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SparkleShare Review


Written Tuesday, February 19, 2013 by Kemish Hendershot

Dropbox has a large user base, and rightfully so. It integrates well with Windows, Mac, Linux, iOS, and Android keeping all of your files in sync between all of the devices you use. The only downsides to Dropbox are that even if you want to pay $500 per year you are limited to 500 GB of space. There is also a privacy concern for some regarding having all of your files in the "cloud". If these are concerns or problems you face the best solution may be SparkleShare.

SparkleShare (sparkleshare.org) provides functionality similar to Dropbox enabling you to synchronize your files between multiple devices and platforms with the added benefit of being able to run on your own server. SparkleShare provides the benefits of the "cloud" without the limited storage issue or the privacy concerns.

Unfortunately there are a few drawbacks to SparkleShare:

  1. Requires your own server (this is one of SparkleShare's benefits, but comes at a cost)
  2. Setup is not simple and requires some technical expertise
  3. Integration with iOS and Android are still under development
  4. Because SparkleShare is open-source there is no set timeline for development releases/updates
Advantages:
  1. Synchronizes files seamlessly across Mac, Linux, and Windows
  2. SparkleShare uses Git to keep track of changes made to files (see screenshot on the right)
  3. Because it uses Git SparkleShare is great for group collaboration
  4. The only space limit is the amount of free space you have on your server
  5. Because SparkleShare is open-source there is no cost involved
  6. No privacy issues

SparkleShare could be a great solution as it continues to mature. To make it really effective I would really like to see the Android and the iOS integration implemented. If you are only looking for file sharing between computers and for group collaboration it is definitely a great solution.

At Aptitude we installed SparkleShare on a server running Ubuntu 12.10. If you are interested in setting it up in a similar environment instructions can be found here and here.