The 100 best digital picture frames on amazon
The 100 best digital picture frames on amazon
The 100 best digital picture frames on amazon
The 100 best digital picture frames on amazon

How to cre­ate a Drop­box-like file syn­chro­niza­tion set­up on the Rasp­berry Pi with Resilio Sync

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This post is about how to sync your pho­tos on your dig­i­tal pic­ture frame between one or sev­er­al com­put­ers using Resilio Sync. In short, Resilio Sync is like Drop­box but for the Rasp­berry Pi. It is espe­cial­ly use­ful if you want to allow one or more per­sons to add or mod­i­fy the pic­tures with­out access to the local wifi net­work to which the pic­ture frame con­nects.

It is ide­al for a fam­i­ly where, e.g., the pho­to frame is with the par­ents, and the chil­dren live out­side of the fam­i­ly home or for com­pa­nies want­i­ng to admin­is­ter an adver­tis­ing frame in the recep­tion area remote­ly.

Resilio Sync works like Drop­box with the dif­fer­ence that no copies of the files are being stored in the Cloud or on any oth­er serv­er. And unlike Drop­box, it works on the Rasp­berry Pi.

I'll show you how to install it on every cur­rent Rasp­berry Pi mod­el and how to share your image fold­er with any­one you like.

Fold­er shar­ing among col­leagues, fam­i­ly & friends

Imag­ine you have three chil­dren liv­ing all over the world who can all quick­ly add images to your dig­i­tal pic­ture frame at home. It can be a lot of fun.

When one of my nieces got preg­nant, she didn't imme­di­ate­ly tell her moth­er. Instead, she uploaded an ultra­son­ic image with a lit­tle baby-peanut to her par­ents' dig­i­tal pic­ture frame using Resilio Sync. So imag­ine the sur­prise when a few days lat­er, this image ran­dom­ly came up on the screen. Tears rolled, calls were made, bot­tles were uncorked.

To open up your dig­i­tal pho­to frame to oth­ers is quite sim­ple. You are undoubt­ed­ly famil­iar with Drop­box, the soft­ware that allows you to sync and share entire fold­ers with busi­ness part­ners or friends, or to keep a copy in the cloud. Unfor­tu­nate­ly, Drop­box does not work on ARM-based com­put­ers like the Rasp­berry Pi.

Resilio, how­ev­er, does. It is a sim­i­lar tool with one excit­ing advan­tage.

Resilio Sync - like Drop­box but more pri­vate

Resilio Sync doesn't store the files on a cloud serv­er but keeps them only syn­chro­nized between peers. This means that your data is nev­er shared out­side of the com­mu­ni­ty that you define. This is great for man­ag­ing your pho­tos on your dig­i­tal pic­ture frame.

Resilio Sync used to be called Bit­Tor­rent Sync but was spun out of Bit­Tor­rent Inc. in 2016. The com­pa­ny claims to offer "for a wide array of appli­ca­tions such as large file col­lab­o­ra­tion, file sync, fold­er sync, auto­mat­ed back­up, and send­ing large files faster and more secure­ly, the indus­try lead­ing and fastest pri­vate cloud solu­tion trust­ed by mil­lions of con­sumers and thou­sands of busi­ness world­wide."

For many years, I have come to appre­ci­ate the speed and sta­bil­i­ty of Resilio Sync. It works great for man­ag­ing your images on your dig­i­tal pic­ture frame from wher­ev­er you are. And it's free for home use.

Why Drop­box doesn't work on the Rasp­berry Pi

It took me a while to fig­ure this out. I tin­kered with an app called Drop­box Uploader but wasn't suc­cess­ful to make it sync bi-direc­­tion­al­­ly.

Drop­box native­ly isn't com­piled for the ARM proces­sor. Any solu­tions you can find are more or less com­pli­cat­ed workarounds and emu­late an x86 envi­ron­ment.

To my knowl­edge, Drop­box has not announced any plans to bring it to the Rasp­berry Pi.

The fol­low­ing instruc­tions assume that you have access to your Rasp­berry Pi via Ter­mi­nal (for Win­dows PuT­TY) and that you have file shar­ing acti­vat­ed. If you haven't, please read the arti­cle "How to set up your Rasp­berry Pi for your dig­i­tal pic­ture frame" first.

There is one spe­cif­ic set­ting for the Rasp­berry Pi Zero that is why there is a sep­a­rate sec­tion below.

This is a free ver­sion that has all the func­tion­al­i­ty that we need for our use case. If you have a cor­po­rate use case, you should check the licens­ing terms.

