I use Dropbox to sync almost all of my documents, work and personal. I also have a bunch of MATLAB routines that I'd like to sync with other users of a lab that I work at. In the lab, I only want the one folder to sync. I'm aware that I could login to my Dropbox on the lab machine and use 'Selective Sync' to only sync the one folder, but that creates the problem that other users of the lab computer would still be able to see my files by adjusting the Selective Sync settings.

The lab computer runs Linux. Another potential solution I have come up with is to install Dropbox on my own user account on the lab machine, put the files I want to share with other lab users somewhere outside of my user folder, and turn on Selective Sync. That way, the Dropbox settings should only be accessible from my account, and so no one can tinker with my selective sync settings and thus access my personal files (as Dropbox should only run when I'm logged in), but the other users would still have free access to my MATLAB routines, because I store them in a public folder.

Would this work?

  • Just use two different accounts, then share the lab files, with the other account. Why mix work and personal if you don't have to.
    – Ramhound
    Nov 19, 2014 at 19:21

2 Answers 2


It seems a litte farfetched. I would do as follows:

Create an extra account, a proxy account, so to speak. This way you have two accounts, A (yours) and B (lab user).

In account A, create a folder and share it with B. Then, log in to account B on the machines you would have otherwise configured for "selective sync". This way, if anyone tries to access the dropbox account, or tinkers with that machine's specific settings, he'll only be able to see said shared folder.

  • 1
    I agree this is the best solution. A free Dropbox user has 2GB of storage so I hope that is plenty for MATLAB routines. The registered e-mail should be one that the OP controls.
    – Sun
    Nov 20, 2014 at 0:13
  • Very clever! I like this solution. In fact, since I only want to have the MATLAB stuff on the lab computer I don't even need to have separate user accounts on the lab machine - just the one Dropbox account that has shared access to my MATLAB folder. Nov 20, 2014 at 13:23

To the cloud I upload only data that was encrypted before leaving my computer. That is the only way to ensure the cloud provider or anyone else can access it. You may use the same approach for your personal data, while leaving your public data unencrypted. Sample code

cd Private/privat/
tar -cvf privat.tar privat/
gpg --symmetric -o privat.tar.gpg privat.tar # prompts for password
mv -f privat.tar.gpg ~/Dropbox/Privat/
rm privat.tar 

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