I propose the following cloud storage and syncing service model of the future. I call it Dropbot for Geeks®, and it totally rules. It's designed for geeks who are tired of the highly limited, miserably unproductive traditional services (based on clicking around). It has the following features:
- Standard Unix file system commands exposed as an API, e.g.,
- A rudimentary shell emulator through the web interface exposing the commands above.
- Secure shell access to the file system, also exposing the commands above. Provide two-factor auth for SSH. Clearly,
scpshould also be supported.
- Checksums. Expose, for instance,
sha1sum, in the API. Provide checksums on download pages, probably on demand.
- Programmable selective syncing, down to per file level.
- Scriptability. Allow clients to run custom scheduled jobs or daemons with the API above. To prevent the service from becoming full-featured IaaS, though, clients might be limited in CPU time, memory, or command selection. This bullet point is arguable.
With the level of command line integration illustrated above, we'll finally get rid of clicking around and not being able to automate chores. Navgating the remote file system will be a breeze — click, click, click, click, click (sometimes click should be replaced by double click, which is even more painful) just to navigate to a directory will be made a thing of the past.
ln, in particular, saves disk space for duplicates — Dropbot for Geeks does not want to charge you extra for multiple copies of the same file in different directories. (To facilitate syncing hardlinks, clients should be able to specify hardlinked files in a config file. Or maybe some better mechanism. This might be hard.) At last, checksums are a must. I’ve had traumatic experiences like having downloaded an eight-part RAR, 1 GiB each, only to find that it wouldn’t unRAR. Without checksums, it was impossible to find which part was corrupted. As a result, I had to re-download everything — a nightmare. I never want to experience similar problems again. Hence the precious checksums.
Dropbot for Geeks looks like a pretty good (well, not really, but at least pretty cool®) model. Maybe I should patent it before anyone else? Then if some similar service surfaces in the future, I can sue their ass off and enjoy some hot cash.