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Data Storage Software

OSS Web-based File Management? 320

Posted by Cliff
from the was-this-what-Microsoft-meant dept.
breadiu asks: "I work for a department at a university, and we'd love to offer students some type of web-accessible file storage, but, like most educational institutions, money is tight. There are some great closed source solutions out there like Xythos' Digital Locker Suite, but those cost. I've had trouble finding a really well put together open source solution. I've taken a look at Slide and even Zope, but neither really match up to Xythos' offerings. What have others done to provide centralized file storage/management? Is there anything OSS that offers WebDAV, Apache support, BSD/Linux support and Active Directory-LDAP authentication with support for Windows and Mac clients?"
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OSS Web-based File Management?

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  • Not so hard (Score:5, Informative)

    by AKAImBatman (238306) * <akaimbatman@gmai[ ]om ['l.c' in gap]> on Thursday July 07, 2005 @12:39PM (#13004706) Homepage Journal
    1. Never underestimate the power of a plain old FTP server. When I worked for a company with a Citrix machine, it was found that the SMB access to the mainframe would only allow for one connection per IP. (Thanks alot Unisys.) So we setup a go between machine that ran an FTP server mapped to the SMB drive. The Citrix users then used the Netscape FTP support to download and upload files.

    2. Here's precisely how to do what you're looking for on a standard *nix machine: http://www.tldp.org/HOWTO/Apache-WebDAV-LDAP-HOWTO / [tldp.org]

    First Google result, even. :-)
    • your basic non-geek user can find ftp programs a little complicated to use (don't ask why, I don't get it). Web based does allow for a certain level of comfort and ease for non-tech users.
      • Re:Not so hard (Score:4, Informative)

        by AKAImBatman (238306) * <akaimbatman@gmai[ ]om ['l.c' in gap]> on Thursday July 07, 2005 @12:58PM (#13004938) Homepage Journal
        That's the beauty of it though. Users accessed the FTP server through a bookmark in Netscape. As far as they were concerned, they were looking at an ugly web page! Uploads could be done by just dragging the file onto Netscape. :-)

        Internet Explorer is even simpler as it provides a "pretty" Explorer interface to the files.
      • Yes, ftp programs can be hard if you don't know how to use them. But it's for a University so teaching is what they do. They should teach them how to use ftp programs. It wouldn't be that hard.
      • Desktop shortcut - 'ftp://user:pass@xxx.xxx.xxx.xxx'

        Remove 'user:pass@' if you require an authentication prompt. Problem solved.

    • 1. FTP is great, but there are two problems (as far as our organization is concerned) - it requires a client and credentials are sent unencrypted (FTP over SSL is possible, although it still leaves the client problem). Everyone knows how to go to a webpage, but fewer know how to install and use an FTP client.

      2. The article doesn't look like it details how to set up anything comparable to the Xythos solution. It's pretty much shows how to enable WebDAV with Apache, which is not what I was asking. I wa
      • You asked (and I quote): "Is there anything OSS that offers WebDAV, Apache support, BSD/Linux support and Active Directory-LDAP authentication with support for Windows and Mac clients?"

        The solution I offered has all of those features. What other features are you looking for? (In specific! I'm unfamiliar with Xythos.)

        FTP is great, but there are two problems (as far as our organization is concerned) - it requires a client and credentials are sent unencrypted

        True enough. I never worried about it because e
      • FTP is great, but there are two problems (as far as our organization is concerned) - it requires a client...Something that offers web management and a web interface.

        What browser can't do FTP? They create the web interface for you. What could be simpler?

    • In my experience, a simple FTP client is too confusing for many tech-novices. In Windows Explorer, they can sometimes do "CTRL+select" to select individual items, and that is about as technical as they want to get.

      I hear that Windows Explorer supposedly supports WebDAV, but I haven't seen any examples of it. A WebDAV server that would allow my clients to use Explorer would be ideal.
      • I have been TA'ing a first year intro to computers class for the past few semesters, and we teach FTP as part of the labs (because we make them do it old style - CLI interface...yeah, we're mean). The first semester was a DISASTER. Combining FTP with some standard unix commands and permissions structures was definately NOT the way to go. They had a really difficult time particularily with the idea of two seperate file systems.

        The next semester didn't go so well either, even though we added in a huge
        • One of the nice things about WinSCP is that you can either have it look like midnight commander - with two panes - local & remote, or you can have the remote side look like a normal file browser window that you can drag & drop to and from.

          I'm sure some scripting could make it automatically log in, etc and make it fairly transparent to the user.
      • ANY webdav server should work fine with modern (2000+) versions of windows. For a quick example of how end user documentation should look check out this [ucfv.bc.ca] page I found from a quick google search for webdav windows explorer.
    • Why so complex? I just use a web interface. Upload a file and it gives you a unique key that is unlikely to be guessed. To access the file all you need is the key. Just pass the key to people and they have access to your file. Really simple to use and reasonable secure.

      I'm beating out the features of a new version at Open Mouth [openmouth.info] by letting random netters distribute anything they want (evidently pr0n).. will probably distribute the software as opensource when I finish adding all the features I want. Already
  • MFile (Score:5, Informative)

    by GPLDAN (732269) on Thursday July 07, 2005 @12:43PM (#13004751)
    The University of Michigan's Web AFS system. Kerberos based authentication, although it can use LDAP as well, using widely available AFS clients as well as a web interface.

    http://mfile.umich.edu/ [umich.edu]
    • yea but uh . . i didnt' see a link to download said software so again . . how does this help?
    • I wonder why someone would like to go with plain LDAP instead of sticking with the Kerberos default?

      Kerberos is a network authentication service while LDAP is a directory service. In fact, access to LDAP should be restricted using Kerberos in that case for better security given the environment IMHO.

  • Knowledge Tree (Score:2, Informative)

    by pgp4privacy (656621)
    • Re:Knowledge Tree (Score:5, Informative)

      by pgp4privacy (656621) <pgp4privacy@gmail.com> on Thursday July 07, 2005 @12:49PM (#13004821)
      Features
      KnowledgeTree(TM) Version 2.0.0

      General Features

      * Fully web-based.
      * Powerful document version control
      * Support for common file formats (MS Word, MS Excel, PDF, TXT, HTML)
      * Subscription agents with push technology for notification of changes to documents or document directories
      * Archiving according to expiry date, expiry time period or utilisation for enhanced speed
      * Publish documents to websites
      * Document-specific discussion forums
      * Full-text search of common file formats (MS Word, MS Excel, PDF, TXT, HTML)
      * Search in user-defined metadata fields
      * Access information according to folder structure, category or document type
      * Personalised dashboard to view subscriptions, pending documents, checked-out documents and quick links
      * Virtual binders for documents based on certain criteria
      * Configurable metadata displayed when document browsing
      * Bulk uploads allow multiple files to be uploaded to a folder.
      * Supports translation of most of the user interface.

      Workflow Features

      * Improved management control of documents with ability to create a set process for document creation and publishing
      * Flexible document approval routing at the folder level
      * Delegate the creation of new documents within a document approval cycle

      Security Features

      * Access rights for document protection on a per group, role or organisational unit basis
      * SSL for encrypted and secure connections
      * Authentication integration with common LDAP servers (OpenLDAP, Sun ONE Directory Server and Active Directory)
      * Audit trails of user interaction with system including document changes

  • from a web based system I have not seen anything to match the comercial offerings. The OSS all seem to be very baisc. Not having versioning or any other advanced features.
    • Subversion [tigris.org] works over WebDAV, and it supports versioning.

      I'm curious if Subversion could be used as a regular WebDAV server for this sort of use. Not quite sure how the versioning would work, since regular folks don't want to have a check-in comment every time they add a file to the repository ...
  • by iago (4917) on Thursday July 07, 2005 @12:46PM (#13004798)
    WebDAV, smb, cifs, and all sorts of other nifty goodies (built in LVM) www.openfiler.org [openfiler.org] Its GPL'd and runs pretty well.
    • According to the "about" page it seems to require "CentOS Linux". Er, maybe I don't want to run that distro.
      • It says it "sits atop" CentOS (a free recompile of RHEL). It also says "It is distributed as a stand-alone Linux distribution". So, they've taken CentOS, done their openfiler magic, and packaged it as a distro - it's not something you just tack onto Fedora Core. I've never used it but it does look interesting for adding cheap storage in, say, an AD environment easily.
    • Sounds nice, but are there any screenshots, or some more conventional downloadable binary or source package, instead of a boot disk ISO?
      • WTH. The ISO is just an (non-bootable!) Centos install CD (probably modified). It would help if there was a standalone package or something. Is there some way I can extract the freaking disk image layout from the install CD?
    • This has nothing to do with the original question. This is a software distribution system, not a file manager. What the hell is the matter with you, and more importantly, those with mod points!?
  • FTP looks like the popular answer.
    I suggest sftp or other slightly more secure options.
  • WebRFM or the HORDE (Score:3, Informative)

    by Chalex (71702) on Thursday July 07, 2005 @12:48PM (#13004813) Homepage
    Our school uses WebRFM as basically a web-based file management client. It's ugly, but it works. http://mail.rochester.edu/ [rochester.edu]

    The HORDE Gollem is a promising project also. http://www.horde.org/gollem/ [horde.org]
  • Zope/Plone (Score:5, Informative)

    by t482 (193197) on Thursday July 07, 2005 @12:50PM (#13004839) Homepage
    Zope/Plone offers "WebDAV, Apache support, BSD/Linux support and Active Directory-LDAP authentication with support for Windows and Mac clients"
    • Re:Zope/Plone (Score:3, Interesting)

      by cornice (9801)
      Don't forget:

      ATManaged File - http://www.enfoldsystems.com/Products/Open/ATMana g edFile [enfoldsystems.com]
      ATManagedFile allows you to store metadata in the database while keeping File assets on the servers file system. Content is treated like a first-class citizen in Plone, it can be transitioned (workflow), edited, copy/pasted. Metadata for content can be described through Archetype schema's. A managed_files tool enables administrators to specify where content is stored, the deletion policy, as well as the stored files
  • OWL Intranet (Score:3, Informative)

    by CHR1S (694833) on Thursday July 07, 2005 @12:51PM (#13004857) Homepage
    I use OWL intranet for our repository. I don't believe it supports LDAP yet though. Still, worth a look. http://owl.sourceforge.net
  • Compared to network file systems. Slow, clunky, inconvenient. In a university, any reason AFS won't do the trick [openafs.org]? It can even run encrypted if you don't trust the network you're running over.

  • FTP *is* what you are looking for. You can make an FTP server authenticate against almost anything, and FTP clients are there for every platform - including the web. Set up an FTP server and then set up a Java-based FTP client on a website for your IE users. Your Mozilla users already have one.

    Here's one free for non-commercial use:
    http://www.jscape.com/ftpapplet/ [jscape.com]

    Here's an OSS one:
    http://j-ftp.sourceforge.net/ [sourceforge.net]
  • Get an account for everyone. I have 50 invites for you if you're interested;-)
    • This is actually a pretty good idea. The storage is large enough for most uses, it's obviously portable, and it's a solution that they can carry with them after they leave a given institution. There's also a hack that lets GMail act like an extra drive on windows machines, which makes it easy for the user: Gmail virtual drive. [viksoe.dk]
  • Microsoft SharePoint.

    It will give you a web site where you can create document libraries. You can put documents in these libraries and open them directly in Office. The documents are locked per user. All communication is done with WebDAV.

    Best of all it's free with Windows Server 2003!
  • by DrZaius (6588) <gary.richardson+slashdot@gmail.com> on Thursday July 07, 2005 @12:57PM (#13004919) Homepage
    Maybe I don't understand the problem:

    Is there anything OSS that offers WebDAV, Apache support, BSD/Linux support and Active Directory-LDAP authentication with support for Windows and Mac clients?

