Easily share files on LAN with fellow Ubuntu users with Giver

Jack Wallen
Sep 15, 2010
Updated • Dec 2, 2012
File Sharing, Linux

Have you ever just wanted to quickly hand a file off to a fellow user on a LAN without having to resort to using an email client or shared folder? Wouldn't it be nice to just click on a username, send them a file, and have their desktop automatically notify them that the file has arrived?

Well...you can do that with the help of Giver. Giver is a networking tool that automatically detects other Giver users on your network and allows you to quickly and simply share files with them. I do hesitantly write this article only because it seems the development of Giver has come to a stop. That doesn't keep the application from working exactly as it should, and it still installs on just about any recent release of Ubuntu. So, even though development might have stopped for the moment, the application is still very valid and very useful. And in this article I will show you how to install and use this handy network file sharing tool.


The installation of giver is very simple. All you need to do is follow these steps:

  1. Open up the Add/Remove Software Tool.
  2. Search for "giver" (no quotes).
  3. Mark Giver for installation.
  4. Click Apply to install.
  5. When finished, close the Add/Remove Software tool.

When Giver is installed you can start up the tool by clicking Applications > Internet > Giver. This will open up the application and plant an easily accessible icon in the notification area.


Figure 1

As I have mentioned before, the usage of Giver is incredibly simple. The Giver Recipients window (see Figure 1)  will automatically populate with anyone else on your LAN running Giver. This may take some time (depending on how many users there are and how fast your network is). You can give a file by clicking on the user you want and clicking either Give File or Give Folder. When you select either of these a file manager will open where you can navigate to the file and select it.

Figure 2

Once you have given the the file the recipient will see a notification (see Figure 2) that a user wants to give them a file.

When the file is received both sender and receiver will be notified of the success.


Figure 3

There aren't much in the way of settings for Giver. If you right click the notification try icon you can select Preferences. When this new window opens (see Figure 3) you can then change your Name, Picture, and File location.

A word of warning: The only way I have been able to change the picture used for Giver is to use a Web Link. For some reason the File will not open a file manager window to browse for the image file.

By default Giver will save files transferred to you to the Desktop. If you don't want that click the File Location drop box and select where you want the files to be saved to.

Final thoughts

Although Giver might not be currently in development, it is still a very useful application that allows users to quickly exchange files over a LAN. It does not have the ability to share files outside of that LAN, but within a business or home, this is a nice tool to have around.


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  1. Arno said on October 24, 2011 at 10:07 pm


    As you, I like “Giver” but it doesn’t work very well and its developpement is stopped.

    Therefore, I decided to write my own application to transfer files and folders on a LAN : “Transfer on LAN”. It needs Java 6. So it is cross-platform. “Transfer on LAN” looks like “Giver” and it is open source.

    You can download it here : http://code.google.com/p/transfer-on-lan/.

  2. Bbanda Charles Edwin said on February 16, 2011 at 2:37 pm

    i truly appretiate the fact that giver can be an alternative solution to flash drives directly which are the common causes of viruses in windows.
    besides i would prefer an application that can be used by both windows and Mac users to upload and dowload file for sharing in the sense of a file server and can keep track of which specific users and all the other parameters that the file in question apply.

    will be greatful for such a recommendation.
    kind regards.


  3. Ace_NoOne said on September 16, 2010 at 8:54 am

    I usually just use Python’s SimpleHTTPServer:

    $ cd /home/somedir
    $ python -m SimpleHTTPServer


  4. Roebie said on September 15, 2010 at 11:51 pm

    Nice tool. Especially the fact that one can use it on both Ubuntu and Windows. Currently I’m looking for an simple chat took that works on both operating systems. Something simple, preferably without server. I like Lancet Chat (lancetchat.com) and we use it at work, but it’s only Windows. Does anyone know a free (or very cheap) multiplatform alternative?

    1. C said on September 16, 2010 at 1:17 am

      Roebie, again. Avahi/Zeroconf is your friend. Install Bonjour on jour windows machine and you can use Gajim or Pidgin (Both do have a windows version) to chat within your lan without a server. I blogged about that a while ago [1], unfortunately my blog is in german. But perhaps a google translation is good enogh for you [2].

      [1] http://linuxundich.de/de/ubuntu/netzwerken-im-21-jahrhundert/
      [2] http://translate.google.de/translate?js=n&prev=_t&hl=de&ie=UTF-8&layout=2&eotf=1&sl=de&tl=en&u=http%3A%2F%2Flinuxundich.de%2Fde%2Fubuntu%2Fnetzwerken-im-21-jahrhundert%2F

  5. TechUltra said on September 15, 2010 at 4:37 pm

    Great tool, thanks for the tip !

  6. Christoph said on September 15, 2010 at 4:36 pm

    Btw, you can use Giver on Windows too. You need NET 2.0 runtime, Gtk-sharp and Bonjour from Apple. You can find more informations on giver for windows on http://ankitjain.org/blog/giver-on-windows/

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