installing dropbox on cancer (debian)

I’ve been using Dropbox (that’s a referral link, but they’re free) for a good while now. It’s a online storage service that syncs folders online with other computers. Your file is local and in the cloud and on all your other synchronized computers. It is also very, very fast, and runs on Win32, OS X, and x86 Linux. I use it for a bunch of stuff, including synchronizing my notes on my D&D game.

I wanted those notes available on my Linode, cancer, so today I took the plunge and decided to figure out how to get Dropbox running without Nautilus. See, if you use Ubuntu, you just point at some deb file and everything installs, including desktop integration. I didn’t want that, I just wanted the directory content to show up. It turned out that I wouldn’t need to figure out very much at all. There’s a wiki page about headless Dropbox already up on the Dropbox wiki, and it worked seamlessly. I didn’t throttle the sync, so my disk IO and bandwidth usage spiked to hundreds of times their usual value, but once it was done, everything was back to normal.

I only have two small issues: first, Dropbox doesn’t seem to log anything at all. I can’t tell what it’s doing, I can’t tell that it’s working, I can’t tell anything at all other than what I can find in /proc; secondly, I can’t get the same per-file information that I can in Nautilus or Finder. Apparently all this stuff is available by speaking a line-based protocol to the Dropbox daemon, but it’s not yet documented. On the other hand, the source for the Nautilus plugin is open source.

I see a Dropbox client Perl library in my future…

Written on May 4, 2009
dropbox   perl