I have a laptop and a desktop, and one of the problems that I faced was to get my files synchronized. I work on my desktop while I’m at home, and on the go, I rely on my laptop. However, I need my files to be the same on both laptop and desktop.

In the past I used to do a manual sync with rsync, but now I’ve just discovered Unison and it solves the pain of synchronization, because unlike rsync, Unison works both ways. With Unison, I can set it so that any files that I change on my laptop will get synchronized with my desktop, and vice versa.

I don’t use this feature, but Unison has versions for the Linux and Mac platforms as well, and allows you to synchronize with different OS-es. So if you’re using a Mac desktop and have a windows laptop, and work with Linux at your workplace — no problems!

The great thing about Unison that it can work over SSH too, so you don’t have to be physically near your other computer — you can be lounging at Starbucks with your laptop, and synchronise your files over the public Wi-Fi connection.

And just in case you might have different synchronization needs from time to time, don’t worry, because Unison also has support for profiles. These syn allow you to create configuration files that can set preferences on different directories and files. Comprehensive documentation on profiles is available on the Web site.

All in all, Unison can be extremely useful and quite powerful. It doesn’t take the blind-sync approach by default, but allows you to determine what files to sync, if any, and in what direction. Using profiles, you can largely automate things to suit your situation.

Click here for the official Unison website.

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