    Doesn't Apache + mod_webdav + auth_ldap support all of this? Can't you just point any webdav client at apache and have web based file storage?

    If you want normal people to access it, put up a web page with instructions on how to access it.

    • by rhizome (115711) on Thursday July 07, 2005 @02:00PM (#13005680) Homepage Journal
      Doesn't Apache + mod_webdav + auth_ldap support all of this?

      Yes it does. This is a stupid article.
      • by masukomi (229249) on Thursday July 07, 2005 @03:16PM (#13006608)
        You have to install and configure an ldap server (know how to administer it), recompile apache, and know what the hell mod_webdav (or even webdav) is in the first place.

        How many non programmer people do YOU know who can do that?

        So NO, it isn't a stupid article. But your response is a great example of one of the underlying problems in the OSS community: developers tend to forget that the rest of the world isn't made up of developers.
        • by mborland (209597) on Thursday July 07, 2005 @03:44PM (#13006895)
          I would like to complain about the previous complaint.

          I agree that the guy that said 'stupid article' was a little blunt, but I think it's fair for readers of Ask Slashdot to complain when topics are at the level of 'how do I tie my own shoe?' I have no problem with someone asking for help--there are no stupid questions--but this doesn't seem like the forum for this kind of question (front page, etc.).

          I didn't get your point about technical complexity. The sysadmin/programmer's job is to understand these technologies (they listed WebDAV, & Apache in the posting after all), and the end users in this case hardly need to know anything (they just map drives or whatever, same as any other solution).

    • by soward (6325)
      not really. Apache+mod_webdav does generally provide that functionality, but not on a per-user basis. Say you've got a school with 20,000 students. To make Apache+mod_dav work you'd need 20,000 entries in the httpd.conf. Plus it all will still run as your www user, so folx couldn't access these files through any method other than WebDAV and keep things like permissions intact.

      WebDAV is nifty in that there are client implementations built-in to most common OSes. It's also nice because it runs through most f
  • If I recall correctly squiremail has a plugin for allocating some space to users. Check it out. Link to squirrelmail plugin [squirrelmail.org]

  • If you can wait and/or contribute, the IdeaForge module from the akoria project [sourceforge.net] will do what you're looking for. Although it is more designed for group-developed content management, it will feature version control and WebDAV access to each user's work area.

    Take a look at the meager homepage [sourceforge.net] and see if you want to submit some feature requests.

    This was me thinking the same as you - where's the open source project for group content management? But, after asking and getting few satisfactory answers, I
  • Write Your Own (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Comatose51 (687974) on Thursday July 07, 2005 @01:03PM (#13005012) Homepage
    Don't want to sound like one of those guys who always go, "If you don't like it, change it." but you're in a good position to do that because of the academic setting. Make it a project for Comp Sci students or grad. students. It'll be good practice for them in managing real world projects and an good intro to open source development/philosophy. OSS seems in line with the open philosophy of academia. Find a project that does almost what you want and extend it.
  • Multiple protocols (Score:3, Informative)

    by dafz1 (604262) on Thursday July 07, 2005 @01:04PM (#13005022)
    If this is going to run on a Linux box:

    1. Install samba(for Windows), netatalk(for Mac), and ssh servers.

    2. On Windows machines, have them use standard Windows file sharing(\\server.schoolname.edu\shareddir). If your institution has locked down the smb port(445), have them download and run OpenSSH, which includes a graphical directory browsing window.

    3. On Macs, use the standard AFP protocol.

    4. On Linux, using scp would probably be best. You could set up an nfs server, and allow access to the world. I don't recommend this, and you should use some type of authentication.

    Otherwise, and I recommend, get a Mac running OS X. It has easy to configure, and use, smb, ssh, and AFP servers. It's a lot more stable than running the servers on a Linux box. If you have the money, I would recommend springing for an Unlimited Client copy of OS X Server. But a standard OS X box would be fine.
    • If the server is going to be busy, OS X probably wouldn't be a good choice. AnandTech had a review [anandtech.com] of OS X as a server OS and found it couldn't keep up with Linux as the number of connections increased beyond a certain threshold.

