Conversations about life & privacy in the digital age

SpiderOak to Become OSS & More: What to Expect From Us in 2014 (PART I)

To kick off the New Year, we asked our followers on Twitter what they wanted to see from us in 2014. Our CTO and Co-Founder Alan Fairless specifically addresses everyone who sent in their request, below. In Part II, our CEO Ethan Oberman will share even more about what you can expect from us throughout the year.

By the way – we just launched our new web portal design! Check it out and tell us what you think.

What you said you wanted to see from us (in no particular order):

SpiderOak improvement suggestion from Twitter

Alan: 5.1.1 was a big improvement in this regard, but there’s still some edge cases (particularly with garbage bin and many purges) or folders with hundreds of thousands of items that we’ll optimize further.

SpiderOak improvement suggestion from Twitter

Alan: SpiderOak already gives you your own encryption keys (derived from your password.)  We don’t control those! Agree we need to update our 2-factor option. Google Authenticator protocol and yubikey are top items to support.

SpiderOak improvement suggestion from Twitter

Alan: OK! We already sign our Windows installer but this is a great idea.

SpiderOak improvement suggestion from Twitter

Alan: Email anytime and we’ll make you a nice offer for these :) Otherwise we have plans to do more A/B testing on the pricing options we offer and make some changes in the coming year.

SpiderOak improvement suggestion from Twitter

Alan: Maybe…

SpiderOak improvement suggestion from Twitter

SpiderOak improvement suggestion from Twitter

Alan:  YES!!!  The need for this has never been greater, and it’s become a priority! We expect SpiderOak to become OSS in 2014. But also, every new project we’ve created in the last four years has been open source since day one, including and

SpiderOak improvement suggestion from Twitter

Alan: Point in time recovery! Yes! I agree this is a useful option.  Of course right now SpiderOak stores all historical versions, so all the information is there and you could do it manually, but there’s no current interface for doing this automatically.

SpiderOak improvement suggestion from Twitter SpiderOak improvement suggestion from Twitter

Alan: Underway! And our new web portal just went live yesterday.

SpiderOak improvement suggestion from Twitter

Alan: An easy fix might be to an a wildcard exclude (in preferences) for the lock files. Agree this can sometimes be annoying — deleting from syncs is a harder problem than it seems, because the app doesn’t always know exactly when the deletion happened.  It knows that the file was there at one point, and gone at another point, and knows the deletion happened sometime between those two, but not exactly when.  So sometimes getting the calculation of which files should be there is hard.  We err on the side of caution of not deleting the file if we’re not sure.

SpiderOak improvement suggestion from Twitter

Alan: Coming!

SpiderOak improvement suggestion from Twitter

SpiderOak improvement suggestion from Twitter

Alan: Coming!

SpiderOak improvement suggestion from Twitter

SpiderOak improvement suggestion from Twitter

Alan: AGREE!  Sorry, we just got absolutely slammed over the holidays, but we are hiring now and will have support caught hopefully in the next few days.  Thanks for your patience in the meantime.

Thanks to everyone who wrote in.

What about you? What do you want to see from SpiderOak this year?

Release Updates: 5.1.1, iOS & Android Hybrid HTML5 mobile client v 2.9.0

Later this week we will share what else you can expect from us in 2014; but for now, here is our most recent release updates. Thanks for your support!

You can now download SpiderOak Orange General Release 5.1.1, featuring auto-proxy-configuration, new download-code and much more:

  • Fix: dir-watcher didn’t stop on Ubuntu 13.10
  • Fix: Don’t minimize the About dialog when launch minimized option is in effect.
  • Fix: Restoring resource forks on Mac sometimes failed.
  • Fix: windows_dir_watcher didn’t handle long paths.
  • Fix: sending links to Metro Mail Application.
  • Blue Fix: read default option only for new devices.
  • Read all release notes.


SpiderOak Mobile Client Update 2.9.0

The SpiderOak mobile client has reached a small but significant landmark: you will find a new release, 2.9.0, in both the Apple iOS App Store and the Google Android Play Store. The interesting thing is that the builds for both platforms are based on almost entirely the same code. The majority of the code is HTML5, hybridized with small, platform-specific portions as native PhoneGap/Cordova plugins. This way, we can get the benefits of a mostly single, common code base, but also fill functionality gaps not yet satisfied by HTML5, and preserve essential, platform-specific nuances.

In general, while the client builds will have the native user experience of their respective platforms, the application will operate in fundamentally similar ways. The platform builds will have all the same features. Incorporation of new features will usually convey, intrinsically, to all platforms. In some cases there will be some development overhead for each platform, if the feature depends on a native plugin, but usually we will be able to advance all platforms, in tandem.

