Using Xubuntu 11.10

I figured there might be a problem installing Dropbox using the .deb file from the website since XFCE doesn't use Nautilus.

Some tutorials said that you have to install Nautilus first which I did. But when I installed Dropbox there weren't any problems and it even shows a symbol in the tray without me having to add anything.

What I want to know is if installing Nautilus was necessary or not and which file manager I'm using now, Thunar or Nautilus?


12.04 and above

Despite the weird naming convention, dropbox can be installed though the package nautilus-dropbox

nautilus-dropbox Install nautilus-dropbox

The dependencies this installs are:

sudo apt-get install nautilus-dropbox 
[sudo] password for dad: 
Reading package lists... Done
Building dependency tree       
Reading state information... Done
The following extra packages will be installed:
  libgpgme11 libpth20 python-gpgme
Suggested packages:
  gpgsm nautilus
The following NEW packages will be installed
  libgpgme11 libpth20 nautilus-dropbox python-gpgme
0 upgraded, 4 newly installed, 0 to remove and 0 not upgraded.
Need to get 500 kB of archives.
After this operation, 1,517 kB of additional disk space will be used.

During the installation and internet connection is required since it downloads the latest dropbox package from dropbox themselves.

Ignore the nautilus references displayed in the terminal (if installed from there).

Don't click the Start Dropbox button more than once and be patient because the installation is silent and can take a few minutes

enter image description here

Then click the option shown:

enter image description here

11.10 and below

By default the deb packages require nautilus as a dependency.

However - you can install dropbox manually without needing to install nautilus and other gnome-dependencies.

cd ~/

for 32bit:

wget -O dropbox.tar.gz http://www.dropbox.com/download\?plat=lnx.x86

for 64bit:

wget -O dropbox.tar.gz http://www.dropbox.com/download\?plat=lnx.x86_64

now extract and run the drop-box wizard:

tar -zxvf dropbox.tar.gz
wget -nd http://dl.dropbox.com/u/6995/dbmakefakelib.py
wget -nd http://dl.dropbox.com/u/6995/dbreadconfig.py
python dbmakefakelib.py

N.B. ignore any errors that you may see. The important part is that the dropbox wizard is displayed.

Then follow the standard dropbox wizard to create/connect a DropBox account and to create a DropBox folder.

Create an autostart program with the command sh -c "~/.dropbox-dist/dropboxd" to start the dropbox daemon automatically on logon (see linked question and answer below for a how-to)


Linked Question

  1. Modify xfce startup applications
  • Thanks. Well, Dropbox shows in the tray on startup. I seems it just needed Nautilus during install. That's cool as long as I don't have to be using it now.
    – H3R3T1K
    Feb 5 '12 at 0:31
  • correct - if you install from deb you have to install all the gnome runtime stuff. If you are a purist (you dont sound like one :) ) then you might have wanted to avoid installing stuff from other desktops such as gnome/kde etc. Thus my answer applies.
    – fossfreedom
    Feb 5 '12 at 0:33
  • Unfortunately, you don't get the feedback on folder of file update status on the icon. Another strange thing is that it asked me for root password to start dropbox after I rebooted te PC and logged in my session.
    – chmike
    Jan 27 '13 at 12:36

This is two questions. First, the .deb file you installed has "nautilus" as one of its requirements. I can confirm this, because I had to install the gnome runtime stuff and Nautilus in order to get it to install.

Secondly, unless you reconfigured your system's default window explorer, you are using Thunar. This is because doing apt-get install nautilus generally will not reassign the default to Nautilus.

Having Nautilus and Thunar alongside each other isnt a negative thing either, you can do that without negative consequences (I run Dolphin (KDE) and Nautilus (GNOME) on the same system, because sometimes I use KDE, and neither resets the default of the other unless i'm in the other's DE)


From http://www.jamesmuirhead.com/?p=536 I found an even easier way.

  1. Download Dropbox 32-bit | 64-bit
  2. Extract the .dropbox-dist folder to your home directory keeping the folder structure.
  3. Go to the folder in your favourite terminal program.

    cd $HOME/.dropbox-dist
  4. Make the Dropbox files executable.

    chmod u+x dropbox
    chmod u+x dropboxd
  5. Add dropbox as auto-startup through Settings Manager/Session and Startup/Application Autostart (/home/your_user/.dropbox-dist/dropbox)

This works for me without any error messages and no need for python commands.


I did this a somewhat different way... but I used both of the answers. I feel this is pretty easy. Download the python script (made by Dropbox so it's official)


Right click in the folder you saved this file, by default it would likely be ~/Downloads and 'Open in Terminal'

If you can't do that, open a terminal and navigate to wherever you saved the file, by default you can cd ~/Downloads.

In terminal, python dropbox.py start --install

The script will automatically download and install the daemon, you shouldn't have any errors. Then, simply add /home/*yourusername*/.dropbox-dist/dropboxd --start to your startup applications. Make sure to remove any other Dropbox references in the autostartup. I had nautilus-dropbox before installing the headless version, and that remained in the list. Just remove it, it won't autostart the daemon anyway.

Hope this helps others :) This also works in Precise.


Besides installing Dropbox on Xubuntu (for which good answers have been given here already), you might want the full integration for your file manager;

If you want to integrate Dropbox in Thunar (the default file manager of Xubuntu), there is now an unofficial plugin for that. It does however require you to install a few extra dependencies. See here for more info: http://xubuntu.org/news/faq-1204-precise/

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