I was tasked to examine different options for internal collaborative editing in a small project, for only a few documents and even fewer people.
I knew there was a Gobby server in Ubuntu but didn’t know it was this easy to setup. I quickly found out about Gobby-Infinote (Gobby using the new Infinote protocol) and Infinoted (server). It was really nice to be able to go to the #infinote channel on Freenode and ask questions one-on-one to the actual developpers and validate my tests! Thank you!
From Gobby’s website:
Gobby is a free collaborative editor supporting multiple documents in one session and a multi-user chat. It runs on Microsoft Windows, Mac OS X, Linux and other Unix-like platforms.
I performed my tests on an Ubuntu 9.10 64-bit desktop.
- On all client systems, install the gobby-infinote package
- Then on the server system, install the infinoted package
- Once the server is installed, either:
- If you trust your local network and don’t want any security, launch the server using:
- If you’d rather have encryption, TLS is available. Use:
infinoted --create-key --create-certificate -k key.pem -c cert.pem
The keys creation is automatic, and you can launch the server just using:
infinoted -k key.pem -c cert.pem
You can also specify such options in ~/.config/infinoted.conf as noted on Infinoted’s wiki (which I plan to update with some of my notes). I am not sure yet what’s best to start the server automatically at system’s startup, I am told upstart should handle this. I’ll probably file a bug or investigate that further later.
Of course your server system can be a desktop, and you can run Gobby from that same system. Once installed clients should go to Accessories > Internet > Gobby Collaborative Editor (0.5).
You will also need to install avahi-daemon so the Infinote Gobby server availability is advertised through your local network and it’s shown among possible choices in your Gobby clients.
If you have setup TLS and you double click one of the available servers that use it, you will be presented a warning as you have a self-signed certificate:
The « other » Gobby in Ubuntu is a previous, stable version (package: gobby). Its server companion, sobby, is not the focus of current development efforts.
The main differences I found are:
- Optional TLS encryption
- Undo ability (which required rewriting the sync protocol)
- Interface improvements
- Ability to delete files
- Folder hierarchy creation now possible
- Graceful recovery & offer to save when the server « disappears » or when someone deletes a file
- Zeroconf support – so the server « advertises » itself on a LAN, no more IP/port info needed
The current client version in Karmic is 0.4.92 but 0.4.93 is already in Lucid and 0.4.94 is looing up.
Find out more here: