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Dropbox - a study in what's right with open source, and wrong with windows.

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Today I tried to use a piece of software named "dropbox" which allows you to share files safely on the internet. It's not a P2P thief-ware or mechanism for infringement of rights, but then, almost no software is. It's just to let you put one of your files in a place that you can still reach when you're at work or at some other location. There are a host of problems with this, the first of which is security. Dropbox attempts to resolve these, but has some problems of course.

The first problem is that, like most windows software, it tells you very little about how it works, and requires a full installation before you're even asked to create an account. Only after you've made an account does it inform you that you have to pay to use it, or be limited to 2GB. It also doesn't give ANY information about how safe it really is, only that you've loaded a "proprietary" driver on your system. Great, viruses can also be proprietary, so that isn't exactly a guarantee of safety.

I tried it, and it did not work as advertised. In fact, it is nothing more than an alteration on the existing networking layer. Without the windows architecture, it doesn't even work.

In Open Source, this is rarely a problem.

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today's leftovers

Leftovers: OSS and Sharing