Setting up a FreeBSD server for SparkleShare

So SparkleShare is a cool new concept – it’s basically Dropbox for your own server.

I am a strong supporter of using FreeBSD thanks to it’s simplicity, ease of use, and applications which are actually up to date! (Debian respoitories still hold a copy of apache which is several versions old, and CentOS ships with a 6 year old PHP version)

I was naturally interested in SparkleShare, as I already have servers running, and I really do need more space than Dropbox provides. I noticed that although the server-side setup is pretty simple, there weren’t any tutorials for FreeBSD servers. So here is a quick one.

For the server-side aspect of SparkleShare, all you need is an sshd and git – simple, huh?

When installing FreeBSD, you will have been prompted as to whether you wanted to enable the sshd or not – if you chose “Yes” at that point, skip to section 2. Otherwise if you chose “No” or you’re not sure what you chose, read on.

Section 1

Let’s install the sshd – or check that we have it in the first place.

1.   If you are not already logged in as root, then we need to switch to the root user. You’ll need to know the password you configured for the root account during setup.

su root

2.   Open the file ‘/etc/rc.conf’ using your favourite editor – mine is ‘ee’ which comes with FreeBSD. You will need to be logged in as root to do this!

ee /etc/rc.conf

3.   You now need to add the following line to this file:


If it’s already there, then no worries, sshd is already enabled and you can now skip to section 2!

4.   Finally we need to start the sshd:

/etc/rc.d/sshd start

Ok, we’re all done for section 1. Now we need to install git..

Section 2 – Installing Git

It’s really easy to install stuff using FreeBSD. We need to install git, so do the following:

1.   Change to the port directory for git

cd /usr/ports/devel/git

2.   Install her:

make install distclean

Any option screens that come up at this stage, just leave the defaults and tab to “OK” each time. Git is now installed on your FreeBSD server!

So that should be all you need to get SparkleShare up and running on your server – you now just need to download the client and input those server settings.

Feel free to comment if this doesn’t work correctly for you.

Henry Cole

I'm an all round tech guy from Colchester, UK. I co-owned Geekily and regularly wrote here under "Geekily UK", but have since left the site to pursue other projects.

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