[teknoids] File Transfer Software

Elmer Masters emasters at cali.org
Sat Dec 15 10:03:46 EST 2012

I took a look at the CWSL website and see that you offer students
access to their network H: drive via Filezilla using SFTP. If this is
the system you are looking for alternatives to, you're probably not
going to get better than Filezilla without making big changes to the
way students access that storage space.

If you're running a Windows network, access to the file storage is
probably handled best by having the students' laptops connect to the
network when at the law school (you may already do that) and use a VPN
when off site to connect to the network and map the drive. That way
the H: drive space stays with them wherever they are. I'm pretty sure
a number of folks on the list are running this sort of setup and will
be happy to chime in with details. There may be something that could
be done with Sharepoint also, though I've not had any experience in
that space.

All of the other solutions folks have suggested so far involve either
services (box.net, Dropbox) that host the data for you or Owncloud, a
self hosted solution that provides the same sorts of features. None of
these is likely to get along very well with your current H: drive and
SFTP setup and could be problematic in a lab setup.

I have worked with Owncloud which is a self-hosted, open source,
Dropbox clone. That is, you setup a server running some sort of Linux,
Apache, PHP, MySQL (LAMP) stack and install Owncloud. Students would
then install a local client (Windows, Mac, Linux versions available)
that creates a special folder on their computer, logs them into your
Owncloud instance, and replicates everything in that folder back to
the server. In terms of functionality on the desktop it is just like
Dropbox. I wouldn't recommend running the server end over the top of
another shared network space because then you would have 2 disparate
systems trying to track files and that NEVER ends well.

One other possibility is to write an upload web app. How hard this
would be depends on your web environment. Putting together a PHP app
that handles uploads of files and folders via SFTP is pretty
straightforward. Not sure if it would work with ASP.

I do like Owncloud a lot because its magic desktop folders create
"wormholes" between PCs and servers. Yes, it has an API that allows
for the programmatic addition of files to user folders, so you can
push stuff from the server to the desktop.

If you or anyone else out there is interested in taking Owncloud for a
bit of a spin let me know since I've got a couple instances running
here and there (including one that stashes the stored files on Amazon
S3) that I can give you access to.

And I'm going to resume my regular Saturday morning now.


On Fri, Dec 14, 2012 at 12:43 PM, Starnes, Daniel <dstarnes at law.cwsl.edu> wrote:
> I am looking for a file transfer system for our students.

Elmer R. Masters
Director of Internet Development
Center for Computer-Assisted Legal Instruction
emasters at cali.org    773-332-7508

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