The Android client has been based on this code since version 2.0.  This is the first public release of the iOS version. We feel it stands up well to the prior, native iOS version that was in the App Store until now.

We’re very excited about the opportunities that this consolidation enables, in general. One, very important opportunity ties in – via javascript, HTML5′s programming language – with Crypton, another SpiderOak championed open-source project. We are beginning to work with Crypton, in order to incorporate it for full Zero Knowledge mobile-client operation. This will at last enable us to concentrate on mobile client write functionality – on-device editing, backups, etc. There is plenty to be done, some of it not yet fully identified, so we haven’t yet established definite timelines. But the Crypton project is at the right stage of maturity, and we finally are focusing in earnest on its’ incorporation. We’re quite enthusiastic, and wanted to let you know that it’s in the works.

(Incidentally, we also will be making a beta Blackberry release of the 2.9.0 version available, but do not feel that it is ready for full release until some runtime technical issues in Blackberry OS are resolved. Windows phone is also on our agenda, but it presents additional challenge in not using a webkit-based browser, so we’re not sure when we will get to that.)

Here are the release changes:


  • Resuming app optionally challenges user to authenticate with 4-digit passcode
  • Default + content thumbnail preview icons
  • (new on iOS) Tap and hold on files and ShareRooms for more actions (sharing, etc)
  • Common code base for iOS, Android


  • Fixed selecting hive files as favorites
  • Corrected storage URL “Send Link”
  • APK backup inhibited, prevents info leak
  • Stay-logged-in setting properly holds
  • (UI change) Logout button moved to settings screen
  • Menu closes on content view taps
  • Account details now includes sizes, devices
  • Download progress for all file operations
  • “Stay logged in” instead of “Remember me” or “Keep me logged in”
  • (Android only) Protection from accidental exit – back key at top levels must be tapped twice
  • (new to iOS) Favorites and remembered ShareRooms are now per-user, no longer deleted on logout, and are available even without “Stay logged in” active
  • (new to iOS) Passcodes are now per-user, and available even without “Stay logged in” active
  • (new to iOS) Selecting a file as a favorite, and ShareRoom remembering, no longer forces “Stay logged in”
  • (new to iOS) Proper alphabetization of files and folders (symbols and numbers before letters, folders before files)
  • (changed in iOS) Moved “Advanced Login” to Settings > Server (from the Login Screen, use the “Go to ShareRooms” button, then access the side menu, and from there, Settings)
  • Better OS integration

SpiderOak 5.0.2 release

We’re happy to share some new updates with you. Please find the update on our Downloads page.

This 5.0.2 general release includes:

  • Fix a bug causing uncontrolled growth of application data folder during large downloads.
  • Fix a bug allowing user to set up a sync feedback loop involving the Hive folder.
  • Now removes folder branding when disabling SpiderOak Hive.
  • Fix a bug causing SpiderOak to sometimes launch at OS startup even when that option was disabled.
  • Fix SpiderOak Hive branding on OpenSUSE 12.x.
  • Fix a bug causing SpiderOak to crash on Windows with certain non-English characters in account info.
  • Fix a bug preventing SpiderOak from immediately picking up changes to Hive Folder in some circumstances.
  • Fix a bug causing the OS integration about dialog to crash when SpiderOak is running.
  • Prevent OS integration icon overlays from showing on excluded files/folders.
  • Fix a bug causing sync to fail for filenames containing invalid characters.
  • Ensure Hive Folder branding is set up correctly upon device reinstall.

Read all release notes here.

Our Android 2.0 App Release & Testimonial Winners Announced Wednesday

Because of the enormous response we received during last week’s testimonial-100GB giveaway, the five winners will be announced on Wednesday instead of today. Thanks again to everyone who participated! We were so grateful for all of the positive feedback.

If you missed it, we wanted to draw special attention to our new open-source HTML5 Android app that went live last week. Here is Ars Technica’s write up about it, or you can read the June 11 press release:

SpiderOak Launches Open-Source HTML5 Android App

Functions Like a Native App, Provides the Foundation for Enterprise-Grade, ‘Zero-Knowledge’ Mobile Apps

SAN FRANCISCO, CA–(Marketwired – Jun 11, 2013) - SpiderOak, the ‘Zero-Knowledge’ privacy cloud technologies provider, today announced the new SpiderOak Android 2.0 application. Redesigned from the ground up using HTML5 and fully compatible with the brand-new SpiderOak Hive, the Android app is setting the standard for mobile privacy in the cloud. The newly available app enables users to view the data located in the Hive folder as well as any folders or files across their SpiderOak devices. It sets a new precedent for the development of open-source, HTML5 mobile applications.

