Ayman Bagabas


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Dropbox client on Ubuntu server 16.04

06 Aug 2017 0 Comments

Dropbox, in my opinion, is the best cloud service available. I wanted to have one shared dropbox folder that is accessible from all my virtual machines running on the server. I am using a ZFS drive as a storage drive, the dropbox folder is located in the ZFS drive. Dropbox service is running as a normal user, not the root, and the server is using systemd to start the service after booting the system.

First, you have to have the libxxf86vm library, in Ubuntu 16.04 you can install it using sudo apt install libxxf86vm1 then download Dropbox.

wget -O dropbox-x86_64.tar.gz https://www.dropbox.com/download?plat=lnx.x86_64

and if you are running a 32-bit system use:

wget -O dropbox-x86.tar.gz https://www.dropbox.com/download?plat=lnx.x86

Now choose where you want to put Dropbox binaries and extract the files, in my case I used /opt/dropbox

sudo mkdir -p /opt/dropbox
sudo tar xzfv dropbox-x86_64.tar.gz --strip 1 -C /opt/dropbox

and because we are using a /opt/dropbox we have to link it to ~/.dropbox-dist

ln -s /opt/dropbox ~/.dropbox-dist

Run dropbox as a normal user /opt/dropbox/dropboxd this will give you a link to login to your account or if you are running a GUI it will open your default browser with a link to authenticate your account. Ctrl-c to stop dropboxd. As I said earlier, I want to put my Dropbox files on my storage drive. In my case I am using a ZFS drive located at /pool/shared/ I moved the Dropbox folder from my home folder to /pool/shared/Dropbox then linked the Dropbox folder to my home folder.

mv ~/Dropbox /pool/shared/Dropbox
ln -s /pool/shared/Dropbox ~/Dropbox

Now if you want to control dropbox from the command-line you can use this tool

wget -O dropbox-cli.py https://www.dropbox.com/download?dl=packages/dropbox.py

You can move it to your PATH for easy access. You have to have ~/.dropbox-dist, ~/.dropbox, and ~/Dropbox to use this tool. You can start/stop and check the status of the Dropbox service. The ~/.dropbox folder is created after you start dropboxd. For systemd to autostart Dropbox service simply create a new service at /etc/systemd/system/[email protected] with these configurations:

After=local-fs.target network.target

ExecStart=/opt/dropbox/dropboxd -p /home/%I/.dropbox/dropbox.pid
ExecReload=/bin/kill -HUP $MAINPID


This is basically a systemd service that can control Dropbox daemon from command-line. You can enable/start Dropbox from systemd sudo systemctl start [email protected]$USER.service or if you want to enable it to start on boot sudo systemctl enable [email protected]$USER.service