Tonido – Open Source Personal Media and Collaboration Mesh

31 08 2009

Tonido is a very cool, but what is it?

Tonido is like a cross between tools such as Microsoft Groove, Live Mesh and SharePoint. The base system is open source, the applications that run on it are typically closed source. To date everything is free of charge for personal use. The platform will always be free of charge, applications are currently free but may be charged for in the future. Commercial use will attract a fee, even for the platform.

So what does it do?

It stores and serves media such as MP3 music files, digital pictures, documents (like word, excel etc). It is also a blogging platform . Add to that list that it is a collaboration tool housing a shared calendar, task lists, contacts, notes and files. All of this can be kept on your local network or made available via the web. Multiple Tonido installations can be lnked and automatically synchronize some or all content. All of the content is automatically indexed and searched with the built in search tool.

One can restrict the content to others with a Tonido installation in ones group, or make content available via the web using a custom URL that can be private or public.

So what?

Most of this functionality is already available for free on the web anyway. Public services are very convenient but come with terms of use that may involve one giving up some or all of ones intellectual property rights. Google Docs is notorious for this. Tonido installations and their content are fully controlled and managed bu the content owner. Having full control is great but it comes with a responsibility to manage the infrastructure. This means the machines it runs on and the connections to the internet or local network. If any of these fail or require maintenance the content could become unavailable. With a public service someone else worries about keeping things running.

Best Features?

Store and stream your music collection across the web for personal consumption or amongst a private group. The built in web based MP3 player eliminates the need for the client computer to have special software installed, so you can stream to any web enabled device including a smart phone.

Organize and share photos. Visitors to the photos sites can view photos individually or as part of  slide-show but can never download the photo to their system, the right click context menu is disabled. Your photos are therefore available to all you choose but cannot easily be copied.

Synchronization with other Tonido installations.  This adds redundancy to your content collections, so if one computer loses content, it’s available elsewhere for consumption and restoration. Content is automatically synchronized so you don’t have anything to remember to do in order to backup your files.

Cross Platform. It is available for Windows, Macintosh and Linux.

Plug. Tonido sell a small hardware device  called the plug that plugs into an outlet and is the size of a Glade scented  Plugin®. It doesn’t make a smell however, it is a fully fledged Linux server running Tonido. Attach it to your router and plug in an external Hard Drive full of pictures and music and you are set. It consumes very little power so is a cheap way of serving your music and photos on the web.

For more information visit the Tonido website.

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