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A Family Collaboration Server? 76

esobofh asks: "I'm interested in putting together a server for my family that would allow everyone to share & store pictures, movies and music. Whenever we have a family gathering, there are always a ton of digital cameras out and clicking away, so I'd like to have everyone share and submit the pictures and movies they've captured for everyone in the family. I am sure I could roll my own collaboration server, but I'm hoping there is something already put together and pretty. I'd like it to use standard files and directories for storing photos (as opposed to a database), that way the files can easily be moved and manipulated. Is there an application that can handle user accounts, picture submissions (file upload via browser), and other such content?"
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A Family Collaboration Server?

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  • by MBCook ( 132727 )
    Sounds like an excellent opportunity for a Wiki. Just host it yourself or buy a web-hosting service contract (try Dreamhost [], note that is a referral link) and then everyone can easily edit and upload and such without having to know tons of technology.
    • Re:Wiki (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Pfhreakaz0id ( 82141 ) on Wednesday June 07, 2006 @09:06PM (#15491507)
      I tried a wiki.. and what you and I consider easy to use and the masses who aren't really into tech consider easy to use still has a big gap. They said it was too confusing.
      • OWL [] looks promising. I've played with it a little and it seems pretty well polished.
        It does requiere a database, but that shouln't be a show stopper.
        • I just wanted to reply to this becuase I discovered that OWL does NOT need a database. You can configure it to either use a database, or the file system.
    • Re:Wiki (Score:2, Informative)

      by Chapium ( 550445 )
      I was thinking the same, however, this would probably rather impractical for uploading videos. Also I've noticed the method for linking to files is somewhat confusing. I'm not sure if thats necessarily the best option.

      But if a wiki [] were used, here's some info:

      MediaWiki would be a good one, however it uses databases. Dokuwiki [] can be used to upload files of all sorts. It isnt very helpful in terms of creating a gallery of pictures however.

      Here is a comparison of wikis: Wiki Comparison Table []
    • Sounds like an excellent opportunity for a Wiki.
      Got a specific recommendation? None of the wikis I've tried are particularly well suited to handling attached files.
      • Re:Wiki (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Atzanteol ( 99067 )
        TikiWiki allows for the creation of image and file galleries. It even allows for one to upload an entire directory at a time. Uses a DB backend though...
    • by hey! ( 33014 )
      Believe it or not the WikiWord thing is not easy to explain to non-geeks. I'd rather go with something that has a rich text edit capabilities and a simple blog format.
  • Gallery2? (Score:5, Informative)

    by Davus ( 905996 ) on Wednesday June 07, 2006 @08:58PM (#15491476) Homepage
    Gallery2 [] is nice, albeit a bit resource intensive when scaling down pictures to thumbnails using the 'convert' app.
    • Re:Gallery2? (Score:4, Informative)

      by porkThreeWays ( 895269 ) on Thursday June 08, 2006 @06:16AM (#15493294)
      I can't believe this was never modded up and didn't get more mention. Gallery2 is freakin awesome! It does _exactly_ what he needs. It'll do pics and video extremely well. The author has put A LOT of work into it. There are few web based open source projects I've seen with this level of quality. I know 4 people with home servers using it and they love it. Never had a complaint. Install it. It takes like 5 minutes and you'll see. Our local West Palm Beach radio station uses it on their site and I've spotted it on a few other commercial sites.
  • What? (Score:3, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday June 07, 2006 @09:04PM (#15491498)
    So far we've gotten a recommendation for a Wiki and Gallery2. Both are poor solutions. Wikis are far too complicated to explain to most regular people who are not very technically savvy. Gallery2 is much easier to use but wouldn't qualify as a collboration server in the way the poster describes. Plus, Gallery2 has artifical upload limits preventing large home-made movies from being shared. I think the poster wants something analogous to SharePoint Services but most family oriented, cheaper, and easier to use. I, too, am interested in this.
    • by ishmalius ( 153450 ) on Wednesday June 07, 2006 @09:46PM (#15491704)
      Go ahead and use Wordpress or phpBB or phpWiki or whatever for talking, but...

