Auto-sync data across multiple devices (GNU/Linux & Lineage)

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I am a member!

Joined: 07/07/2013

For a while now I have been trying to sync text files between several different devices, including desktop computers running GNU/Linux, and mobile phones running Lineage (Android). I have tried the following methods:

1) Syncthing - This works well but all devices must be connected to the same network to sync. This means that it only worked acceptably when one party was doing this. As soon as more than 1 person is modifying the same files, it becomes too messy.

2) NextCloud - This works quite well, except for the fact that it does not auto-sync changes made on the mobile devices. There are some tickets/feature requests for this feature that have been open for a couple of years (including a US$500 bounty), but it doesn't look as though any of the people who are involved in the development are interested in this feature. This means that every time a file is changed on a mobile, the user needs to load the NextCloud app, click on the folder properties and click on sync.

Our requirements are the following:

- No need to trust 3rd parties with data. Best case scenario would be a decentralized encrypted way to share the files. We can consider centralized storage if the data is encrypted client side, or the repository can be run on our own server.

- Changes to files need to be pushed either to all other devices or to the centralized server without having to be on the same network.

- All files are text files.

- All software run by computers, phones and any self-hosted server need to be free software.

Thanks for any recommendations!

Joined: 01/08/2019


Keep in mind that you can host your files anywhere and even on proprietary systems but files must be encrypted with your own key on your own computer using only libre software then you can upload/sync on other devices.

Also avoid default encryption with nextcloud (more info about server side and client side encryption nextcloud encryption

I'm not saying that the way they use encryption is bad... but when you host a nextcloud web site on other web hosting providers you don't have access to the private and public key.

If you use your own server I think its ok because the keys are stored in your machine. Maybe someone in this forum can help about encryption, i'm not an expert :).

For the auto sync on the mobile I think it is much better to manually syncing. its saves you battery :p


I am a member!

Joined: 07/07/2013

Hi Zangisharp,

Thanks for your response. I need the auto-sync to be frictionless and can accept that the content is not stored encrypted as long as it does not use a centralized, data-mined service and is encrypted when transmitted (e.g. ssh, ssl, vpn tunnel).

What I intend to do seems to be stock with the main corporate players, but I'm unwilling to use their proprietary apps and data-mined services.

I'm extremely surprised nobody in the free software community would find the need to keep files auto-synched between mobile devices and desktops/laptops outside of a LAN.

I'm willing to sacrifice the extra battery drain; If every user needs to sync manually on every change (these files change often), it makes the system prone to human error and untrustworthy.

Saludos libres,

Joined: 02/12/2018

With Syncthing, you do not need to have every device in the same network. But you are right, when syncing many devices, Syncthing might make you miss the piece of mind of a server-client architecture.

On the Nextcloud client for Android, I agree. It is very sad, you cannot easily configure a 2-way sync directory, and they do not fix it (at least for the last years on F-Droid versions).

I have not tested it, but someone told me Seafile syncs better than Nextcloud and its Android client is ok too. I have never tried it, if you do, please let me know.

By the the way, if you really need a phone, have you ever considered to abandon Lineage and try Replicant : ?