Add Rclone

Rclone is an open source command-line program to manage files on cloud storage. It is a feature-rich alternative to cloud vendors’ web storage interfaces. Over 40 cloud storage products support rclone including S3 object stores, business & consumer file storage services, as well as standard transfer protocols.

This is a very good, privacy-friendly and ultimate alternative to downloading and using proprietary cloud vendor apps like Google Drive, Dropbox and OneDrive, and it also has a web-based GUI.

It allows you to manage all of your cloud storage across multiple different providers using one tool to backup and encrypt your files, and it is commonly referred to as the Swiss army knife of cloud storage.

This is really one of the most useful tools I have ever used.

Hi, thank you for opening a dedicated thread for this, and for outlining your thoughts!

After taking another glance at this, I can definitely see how it is useful.

What I find especially interesting and relevant to our audience is the ability to encrypt data before it’s sent to the cloud. Is Rclone, or at least the encryption implementation audited?

Also, this largely seems to be a desktop solution, with Android support being centered around rooted devices, which we heavily recommend against.

After digging a little bit further, I found RCX which looked promising initially, but it hasn’t received an update in over a year, and is on SDK 29 right now.

Further research led me to extRact which seems to be a fork of RCX to maintain it; however, it doesn’t seem like it’s something that’s currently production-ready. From their GitHub repo:

This app is currently undergoing many changes. It may not be fully stable and contain bugs or untested features. Use at your own risk!

Now, Android support isn’t necessarily required for us to consider Rclone, but I believe that’s always good to have proper cross-platform support nowadays.

I’m happy to hear other people’s thoughts on this, as well as more info on the project and reasons as to why we should consider it or evaluate it further.

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Thank you for looking into it!

Unless I’m mistaken, I don’t think it’s been externally audited yet. Nothing too in-depth and just through a quick search and glance I found a post from a few years ago which sheds some light on this (Is/was a security auditing procedure in place for crypt? - #10 by ncw - Help and Support - rclone forum) and maybe someone else who has done a lot more research can weigh in.

RCX is indeed a good Android app for it, but it’s in early development and development on it has clearly stagnated. However, most people use and rely on Termux for using Rclone on Android which I believe is currently the most efficient and practical solution.

While Rclone can be used as both a cloud end-to-end encryption and sync tool (and a very lightweight and minimal one at that), it pairs very well with Cryptomator for cloud syncing. My personal workflow consists of having a Cryptomator vault which I Rclone to multiple cloud providers (Drive, Dropbox, MEGA etc) simultaneously. This can be set up to be automated and done periodically with a shell script, for example. It has many other applications and can be used for other things, such as organizing and peforming routine cloud backups with the Bitwarden CLI. Rclone also has a config file with all of its configuration that you can copy to another system so you don’t have to set everything up every time.

Unless I’m mistaken, I don’t think it’s been externally audited yet. Nothing too in-depth and just through a quick search and glance I found a post from a few years ago which sheds some light on this (Is/was a security auditing procedure in place for crypt? - #10 by ncw - Help and Support - rclone forum) and maybe someone else who has done a lot more research can weigh in.

I understand that external audits are expensive, and that they only apply to a specific point in time. They aren’t the end-all be-all, but I would have still liked to see crypt audited to be able to recommend it with more confidence. In contrast to that, Cryptomator’s encryption has been audited except for the swift library for iOS, I believe.

RCX is indeed a good Android app for it, but it’s in early development and development on it has clearly stagnated. However, most people use and rely on Termux for using Rclone on Android which I believe is currently the most efficient and practical solution.

Regarding the Android side of things, I would not be comfortable recommending RCX in its current state. Perhaps the fork I mentioned could replace it, but it’s too early to tell.

I definitely do not want to recommend Termux. They have stopped releasing updates to Play Store because they’re unable to bump the SDK as it requires solving issues that they are unwilling to solve:

There is currently no work being done to solve android 10 issues and working updates will not be resumed on Google Play Store any time soon. We will continue targeting sdk 28 for now. So there is not much point in staying on Play Store builds and waiting for updates to be resumed. If for some reason you don’t want to move to F-Droid or Github sources for now, then at least check Package Management to change your mirror, otherwise, you will get repository is under maintenance or down errors when running apt or pkg commands. After that, it is also highly advisable to run pkg upgrade command to update all packages to the latest available versions, or at least update termux-tools package with pkg install termux-tools command.

I think it should be recommended with a warning about the encryption, because it would be a valuable tool even if it did not offer encryption as a feature at all. It is really a good pair with Cryptomator (which can handle mobile access on its own). Since Cryptomator for desktop cannot connect to the cloud directly, that is where rclone shines. It enables the use of storage providers without needing to install multiple individual proprietary sync software packages.

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