There are many old sayings that are nonetheless very true and bear repeating. For instance, “A stitch in time saves nine.” Yup. Very accurate. And” The early bird gets the worm.” Absolutely true. And then there is this chestnut, ignored by both Napoleon and Hitler, to their ultimate chagrin: “Never attempt a land invasion of Russia.”
Another maxim applies to the readers of Linux Magazine, one that you may ignore to your peril: “There are two kinds of computer users: those who have had catastrophic hard drive failures and those who will.” Want to make sure that when disaster strikes you’re protected? That your important data is safeguarded? Then read on!
To start with, look at Amazon, which is more than just a great place to buy books, CD’s, DVD’s, and gardening equipment, among other wares. It’s also a powerhouse of innovation in network services, and one of the coolest new services is S3, or Simple Storage Service. Launched in March 2006, S3 is Internet-based storage, but at prices that are so low that you can just picture Jeff Bezos in a plaid suit shouting, “Our prices are crazy insane! Low, low, low! If they were any lower, our shareholders would sue!”
So how cheap is S3? How does $0.15 per gigabyte per month of storage used, and $0.20 per gigabyte of data transferred per month sound? If you store 2 GB of files, and transfer all of that in a month, you’re paying $0.30 for storage and $0.40 for transfer. Less than three shiny quarters! Crazy insane!
If you’re a programmer, just head over to the S3 web site, http://aws.amazon.com/s3, and start reading the documentation. In no time at all you’ll be able to integrate S3 into your programs. But what if you’re not a developer? What if you don’t want to delve into APIs and the world of programming Web services? What if you just want to use S3?
Then, my friend, you want Jungle Disk. Jungle Disk is a free (as in beer) program that makes it super easy to upload and download content to your S3 account. Even better, everything is automatically encrypted for you, so you don’t need to worry about Amazon or a packet sniffer accessing your data (for more, read http://blog.jungledisk.com/2006/06/06/encryption/). And coolest of all, Jungle Disk works with Windows, Mac OS X, and our beloved Linux.
To start using Jungle Disk, you first need to set up an Amazon S3 account. Head over to http://aws.amazon.com/s3 and click on the big orange button labeled” Sign Up For Web Service.” There are a few hoops you need to jump through, but Amazon is very good about making things clear and easy to follow.
Once you have everything set up, proceed to http://www.jungledisk.com/download.shtml and grab the application. Expand the .tar.gz file, and then either double-click on the jungledisk program, or start it from the command line with ./jungledisk. You can use Jungle Disk with either KDE or GNOME, but GTK2 libraries are required. Enter your S3 info, and you’re ready, even if it’s not entirely obvious.
Jungle Disk acts as a WebDAV server between you and your S3 account. To actually use S3, you need to connect to that WebDAV server. If you’re using KDE, just open Konqueror and enter the address webdav://localhost:2667; if GNOME is your thing, go to Places > Connect to Server. For “Service,” choose WebDAV(HTTP); for “Server,” enter localhost; for “Port,” specify 2667. At this point, you can drag and drop files to your S3 account with ease. Go ahead and choose a couple of hundred. Jungle Disk uploads your files in the background, so you can keep working away on whatever you wish. To see what Jungle Disk is up to, right-click on the Jungle Disk icon and choose View Activity Monitor.
Every time you want to connect to S3, you must launch Jungle Disk to start the WebDAV server. If you use KDE, just create a bookmark in Konqueror for webdav://localhost:2667, and you’re one step closer to making efficient use of this wonderful program.
If you’re really feeling sophisticated, you can mount your Jungle Disk share as a file system and access it as though it were directly connected to your system. For more on that, read the INSTALL file that’s bundled with the Jungle Disk download.
Jungle Disk is an exciting new addition to the Linux software world. The developer is hard at work on a new release, and there’s a thriving community forum on the web site that can help you with any questions you may have. Save yourself from certain hard drive doom and start using Jungle Disk today!
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