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Dropbox has announced that on November 7, they're dropping support for a wide range of Linux file systems except for unencrypted ext4. See

https://www.dropbox.com/help/desktop-web/system-requirements#linux

This is being discussed on the Dropbox support site and on twitter and slashdot.

I've been running ext4 with ecryptfs on my home directory without any problems, but this will apparently not be supported after November 7.

If I wipe my system and reinstall Ubuntu 16.04 with full disk encryption and run ext4 on top of that it has been suggested to me that the Dropbox client will be happy. Has anyone confirmed that this will work?

It's also been suggested that one could create an ext4 filesystem within a file outside of the ecryptfs home directory and setup dropbox to run on that filesystem. This would leave the Dropbox files unencrypted. Has anyone confirmed that this will work?

Is it possible to simply tell Dropbox to store its files unencrypted in /var/Dropbox?

Are there any other suggested solutions for us ecryptfs+ext4 users?

  • Any more questions? I think my answer addresses your question pretty well, so hope you will accept it. – greggles Oct 4 '18 at 14:07
7

I contacted Dropbox support about this issue and let them know I'd prefer greater support for encryption and for more filesystems. They responded:

While we do not support encryption methods like ecryptfs, we do support full disk encryption systems such as LUKS for Linux users. Dropbox makes the security of your data our highest priority.

Their system requirements page now says:

Note: ecryptfs is not supported, but Dropbox will continue to sync with supported file systems that are encrypted via full disk encryption (e.g. LUKS)

So, it seems that they are pretty committed to supporting full disk encryption with LUKS. That may change in the future, of course.

Is it possible to simply tell Dropbox to store its files unencrypted in /var/Dropbox?

That seems likely to work, but...then the files are not encrypted.

Are there any other suggested solutions for us ecryptfs+ext4 users?

I think the solution if you want to encrypt the files is to move to LUKS and full disk encryption.

  • 1
    I can confirm that the option of putting the dropbox folder in /var/Dropbox appears to work. This is a nice quick solution until one gets the time to consider encrypting the entire disk just for dropbox... This is an okay option for people like me that are more concerned with having a nice option to backup a few files and have them auto distributed to different devices. – GlenB Dec 20 '18 at 17:16
5

You can use Cryptomator.

  • An Open Source Tool for free client-side encryption of your cloud files.

Install it with

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:sebastian-stenzel/cryptomator
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install cryptomator
1

There's a GitHub repository called dropbox-filesystem-fix. This makes your Dropbox folder appear as if it's on an unencrypted Ext4 filesystem, no matter what filesystem you use (and with or without encryption). You just have to run Dropbox with with a dropbox-filesystem library (LD_PRELOAD).

You'll need to grab the code from GitHub, compile the library (make) and replace the Dropbox startup entry with the dropbox_start.py script provided by dropbox-filesystem-fix.

If you need complete step by step instructions, check out this page.

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Note that a solution based on having Dropbox on an LUKS-encrypted partition would normally require entering an extra password when that partition is mounted - as compared to having Dropbox on ecryptfs+ext4 such as an Ubuntu with encrypted /home directory (which needs only the login password).

The solution described here avoids this extra password: https://askubuntu.com/a/818539. But actually I'm surprised there isn't more support for this? I guess more of us will be looking into it now that we're forced to move our Dropbox files out of our encrypted /home.

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