iPad meets Open Source With Help From WebDAV for Apache

by Juliet Kemp

Tip of the Trade: With GoodReader, iPad meets open source, and files can be shared between the popular tablet and a computer.

The iPad has finally landed in the U.K., and I spent much of the past holiday weekend playing with mine. While investigating its use to sys admins, I came across this photo of someone using it to read shared docs from a server room.

Trying out GoodReader, I established that you can transfer files from desktop to iPad. However, that's controlled from the desktop end, with the iPad viewed as a network share. I wanted to control the transfer from the iPad -- less forward planning required! You can also do this from an iPhone.

The user manual covers how to connect to webDAV servers. Setting up WebDAV for Apache is straightforward. To share files from my MacBook, I followed Sam Charrington's instructions, with one change.

As in Manas Tungere's post, the

Dav On
line should be inside the

<Directory [ directory ]>
section. For Debian Lenny, try this howto.


  1. When connecting to a Mac WebDAV server (I haven't tested this on Linux) from GoodReader, you get an error if you don't specify the final "/" on the URL. Use http://myserver/julietshare/, not http://myserver/julietshare.
  2. If you prefer to serve part of your home directory, rather than an external one (as I did), it's a good idea to restrict read access as well as write access on personal directories. Delete the <Limit> and </Limit> lines in the WebDAV config, and the require username line will now apply to all access to that directory.

Now, when you get to the colo and realize that you forgot to print out something vital, you can download it and save yourself further hassle.

Juliet Kemp has been messing around with Linux systems, for financial reward and otherwise, for about a decade. She is also the author of "Linux System Administration Recipes: A Problem-Solution Approach" (Apress, 2009).

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This article was originally published on Tuesday Jun 1st 2010
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