ExpanDrive

There’s a lot of buzz in the Apple-related blogosphere about ExpanDrive. John Gruber likes it a lot, and so does TUAW. Based on very brief experiments, I have to say I rather like it too.

If there’s a remote server you can connect to with SSH or SFTP, ExpanDrive lets you mount the filespace as a drive. I’ve mentioned MacFusion before, which does the same thing. They share a common heritage:

  • FUSE (Filesystem in Userspace) is a project which originated on Linux. It provides a framework for creating things which look like filesystems in ordinary programs, rather than them having to be part of the operating system. There’s a variety of fun stuff you can do with this.
  • MacFUSE is a Google project which implemented FUSE for the Mac.
  • ExpanDrive and MacFusion provide a nice GUI that implements the ‘remote SSH server as local disk’ in a way that ordinary users can make sense of it

The upshot is that you can open a file in any application just as if it was on your local machine, even if it’s on the far side of the world.

MacFusion is free, ExpanDrive costs money. They both work. But at present, the latter seems to be faster and more reliable, so I’m quite likely to hand over some of my hard-earned pennies.

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