I have a Linux server that stores some files, and I want to sync them with my Mac. I can mount the directory of the server, so after mounting it's just directory to directory sync. There are thousands of files, so the sync tool should be smart enough to sync only the changed files.

Is there any Mac software out there that does this automatically (or at a scheduled time)? The expected action is as follows:

  1. Mount the directory in a server.
  2. Sync intelligently.
  3. Unmount.
  • 2
    What you're after is rsync. This is a powerful cross-platform piece of software. It's on OS X & Linux distros out-of-the-box. There's some concern that the version of rsync that ships with OS X is outdated and doesn't handle resource forks and other things properly. rsync is 'smart' because it will only back-up the changed data. The rest of what you want can be achieved by a script but as to how to write such a script, I have no idea.
    – boehj
    Apr 28, 2011 at 2:44

2 Answers 2


You can combine the GUI-based arRsync tool for OS X with the use of /net to automount the share to achieve what you desire.

The remote share will be automatically mounted as long as you access as /net/hostname/exportname. So use that path in arRsync and when you fire the sync it'll automount and then scan and sync just the deltas.

There's good old command line rsync available if you prefer. It ships with OS X. Here is the manual page for it.

  • +1 for rsync. Used in combination with a cron job (or osx's equivalent) you'll have a bullet proof sync machine.
    – robzolkos
    Apr 28, 2011 at 3:29
  • You don't need to mount the target just use rsync protocol e.g. rsync options path target_machine::target_path
    – mmmmmm
    Apr 28, 2011 at 10:34
  • @Mark that :: syntax tells rsync that the target machine is running an rsync server. That's generally not common, and not necessary if you use the /net auto-mount approach.
    – Ian C.
    Apr 28, 2011 at 13:45

Dropbox might also be of use. It provides automatic syncing of folders and does that in the "smart" way that you described.

It has clients of windows, linux and osx.


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