GMailFS and GSpace

As I’m waiting for the Dell Inspiron Mini 9 to arrive, the one that I ordered December 30 and has an expected delivery date of January 22, I’ve been looking into ways to get the most out of the machine. My first (and as yet, only) concern is the lifespan of the solid state drive. I know, putting the SSD through regular use should yield a few years of use out of the SSD but I don’t put my computer through regular use. Even running Linux on the Mini 9 has me concerned about the log files that Linux generates. So I’ve been looking to touch the SSD as little as possible.

Along the way, I’ve come across an interesting concept. It appears that using the GMail API, one can set up a GMailFS (GMail File System) to read/write files to. Now I won’t go into detail with setting up GMailFS in Ubuntu Linux as it is messy and a pain. Even when I thought I had GMailFS working properly, it wasn’t working properly. It appears that you need to be a Super in order to access the mounted GMailFS drive or you have to go through the steps to assign groups and that’s all a process I didn’t have the patience for.

The GMailFS project isn’t new, it has been around since at least 2005. It just appears that there is no simple .deb package for setting it up (which has the benefit of being stable and easily upgradable). I may have to go step-by-step compiling from source rather than trying the old apt-get approach. Oh, did I mention there was no .deb package? I suppose there is, it just doesn’t work.

And for all the trouble it might take to set up, I’m still not sure if you can save a document and stream it directly to the GMailFS (bypassing the SSD and thus saving it some wear-and-tear) or if the document still saves to the SSD somewhere and then copies over. It would seem that, in theory, one might be able to stream the document from memory and straight to the GMailFS or vice-versa.

GSpace

With that in mind, I came across GSpace. GSpace acts as a kind of FTP client plugin for FireFox that lets you transfer files from your PC and store them in a GMail account. It’s nifty cool and why not take advantage of the 7GB+ of storage that GMail offers.

The downside, it seems that if you transfer too much in a day that you risk the account being locked for 24 hours. Also, as with FTP, the transfer speed is limited by your bandwidth and the bandwidth of the GMail server. The files still must sit on your harddrive in order to transfer them over (no saving directly from a text document to GMail) so you’re still putting wear and tear on the Mini 9’s SSD.

For the time being, at least until I can confirm whether or not GMailFS streams from memory directly to GMail and vice-versa, I’ll be storing my documents in my newly-created GMail account via GSpace.

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