      Just something to consider; it will undoubtedly improve in the future, but for now a FOSS solution would likely suffice and not have this limitation.
  • I'm doing all of what you referred to using Subversion with the mod_dav_svn frontend on Apache for a content management system.

    It works *beautifully*
    • by jungd (223367) *
      Here Here. While older versions of subversion didn't support full WebDAV (just a subset needed by the svn client), the lastest versions do.
      Subversion will also give you the option of using regular files or a SQL DB for storage and you'll have versioning for 'free'.
      • I was looking at this a few weeks ago (Using Subversion 1.2).

        This official document [tigris.org] says that SVN only supports a subset of WebDAV & DeltaV. Has that hindered your usage at all? I'm not sure if the document is up-to-date

        I know that WebDAV support was greatly enhanced with the 1.2 version, but I haven't had a chance to do much research yet.
  • An easier way would be to avoid the Web entirely. There's a large number of FTP servers out there, many of which support FTP-over-SSL. Both Windows and Mac support accessing folders via FTP just as if they were local or network-shared folders. Configure the FTP server to authenticate against an LDAP directory (this should be trivial if the server OS is set up to authenticate using PAM) and you're ready to go.

  • You might want to take a look at ADMS [auton.nl]

    It's mainly targetted towards document management, especially using the new OpenDocument standard, but it can store all kinds of files. It's highly plugin-based, has some nice search features and allows for flexible permission settings. You can easily write plugins which provide extra support for special file types, like adding webbased viewers and editors and indexing functions.

    The only thing it doesn't offer on your list is LDAP authentication, but a plugin could be

  • Does it really have to be web-based? If you set up an SSH server your users could access it via SFTP. There are plenty of SFTP clients out there, including WinSCP for Windows, CyberDuck for OS X and Konqueror or Nautilus on GNU/Linux. WinSCP can be made to look like Windows Explorer, simplifying the experience for your Windows users.

    A few other posts above have mentioned FTP, but this would be a step backward in time. FTP should die, and now. In fact it should have died years ago, aside from its use i

  • While Open Exchange is more of a groupware type client, it has document sharing and knowledge sharing with access control. All in a very very tidy web interface. Just the server install can cause a couple of asprin worth of a headache.
  • SCP (Score:4, Informative)

    by Richard_J_N (631241) on Thursday July 07, 2005 @01:10PM (#13005100)
    Most cases, you just want something really simple, easy to implement, and understand. So, why not use SCP. It's secure, easy to set up (all you need on the server is Linux + SSH), and easy to access.

    In konqueror, type scp:// or fish://.
    In Windows, use the free WinSCP program
    In MacOsX - you have ssh/scp.

    Other advantage: if you give them a linux box to access, then it's easy to control private vs group vs public.
  • by borzwazie (101172) on Thursday July 07, 2005 @01:16PM (#13005160) Homepage
    Using Subversion (subversion.tigris.org) and Apache as a front-end (WebDAV link to Subversion, connection to LDAP) you get versioned documentation, file storage, hook-ins to Active Directory or any other LDAP product, and Windows Web Folders for easy access.

    Works very well here for documentation storage. 300+ users.
  • Opendocman.sourceforge.net is a good one if you want tight, fine fine grained control, with revision mangement. Good for a research situation.
  • Would HyperContent do the trick for you?

    http://hypercontent.sourceforge.net/ [sourceforge.net]

    (Disclaimer: I used an early version of this from a year ago; I don't know how well it currently stacks up against what you're comparing it to...)
  • by Spider-X (159360)
    Novell iFolder is the best, most secure I've ever seen. And, it's GPL. Here's the URL:

    http://www.ifolder.com/ [ifolder.com]

  • SSL Explorer (Score:2, Informative)

    by Shadow_139 (707786)

    SSL Explorer [3sp.com] is exactly what you are looking for and they have just released a new updated verion 0.1.12 with include RADIUS. Hosted on SourceForge.net [sourceforge.net]

    It has WebDAV, VNC, Citrix, Rdesktop (Linux), Windows RDP Client, Web Forwarding, SSL Tunnelling and alot more.

