May 15, 2005

Fink and Unison

Posted in Mac OS X at 12:06 pm by intermediatemacintosh

Ok, I need to be doing a better job of syncing my desktop Mac and my Powerbook. That means doing it remotely and frequently. These days I do it every week or two, by setting my powerbook next to my desktop, hooking a long firewire cable between them, and running Chronosync. Mostly works, but too much of a hassle to do it frequently.

If I had a Dot Mac account, I could sync up the Address Book, Ical and Bookmarks, which would be a small start. But I need to keep all my data and applications in sync too.

I familiar with Rsync on Linux, and know about RsyncX on the Mac OS X. RsyncX handles the resource fork of Mac files, which other operating systems do not have. The problem with Rsync is that it is a one way copy program, and I need to be aware of when I have modified files on both machines prior to any syncing.

Unison is a program that addresses this problem, and it’s a free program made available by the University of Penn. Nothing to do with the Usenet program from Panic of the same name. So first step is to subscribe to the Unison Users Mailing List.

In order to install this program I can either compile from source code or use binaries from the Fink project. It looks like Unison is still releasing beta versions to address Mac OS X oddities, the latest version handling file type and creators. So I probably want to go with the latest beta, and if I go with Fink, I probably need to use the testing or unstable version of Fink.

Not that I’ve had much success with Fink, even though I use Debian on my servers. So that’s going to be a tough decision, and I probably ought to read some of the mailing lists posts before making a decision.

The Unison Beta User’s Manual

Looks like there is an experimental Mac OS X gui, but for the time being I will want the text interface. unison-2.10.2.osx-textui

Resources

Drive Mirroring – http://web.brandeis.edu/pages/view/Bio/DriveMirroring

Mike Bombich – Remote Admin of Mac OS X using rsync – http://www.bombich.com/mactips/rsync.html

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