I need a simple file management solution for the following small business setup: an Ubuntu Hardy Linux Server and Windows and Mac OS X Clients.

We want to store and manage max 10 GB of files including documents, images, a few videos etc.

Our needs: - store all documents safely on the linux server (it is backed up daily) - be able to copy the whole documents to the local disks and work there (because computers go often offline) and check in those changes later on. - browse and download files from a web browser - auto sync document folders to and from server (how to handle conflicts,folder renames, file deletions???)

I have been thinking of:

  • A version control tool like SVN/GIT or similar
  • rsync
  • bacula

However I would definitely want to hear some expert opinion. Any hints is appreciated.

4 Answers 4


If you work mostly with text files and have technically sophisticated users, a VCS like git or SVN is fantastic.

KnowledgeTree has been a fantastic solution for us for our non-IT user base. We used the Community Edition for several years(Even ISO 9001 certified on it) before upgrading to the commercial version.

I did do some research on some file server alternativesto our KnowledgeTree implementation about a year ago. Several Plone based systems came out as strong alternatives because they supported both WebDAV based drag and drop and version control


SVN/Git will get you your version control and offline abilities: when you check out a file, you'll have a copy of it.

You can use the mod_dav_svn module along with Apache to server SVN files through Apache; this will allow you to "browse and download files from a web browser". There's also USVN which uses PHP and also allows you to create and modify your repos from a browser.

Depending on how you want to back it up (are you using tape, an external harddrive, online), there's alot of options, Bacula being one of them.

I don't think you need rsync as long as your users check their files in regularly at the end of the day, if that's what you were implying with having rsync in your list. I originally was thinking of Windows built-in Offline Files feature, but apparently there isn't a Mac equivalent, at least not part of the OS (there may be some 3rd-party stuff out there).


If your staff are technical and aren't afraid of svn, I would say that that is the way to go.

On the other hand, have you considered a CMS? (Searching for "Open Source CMS" should get you plenty of options.)


  • Version control. TortoiseSVN (and Tortoise* for other VCS) integrate with Windows Explorer
  • You might try to enable offline folders and have it work with Samba
  • Unison
  • There are numerous tools to visualize VCS repositories on the web, such as ViewSVN

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