Dropbox are dropping support for Linux in November (with the exception of unencrypted Ext4). They have an API, and on Android there are alternative clients (the best-known being dropsync) so it should be possible. Is there an alternative client for Linux?

My requirements are bi-directional syncing without manual intervention as I use it to maintain some (fairly private) files on multiple machines (work/home/phone), so scripting a download of a link (which I've done before) won't work. It doesn't look massively complicated to write one in Python, but has the feel of a project that could have hidden difficulties.

Note in case it's not clear: I'm not asking about alternative cloud storage/sync solutions, I'm asking about something to interact with an existing account and folder structure.


No alternative is needed, I simply:

  • created an empty file,
  • formatted it as ext4,
  • mounted it as a loop device,
  • moved dropbox home in it.

As an example:

  1. Add to you /etc/fstab a line like this to mount, at boot, the dropbox filesystem.

    /home/user/.dropbox-store   /home/user/Dropbox   ext4    defaults,loop    0 0
  2. Execute

    dropbox stop
    dd if=/dev/zero bs=1k count=1 seek=2097152 of=~/.dropbox-store
    /sbin/mkfs.ext4 -L DropboxHome ~/.dropbox-store 
    mv ~/Dropbox ~/Dropbox_
    mkdir ~/Dropbox
    # emulate boot mount to check fstab syntax 
    sudo mount -a
    sudo chown user.users ~/Dropbox
    rsync -av ~/Dropbox_/. ~/Dropbox/.
    dropbox start

It is a rough solution. It is just a roadmap that you have to adapt to your needs. E.g. the fstab solution is acceptable only on a single user laptop as mine.

  • Accepted as it's a nice clear write-up of how to do it, but I ended up reinstalling/upgrading for other reasons and went for full-disc encryption with an unencrypted ext4 filesystem as I did so, making the question moot – Chris H Sep 24 '18 at 8:35
  • There is also a workaround that allows the use of Dropbox on non-ext4 filesystems. github.com/dark/dropbox-filesystem-fix as described in linuxuprising.com/2018/11/… – LustreOne Mar 15 at 19:09
  • @LustreOne, please add a new answer to this question instead of a comment. That alternative is worth knowing, an answer will better advertise it. – andcoz Apr 16 at 14:09

There is also a workaround that allows the use of Dropbox on non-ext4 filesystems. https://github.com/dark/dropbox-filesystem-fix as described in https://www.linuxuprising.com/2018/11/how-to-use-dropbox-on-non-ext4.html?m=1

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