How to install Resilio Sync on your Rasp­berry Pi 2, 3, and 4

Con­nect to your Rasp­berry Pi in Ter­mi­nal (or PuT­TY) through ssh and reg­is­ter the Resilio repos­i­to­ry:

echo "deb http://linux-packages.resilio.com/resilio-sync/deb resilio-sync non-free" | sudo tee /etc/apt/sources.list.d/resilio-sync.list

Next, add a pub­lic key.

wget -qO - https://linux-packages.resilio.com/resilio-sync/key.asc | sudo apt-key add -

Add the cor­rect archi­tec­ture and update the repos­i­to­ry list with the new infor­ma­tion:

sudo dpkg --add-architecture armhf
sudo apt update

Now, we need to alter the repos­i­to­ry file to include infor­ma­tion about the Rasp­berry Pi archi­tec­ture.

sudo nano /etc/apt/sources.list.d/resilio-sync.list

Delete the only line in the edi­tor win­dows with CTRL+K and copy/paste this line into it.

deb [arch=armhf] http://linux-packages.resilio.com/resilio-sync/deb resilio-sync non-free

Save (CTRL+O) and exit (CTRL+X).

Install Resilio Sync

sudo apt update
sudo apt install resilio-sync

and make sure that Resilio is start­ed auto­mat­i­cal­ly at boot:

sudo systemctl enable resilio-sync

How to install Resilio Sync on your Rasp­berry Pi Zero

Con­nect to your Rasp­berry Pi in Ter­mi­nal (or PuT­TY) through ssh and reg­is­ter the Resilio repos­i­to­ry:

echo "deb http://linux-packages.resilio.com/resilio-sync/deb resilio-sync non-free" | sudo tee /etc/apt/sources.list.d/resilio-sync.list

Next, add a pub­lic key.

wget -qO - https://linux-packages.resilio.com/resilio-sync/key.asc | sudo apt-key add -

Add the cor­rect archi­tec­ture and update the repos­i­to­ry list with the new infor­ma­tion:

sudo dpkg --add-architecture armel
sudo apt update

Now, we need to alter the repos­i­to­ry file to include infor­ma­tion about the Rasp­berry Pi archi­tec­ture.

sudo nano /etc/apt/sources.list.d/resilio-sync.list

Delete the only line in the edi­tor win­dows with CTRL+K and copy/paste this line into it.

deb [arch=armel] http://linux-packages.resilio.com/resilio-sync/deb resilio-sync non-free

Save (CTRL+O) and exit (CTRL+X).
Install Resilio Sync

sudo apt update
sudo apt install resilio-sync

and make sure that Resilio is start­ed auto­mat­i­cal­ly at boot:

sudo systemctl enable resilio-sync

How to install the user and the sync direc­to­ries

Resilio Sync is now up and run­ning on your Rasp­berry Pi.

Go into the "Pic­tures" fold­er on your Rasp­berry Pi and cre­ate a new direc­to­ry "our­pho­tos".

Then, access the graph­i­cal inter­face by open­ing a brows­er win­dow on your com­put­er by typ­ing

the-ip-address-of-your-raspbery-pi:8888/gui

For exam­ple:

192.168.1.2:8888/gui

You may get the mes­sage below. Click "Advanced" and then "Pro­ceed".

Enter your user­name and your pass­word. Press "Con­tin­ue".

Now enter the name how you want your dig­i­tal pic­ture frame to appear in Resilio, e.g., "dig­i­talpic­ture­frame". Check the two box­es.

Anoth­er win­dow will come up and ask you for user­name and pass­word, enter the same val­ues as you just did.

Tell Resilio Sync which fold­er you want to des­ig­nate for shar­ing by click­ing on "+" in the upper left cor­ner. Select a Stan­dard Fold­er and nav­i­gate to the fold­er with your pho­tos that you cre­at­ed ear­li­er. Start by select­ing "Home" and you will find your Pic­tures fold­er. Click "Open".

In the share win­dow, change the per­mis­sion to "Read & Write" and uncheck "New peers I invite must be approved by me".

Click "Email" if you want to send some­one the link to this fold­er, "Copy" to store the link in the clip­board.

If you want the link to be used sev­er­al times because you are send­ing it to a group of peo­ple, you have to increase the val­ue in "Link can be used .. time(s)".

On each com­put­er that you des­ig­nate for shar­ing your fold­er, Resilio Sync must be installed. This is also explained in the email that the recip­i­ent receives.

If you lat­er want to add peo­ple to your shared fold­er, repeat the pro­ce­dure.

Con­clu­sion

Con­grat­u­la­tions! You have now made it very easy to add images to your dig­i­tal pho­to frame.

If you don't want to install Resilio Sync on all shared com­put­ers, you can also use Drop­box by plac­ing your shared Resilio Sync fold­er in your Drop­box direc­to­ry. From there on, you can share your Drop­box fold­er.