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Dropbox remains one of my favorite cloud applications of all time. It's simple, pretty, functional, reliable and elegant all at the same time. It's near perfection. Almost. I have a few nits about it and improvements it could use and those go here along with some hacking I have done with it.

Running Dropbox on Linux as a command line

Links: - Wiki - Forums

Dropbox security:

Encrypt your data on it:

Configure what folders sync from Dropbox to Linux server:

I pay for 100gb Dropbox server between many devices: iPad, iPhone, tablets, Windows, mac and my Linux desktops and servers. But I don't always want the whole 100gb stored on all of my Linux servers (often I don't have the space on smaller utility systems). Here is how to fix that. I usually create a directory for Linux system I want to push/pull files to and from. I then selective filter off all the other directories I don't want synced to the smaller system. This is very easy to do in GUI based systems like Windows and Mac (and even the mobile devices) as Dropbox has this built into Prferences->Advanced options->Selective Sync. Here is how to do this in Linux.

First download Dropbox's customization Python script from

See also

I usually save it /usr/local/bin/ on a multi-user system or $HOME/bin on a personal system.

chmod +x wherever you placed it.

Now become the user who needs the selective sync configured. The configuration files are stored in $HOME/.dropbox and the actual files are stored in $HOME/Dropbox. At least that is how it works on my systems (RHEL, CentOS and Gentoo).

Note that still does not seem to support Python 3.x so make sure you are using Python 2.x.

(:code:) $ python --version Python 3.3.5 $ status

  File "/usr/local/bin/", line 323
    print ex

SyntaxError: invalid syntax (:codeend:)

Test that it is ready to go:

(:code lang=Bash wrap=80:) $ Dropbox command-line interface


Note: use dropbox help <command> to view usage for a specific command.

 status       get current status of the dropboxd
 help         provide help
 puburl       get public url of a file in your dropbox
 stop         stop dropboxd
 running      return whether dropbox is running
 start        start dropboxd
 filestatus   get current sync status of one or more files
 ls           list directory contents with current sync status
 autostart    automatically start dropbox at login
 exclude      ignores/excludes a directory from syncing
 lansync      enables or disables LAN sync


Now let's decide what to filter off from Dropbox.

(:code lang=Bash wrap=80:) $ cd $HOME/Dropbox $ ls -F Manuals/ Public/ AddToEbookLibrary/ receipts/ akira/ Freemind/ Apps/ Gentoo_Notes/ Audio/ AWS/ Sarah/ Sarahs iPad/ (:codeend:)

Ok in this case I only want the directory akira to sync to this Linux host so I actually have to exclude all the other directories [I know - why isn't there an include command option? ;-)]

(:code lang=Bash wrap=80:) $ exclude add AddToEbookLibrary Excluded: addtoebooklibrary $ exclude add Freemind (:codeend:)

and so on you get the idea here. Soon you should see these directories disappear from your Dropbox.


Dropbox has its own PPI just use pip to install it. If you don't know what pip is or have an older system Google "easy_install".

(:code:) $ pip install dropbox (:codeend:)

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Page last modified on October 23, 2014, at 12:55 PM EST