A capability analysis of groupware, cloud and desktop file systems for file synchronization
European Society for Socially Embedded Technologies (EUSSET)
Many groupware applications use hierarchical file systems, cloud storage or shared desktop operating system disks to support the cooperative development of shared artefacts or to share information. In these collaboration scenarios, often file synchronizers assist users in the data management across multiple devices. They establish consistency between file systems, even in light of their heterogeneity. However, the development of file synchronizers is difficult due to the fact that mainstream operating systems were not primarily built for cooperation or synchronization scenarios. Further, synchronizers need to address heterogeneity, by translating semantical differences and considering cross-device and cross-file system incompatibilities. This paper provides an in-depth analysis of six file system capabilities relevant to shared data synchronizers, such as mapping from namespace to physically stored objects, supported object types, namespace limitations or locking mechanisms. For each capability we derive commonalities for a set of selected file systems and also provide advice for handling incompatibilities. The insights of this work provide useful concepts and guidance for groupware developers that aim for a better user experience in synchronization support.