Simple Desktop File Sharing with Giver

With Giver, you can share files between desktops on your network with absolutely no configuration necessary. Other Giver clients are automatically discovered using Avahi.

Giver is a simple file sharing desktop application. Other people running Giver on your network are automatically discovered and you can send files to them by simply dragging the files to their photo or icon shown in Giver. There is no knowledge or set up needed beyond what the person looks like or their name to use Giver.

I use Synergy to seamlessly control my laptop and desktop with one mouse and keyboard. The only thing missing is a way to quickly transfer files between the two machines. Giver is perfect for this.

Giver is only available from the universe repository in Ubuntu 8.10 or higher. Install Giver from the package giver (click the link to install), or by running the command below in your terminal:

sudo apt-get install giver

Launch Giver from Applications->Internet->Giver. The Giver Recipients window will open.

recipients window

Open Giver on another computer in the same network, and a new recipient to appear automatically. To transfer a file, click the recipient and select Give a file or Give a folder. You can also drag and drop files onto a recipient to send them.

On the receiving computer, a notification will appear asking whether to accept the file. Received files are placed on the desktop by default.

Giver notification

If you close the recipients window Giver will continue run in the notification area. Clicking the Giver icon will re-open the recipients window. Right-click on the icon to close Giver, or open the preferences.

Archived Comments


Nice app, shame about the name.

Ever since I saw the first videos of giver I thought that it would be a handy tool but the name just makes me wince.


What about the repositories? Where did you find them?

Tristan Rhodes

Cool! Thanks for sharing.


Hi Tom,

The ubuntu theme you’re using looks great, what’s it’s name? can I have it?


i have a similar set up: desktop at work, eee pc, desktop at home. I’m also very fond of synergy … it’s so easy to carry eee pc’s to meetings and just drop it beside my desktop and use the desk’s keyboard and mouse to control it.

for sharing files another alternative is sshfs mounting common directories.

so documents i open in eee pc or on any of the Desktop are actually always the same file, no need to copy files around usually.

also safer in some cases, if i get the eee pc stolen, there are no important files actually in it.

thx for the column by the way, i enjoy a lot the articles.

cheers :)

ps.: suggestion for another useful tool to write an article on: Freemind


It makes me sad that the Giver project has not received much development recently. I was really hoping that it would take off and get Windows and OS X versions. Imagine how nice it would be to transfer files between machines if they all had Giver!


You might want to mention that this is only in the Ubuntu Intrepid repositories and not in Hardy or older. Also, trying to build from source requires “avahi-sharp” which also isn’t available in Hardy or older.


The theme is shiki-brave, more info here:

You’re right, I’ll add a note to the post that this is Ubuntu 8.10 only.


Try IT’s free, secure and cross platform. It’s always way faster than using my home network… that combined with synergy makes for quite a productive setup.


neat app!…too bad my roommate still uses windows…he doesn’t know what he’s missing!


hi Tom,
Will this work if the other computers are running Windows or MacOS?


Are there any plans on adding a internet share. So that “Friends” can share files?

UK tux

Hi Tom

Great App !!

Wondered if you have managed to change the recipient pics in Giver.
It seems obvious in preferences but i cannot make it pickup a picture from the desktop, annoying !!


Shane Reustle

Hi Tom, what theme are you using for ubuntu? I love it! Thanks for the great articles.


fyi you can add a zeroconf account to pidgin (and I think empathy) and transfer files back and forth that way if you don’t want to install another app.


that’s awesome and i was looking for it. thanks man.


Don’t forget about the shared homedir option, using “Connect to Server” in Gnome.

From a file browser window, “File | Connect to Server”.

Configure as:
Service Type: SSH
Folder: /home/
User Name:
Add Bookmark:
Bookmark Name:

Click connect, enter your password, and mark the option to remember the password permanently.

You now have a new folder on your desktop, that you can browse, preview, etc. Feels like a local connection, and can of course be any SSH connection to any machine anywhere in the world.

It will remain mounted until you unmount it or logout.

To re-access it, open a file browser window and double-clck the folder bookarm under the “places” tab on the right pane. The mount will be immediately mounted.


Above post was altered apparently since I used less-than and greater-than signs.

Should have read:

Service Type: SSH
Server: IP of the other computer
Folder: /home/remote_userid
User Name: remote_userid
Add Bookmark: Checked
Bookmark Name: Something meaningful to you


Worth mentioning that this was originally conceived and written by the guys at Novell during their hackweek, and it has been around since OpenSuse 10.3.

Brillant piece of work. (As is OpenSuse IMO) :-)


Forgive my ignorance, but why not just use Pidgin? In your example where you’re transferring files “to yourself” Pidgin would be a bit awkward (would need two screen names) but you could also just use nautilus and create an sftp shortcut to each computer from the other (and then pull instead of push). If the files are small enough, you could use Dropbox to keep the two systems in sync (up to 2G).


Any idea which port is giver using?

Running a firewall on my desktop and didn’t know which port to open.


Hi Tom,

Thanks for the information on giver, nice quick solution for multiple Linux machines. One question for you though, have you tried out Conduit? I’ve been using it for several months to sync files between my laptop and workstation. Still heavy in development but worth your time if you have the need!


Time to delete the rss feed from tombuntu, 1 month since last post -R.I.P Tombuntu.


Hi Tom!
I mailed you the article, about Gimp, plz check it out.


neat app!!…too bad my roommate still uses windows…he doesn’t know what he’s missing!!

erik martin

It makes me sad that the Giver project has not received much development recently. I was really hoping that it would take off and get Windows and OS X versions. Imagine how nice it would be to transfer files between machines if they all had Giver!!


I am having trouble getting this to see my computers on my network. I have even tried disabling my firewall. Suggestions anyone?


Where are you Tom, your blog is one of the best.


Giver is available for testing on windows (not released yet):


I am really wanting to give this a try. I use Hardy. Do I need to add the Intrepid universe repository to my sources.list to download? I have found an old version tar.gz I can download but from 2007. I am presuming the version in the repository is newer than this.

Sounds and looks good (we don’t use windoze much at home so that is not an issue). :)


…tombuntu from my bookmarks


Yuck, it uses Mono. Also keep your Firewall configuration in mind. You need to allow Zeroconf and also an arbitrary range of ports between 30000:55000. There are better alternatives like gnome-user-share that uses normal webDAV.

we miss tom

tom! where have you gone? we miss your face!


So umm, hello?


Hey just wondering how to install this on hardy cause I have it on my desktop computer and would like to be able to send files to my labtop witch is hardy
would love some help
Thanx Ryan


Came across a cool way to share large files between different computer[Linux, MAC, Windows]. Thought it may be of interest to you. Check out


it works great if i choose give a file , but if i choose giv a folder , nothing happens ! any help please?i need to send huge folder


“Giver” can’t transfer a folder. It’s a bug …

You can try “Transfer on LAN” ( It looks like “Giver”. You will can transfer files and folders to one or more users. It is cross-platform (it needs Java 6) and it works without configuration.

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