If you're like most people, you send email attachments
when collaborating on a document with someone else.
That's inconvenient, because you've got to remember to
send and receive updates, dangerous, because you may lose
work due to an edit conflict, and insecure, because nobody
knows how to encrypt email. Even so, we use email because
to date it is the only way to get the
six aspects of sharing that we rely on in the physical
world but have learned to live without online.
SCoopFS (The "F" is silent.) is a tool that supports all
six aspects of sharing. SCoopFS is not email, but you
communicate as if it were. The difference is that SCoopFS
can automatically send and receive updates. If there is
an edit conflict, SCoopFS makes it hard for you to lose
work. SCoopFS also makes you more secure by providing
server authentication, so you can't be tricked into
talking to the wrong party, user authorization, without
yet another userid and password, and encryption, while
handling all the key management for you. In fact, the SCoopFS
user interface has no clicks for security.
SCoopFS does a pretty good job keeping copies of a file on
different machines synchronized. So good a job that most
users of the Alpha version mirrored files between their
machines. One person used SCoopFS to keep certain files
synchronized between her home and work computers, which
saved a lot of trips back to the office when she forgot to
send a file to herself. Another user shared files with
himself so copies of files on his web server that he edits
off line get synchronized with copies on the shared drive
that the web server uses.
You may download and use SCoopFS for non-commercial purposes.
A brief overview
The SCoopFS distribution includes a working version of the
Waterken web server and
the Joe-E verifier. Each of these
tools is useful in its own right.
This version is a first prototype, which means there are a
number of things we didn't do and a number of bugs we
didn't fix. For example, our file sharing protocol has so
many round trips that we call it ETRTWH (Eventually The
Right Thing Will Happen). You won't be disappointed if
you think of it as email rather than some sort of mirrored
SCoopFS is NOT supported by HP. Send all questions to alan.karp at hp.com.