      Since most of the unwashed masses have Windows, you can use its built-in WebDav stuff. Set up an Apache server with a DAV directory. Then point your friends/family to the URL for the folder, which they merely need add to their "Web Folders." They need not know the underlying protocol to be able to use it. They can then just drag their images and videos onto the folder, and Voila! They are published. It's a no-brainer, and anyone who can drag an icon can use it.

      On Linux, Nautilus can do DAV, too. I wouldn't be surprised if KDE had desktop support for it, also. DAV makes a nice small file server, when Samba or NFS won't work.

    • If you copy the file to the server first (via ftp or whatever) then Gallery2 will happily import it. I think the upload limit has more to do with whatever limits the webserver has rather than Gallery itself (but I could be wrong, as I almost always ftp the files first and then import them).
  • by Tribbin ( 565963 ) on Wednesday June 07, 2006 @09:07PM (#15491511) Homepage
    Maybe not exactly what you are looking for, but; []

    A really fast picture-collection browser. It sorts everything on date by the meta-data that your digital camera put in the files. You can add 'catagories' and the like yourself. Generate albums and such.
  • Gallery (Score:5, Informative)

    by forkazoo ( 138186 ) <> on Wednesday June 07, 2006 @09:14PM (#15491544) Homepage
    I use a gallery2 on my server. Check it out here : []

    I've been pretty pleased with it. Add in a wiki for letting other family members post miscellaneous stories and whatnot. I found it easy to setup, and it does everything I need.
    • I second this recommendation. Gallery2 is excellent and easy to install and maintain. I haven't tried using it for video and audio, but I know it supports them.
    • Re:Gallery (Score:3, Informative)

      by ottothecow ( 600101 )
      I will also follow up and say that gallery2 is great. You can have seperate users so they cant touch each others albums and it works great once you get it set up (the install was a little trying the last time I had to do it manually). Luckily, now that I am with Dreamhost [] (note, referral link that gives you $7 back), they have gallery2 (or 1) as one of their automatically installable items. It will be installed, set up and ready to go. They have recently removed ALL cpu-time limits so you have no worrie
    • And don't forget to mention Gallery Remote [], which is a handy little applet, which allows users to upload and manage images with ease.

      Further, you can then extend you site with other features and functions, by integrating Gallery into a CMS, such as Joomla [].
    • I agree with this. I used Gallery2 for my wedding. We had a fairly large wedding, with many people having their own digital cameras there... something like the situation the OP is describing. Setting up the system was a snap. It took no time at all. Everyone could upload their files without a problem. They could then be resized on demand, divided into albums easily, etc. I would recommend it in an instant, and would use it again without a second thought.
  • Not sure about existing solutions, but it really shouldn't be that hard to roll your own – for example, if you use PHP, they have a great manual [] which not only explains everything you need to know, but it also has very useful examples and stuff. I actually learned everything I know about PHP just reading the manual, and copying the occassional tidbit of information – not very hard at all.

    Maybe Gallery would work? (Forgot the URL, but it's a popular program, won't help with videos but it looks
    • Just what I was thinking.

      If a wiki is too complicated for the non-geek family members then a [b]simple[/b] image/movie sharing site can very easily be made in PHP.

      It's little more than a file-upload form and an image gallery/viewer really. A 1-week PHP project imo.

      This way it can be done to taste as well.

      PHP is a -very- easy language. You can pretty much learn it as you go along.
  • phpWebsite (Score:4, Informative)

    by linuxkrn ( 635044 ) <[moc.nigolxunil] [ta] [nostawg]> on Wednesday June 07, 2006 @09:21PM (#15491579)
    I use phpWebsite on a few sites, it's got several things, nothing is "top of the line" but it all works well. []

    Features from website
    1. Easy, web-based administration - minimal computer experience is needed to maintain site content.
    2. Flexible layout control - site page layout can be changed at anytime.
    3. Topic-based announcements - organize site announcements by category with automatic history rollover.
    4. Interactive content - visitors can post comments, submit announcements and web links.
    5. Full featured event calendar - post events by category and subcategory in a flexible cross-referenced calendar.
    6. Customized user experience - themes allow each vistor to customize the web site for his or her preferences or special needs.
    7. XHTML and WAI compliance - we are committed to meeting XHTML 1.0 specifications by our 1.0 release. Current errors are minimal.
  • Grab an old PC... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday June 07, 2006 @09:25PM (#15491597)
    Take an old PC. Stick some fair-sized hard drives in. Install FreeBSD, lighttpd, and proftpd.

