contributed code and add-ons. While the ubiquitous web browser is one way to access files in the workgroup setting, the iFolder community is developing plug-ins to enable sharing through Pidgin/GAIM and Rendezvous.
iFolder already has some nifty collaborative benefits for users and administrators. iFolder files sync automatically, in the background, without any user intervention. The new version features improved merge and version control capabilities, and makes it easy to grant users various levels of file access. The updated iFolder server is scalable, integrates with LDAP, and allows administrators to set disk quotas and limit the number of iFolders users may have.
The iFolder team invites any one interested to pitch in -- regardless of specific skill sets or experience levels. The iFolder FAQ cites documentation, translation, testing and evangelizing as ways to get involved (in addition, of course, to development). Brent McConnell is leading the iFolder community efforts, and welcomes any questions on the project.