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Use DropBox to distribute new apps to multiple Macs Apps
DropBox is one of my preferred tools these days. One usage which is not obvious, but makes a nice hint is to use it to distribute a new software disk image to my different computers (we have six of them in the family). I usually download new apps on my MacBook Pro. After I install the app there, I put the disk image in my DropBox. You may wonder what is the gain, given the disk image has to get to the DropBox server first.

Well, this may not be obvious at first, but DropBox uses a very smart filesystem (I think these are called hash filesystem). If the file to be uploaded is already on the server (even in some other person's account), then the file is not uploaded, and your "server" copy is instantaneously available for other computers to download. Try it; it is impressive. Basically, there is only one copy of each file on their server, which is pretty smart.

So in my case, most of the time, the disk images are already on the server. This morning, for example, I uploaded the last VLC and Skype disk images, and bingo, they were both on the server in a second. Then, when I log onto my other computers, these disk images are automaticaly downloaded to be used for installation (if you have left your session active, they even get downloaded in the background).

Of course, if you are on the same network, it may be faster to just drop the file on the various computers ... but in the end, it is usually more work than just using DropBox.
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Use DropBox to distribute new apps to multiple Macs
Authored by: ChuckEye on Oct 19, '09 07:42:45AM

This may only work with disk images... Occasionally in the past I've tried putting an application directly into DropBox, but it seems to get corrupted by their file system when copied back to another Mac.

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Use DropBox to distribute new apps to multiple Macs
Authored by: dfbills on Oct 19, '09 08:16:52AM

I'm pretty sure symlinks get destroyed with Apps when syncing. The same thing happens with iDisk.


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Use DropBox to distribute new apps to multiple Macs
Authored by: Sesquipedalian on Oct 19, '09 09:22:16AM

The reason for this is that, unfortunately, DropBox does not properly sync resource forks, extended attributes, etc. The DropBox development team has patched in some temporary fixes for the worst effects of this lack of proper Mac support—such as package files turning into mere folders—but many things still break. Until DropBox provides full support for the HFS+ file system's features, users should expect to run into problems with files that make use of HFS+ features, such as application package files. The best way to make sure your files pass through DropBox unscathed is to put them into a .zip file or a disk image before putting them into your DropBox folder.

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Use DropBox to distribute new apps to multiple Macs
Authored by: k.os on Oct 19, '09 12:16:01PM

in addition to that, the latest versions of dropbox support lan sync… so the files are not even downloaded from the server, they go "straight" to the other computer in your network.

never tested it, because the files i sync are usually to small to see improvements but it should work as advertised :)

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Use DropBox to distribute new apps to multiple Macs
Authored by: luomat on Oct 19, '09 06:36:54PM

(It's "Dropbox" not "DropBox" :-)

Recent betas have "LAN sync" which syncs across your network without every app having to download it. This is nice on my metered satellite connection.

I haven't seen this "Someone else already uploaded" this but it makes sense that they would use it to to save transfer expenses… but I thought files were encrypted on Dropbox.

In any case, you should not, under ANY circumstances, put an unpacked application in Dropbox because it does not have any concept of an "executable bit".

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Use DropBox to distribute new apps to multiple Macs
Authored by: felix-fi on Oct 20, '09 01:13:27AM

The hash filesystem is quite impressive (I love the concept, even if it completely blows my mind that one can decide that 2 files are the same by just comparing hashs).

Indeed, the files are supposed to be encrypted... but nothing prevent them of using the same encryption keys for the version on the disk (even if it has different "owner", and even if they use a different one for the transfert).

Indeed, it is safer to put .dmg files (but most applications come as "data" file, either .dmg, or .zip).

Indeed the latest beta provide sync-on-lan... which makes this hint even more valuable.

If anybody needs a dropbox account, use this referral:

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Use DropBox to distribute new apps to multiple Macs
Authored by: sageimac on Oct 21, '09 04:54:11PM
Basically, what this article is describing could be accomplished with a flash drive. But the beauty of Dropbox is that you don't need to carry the flash drive with you. It's just there. I trade files back and forth between windows and mac all the time.
To sign up, use this referral link and it will automatically give you an extra 250 MB of space free, through Dropbox's referral program.
Get Dropbox

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