Why spideroak instead of dropbox?


I’m using OpenSuse since version 11.1 I believe. I like it very much, now I’m about to upgrade to 11.3 and reading about the new features I saw it has spideroak support integrated.

Since I didn’t know of this product I checked out the website and saw no significant difference with my current cloud storage (Dropbox). As a matter of fact, Dropbox integrates perfectly with different distributions and operating systems (The only problem I found was installing for different distros, which would be solved by having it built into the system). Anyway, I’d like to ask why OpenSuse chose in favor or SpiderOak (which to me looks much more complicated than Dropbox). Thanks.

Hello, I’m Alan. I cofounded SpiderOak in 2007. I can’t comment on exactly how the openSUSE team made their choice, but there are some obvious differences with SpiderOak:

  • You can backup and sync anything (external drives, network volumes, any folders on your file system) instead of just your ~/Dropbox folder.
  • Your files, filenames, folder names, etc. are known to you alone: SpiderOak takes a native zero-knowledge approach to cryptography.
  • You won’t lose a file from your backup, even if you only notice it was deleted 31 days later. All your historical versions are kept forever by default, unless you intentionally take action to remove them (we feel this is the most appropriate action for a backup tool.)
  • We worked with the openSUSE team to create a package that works with the rest of the distribution (using existing Python install, crypto libraries, QT, etc.)
  • If you chose to purchase more space, cost is 1/2 that of Dropbox, and there’s a 15% discount for openSUSE users.

That said, we think Dropbox is a wonderful and well engineered product, and I recommend it for many use cases – especially multi user sync, which SpiderOak doesn’t try to do, since we focus more on preserving the privacy of individual users.

Hope that helps clarify!

Hi Alan:

Thank you very much for your clear reply to my inquiry. I will give your product a try. Maybe it’d be helpful to the visitors of your website to make such differences explicit, since, for me at least, it didn’t seem so clear at first sight. I understand you probably can’t compare your product by actually naming other vendors, but still, I think it’d be good to make a clear case for the advantages you offer.

Good luck!

Sounds like an interesting offer - besides, the important point is that openSUSE partners with an existing, expert storage provider, instead of badly re- inventing the wheel like other Linux distributions.

I use both dropbox and spideroak. I have to say, I do see many advantages to spideroak, but I also use dropbox for low-security document exchanges among colleagues.

I think dropbox and spideroak are a matter of taste, although I see definite advantages to spideroak as soon as professional data is being used. For a user that only wants to backup personal files and share them with friends, etc., though, dropbox is a nice option that’s also included in the OpenSUSE Contributors’ repository (Index of /repositories/openSUSE:/Factory:/Contrib/openSUSE_11.3). There are two versions in there, one for dolphin and the other for nautilus. I use the dolphin version and it works just fine.

there it all is in a nutshell.

Instead of trying to do it all and maybe only doing a half good job at it, we see someone doing one thing and concentrating on doing it well… There is a decent need for having privacy concerned space for backups. There is also need for public sharing or limited sharing so I don’t see there needs to be a competition between spideroak and dropbox. They can co-exist quite nicely and keep the focus on the singular services they are offering.

To me, they all still share the same vulnerabilities as any web based SaaS, which is chiefly inaccessibility. If they experience downtime due to ISP issues, server or software crashes, etc… then you are SOL.

If you aren’t somewhere you can get online or your ISP goes down, etc… Again, you can’t access your data and are SOL (this of course is rectified by always keeping local copies.)

I don’t think it is in the best interest of any distro to give preference to any third party offering by way of ‘built in’ accessibility. Unless there is a way to provide access to a variety of third party offerings, such as Pidgin does with supporting a variety of IM services, then there is likely to only be trouble down the road.

Just my two cent.

Big Bear