    You can set the password with RADIUS, Active Directory or a in-buit DB. All been encrypted under SSL with the ability for multiple SSL Cert's

    I have been using to for a while now in the big company and it works a dream, plus getting better wi

  • LDAP authentication is standard, and we're working on a WebDAV enabled file manager for teachers and students which should be ready in the next few weeks.

    Moodle LMS [moodle.org]

  • You might look at OSPI [theospi.org] their content repository for the portfolio reminds me a lot of Xythos. I have been trying to get our central storage people to take a look and give me some feedback on whether I am right or wrong.
  • Our university is about to roll out a web-accessible file service based on Apache+WebDAV+local patches. Please send me email at (my slashdot username)@ucsd.edu if you're interested and I'll be happy to discuss.

  • Well Web file access is nice, as my University uses it, I would be a whole lot more happy if I had VPN access. With the number of people that have laptops in class (heck I am writing this well in class), and the number of people that haul a laptop around campus, and even those that have a computer at home, VPN access to a home directory would be heaven sent. Instead of having to transfer files via web-base application, transfering the files like it was a local drive would be so much more convient. The, othe
  • yet another dupe (Score:5, Informative)

    by spoonyfork (23307) <.spoonyfork. .at. .gmail.com.> on Thursday July 07, 2005 @01:56PM (#13005636) Journal
    Don't forget to check the previous Ask Slashdot discussion on this very topic titled Open Source Web-Based File Management? [slashdot.org] from 2/17/05.

    That said, I would suggest doing some searches on various other sites whose opinion you value. Chances are it has been asked there before as well.

  • Use SSL to encrypt, a simple web authentication (choose your flavor) and webadmin.

    http://wacker-welt.de/webadmin/ [wacker-welt.de]

    You can create individual webadmin upload/download pages for each person and redirect them upon logging in to their own page based on their login creditials using PHP.

    I've done it before and it works great. Although I've found my implementation craps out with files over an undetermined size. I haven't researched if this is a webadmin issue or some setting I have on the HTTP/SSL server.
  • by mcrbids (148650) on Thursday July 07, 2005 @02:33PM (#13006093) Journal
    Here's the problem I had, and how I solved it:

    1) We're a small software company, and we're *VERY* mobile. I joke that my office is my laptop, but it's not much of a joke. we can (and do) work almost anywhere we have power + 'net connection.

    2) We need to have a common file store primarily for backups, but also so that we can share files and documents easily.

    3) WebDAV is close. Windows support for WebDAV falls short of actually mounting the drive. (EG: with a drive letter) This creates lots of little headaches copying files, some programs won't open files directly from a DAV folder, etc...

    4) I found a utility put out by Novell, a free download, called "NetDrive" that lets you mount a WebDAV share as a drive on the local system. Google for NetDrive [google.com]

    5) This, combined with Apache/WebDAV/Mod_SSL makes an easy, reliable, secure, mountable drive that mounts anywhere an HTTPS connection is allowed. (which almost *ALL* firewalls allow)

    I'm not using LDAP authentication. There are only 5 of us, and we don't hire/fire all that often.
  • by jehreg (120485)
    Have a quick look at http://owl.sourceforge.net/ [sourceforge.net] , it might be just what the doctor ordered.
  • by cornice (9801) on Thursday July 07, 2005 @03:26PM (#13006711)
    Novell has GPLed their file sharing system and renamed it iFolder:

    http://www.ifolder.com/ [ifolder.com]


    iFolder is a file sharing application for Linux, Windows, and Mac.

    Using iFolder workgroup features, you can easily:

    * Share files across multiple computers
    * Share files with other users

    Used with an iFolder server, you can:

    * Maintain a backup of your files on an iFolder Enterprise server
    * Share files with other users and computers
    * Restore deleted files from Backup

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