“Our new Android app bucks the prevailing trends,” said Ethan Oberman, CEO of SpiderOak. “We have proven the capabilities of HTML5 and the success of producing open source mobile software. Our Android 2.0 app further sets the groundwork for bringing full ‘Zero-Knowledge’ read/write to mobile devices — leveraging our new Crypton framework. After all, privacy must expand beyond the computer to include the rapidly evolving mobile platform.”

HTML5 and Open Source

SpiderOak has a strong commitment to open source software and expounds on this belief with SpiderOak Mobile 2.0. The company also believes in leveraging the HTML5 platform as a viable solution to building mobile apps, despite recent companies moving in the other direction — most notably Facebook.

Newly hired lead mobile developer Tommy-Carlos Williams is a renowned expert in HTML5 and PhoneGap, an industry-leading open-source framework for developing apps using HTML5. “With SpiderOak 2.0 for Android, we’re really leveraging the HTML5 platform in its truest nature,” said Williams. “I’m excited at the direction SpiderOak is taking in mobile. We’re breaking new ground for ‘Zero-Knowledge’ privacy, as well as for the evolution of HTML5 itself. It is for these reasons I moved to SpiderOak and look forward to continuing our progress in these areas and more.”

SpiderOak applied styling to make the new app match Android 4.0 and above, and has devised features that behave in a native manner. The goal of the new app is not just to increase overall functionality and usability, but also appeal to the more stringent privacy and security demands of the enterprise.

Designed for Simplicity and Ease of Use

SpiderOak 2.0 for Android also includes significant usability enhancements, such as a higher level of app performance and easier navigation. Through the updated Android app, users can log in and easily see the data in their Hive folder or across any other device that is running SpiderOak. In addition to immediately accessing and viewing all of the data inside an account, a user can download and share files via email or social media.

Devices running Android 2.3 and newer versions can download the app in the Google Play Store.

To learn more about SpiderOak Hive, please visit:

Special 5.0 Release Offer: 5GBs, 25% Off

We are proud of our new 5.0 release and want to thank everyone who tested it and provided valuable feedback along the way. Hearing about your experience helped us make a better product. Thank you!

SpiderOak 5.0 brings a number of features and bug fixes. With our new SpiderOak Hive folder, privacy meets simplicity. It’s now super easy to sync data with drag and drop functionality between your desktop, laptop and mobile devices. We also deployed OS integration, allowing right-click access to SpiderOak functions via the file browser on Windows (Explorer) and Macs (Finder). In addition, we have built SpiderOak mobile 2.0 from the ground up. You can find our newly updated mobile app in the App Store. For Android, it will arrive in the Google Play Store May 13th.

Starting today until Sunday, May 12th at 11:59 PM CDT, we offer you the following deals:

SpiderOak 5.0 image (vertical)

New to SpiderOak? Get 5GBs FREE for life for you or your business when you signup and download 5.0. Click here to claim this offer. Available on Linux, Mac, and Windows.

Already a SpiderOakian? Receive 25% off when you upgrade to an annual plan. That is only $75 per year for 100GBs of private, secure storage. Use the code “ILoveSpiderOak” to take advantage of this offer. Here’s how:

  • Open your ‘account’ through the accounts tab in the SpiderOak client or click the ‘Buy more space’ button.
  • On the Account Details page, select “Upgrade My Plan” to the right.
  • On this page, you will see a “Promotional Code” box.
  • Type “ILoveSpiderOak” in this box and select “Update”
  • You will see the discount 5GB free option as well as the 25% discount to yearly plans.
  • Choose your promotion and continue the ‘checkout’ process.

Note: The ’5 GB FREE’ offer is intended for new users. Selecting this promotion as a current user will replace your existing storage with 5 GBs.

Enjoy! Thank you again – above all – for your continued patronage and support.

Download the SpiderOak Mobile App for iOS by clicking the App Store button below.

SpiderOak - SpiderOak, Inc.

Download The Newest Version of SpiderOak

Today we are proud to release our newest version – SpiderOak 5.0.


The most significant addition is SpiderOak Hive – a simple drag and drop folder that allows you to sync files across all your devices. For more information on Hive, feel free to visit


You can read about several other new features, enhancements and bug fixes at SpiderOak Launches 5.0 Beta.

Please reach out with any thoughts or questions. We look forward to continuing development and making SpiderOak the best it can be.

Now Hiring –> Mac Client Engineer

SpiderOak is looking to expand out our development staff for working
on driving client development into the future. We are looking for a
talented, driven, Python and Objective-C slinging engineer excited to help us
push the boundaries of what people think is possible on the Mac.

