Updated: July 14, 2017
Sharing is caring they say. But what do you do when you have a heterogeneous operating systems environment, with Windows and Linux and maybe other stuff, too, all different versions, filesystems, protocols?
For most people, the answer is not trivial, as you need to setup sharing services, install drivers, do all sorts of nerdy magic to get files copied from one machine to another. Most often, you will be hosting stuff on Windows boxes, as Linux has it easier accessing files on Windows systems than the other way around. Or you could try NitroShare.
TNT, light cord, run
A lad (possibly) named woogie recommended this program, so I said, let's see what gives. NitroShare is a simple, cross-platform file transfer application, designed to help you streamlined this whole sharing thing. It is meant to be easy to configure and use, and it is available for all major desktop platforms.
My test today will include Windows 10 on my Lenovo G50 machine and an older version of Fedora running on my LG RD510 box. We will examine how simple and easy NitroShare really is, and whether you should consider it in your operational setup.
Installation & configuration
I started with Fedora - the software is available in the repositories, so you just need to run a single line and get it installed. The same applies to other popular distributions. Once you launch the program, you will actually need to access the system tray icon. The context menu covers several functions, including sending files or entire folders, viewing transfers, and a bunch of settings.
The Settings menu lets you configure the device name - and it can differ from the host name, the sharing directory where the files will be downloaded, some basic behavior, and you can also tweak security (using certificates), as well as the connection port and rate. Think of this as a very simple P2P program for your home network.
I repeated the installation and configuration in Windows 10, too. The steps are absolutely identical, expect for tiny visual (theming) differences. This is a good thing, especially for people looking for a simple and consistent solution.
Send & receive files
Once I had the two hosts configured, I started with tests, moving small and large files to and fro. First, from the Windows system to Fedora and then the other way around. Do note that we have NTFS vs EXT4, so this is something you cannot natively do in Windows without special drivers. P.S. I also changed the Linux box name twice during the test, and it was immediately reflected on the Windows machine.
And the file was of course received on the Linux system:
I then ran the experiment in the opposite direction. Simple, intuitive - and as fast as your network allows, which, in this case, was the Wireless signal strength and speed.
Elegant, easy. The program delivered on its promise. Yes, I may ask for a service that polls the directory for changes, keeps revisions, and other fancy stuff, but that is not the purpose of this tool, although I believe it can be extended very easily. But it did as advertised, and I had no complaints.
There are lots of cloud-like software solutions out there, which allow users to distribute their own stuff among multiple systems, with lots of safety mechanisms and versioning checks. NitroShare plays a slightly different game. It's purposefully simple, so you do need to manually trigger actions, but for what it's worth, it does the job. The important part here is the cross-platform support, consistency of behavior, and easy of use.
I am pleased, because the program allows ordinary people, if such people can be deemed ordinary, to use multiple operating systems without configuring Samba or NFS or CIFS, which is the normal approach in situations like this. So if you're not in the mood for any complex configurations, NitroShare is a capable no-nonsense solution. There you go, once again, thanks for the recommendation. And now, test for yourself. I'm off to prepare some raspberry jam.