    Give each of your family members an account on the machine, so they can FTP in and upload pictures to their directory. They can even create their own directory hierarchies, so as to organize their photos as they wish.

    Set up lighttpd to allow directory listing, and have it serve up content from the directories your relatives can FTP files to. That way they don't have to create a web page containing their images, or anything like that. Of course, if they want to, they're free to do so.

    If they're running Windows, you can easily copy files via FTP using Explorer. It's the same drag-and-drop interface they should be used to using locally.

    The best part of setting up a system like that is that it's very simple, of minimal cost, and doesn't involve PHP, MySQL, Perl, Ruby, CGI scripts, or anything else like that. Not only that, but it can take full advantage of the security offered by UNIX-like systems.

    • I don't know what kind of family you have, but I know that MY mother/aunts/uncles/cousins don't have a HOPE of FTPing pictures on their own.

      Just have them email all their pictures to you, and make an easy webpage with dreamweaver or something. It'll take less time in the end, and it'll be easier for everyone.

      Oh, and if your email account doesn't have enough room, get GMail.
      • If they can manage to get the pictures off their camera and into an email, they can use Explorer to copy the files somewhere else. Simply set it up for them in advance and it'll be just like using their MyDocs folder.

        I'm assuming they are using Windows XP, though. If you try to set all that up on 98, me, or linux for them... Well, may God have mercy on your soul.
        • My relatives can email pictures, because someone showed them how and it's familiar. They CAN'T navigate My Computer, though. And cut and paste is outside their talents, believe it or not. They can email pictures but they can't cut and paste... Also, I think the point of this whole thing is to allow people who are far away to share pictures. It's hard to set "all that" up for them, when you're hundreds of miles away.
  • Community Server (Score:5, Interesting)

    by theguru ( 70699 ) on Wednesday June 07, 2006 @09:26PM (#15491604)
    Allow me to give you a Microsoft based solution (open sourced though!). []

    Blogs, forums, files, photos, RSS feeds, role based security, etc. I use it to host a site for all my old college friends. The SQL server database is quite happy on both of the free MS SQL offerings, Microsoft Data Engine (MSDE) and SQL Express. Only the blog and forum postings and settings are stored in the database. The files and photos are stores in the file system.
    • Re:Community Server (Score:3, Informative)

      by tlhIngan ( 30335 )
      Community Server is the largest PoS software around, unfortunately.

      One of my favorite websites runs it (The Daily WTF []), and there are continual complaints about it on practically every entry. One of the primary problems (improved, but still not completely fixed) is its mysterious ability to take a nicely formatted post, and end up automagically quoting all the < and > in the HTML view. End result is the preview looks OK, but the final post ends up a gobbledegook of HTML. Turns a nice post into an unre
    • Re:Community Server (Score:2, Informative)

      by tatonca ( 305375 )
      If you are going to go the route of hosting a CMS somewhere there are a number of other open source, CMSes that are also free, and are not limited in the same way Community Server Express is.

      My favorite is Drupal [], as I've had lot's of experience using it, and I find it gives you the biggest feature set for your effort. The number of plug ins [] (modules) are extensive, and the end user experience can be whatever you want it to be. There are many Drupal hosting sites [] available that are fairly inexpensive, an
  • On a Mac (Score:2, Informative)

    by kponto ( 821962 )

    iPhoto with iLife '06 lets other users subscribe to your photo libraries. Might suit your needs.


  • Plogger []

  • Start a Yahoo Group. That's what my father's family did.
  • Try a CMS like Drupal ( []), gives you users (including security and roles and allowed actions), photo galleries, video upload, articles, tagging, mailing lists, google maps integration, etc, etc...