Our goal is to enable SpiderOak to both better understand OS X, and to
also tie into OS X. In our Blue product for Windows, we have an
elementary Win32 Explorer extension that lets you add things to the
backup set and create single-file share links. On the Mac side, we
have something sitting on the sidelines in our skunkworks and need
someone to take lead on it and to shepherd it to completion and
shipping. Experience in PyObjC and digging through the Objective C runtime is desired. In addition, our engineer will be working on the SpiderOak
client backend, focusing on both general non-OS-specific work as well
as enhancing our product on the OS X platform. Finally, this person
should be an educator, capable of and willing to teach other
SpiderOakers details about the platform.

SpiderOak is a distributed, virtual-office, work-from-home company. Any engineer we hire will have
to be a top-notch communicator. They will be expected to reliably show
their face around our super-duper IRC channel at some point during
typical US business hours as well as jump in and communicate across
our issue tracker, email, and wiki. While you can work out of a
darkened basement at your whim (which some of us do!), you cannot
expect to venture off and not have to communicate with other

If you want to join in on our merry adventure, you will need a
functional grasp of English (don’t worry, we have several staff
on-board already for whom it’s a second or third language). You will
also be expected to occasionally travel (at company expense) to have
some quality face-to-face time. Important cities in the SpiderOakVerse
are San Francisco, CA, Kansas City, MO, and Chicago, IL (for
reference, these three cities make up about half of SpiderOak). A
sense of humor is always appreciated and welcome.

Still interested? Send an email to including
“mac client engineer” in the subject with a little about yourself
and your experience to date (a ‘cover letter’ if you will). NOTE:
Resumes are not required as who you are is more important than what
your resume may or may not say. If we enjoy your thoughts and feel
like you will be a good fit, we will send you a small task to
complete. Please do be sure to tell us a bit about yourself, what you
can do, and why you’d like to work for us. English only, please.

We know there’s talent in everyone regardless of what little papers
might say, so we have no “minimum” requirements for degrees. We’re
also super-equal-opportunity: quality hacking knows no bounds for
race, gender, nationality, sexual orientation, species[1], or
religion. If you can meet what we need, we’ll do amazing things
together, no matter who, what, or where you are.


1: Sheep are especially encouraged to apply if they do not mind being
cloned to produce free copies of themselves to provide additions to
our workforce.

PowerPC Mac Users: ATTENTION!

In the past three months, 0.13% of the SpiderOak clients that have logged in have done so from a PowerPC system. We certainly have every expectation that this percentage will continue its slow decline.

It is rather sad, but unfortunately maintaining SpiderOak’s evolving functionality along with support for the PowerPC version is an increasingly taxing proposition especially given the complete lack of support from Apple.

Given the above, we are officially (albeit sadly) canceling support for the PowerPC with our next release. We do not have plans to completely strip out the specific PowerPC code immediately and we will definitely let you all know when we are making changes that we know explicitly will break PowerPC support.

We do apologize to you 0.13% (you know who you are) and thank you for your understanding. We will be happy to answer any questions or thoughts you may have in the comments.

SpiderOak 4.8 Client Beta Release

It’s that time again! Today we are releasing the 4.8 Beta of the SpiderOak desktop client for Windows, Mac and Linux.

Whether you’re new to SpiderOak or a current user, you can find downloads for all supported operating systems and distributions here: Beta version 4.8. The download will start automatically for your OS/distribution and install it as you would any software to upgrade your SpiderOak client.

In this version we have focused on bug-fixes and improvements instead of new features. You can find a list of those below.

If you’re looking for new functionality and features, we look forward to wow-ing you with our next release, which will be ready right around the new year.

SpiderOak 4.8 fixes and improvements:

- Fixed bug causing sync to not work correctly under Windows XP in certain situations

-Re-built the Windows installation file as MSI for greater flexibility and installation user management

- Fixed bug causing recycle bin downloads to fail

- Fixed bug causing custom download locations for file-restores not to work correctly

- Fixed bug causing un-installation to require reboot under Windows

So go ahead! Download the beta, try it out, and tell us how we did at:

SpiderOak LOVES Windows 8. Compatibility = Done

Although ‘love’ is a big word for an operating system that has just recently been placed in the hands of early adopters, we at SpiderOak are committed to continually protecting your privacy in the newest iteration of the Microsoft operating system.

We have poked, prodded and tested the SpiderOak client on the Release Preview and Consumer Release of Windows 8 over the last few months. After all this work we are happy to announce that SpiderOak has been supporting Windows 8 from day 1. So are we in ‘love’? If compatibility is one measure then we would certainly say ‘yes’.

For all of you unpacking brand new computers this holiday season or simply feel that Windows 7 is ‘too 2012′, you can all look forward to also being able to install and run the SpiderOak client and all our services under this new Operating system.

Of course Windows 8 is still new and going through changes. Should you find something odd or unsettling about how the SpiderOak client or service works and would like to let us know, please email us at: and we will address it right away.

Very best wishes & congrats to Windows 8!

The SpiderOak Team