Update (2012-07-29): Wuala isn’t as great as it used it be, see my new post Moving from Wuala to SpiderOak for what seems, as of today, a better alternative.
Wuala is a free online file storage service. Yet another one, you’ll say, however it has some (unique?) particularities. To make the list as short as possible:
- They care about privacy: unlike (for instance and just to cite the most famous one) Dropbox where the files are encrypted once they’ve arrived on Dropbox’s servers (sure, the transfer is SSL-protected, but at the end of the tunnel Dropbox can see the unencrypted files), the files are encrypted on the user’s computer. So Wuala has no way to read your files. (source: Wuala FAQ – Is Wuala private and secure?). The obvious drawback with that is that you’d better not lose your password: they don’t know it, and they can’t regenerate it, if you lose it it’s lost. You know, like dead is dead.
- You can get lots more storage for free, just by sharing space. If your goal is to secure your data by storing them redundantly and not to store more data than can fit on your hard drive, read on carefully: if you let Wuala store 1 GiB of data on your computer (for redundantly storing encrypted files from other users), you’ll get an extra 1 GiB x [your uptime] free storage. At the moment, you can share 1 to 100 GiB per computer. So if you have 2 computers online 50% of the time and you share (aka “trade”) 100 GiB on each, you’ll get 100 GiB x 2 x 50% = 100 GiB of free Wuala space! Try and get that on Dropbox… they sell the 100 GiB quota at 20 bucks a month (oh, right, $19.99…). If you don’t want to trade storage with Wuala, you can also pay for extra GiBs, for instance 100GiB come at 100€ a year (right, 99€ or $129).
UPDATE: this possibility to trade storage has been removed. However, at the moment it’s possible to pay for storage using Bitcoin.
- Last but not least, there’s a decent corporation behind Wuala: Lacie (and guess what they sell: hard drives and NAS ;)). Sure, startups are cool. But losing your valuable data just because startups come and go, not so cool. And if you’re already on Dropbox, why not simply duplicate your Dropbox folder to Wuala for extra redundancy? 🙂
So, want to try? Wuala comes with 1 GiB free plus 500 MiB per referral (the bonus only lasts 1 year though, and is maxed to 6 GiB), plus as I explained lots more if you want to trade storage. It works on Windows, Mac OS X and Linux, so if you happen to own a server you’ll be able to use it to trade storage. And to finish here is the guide to run it on Linux (Ubuntu / Debian) using only the command line:
- Get Java and Screen if you don’t have them already:
apt-get install sun-java6-jre screenor
apt-get install default-jre screen
- Download wuala:
- Extract it:
tar -xzf wuala.tar.gz
- Make some files that need it executable:
chmod 744 wuala
chmod 744 wualacmd
- Open a screen session and launch Wuala in it:
- Detach the screen session: CTRL+A, CTRL+D
- Login to Wuala (NB: once again, Wuala needs to be running in the background, for instance in screen, for this to work):
./wuala login [your username] [your password]
- Start trading:
./wuala trade [space you want to trade, in gigabyte, so from 1 to 100]
That’s it, Wuala is installed and started trading. You can check your trading status by using
./wuala tradeStats, and you can force to update the trading stats by running again
The only problems I’ve been unable to solve yet is that the command line client seems to behave pretty bad with every update: it just seems to fail to restart, and even needs some manual cleaning (removing .lock files and/or killing the java process) about every time Wuala gets updated… which occurs quite often currently.