    I've set one up for my brother to post photo's and videos and news and stuff for his new-born twins, works well, and keeps everyone happy as no-one gets missed from sending out stuff.

    • I just started to play with Drupal too, and I think it's a very nice solution for the problem mentioned. I really like the extra modules like forum, private messaging, galleries, uploads etc. etc. good stuff.

  • ... for files and music, and thanks to some helpful slashdotters, it's up and running nicely. We took and old PC, smacked an old copy of XP pro SP 2 on it, threw in an extra couple of old hard drives. We put it on the LAN, unplugged the monitor, keyboard and mouse and ran it via remote desktop. Then we put Hamachi on it, set up shared folders, gave everbody the password and are running the VPN peer-to-peer. Everybody can share files on a LAN, the server is made of spare parts and anyone who can use window
  • by unitron ( 5733 ) on Wednesday June 07, 2006 @09:47PM (#15491711) Homepage Journal
    Perhaps this Ask Slashdot- "Multi-State Family Networking?" []-from May 31, 2006 has some replies that will assist you.
  • by akmolloy ( 686919 ) on Wednesday June 07, 2006 @10:06PM (#15491808)
    Check out foldershare: []

    We use it to share Pics and Vids and Music. You just have everyone create a folder on their drive, then give each account permissions. They drop stuff in the folder and eveyone gets a copy via P2P. It's a bit of a pain to setup initally, but a snap to use once it's running.

  • Get NAS (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Sithgunner ( 529690 )
    Buy a NAS.
    It's got all the file sharing protocols installed from smb, cifs, afp, ftp, nfs with decent storage size up to 1TB and just let Windows mount the share in a public folder, everyone in the network can see it.
  • by macz ( 797860 )
    Plone from is good. Like Wiki, but slightly more packaged.
    • Zope/Plone is great if you're running your own server but rather expensive if you get it hosted.

      I use Zope/Plone for my home server. If you want a wiki you can add ZWiki (
  • Home version of CC is free and has Gallery, Wiki, Samba, etc all easily setup via your browser. Think of it as a souped up router with optional proxy, etc.

  • I built a custom web application for this, with wiki, blogging, uploads, gallerys etc. It was fun, but really a hassle because of the two-step process of first identifying the file(s) and then downloading them to your machine if you wanted to work on it. The web GUI was great for browsing files, not so great for directly accessing them (apart from viewing pictures, maybe).

    So instead I set up a simple file server with a strict structure (backups, archive, work area, private, pictures, movies, music, incoming
  • Coppermine works fine. Easy to setup and change. []
  • So what you really want is a warez server for you and your buddies to stash pr0n and mp3s on, right?
  • FamilyAnywhere [] was recently released for this very thing.
  • I was in your boots about 4 months ago and wrote my own system to accomplish exactly what you're looking for, check it out here: [] Any family member can create an account and: -Blog news entries -Upload photo albums -Upload videos/media/downloads -Add to "Links" section It's all very simple and web-based. If you want the source (PHP/MySQL) shoot me an email: -Matt PS - on a side note I'm finishing up a system where uploaded videos are transcoded
  • has some nice features for a quick setup like this. It's not free, but it's quick, easy, and inexpensive and all you do is pick your settings. [] We're actually using it for a collaboration and scheduling space for a church worship team. (musicians & media creation) jw
  • Heck, I just use a private TWiki []. Authenticated, simple, lots of cool plug-ins. Works for Me and my Family.
  • Viiv does what you ask for. Just buy a Viiv-based desktop.
  • Give this peer-to-peer product a try: [].

    Runs on Windows, Mac OS X and Linux.

    PS. The new /. look and feel really, really SUCKS real bad.

  • Check out Ubuntu Center its a LAMP systems but it should fit your needs []
  • It's a bit of a pain for a PHP newb to set up. Now that I've learned some things, it's actually fairly easy. You need a web server, PHP, and a database. It will work with a number of web and db servers. You have your choice of file storage via DAV or via db.

    eGroupware []
  • Linux + FTP
  • []
    I have nothing to do with jotspot, get no money from them, nor them from me. I've never tried their product, IANAL, YMMV, FTC, RTFM,...

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