Setup Dropbox on headless Ubuntu 9.10 server

Update 2012-06-07: A modified version of the dropbox init script available here https://gist.github.com/861875. With this version it is not longer required to edited the script for every user. Instead, one needs to create a linux group dropbox and add all users to the group the script should take into consideration.

This post is a summary of “How To Install Dropbox In An Entirely Text Based Linux Environment”. It outlines the steps need to be taken to setup Dropbox on a headless Ubuntu 9.10 system (imho this how-to manual should also work for newer Ubuntu versions).

1. Install Dropbox

For each unix user you want to run Dropbox process the following steps:

  1. Change to the user’s home directory:
    # cd
  2. Download and extract Dropbox:
    # wget -O dropbox.tar.gz http://www.dropbox.com/download/?plat=lnx.x86 // 32bit
    # wget -O dropbox.tar.gz http://www.dropbox.com/download/?plat=lnx.x86_64 // 64bit
    # tar -xvzf dropbox.tar.gz
  3. Run Dropbox and connect it to the user’s Dropbox account (by visiting the link in the output of the dropboxd command):
    # ~/.dropbox-dist/dropboxd

2. Run Dropbox on system startup

Instead of running dropboxd manually you can set up a system service that runs Dropbox automatically:

  1. Copy the init script from here to /etc/init.d/dropbox.
  2. Add the shebang #!/bin/sh at the beginning of the init script and replace user1 user2 in the line DROPBOX_USERS=”user1 user2″ with the list of users to run the Dropbox service for (remember to repeat “1. Install Dropbox” for each user).
  3. Make the init script executable:
    # sudo chmod 755 /etc/init.d/dropbox
  4. Activate the Dropbox service to start up upon boot:
    # sudo update-rc.d dropbox defaults

After restarting the system each configured user should find his Dropbox files in the directory ~/Dropbox.

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