Apps, Settings, and Prefs Synced Across Multiple Macs
September 17, 2012 11:34 AM   Subscribe

Macbook Pro + Mac Pro = sync everything (apps, settings, preferences, dotfiles, macports installs, etc) between the two over the internet? Both run OSX 10.8...

Use Case: I want to be able to leave the desktop at home, fire up my MBP at school, and have exactly the same environment available. Any changes I make to that environment at school should be reflected at the desktop when I get home. The system needs to be able to follow symbolic links.

I've heard of Chronosync, and I am familiar with rsync, but I'm unsure of exactly which files I need to sync/exclude. (If i sync the .kext files in the /System directory, will the machines still boot properly?!)

*Note: I want more than just a home folder sync. I want to sync the entire environment.

* Extra Points: The desktop has a few extra hard disks that I don't need to push to the laptop. If I can exclude those from syncing, I'd love it.
posted by cmchap to Computers & Internet (5 answers total)
What you're asking for is complicated to set up and easy to break or leave missing files. You'll also need a version of rsync that works with HFS+. Perhaps you should look at some combination of Back to My Mac and a remote desktop option, like Desktop Sharing built into the system, or VNC over SSH.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 12:06 PM on September 17, 2012 [1 favorite]

Not a direct answer, but much easier (and probably cheaper) option would be to run a setup where you dock your MBP using a Cinema display and wireless mouse/keyboard. You can have extra hard disks attached to the Cinema display. Total time from backpack to dock for this type of setup is about 30 seconds.
posted by Patbon at 1:04 PM on September 17, 2012

I used Dropbox for this, but I don't sync quite as much as you want. I just sym link everything I want to sync to the Dropbox folder.
posted by disaster77 at 1:20 PM on September 17, 2012

I need this setup too and don't have it. Just wanted to add that symlinks don't always work with Mac applications; some programs like iTunes break when traversing symlinks to directories.
posted by Nelson at 4:23 PM on September 17, 2012

I use Synk for my version of this. It’s sort of like Dropbox without the cloud part. I do use Chronosync for straight up manual syncing, Synk doesn’t work like that. It works automatically in the background so I don’t have to think about it after setting it up, and I don’t have to worry about whether my syncs are current, they are, just grab the notebook and go. I realized I didn’t really need it to sync while I was away, just catch up when I was home, so I don’t actually do it over the internet. When I get home it starts automatically.

I sync a lot of folders, nearly all data, but not the whole system. I wanted my system to work like you’re asking but syncing apps, plugins, drivers, links, etc. is sort of a nightmare, as far as I know.
posted by bongo_x at 6:56 PM on September 17, 2012

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