If you're like most people, you send email attachments when collaborating on a document with someone else. That's inconvenient, because you've got to remember to send and receive updates, dangerous, because you may lose work due to an edit conflict, and insecure, because nobody knows how to encrypt email. Even so, we use email because to date it is the only way to get the six aspects of sharing that we rely on in the physical world but have learned to live without online.
SCoopFS (The "F" is silent.) is a tool that supports all six aspects of sharing. SCoopFS is not email, but you communicate as if it were. The difference is that SCoopFS can automatically send and receive updates. If there is an edit conflict, SCoopFS makes it hard for you to lose work. SCoopFS also makes you more secure by providing server authentication, so you can't be tricked into talking to the wrong party, user authorization, without yet another userid and password, and encryption, while handling all the key management for you. In fact, the SCoopFS user interface has no clicks for security.
SCoopFS does a pretty good job keeping copies of a file on different machines synchronized. So good a job that most users of the Alpha version mirrored files between their machines. One person used SCoopFS to keep certain files synchronized between her home and work computers, which saved a lot of trips back to the office when she forgot to send a file to herself. Another user shared files with himself so copies of files on his web server that he edits off line get synchronized with copies on the shared drive that the web server uses.
You may download and use SCoopFS for non-commercial purposes.
A brief overview
The SCoopFS distribution includes a working version of the Waterken web server and the Joe-E verifier. Each of these tools is useful in its own right.
This version is a first prototype, which means there are a number of things we didn't do and a number of bugs we didn't fix. For example, our file sharing protocol has so many round trips that we call it ETRTWH (Eventually The Right Thing Will Happen). You won't be disappointed if you think of it as email rather than some sort of mirrored file system.
SCoopFS is NOT supported by HP. Send all questions to alan.karp at hp.com.