Managing multiple computers at home
ross at indessed.com
ross at indessed.com
Sun Mar 26 15:15:32 MST 2006
So I'm moving next week and, in preparation, I'm contemplating how I want
to have my computers set up, and so I'm interested to hear how the
pluggers manage their own configurations.
I have a Mac Mini, a Windows laptop, and a Linux desktop machine, each of
which I use on a regular basis for varying tasks: web browsing, email,
coding, chat, games, listening to music, and watching videos (hooked up to
The biggest issue is that of sharing data. Some data can be stored and
accessed remotely (mp3s, for example) and streamed to whichever computer
wants to use that data at the particular time. Other files would
preferably be cached locally (videos, for example, which at high
resolutions can hiccup if streamed--or perhaps even programming projects
I'm working on, since compilation, editing, and searching through large
codebases goes faster with a local copy). Others will need to be capable
of merging changes (if I'm coding on the road on my laptop, for example).
Samba seems like the solution of choice for filesharing from a central
server (which would more than likely be the always-on Linux box), but I'm
not sure about the rest of it.
It seems like what would be coolest would be something where I could, for
example, have everything stored on the Linux box as a central server, and
then each computer could "subscribe" to a subset of directories, which are
then cached locally and changes mirrored. For example, the Mac Mini might
subscribe to a directory of digital photos. If I plug my digital camera
into the Mac Mini and copy photos into that directory on the local hard
drive, that night they'll automatically get mirrored to the server. If I
plug my digital camera into my Linux box and copy photos onto its local
hard drive, that night they'll automatically get sent to the Mac Mini.
My Windows laptop could be "subscribed" to a different set of directories,
for example a directory containing a bunch of Windows games. If I'm on the
road and download a new game, when I get home that night I can sync up and
that game will be stored on the server. I could even have my Windows
laptop also subscribe to my digital photos directory, maybe to edit some
of the pictures or take them over to someone's house. While subscribed,
any new photos I downloaded to the Mac Mini would automatically get
mirrored to both the Linux box and the Windows laptop as well. If I was
running short of disk space on the laptop, I could unsubscribe to the
photos directory and everything would be deleted locally, but I could
sleep soundly knowing that all the photos were safe on the server. If I
ever needed them back on the laptop I could simply resubscribe and wait
for everything to copy back over.
Does anything like this exist? Would something rsync-based work, or would
it break whenever (a) the clocks got off-sync, or (b) multiple changes
happened to a single file? Do any of you use something similar, or do you
have an entirely different (and perhaps superior?) arrangement?
More information about the PLUG