Dropbox on Linux: installing from source, commands, and repositories

The Dropbox desktop app is available on supported Linux operating systems. If you use Dropbox on a Linux machine, we recommend that you download and install the appropriate Linux package of the Dropbox desktop app.

Sections in this article:

How to build the Dropbox installer for Linux from source

The Dropbox installation package source has been released to the public via a GPL license. This means that even if we don't have installation packages for your Linux or Unix distribution of choice, you can still compile a version yourself.

Install Dropbox from source

  1. Download the latest installer package.
  2. Extract the tarball:
  3. tar xjf ./nautilus-dropbox-1.6.1.tar.bz2

  4. In most distributions, the following commands should do the rest:
  5. cd ./nautilus-dropbox-1.6.1; ./configure; make; make install;

For specific distributions or to configure your installation, see the INSTALL file included with the source package.

Want to contribute?

As mentioned above, nautilus-dropbox is released on a GPL license. However, due to legal requirements, we can only accept patches into our release if you release your patch into the public domain. Don't worry, we'll still credit you in the CONTRIBUTORS file included with every package. To submit your patches, contact us. If you want to develop on the Dropbox platform, visit our developers site and check out our API.

How to add Dropbox to your Linux repository

To add Dropbox to an Ubuntu repository:

  1. Add the following line to /etc/apt/sources.list, and replace natty with your build's name below.
  2. deb http://linux.dropbox.com/ubuntu natty main

  3. Import our GPG keys into your apt repository, perform the following command from your terminal shell:
  4. $ sudo apt-key adv --keyserver pgp.mit.edu

    --recv-keys 1C61A2656FB57B7E4DE0F4C1FC918B335044912E

To add Dropbox to a Fedora repository:

  1. Add the following to /etc/yum.conf.
  2. name=Dropbox Repository




How to remove Dropbox from your Linux repository

  1. Remove the lines that you added when first adding Dropbox to your repository:
    • Ubuntu: Remove the following line from /etc/apt/sources.list. Replace natty with your build's name:
    •         deb http://linux.dropbox.com/ubuntu natty main

    • Fedora: Remove the following from /etc/yum.conf:
    •         name=Dropbox Repository



  2. Run this command to list all keys you've imported:

    sudo apt-key list

  3. Copy the key for Dropbox, then run this command:

    sudo apt-key del <copied Dropbox key>

What Linux commands are available on Dropbox?

The Dropbox desktop app can be controlled with the Linux Command Line Interface (CLI). Depending on your Linux distribution and the package you used to perform installation, you may need to download a Python script to control Dropbox from the command line. However, we recommend you first try without downloading the script.

Before running commands, ensure that you’re running the available commands while your prompt is located at the root (top level) of the Dropbox folder.

By default, the Dropbox folder is located in ~/Dropbox (or ~/Dropbox (Your team name), if you have a Dropbox Business account). If you moved the Dropbox folder to a different location, be sure you navigate to the root of your actual Dropbox folder before running the commands below.

Command CLI Purpose
autostart dropbox autostart [y/n] Options here include:
  • n: Dropbox will not start automatically at login
  • y: Dropbox will start automatically at login (default)
Note that this command may only work on currently supported Ubuntu distributions.
exclude dropbox exclude [list] When list is used or with non arguments, this command prints a list of directories currently excluded from syncing.
  dropbox exclude add [DIRECTORY] [DIRECTORY] … Adds one or more directories to the exclusion list, then resynchronizes Dropbox.
  dropbox exclude remove [DIRECTORY] [DIRECTORY] … This removes one or more directories from the exclusion list, and then resynchronizes Dropbox. Please note that any specified path must be within the Dropbox folder.
filestatus dropbox file status [-l] [-a] [FILE]… This prints the current status of each FILE. Options include:
  • -l or --list: prints out information in a format similar to the native Linux command ls.
  • -a or --all: do not ignore entries starting with "."
Aliases will include stat.
help dropbox help [command] With no arguments, this prints a list of commands and a short description of each. With a command, prints descriptive help on how to use the command.
lansync dropbox lan sync [y/n] Options here include:
  • y: Dropbox will use LAN sync (default).
  • n: Dropbox will not use LAN sync.
ls dropbox ls [FILE]… This is an alias for filestatus -l.
proxy dropbox proxy MODE [TYPE] [HOST] [PORT] [USERNAME] [PASSWORD] This manually sets proxy settings for Dropbox:
  • MODE One of the following: none, auto, manual
  • Only valid in manual mode:
    • TYPE One of the following: http, socks4, socks5
    • HOST Proxy hostname
    • PORT Proxy port
    • USERNAME Proxy username (optional)
    • PASSWORD Proxy password (optional)
puburl dropbox puburl FILE This prints out a public link url for FILE. This is only applicable if you have a public folder enabled in your account. This command can only be used on files in your public folder.
running dropbox running This returns 1 if the daemon is running and 0 if it’s not running. This command can only be used in scripts to check if Dropbox is running. This command does not output anything to the CLI.
sharelink dropbox sharelink FILE This prints out a shared slink for FILE.
  • FILE Absolute path to FILE
start dropbox start [-i] This starts the Dropbox daemon. If the daemon is already running, this will not do anything. Options include -i or i--install to auto install the Dropbox daemon if it’s not available on the system.
status dropbox status This prints out the current status of the Dropbox daemon.
stop dropbox stop This stops the Dropbox daemon.
throttle dropbox throttle DOWNLOAD UPLOAD This sets bandwidth limits for file sync:
  • DOWNLOAD Either unlimited or a manual limit in KB/s
  • UPLOAD One of the following: unlimited, auto, or a manual limit in KB/s

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