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I've had nemo file manager with the dropbox extension but after the problem of nemo 2.0 that couldn't render the desktop properly, I removed both of them, and installed nautilus.

Now, I am trying to install dropbox with nautilus, when running sudo apt-get install nautilus-dropbox I am getting this:

The following packages have unmet dependencies: nautilus-dropbox : Depends: dropbox E: Unable to correct problems, you have held broken packages.

I followed the directions here but I am getting the above error. After that, I ran this cd ~ && wget -O - "http://www.dropbox.com/download?plat=lnx.x86_64" | tar xzf - as mentioned in the comments of the reply and successfuly ran dropbox daemon with this ~/.dropbox-dist/dropboxd.

I know that to run dropbox from now on, I will create a new entry at the startup applications with this command ~/.dropbox-dist/dropboxd.

But my question is, why can't I install it normally and run it with dropbox start command?

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The package manager (apt) failed to install nautilus-dropbox because it depend on package dropbox, the main software, but didn't find it in the package list. Note that nautilus-dropbox is just a nautilus extension. Usually 3rd party softwares are not included into software sources of an OS due to security reason. In that case we need to manually add it to software sources. PPA are commenly used for this. After successfully updating the sources we can install software without problem using the following command. sudo apt-get install nautilus-dropbox. AFAIK there is no PPA for it. They have an online installer package which can be downloadable From here. After completing the installation you can use the earlier command to install nautilus-dropbox.
In your case dropbox is not installed to the system. It's a kind of copying, as we use a portable software. So the system is unaware of the program. If you want to launch it with a single command run the following command.
sudo ln -s /home/$USER/.dropbox-dist/dropboxd /usr/bin/dropboxd

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Why ~/.dropbox-dist/dropboxd and not dropbox to start the daemon? One reason might be that the word dropbox is/was a relatively common name for for the service their company provides. A more specific reason would be that ~/.dropbox-dist/dropboxd is where it was installed for your local user.

The directions followed are actually those provided by Dropbox, as the headless installation method, except their last step was left out:

Download this Python script to control Dropbox from the command line. For easy access, put a symlink to the script anywhere in your PATH.

With their script, and a little setup as below, you can now use dropbox start for manual control, or even dropbox autostart to not have to worry about it.

I keep ~/.local/bin on my PATH for local installations (those for only my user).

Example Setup

In ~/.bash_profile:

export PATH=~/.local/bin:$PATH

Then run:

mkdir -p ~/.local/bin
wget -O ~/.local/bin/dropbox.py "https://www.dropbox.com/download?dl=packages/dropbox.py"
chmod ug+x ~/.local/bin/dropbox.py
ln -s -T ~/.local/bin/dropbox.py ~/.local/bin/dropbox

Example Use

[user@example Dropbox]$ dropbox

Dropbox command-line interface

commands:

Note: use dropbox help <command> to view usage for a specific command.

status       get current status of the dropboxd
throttle     set bandwidth limits for Dropbox
help         provide help
puburl       get public url of a file in your dropbox's public folder
stop         stop dropboxd
running      return whether dropbox is running
start        start dropboxd
filestatus   get current sync status of one or more files
ls           list directory contents with current sync status
autostart    automatically start dropbox at login
exclude      ignores/excludes a directory from syncing
lansync      enables or disables LAN sync
sharelink    get a shared link for a file in your dropbox
proxy        set proxy settings for Dropbox
  • I found I also needed to run chmod 700 ~/.local/bin/dropbox.py or I got a permission denied error. – R J Jul 1 '17 at 22:15
  • @RJ, thanks for the reminder. I added a permissions step to the answer. – Kevin Jul 2 '17 at 14:32

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