11 August 2009

Dropbox on Ubuntu Server

Hey folks! Nice to have you visit. I've moved just a short distance. Please join me to keep up with my latest antics! I'm going to keep this site up for posterity though :)

In our office, we have a small custom, headless 32-bit PC running Ubuntu Server 8.10 (Intrepid Ibex). It's ideally suited as our testing platform web server, file server, SVN server... well you get the picture.

I've been trying to set up a VPN through a Linksys-Cisco router we purchased (WRVS4400N), but have hit one snag after another (thanks to Cisco's non-support of anything other than Windows).

Then it hit me: use Dropbox!

A few free Dropbox accounts is all we will need for now between us and it creates instant versioning and backups of all of our critical files - something we weren't doing properly up until now - plus allowing us to interact with the file system locally rather than over the network.

A super idea!

Problem 1: Dropbox is not officially supported for command-line-only Linux distros. Thankfully though some nice people have put together a few handy instructions and scripts in order to make it work.

Problem 2: This installed Dropbox in a location that I didn't want. Our server has a partitioned drive for security reasons. So all of our day-to-day files exist on one partition and the system files reside on the main partition. Dropbox was installed in the user folder I used when performing the install, which is in the system partition.

Without wanting to mess around too much trying to remove the current Dropbox install and then fiddle with Python code (which I have absolutely no experience with), I needed a quick method for getting some of our working files into the Dropbox folder in the system partition.

It turns out this is where Linux is super handy! Using standard symlinks to the folders in question was the perfect solution. Dropbox sees these as actual folders and synchronises across the link - up and down... meaning the files stay on the right partition, but now appear as part of the shared folder I wanted them in!



Anonymous said...

Thanks for this. Needed to set up Dropbox on a headless ubuntu server and this worked first time...

Lord Lansdowne said...

Pretty awesome. I've pretty much Dropboxxed all my machines, making my laptop, netbook and workstation in the office all carry the same files. Working on something here and finishing it there is pretty kick ass. To be able to do this on a server, even better. I'll be trying this. Thanks for the post.