File Sync Services and Software for Mac OSX

This thread start and summary from UCSC Mailing List might prove useful to others.

On Friday 20 November 2009 Harry Mangalam wrote:

Is there a good, free, OSS, or commercial file synchronizer for the
Mac? Or a verified web app that does the same?

A (surprisingly) data-security-conscious client wants to use a USB
disk to sync his desktop to his laptop at home and has tried a
number of apps that do not work well.

He was very keen on the commercial service Sugar-Sync until it
started to frag his data and required regular manual cleanups via
their tech service. He has since soured on Sugar.

Time machine seems to be a versioning app rather than a synchro
app. I haven’t used it, but he has and claims that it doesn’t do
2way syncs.

He’s tried to use Bombich’s Carbon Copy Cloner, but it does not
(and will not) allow ‘remote to local’ sync’ing bc they don’t trust
users to avoid overwriting critical boot disk files.

I set him up with an crontabbed rsync backup for regular sync’s to
a remote server, which he’s quite happy with, but he’s not a CLI
geek and has already come close to wiping out his archives by
playing with the options, so I’m reluctant to set up such a system
for him to do this with naked rsync.

I tried Unison for him (this is what it was designed to do) and
while the GUI is simple, it works very well and does allow both
local 2-way syncing (as to a USB disk) and remotely (via a number
of protocols). It also has a native Aqua interface, but there’s no
Snow Leper finkable version.

Are there any other obvious-to-a-Mac-user choices that I’ve missed?

Harry Mangalam – Research Computing, UC Irvine

On Sunday, November 22, 2009 Harry Mangalam wrote:

Thanks very much to all who replied. There’s no clear winner for Snow
Leopard, but I’m leaning towards Unison for the actual sync’ing
process that my client requested, as long as I can get it compiled on
a 10.6 machine.

Here are the answers, compiled into one page. If you have additional
info, I’d be happy to add it.