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Synching deeply nested directories Debian Server - Win XP

Hello all,

I am using a Win XP feature called "Offline Files", which is basically like having a replica of files which are orginally on a network drive and letting XP decide whether to work on the local replica or the actual network files. The user doesn't notice the difference. After reconnecting to the server, the files are synchronized automatically using built-in XP software. Actually, this works fantastically stable (thumbs up for MS in this case). The network version of the files are living on a Debian server, accessed from several XP machines via SMB shares.

Now for the interesting thing: our network does not allow SMB access from outside (its the universiy's policy, I cannot change that): SMB ports are blocked. I still would like to synchronize the data on e.g. my laptop and the files on the server once in a while, even if not inside the server's network. Since I cannot easily convince XP to use other ports for SMB sharing (thumbs down for MS), I have to find other ways. For that end I tried "unison" via ssh (available on Windows and Debian), but had to give up because of the "long path name bug" in unison (or probably in OCAML).

Are there any other otions I could try? It seems that ssh is really the only access to the server, so which options remain? Would setting up a VPN help? Would I need admin power over the server's network for this to work (which I have not)? I could also boot the remote box (e.g. my laptop) into Debian, and synch from there if that would help.

I have read about tunneling the SMB traffic through an ssh tunnel, but that would also mean turning off the usual network browsing of the remote Windows box, which is cumbersome at least.

Any help greatly appreciated,


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