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SS2Tools and Rsync

Posted: Sat Jun 11, 2022 9:43 pm
by Casualfan
I'm looking to play System Shock 2 and want to add in some bugfix and graphic mods, and SS2Tools 6.1 was recommended, but the instructions for it say that to update the game it uses Rsync. Specifically it says that SS2 tools and Rsync need to be allowed in my firewall for this to work. Now, as a tech novice, this sounds a bit sketchy. Does anyone have any experience with this program and can confirm that it's safe to use/won't shoot my personal data across all corners of the internet?

Re: SS2Tools and Rsync

Posted: Sat Jun 11, 2022 10:15 pm
by Rachael
Rsync is short for "remote sync" and it is actually a tool that is based in the Unix/Linux world, this is not the first time I've seen it outside of that but I am quite surprised it is gaining popularity.

It's about as safe as browsing the internet - so long as the hosting program can be trusted. Since it's GPL though it means any program that hosts it must also be open source. So - maybe it's safer? You'd probably want to get your programmer friends to look at the source for the updater to be sure.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rsync

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Anecdotally, it *is* NightDive, and while I don't always agree with them on a personal level, they have a reputation to keep, so it's *very* unlikely they'll be putting malware in their software anytime soon. Not to mention the heaps of liability they'd be piled under. If they ever got caught doing such a thing it'd be the scandal of the century - so - based on that alone I think it can probably be trusted. Not forgetting that the vast majority of their workforce right now (afaik) are members of the Doom community, so there's yet another layer of accountability - they are very accessible if something goes wrong.

Re: SS2Tools and Rsync

Posted: Sun Jun 12, 2022 4:31 am
by Kinsie
Rachael wrote:Anecdotally, it *is* NightDive, and while I don't always agree with them on a personal level, they have a reputation to keep, so it's *very* unlikely they'll be putting malware in their software anytime soon. Not to mention the heaps of liability they'd be piled under. If they ever got caught doing such a thing it'd be the scandal of the century - so - based on that alone I think it can probably be trusted.
SS2Tools is a third-party tool not developed by Night Dive. Looking at the description, at least one of the features it advertises (NewDark) is already shipped with the Steam and GOG version of System Shock 2.
Rachael wrote:Not forgetting that the vast majority of their workforce right now (afaik) are members of the Doom community, so there's yet another layer of accountability - they are very accessible if something goes wrong.
They have several teams, one of which - the one headed by Kaiser - has a lot of Doom community alumni flowing through it. I don't think they've done any of the System Shock stuff, though.

Re: SS2Tools and Rsync

Posted: Sun Jun 12, 2022 1:10 pm
by Casualfan
It's mostly just the fact that it's free 3rd-party software that has to go under my firewall that worries me. Like, why would it need that kind of access? Does Rsync work similarly to how Steam and GOG do automatic updates?

Re: SS2Tools and Rsync

Posted: Sun Jun 12, 2022 5:12 pm
by KynikossDragonn
If this is "Windows Firewall" it's just common practice because that thing is paranoid and tries to block outgoing access for virtually anything. I've had that thing blackholing outgoing connections in Quake 1 for example.

Now, I do find it very interesting rsync is being used in the first place since normally I've only ever used that to transfer files from one local machine to another, preserving timestamps and even the user and group the files belong to. It's likely they want to use rsync for a update mechanism because of it's feature to only send bytes that are actually different, dramatically reducing the bandwidth required for updating a file remotely.