I have an Ubuntu machine with multiple users. I want all of them to be able to access the same Dropbox folder. How do I set up the Dropbox syncing process?

Currently I have the Dropbox daemon running under only 1 of the user's accounts (call him Bob). This is fine as long as Bob is logged in. Even if a different user (say Sally) is also logged in and is actively using the desktop, since Bob is logged in in the background, the daemon will keep running and any of Sally's work in the Dropbox folder will be synched right away.

The drawback is that if the machine is rebooted (or Bob logs off instead of doing "switch user") and it ends up that Sally is logged in but Bob is not, then the Dropbox daemon will not be running, and Sally's work will not be synced.

I don't think it's a good idea to have every user running the Dropbox daemon, because then they may interfere with each other, because there is only one Dropbox folder that all users are sharing.

I also don't want to have every user have their own Dropbox folder, since that would duplicate all the files.


There is some information on the unofficial dropbox wiki how to set up Dropbox to start up at boot time and run in a GUI-less Linux environment using its own user account.

I have not tested this. Hope it help.

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  • Your post needs to be expanded. A good answer includes specific instructions (not just links to them). Please edit your post to include the steps necessary to implement your answer (linking to source material for purposes of proper attribution is of course encouraged). – I say Reinstate Monica May 12 '17 at 12:07

IIRC, Dropbox can only work well (officially) if there is only one user logged in. So switch user isnt recommended when working on a commom shared folder.

You can setup multiple-user dropbox, but this way each user would have their dropbox. But that means that if its the same shared folder, space and transfers would be duplicated... so if its a shared folder, set it as really a shared folder.

I have not tested this, but seens logic, so try it: Choose a commom place where both account will work (say /home/shared-dropbox). Move one dropbox folder to that shared folder and then move the other account to that same folder (dont forget to setup the correct permissions for boths users to work). This way, one file changed by one user will be uploaded for the 2 accounts. The dropbox deduplication will probably save you of uploading it twice. If it complains of colision, that is unknown, you must try it to test if all really works fine.

You can also check this FAQ for multi-user support on their forum/wiki

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