[SOLVED] Auto-synchronizing a user's document directory.
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I have a user who has used one Fedora 17 workstation. Now she will use one of two machines. I currently do not have a server where both machines could have a share to. They machines might not be up at the same time, so I don't want to symbolic link the directories together.
I would like to automatically synchronize the two directories by a cron job. If a file is created on one machine, I would like to see it show up on the other machine. If a file is updated on one machine, I would like to see the new version propagated to the other machine and vice versa. If a file is deleted on one machine, I don't necessarily want it deleted (right away) on the other machine in case it was accidentally deleted.
Do you think I can do this with RSYNC from one machine? Anyone with experience doing this?
This is trivially easy to do, but you should take the time to read the rsync documentation so that you understand what's going on. You can always resort to google for many examples of how others do this.
I would put both rsync commands in a single script and run that from the cron, that way you don't run into any race condition where the second rsync starts before the first has finished. Depending on usage, you may want to run it more often than that, especially if the user will be modifying documents in both places during the day.
Last edited by suicidaleggroll; 10-22-2012 at 12:33 AM.
I got up early this morning, and took your advice. Instead of just wrapping the two rsync lines in a simple script, I made it more robust.. You can now execute it from the command line and increase its verbosity. Uggh. I have to get more sleep or a better hobby. Here it is. If you have a suggestion for improvement, I would appreciate it.
# By Raj Upadhyaya
# BSD License
# Redistribution and use in source and binary forms, with or
# without modification, are permitted provided that the following
# conditions are met:
# * Redistributions of source code must retain the above
# copyright notice, this list of conditions and the following
# * Redistributions in binary form must reproduce the above
# copyright notice, this list of conditions and the following
# disclaimer in the documentation and/or other materials
# provided with the distribution.
# THIS SOFTWARE IS PROVIDED BY THE AUTHOR ``AS IS'' AND ANY
# EXPRESS OR IMPLIED WARRANTIES, INCLUDING, BUT NOT LIMITED TO,
# THE IMPLIED WARRANTIES OF MERCHANTABILITY AND FITNESS FOR A
# PARTICULAR PURPOSE ARE DISCLAIMED. IN NO EVENT SHALL THE AUTHOR
# BE LIABLE FOR ANY DIRECT, INDIRECT, INCIDENTAL, SPECIAL,
# EXEMPLARY, OR CONSEQUENTIAL DAMAGES (INCLUDING, BUT NOT LIMITED
# TO, PROCUREMENT OF SUBSTITUTE GOODS OR SERVICES; LOSS OF USE,
# DATA, OR PROFITS; OR BUSINESS INTERRUPTION) HOWEVER CAUSED AND
# ON ANY THEORY OF LIABILITY, WHETHER IN CONTRACT, STRICT
# LIABILITY, OR TORT (INCLUDING NEGLIGENCE OR OTHERWISE) ARISING
# IN ANY WAY OUT OF THE USE OF THIS SOFTWARE, EVEN IF ADVISED OF
# THE POSSIBILITY OF SUCH DAMAGE.
# Display help
cat << EOF
syncDirectory [options] username directory
rsync a directory from one server to the other.
-v : verbose (number) 1 or 2
-h : display help
# ___ _ __ | |_(_) ___ _ __ ___
# / _ \| '_ \| __| |/ _ \| '_ \/ __|
#| (_) | |_) | |_| | (_) | | | \__ \
# \___/| .__/ \__|_|\___/|_| |_|___/
# Parsing options
while getopts "v:h" option
case $option in
if [[ $2 -ne 2 ]]
# Checks number of options correct
if [[ $# -ne 2 ]]
rsyncOptions="-a -l -t -u --numeric-ids -g -o -p"
if id -u $myUser > /dev/null 2>&1;
echo "user exists" > /dev/null
echo "Who is $myUser? I can't seem to find that user on this system."
if [[ ! -d "$server1Location" ]]
echo "Couldn't find the directory: $server1Location. Are you sure it exists
## Here we go!!!
/bin/rsync $rsyncOptions $verbosity $server1Location $server2Location
/bin/rsync $rsyncOptions $verbosity $server2Location $server1Location
I installed Unison to test it out, and it is very nice. The only difference that I saw with the RSYNC option is I could create a cron job to execute the above script a few times a day. The Unison product is a GUI implementation which nice and easy to set up. The difference that I saw that was cool was if a file was updated on both sides. If you use Unison, it prompts you to resolve the conflict and it won't automatically copy either side over the other. The RSYNC option will find the newer file (even if it is by a second) and choose that version to sync with both sides. I think given the use case of one user using one of two workstations at a time, this shouldn't happen.
Well, I learned alot about Rsync, and created a BASH script that is probably 104 lines too long, but what the hey.
Looks like it will work as a cron job. Here is my output of the first run.
Videos$ unison -ui text -auto -batch batchpref
Looking for changes
Warning: No archive files were found for these roots, whose canonical names are:
This can happen either
because this is the first time you have synchronized these roots,
or because you have upgraded Unison to a new version with a different
Update detection may take a while on this run if the replicas are
Unison will assume that the 'last synchronized state' of both replicas
was completely empty. This means that any files that are different
will be reported as conflicts, and any files that exist only on one
replica will be judged as new and propagated to the other replica.
If the two replicas are identical, then no changes will be reported.
If you see this message repeatedly, it may be because one of your machines
is getting its address from DHCP, which is causing its host name to change
between synchronizations. See the documentation for the UNISONLOCALHOSTNAME
environment variable for advice on how to correct this.
Donations to the Unison project are gratefully accepted:
file <-?-> file output 2.pdf
home/raj/... : file modified on 2012-10-23 at 8:04:25 size 17850 rw-rw-r--
c/raj/Doc... : file modified on 2012-10-22 at 4:39:55 size 19198 rw-rw-r--
file <-?-> file output 3.pdf
home/raj/... : file modified on 2012-10-23 at 8:06:59 size 93902 rw-rw-r--
c/raj/Doc... : file modified on 2012-10-22 at 4:36:11 size 93523 rw-rw-r--
file <-?-> file output 4.pdf
home/raj/... : file modified on 2012-10-23 at 8:08:07 size 34097 rw-rw-r--
c/raj/Doc... : file modified on 2012-10-22 at 4:32:32 size 33754 rw-rw-r--
file <-?-> file output.pdf
home/raj/... : file modified on 2012-10-23 at 8:01:25 size 6055 rw-rw-r--
c/raj/Doc... : file modified on 2012-10-22 at 4:38:56 size 6032 rw-rw-r--
file ----> HR 3962 - Medical Devices.doc
UNISON 2.40.63 started propagating changes at 11:30:58.42 on 23 Oct 2012
[CONFLICT] Skipping output 2.pdf
[CONFLICT] Skipping output 3.pdf
[CONFLICT] Skipping output 4.pdf
[CONFLICT] Skipping output.pdf
[BGN] Copying HR 3962 - Medical Devices.doc from /home/raj/Documents to /home/raj/c/raj/Documents
[END] Copying HR 3962 - Medical Devices.doc
UNISON 2.40.63 finished propagating changes at 11:30:58.53 on 23 Oct 2012
Saving synchronizer state
Synchronization complete at 11:30:58 (1 item transferred, 4 skipped, 0 failed)
skipped: output 2.pdf
skipped: output 3.pdf
skipped: output 4.pdf