Dropbox without Gnome

Dropbox, the ‘it just works’ file syncing service, released their Linux client recently. Unfortunately, it has a heavy Gnome/Nautilus dependency. If you don’t use Gnome, you can get Dropbox to work without that baggage with these steps:

  1. Download the closed source Dropbox Linux client from http://www.getdropbox.com/download?plat=lnx.x86 (x86_64 for 64 bit)
  2. Extract the contents and you should get a .dropbox-dist folder out of the archive. Move the folder to $HOME
  3. Run ~/.dropbox-dist/dropboxd.

The first time you run the dropboxd daemon, a wizard will prompt you to configure the client for your machine. By default, Dropbox syncs the contents of the ~/Dropbox folder and as long as the dropboxd daemon is running, it will transparently sync that folder with your Dropbox account. To ensure that the daemon runs whenever you use your computer, just add a symlink to it in your ~/.kde/Autostart/ folder or equivalent location.

You don’t actually need to do anything beyond that since it ‘just works’. But if you feel like getting hold of some of the info that the Nautilus client provides, you can download this command line utility that some kind soul has written. Hopefully, someone out there is working on KDE integration even as I write this!

The only thing that I am syncing right now with my Dropbox account is my Firefox bookmarks and history information. Firefox 3 stores this data in a file called places.sqlite which lives in the Firefox user profile folder. On my work and home computers, I just moved this file to my ~/Dropbox folder and symlinked to it from the profile folder. It’s been working ok for me so far without any conflicts. Let’s see if this turns out to be a better solution than Weave which has never ever worked for me.