The Mac has always been a network computer. Or, rather a computer with network options to share files easily between Macs and other devices. It was that way back in the 1980s and it’s that way– kinda, sorta, mostly– in the 21st century.
Apple makes it relatively easy to connect to nearby Macs, and even Macs across the internet by jumping through a hoop or two, but connecting securely to a variety of new fangled cloud services mostly requires third party applications, often proprietary for each network. Is there a solution this mess of connectivity?
Quack Quack Cloud
Way back when, someone created a handy, nifty, usable, open source file transfer utility called Cyberduck. That advancement to the state of the art for file transfers shows up in Mountain Duck, a Mac utility which lets you connect to cloud storage options as if they were embedded into the Mac’s Finder the way iCloud and Dropbox do.
Instead of using an sFTP/FTP app for file transfer, or using any one of a dozen such proprietary apps– Dropbox, GoogleDrive, Amazon S3 and others– Mountain Duck brings each one to the Mac’s Finder as if the remote cloud service is connected directly to your Mac automatically.
Mountain Duck is based upon the code foundation in Cyberduck and gives you access to most of the basic and popular file transfer protocols.
sFTP/FTP – these are the granddaddy file transfer options with the capability for fast and secure file transfers.
WebDAV – think of this as an easy way to get access– from within the Mac’s Finder– to your own personal or business cloud storage services.
Dropbox – no need to sync files from Dropbox with Mountain Duck because it accesses files directly and can even open Google Docs within a browser tab window; all from the Finder.
Google Drive – the search engine giant’s cloud service is competitively priced but you won’t need to sync up first, because Mountain Drive connects directly to Google’s servers.
Azure & OneDrive – Microsoft’s cloud storage options, all allowed on the same desktop; including OneDrive Personal, OneDrive Business, and even Sharepoint Online.
Amazon S3 – the online retailer sells stuff but also has a huge cloud storage business. Normally you would need Amazon’s own app, or a third party utility, but Mountain Duck accesses S3 direct from within the Mac’s Finder.
OpenStack Swift – an easy way to connect your Mac to Rackspace Cloudfiles or other cloud storage providers that us OpenStack.
Backblaze B2 – another popular way to back up files from your Mac to a cloud services, but have the files show up within the Mac’s Finder.
Compared with other file transfer utilities, Mountain Duck has a number of advantages. It’s very fast. All it requires is a one-time passcode when you set it up, and it remembers the login ID and password for each online service. Because the app is built-in to the Mac’s Finder it’s much easier to open and use documents or files stored on cloud services as if they were locally stored on your Mac. Drag and drop just works.
Mountain Duck isn’t your father’s file transfer app. It’s packed with features, handles most– but not all– the popular cloud storage services. For example, it does Amazon S3 but not Glacier or Amazon Cloud Drive.
Still, if you use a number of cloud services and get tired of using a sync app for each one, then Mountain Duck does a good job of bringing them all to the Mac’s Finder. Many of those services provide 5GB or more of free online storage, but Mountain Duck helps you expand the free storage.