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Looking for advice as to the best way to approach a portable working environment, so that I can pick up from where I left off between different computers. I have ...
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  1. #1
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    Portable working environment?


    Looking for advice as to the best way to approach a portable working environment, so that I can pick up from where I left off between different computers.

    I have an office PC, a home PC, and a laptop, all multi-boot running various distros.

    Ideally, after leaving work, I'd like to have the same environment (i.e. programs, docs, settings) available to me when I start using my home PC / laptop, and then be able to do the same when I get back in to the office.

    My main reason for this, is due to massive amounts of duplication (and sometimes lost files), as I generally email myself or copy my working files onto USB stick. Plus, I'd also like to have a consistent desktop / programs available across all devices.

    I've thought of using a virtual machine and transferring that between devices via USB stick / drive, but it seems a little inelegant. However, the main advantage with that is that it could act as the master copy, and any old/misplaced copies could act as a snapshot.

    I've also thought of using a cloud type concept, but this could end up being quite slow due to having to up/down load the required files.

    It also seems a little bewildering when I start to consider what files I'd need to accomplish this (in terms of all the config / session files, etc), and then start thinking about the different device setups.

    I'm therefore wondering if there's any other ideas / tools out there that might help.

  2. #2
    Penguin of trust elija's Avatar
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    Could you boot them all from the same persistent USB key?
    "I used to be with it, then they changed what it was.
    Now what was it isn't it, and what is it is weird and scary to me.
    It'll happen to you too."

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  3. #3
    Just Joined! graphicks's Avatar
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    You could use Puppy Linux on a USB and boot from it every time. The only other idea I have is to maybe symlink to a Dropbox directory for your configuration files (I'm sure this would cause a set of problems to work through, but not impossible).

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  5. #4
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    Thanks for the replies guys.

    Yep, I've thought of using a persistent USB solution, and indeed have my trusted puppy persistent distro on my key ring, which comes with me where ever I go. So, I guess I could start using that a little more than just for emergencies.

    My only reservation is that I wouldn't have enough room for all my data and programs on the one stick. Maybe a solution would be to use web based storage for data, and usb for local config, but then I'd have to rely network connectivity (which maybe isn't too much of a problem nowadays).

    My main reason for the initial posting was to see if there was some solution already available 'off the shelf' rather than me making up my own only to find out some time later that I should have been using the latest "SuperTransportableDesktopApp" (insert whatever name).

    I also vaguely remember a similar concept being put forward by SUN some years ago, whereby a user could plug their USB stick into a (relatively) thin client, and they'd then have their familiar desktop experience available wherever they chose to login.

    Maybe this is going down the roaming profiles path, but to be honest I've never seen this properly implemented so have little (good) experience of it. As I understand it, the profile is stored on the network to deliver the users desktop at different workstations - not so difficult (one would've thought).

    Hmm, maybe setup a virtual machine to use a network based config?

    The one thing I can be sure of across all of my machines (multi-boot Debian, or Ubuntu, or even Win7) is that they have virtual box running. So, I could create a standard VM (say, Debian Squeeze) set up to get its config from a central networked repository to give me my familiar desktop experience, and similarly setup to get my data from either the same (or a potentially alternative) network repository.

    That would give me maximum laziness, in terms of not having to remember my USB stick, but at the same would deliver my goal of the familiar desktop experience.

    OK, time to give it a whirl. I'll feedback to let anyone else interested know how it goes.

  6. #5
    Just Joined! graphicks's Avatar
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    Sounds like you have a pretty good idea there. I'd be interested in reading how you get it all working. I hope you write up a nice article about it when you're finished.

    There are a few people that now have Dropbox working on Puppy. Of course that syncs with the storage in your pupsave file and could still be a problem of storage size. One good workaround would be logging in and downloading your files from Dropbox or Ubuntu One to work on them, then uploading it back when you're done. That might be a little bit of a headache, but surely a good shell script or python program could automate it somewhat. You could also set up your own storage at home and ssh in to that system when you're away from home. I guess it all depends on how much work you're willing or want to do.

    Greg

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