A Monologue with the Æther

Heavy Lifting

OSXFUSE and rsync are the tools which ensure that what I write moves to the web server where you can read it. OSXFUSE is the implementation of FUSE for the Mac OS X operating system.

Specifically, what I rely on is the Secure Shell File System, SSHFS. SSHFS allows me to mount my web server file system on my Mac as if it were an external disk thereby making it fairly easy to move files to and from the web server. Without SSHFS, I would have to rely on a File Transport Protocol (FTP) or Secure FTP (SFTP) program or use the SSH command scp, secure copy, to transfer all my files to the server. All of those tools are good, except FTP programs. Using those is like leaving the keys to your car in the door lock. The main difficulty with those programs is automating the file transfer process which automation process is where rsync comes in handy.

rsync is even cooler than just moving files around. rsync is smart in that it only moves the bits of files which have changed, making it fairly terse in how it uses bandwidth. In other words, if you give rsync a directory or folder of files to move around, only the initial transfer moves the entire file. Subsequent uses of rsync on that directory result in only new files or the modified bits of already transfered files being moved. You could even set up rsync to delete files in the destination directory which no longer exist in the source directory. Allowing rsync to delete can be destructive so make sure that it’s what you really want before you use it.