help with use-case: share photos among multiple family members

Newbie here, looks like a great tool, thank you to developers!!! The tutorials I’ve tried are either too simplistic or too advanced.

Too simplistic like Getting Started — Syncthing documentation (okay I added 2 Ubuntu computers, with the default Sync folder, and files I put there on one computer show up on the other, nice.)

Or too advanced like Multiple use cases - a long read. - #9 by tiwing (2 phones, 2 laptops, desktop, 2 backups, 2 VMs, yeesh)

My use case is sharing photos/videos among myself, spouse, brothers, spouses, and the grandparents. Lets assume all are Ubuntu users, and all have their own photos on their own device (laptop or desktop) /home/martin/Pictures/[yyyy-mm-dd-subject] (with “martin” replaced by each of their own usernames, and each with many subfolders of some naming scheme, not necessarily same for all users).

Is the shared folder /home/martin/Pictures? Or do I have to share all of the many subfolders individually?

For my own pictures on my own machine, I want those folders to be Send Only (other users can’t delete my photos). All the other intermixed subfolders are from other users, should be Receive Only, so I can’t accidentally delete their photos.

What are other users doing in similar scenarios? Is it simpler to add another layer of folders to keep send-only more separated from receive-only folders? Like




If my brother’s videos are too large, taking up too much of my disk space, can I (after poking around a little, watching a few), stop syncing that folder and get the space back? or stop syncing PLUS I have to delete it? (assuming he shared it send-only)

What else can anyone tell me about how this has worked for them, or how they made it work better?

If you want to use different folder types (Send Only, Receive Only, etc.) for the subfolders, then yes, you do need to share them individually.

My family syncs to a central NAS, where each member has its own Photo/Docs/whatever (public) folders. The NAS exposes a global/top-level share over the usual network protocols (SMB/NFS etc) where everyone can look and pull each others files, without having to store a full copy on their device.

So basically syncthing is only used for getting content onto the NAS, but not (primarily) for getting content off the NAS (with the exception being if some member has multiple devices and wants to sync their folder(s) there as well).

You’ll need to stop syncing or add an ignore pattern, plus delete any videos that have already been synced and you’re no longer interested in, to recover the used storage space.

On a related note, managing the storage space on each device could be a continuing effort because by default each device is copying photos and videos from every connected device that’s sharing with it.

For your particular use-case, using Syncthing to handle the copying of images to a central server might be a lot easier compared to managing a mesh network of devices between yourself, your spouse, your brothers and their spouses and grandparents, along with the likely necessary Syncthing ignore patterns to manage storage space (it’ll make the tutorial you read about 2 phones + 2 laptops + desktop + 2 backups + 2 VMs look simple by comparison :wink:).

Alternatively, if it’s all going to be photos and videos, consider a dedicated photo management tool instead. Something like Piwigo, PhotoPrism, Nextcloud Photos, etc. if you prefer a self-hosted solution.

Personally, I use Syncthing to transfer photos and videos from devices to a media server which provides access via SMB, SFTP, rsync, a simple web server, and also Plex.

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