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Home > Uncategorized > Dropbox for Xubuntu (or Dropbox without needing Gnome)

Dropbox for Xubuntu (or Dropbox without needing Gnome)

Dropbox, the essential piece of free (for 2GB) file synchronisation software has applications for Windows, Mac OS-X and Linux. Only problem is, the Linux version integrates itself into Nautilus (part of Gnome desktop manager).

The way to get around this is actually absurdly simple…

  1. Download Dropbox with this link… 32-bit64bit
  2. Open the file using X-Archiver.
  3. Extract the folder (.dropbox-dist) inside to your home folder keeping the folder structure.
  4. Go to the folder in your favourite terminal program.
    cd $HOME/.dropbox-dist
  5. You will want to make the Dropbox files executable.
    chmod u+x dropbox
    chmod u+x dropboxd

Now, executing Dropbox can now be a little difficult using this method. You could add a link to the menu using Alacarte or similar. I have however found a slightly more convenient method using a script which I’ve previously written up.

I use a short bash script which detects my internet connection and then loads my preferred internet applications.


ping -c 1
if [ $? != 0 ]; then
sleep 30
ping -c 1

if [ $? = 0 ]; then
pidgin &
$HOME/.dropbox-dist/dropbox &
twitux &

Now, if you place this script somewhere convenient, you can then add it to the Xfce startup. Open the main menu > Settings > Xfce 4 Settings Manager > Sessions and Startup > Application Autostart tab.

Now you can simply add your script to the list and it will run every time you start Xfce and have an internet connection.

NB: The extra section with the ‘sleep 30′ is to allow the wireless card to initialise and connect. Otherwise it will think there’s no internet connection and not run Dropbox. Plus, the above script is displayed with it also running Pidgin (IM client) and Twitux (Twitter app).


# Internet Application Script.

# Sends a ping to google to check for an active Internet connection then runs apps.
# To add more apps, put them in top part of if statment.
# The & must be on end of all application commands to quit script.

# 18-3-10 – Added extra if statment so it doesn’t necessarily have to wait 15 seconds every time it loads.
# If running on wired Ethernet it could connect quicker this way.

ping -c 1
if [ $? != 0 ]; then
sleep 30
ping -c 1

if [ $? = 0 ]; then
# pidgin &
$HOME/.dropbox-dist/dropbox &
# twitux &


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  1. alfh
    April 9th, 2012 at 09:39 | #1

    Thank you for this tip! Wonderful to install dropbox without nautilus dependencies, although I suspect it means I’ll have to upgrade manually (if – when! – necessary).

    But I couldn’t manage to get your script working, so I just added the dropbox command in the application autostart tab.

  2. James Muirhead
    April 10th, 2012 at 17:21 | #2

    Thanks… I don’t know why you’re finding the problems with the script.

    Did you make it executable first (chmod a+x
    Or, did you copy the whole of the quotation box? If you miss the first line (#!/bin/bash) the script wont work.
    If you’re getting an error message, it may be because you haven’t got Pidgin or Twitux installed, so you’ll have to remove those lines.
    The other thing that comes to mind is if you’re trying to access it from a different user account since Dropbox is User Specific, you’ll need to re-install it for each user.
    Oh, and if you don’t have the & on the end of each executable, the script will never exit and only run the first item.

    Other than that, I can only sermise that it’s a new version of Dropbox which is slightly different in how it works. I haven’t updated in some time, I’m waiting for the next LTS of Ubuntu / Xubuntu / Lubuntu this month when I’ll do a full re-install.

    I’ve written these scriptd for both Linux and Windows in many different itterations and they’ve generally worked. Should really update my article on the scripts as it stands, not done it in ages!

  3. alfh
    April 11th, 2012 at 20:46 | #3

    Thanks for troubleshooting! I copied the complete script and edited to suit my internet favs, also changing ping address to something more local.

    But NO, I didn’t make the script executable. Did now and everything works. Thanks again!

  4. James Muirhead
    April 11th, 2012 at 20:50 | #4

    Not a problem. You really wouldn’t belive how many times I’ve forgotten to do that myself over the years. I’ve actually updated this script to also include mounting of network shares (in Windows) need to work on the nix version a bit.

  5. April 25th, 2012 at 20:11 | #5

    Simple and functional, neat! Thank u James.

  6. James Muirhead
    April 26th, 2012 at 13:16 | #6

    Thank you bvery much. Also, thanks for the link on your site and Spanish translation.

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