Dropbox on Lubuntu 18.04

My prefered Linux distribution these days is the lightweight Ubuntu variant Lubuntu. As I mainly use my linux laptop for writing and running fairly intensive text-processing scripts, I need something that doesn’t have extra bells and whistles and their corresponding overheads. It’s generally a very smooth, intuitive experience and does what I want, but there are a few rough edges requiring attention. One of these is installing the popular file back up and sharing app Dropbox, which isn’t quite as easy as it should be. For starters, there are a number of dropbox apps in Ubuntu’s repositories and it is not clear which should be used. Another is that after installing, the toolbar icon is broken. So here are clear, step-by-step instructions for getting it working.

1: Install the package ‘nautilus-dropbox’ via your prefered package manager (Lubuntu comes with Synaptic and , or through the command line via:

apt-get install nautilus-dropbox

This will also install various dependencies, mainly Python 2.7 packages. Note that it is the nautilus package, even though Lubuntu uses a different file manager, PCManFm. And note that it is not the actual Dropbox app but a helper program.

2: Once installed, go to ‘Internet’ on the Lubuntu application menu in the bottom left hand corner of the screen. Then click on the Dropbox icon in the submenu. This will bring up a ‘Download Dropbox’ dialogue; follow the instructions to download and install the proprietary app, and then sign in to your account. Hereon, whenever there’s an update, Dropbox should upgrade automatically.

3: So far so good, but there’s a problem with the icon. In the system tray on the bottom right hand side there’s a white squre as a placeholder, and no menu appears when you click it.

4: To fix the icon,open the terminal and run:

sudo lxshortcut -i /usr/share/applications/dropbox.desktop

You’ll be asked for your password, then a window will open up. Click on the tab labelled ‘Desktop Entry’ and replace the text in the box labelled ‘Command:’ from ‘dropbox start -i’ to ‘dbus-launch dropbox start’.

5: Open a terminal and run:

dropbox stop

This stops Dropbox; although you could restart dropbox through the command line, using the command just entered into the dropbox.desktop file, just to check everything is working go to the applications menu > Internet > and click on Dropbox. It should start with icon and menu working. Similarly, after rebooting, Dropbox should start automatically with icon and all.

This article is licensed CC-BY-SA 3.0.

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