Or … “How to get some 5 + 15 + 15 + 15 = 50 GB cloud space”
I am moving more and more of my data into the cloud. Integrity I do not care that much about and not that much about backup too. I also care less of dealing with revisions. If I want documents under revision I can use github or my employer’s SVN repositories.
Having the files stored in a remote disk turns out to be more and more attractive for me for many reasons. Of course, one might be forced to have a good internet connection all the time, but practically that is the case nowadays. In order to have the data in the clouds one needs to have access to a practical and flexible provider. Thus problems with many of these resources are that they do not support all the multiple platforms.
There are a few tutorials on this comparing different cloud services. I repeat some of this here for my own convenience when I need to configure a new computer. A comparison is for example given here
This site also quite well compares the Big 5 and those are the ones I end up looking at too.
As I mentioned in the abstract I do not care that much about integrity and if data gets lost. I am too paranoid to store all my (synched) files in one single place and also not paranoid enough to care if someone else reads them. What I store there is not useful for others anyway… (Yes, I know it could be used for blahblah, etc., but I do not care. Anyone browsing my public Facebook profile would be able to deduce much more information from that than looking at my files).
So this is my external memory on how to setup the services next time I buy a computer and then I am using according to following scheme (and in order of importance – for me):
- Dropbox: personal photo sync from phones
- Google Drive: for collaboration with partners from many different sites and who do not care about using Microsoft Office
- Box.com: for work-related files and for those who thinks it is practical to write an incorrectly formatted Word document in US letter page format with three lines of (misformatted) text
- OneDrive: Spare backup for large files
- Copy: Spare backup for large files
Another comment; I have tried some of these services out on ubuntu 14.04, 14.10 and CentOs 6 (and of Windows 7).
Dropbox (2 to 5 GB)
The best option so far is Dropbox which works on all platforms (for me at least) out-of-the-box. Press a button and it works – brilliant. I use it on all my computers and also sync other essentials like dot files and bin files and what have you. Installing Dropbox is essentially just going to their homepage and press install.
Dropbox offers 2 GB to 5 GB for free dependent on how active you are. You can also get lured by the 50-GB offer they give you once you buy a new phone… If you buy a new phone every second year, you can also maintain a large cloud drive at Dropbox.
Dropbox is very easy to manage and you can move files back and forth and you can easily share folders with others for collaborative work.
OneDrive (15 GB)
Microsofts OneDrive does not natively support linux and a wrapper has to be installed (
It can be installed as a single user and you do not (necessarily) need to have root access.
The page needs some updates: Start a new terminal once the installation has been done for ubuntu to pick all the new settings up.
the very first time to setup config files and also to set up bidrectional authorization.
Onedrive-d will direct you to Microsoft and lets you go through the steps for two-side authorization, select files to block, and other things. Then enable the sync process through
One annoying thing is the microsoft way of translating the names of the folders. Especially they tend to translate the English folder names to something I would never use in my daily conversations.
OneDrive offers 15 GB for free. Notice that you have to restart
onedrive-d every time you logon or make sure it is added your startup files.
Copy (15 GB)
Copy from barracuda is another service which works quite brilliantly on linux. Like Dropbox it is just one click away (sort of… some tarring and extraction is needed). Some e-mail confirmation clicks and then you are ready to go.
Once installed, barracuda makes sure that the copy daemon runs in the background when you restart. Notice that one can get 5 GB extra through their referral system. Why not use this one 😉
BOX.com (many GB)
Box.com, a service provided through my employer, a service I would not use personally, but on the other hand, box.com is IMO not intended for personal use in first place. (Dropbox, btw, nowadays supports enterprises too.) The last year or so I have been using Dropbox for personal use as well as also storing plenty of work-related data (it’s public). Now, these files are getting too big and eat up my private Dropbox folder (yes, I should buy a new phone).
A very good tutorial on how to install box.com is given by Xmodulo to mount box through their WevDAV:
and there are quite a few more out there. I do not really plan to repeat that here; the link above gives a very good step-by-step description and works pretty much out of the box [pun intended]. You can add your passwords such that mounting is automatically done upon start-up.
However, there are some important notes to be done, which made it fail for me during installation:
- First, one of the issues is that I have an enterprise login, i.e., normally I login to box through my employer’s verification system. This means you have to box and state an alternative password for your login. That password is the one you should use.
Also: notice that if you try too many times, Box will block any login other than through their web portal. You have to go to box.com and also type in a captcha to re-activate the system.
- Secondly, the error message you get from the case above is not so trivial to understand as it not clearly states the error message per se (incorrect password, etc.).
Gdrive (15 GB)
Google Drive is known to everyone I presume. There are also some efforts to get gdrive to work on linux, as for example:
but there is no google linux client as such. The above 3rd-party I have not really got it to be stable enough. However, IMO gdrive is anyhow more powerful through google Docs and most often you would use it for on-line document editing and other on-line activities rather than your local. It is a bit different, sort of.
Sync vs Mount
And yes, there are of course differences between the two approaches. Dropbox/OneDrive/Copy synchronizes the data, i.e., you will have access to them also off-line. That is not the case with the mounting option for Box. The Box clients on Windows does indeed sync on windows rather than just mount a remote disk.