How to patch Dropbox for Linux PCs that don’t use Ext4

The Dropbox syncing service released an update in late 2018 for Linux that dropped support for all file-systems on Linux aside from Ext4. For the average user, this probably isn’t a huge deal. Linux users on average don’t use lesser-known, file-systems (BtrFS, XFS). Furthermore, the Ubuntu installer, along with Fedora, Debian, and other major Linux operating systems use Ex4 by default. Still, even if it’s true that a majority of Linux users do not bother switching to lesser-known, file systems and stick with Ext4, it’s irritating that the Dropbox service is dictating to Linux users what file-system they have to use in order to use the desktop syncing client.

If you don’t use Extended 4 as your default Linux file system but require Dropbox, this new update is a real bummer. Fortunately, it’s possible to patch Dropbox for Linux filesystems that don’t run Ext4. Here’s how to get it done.

WARNING: This fix isn’t endorsed by Dropbox. Be sure that your synced data is backed up to a second location, such as an external USB or HDD before attempting this fix. We can’t confirm that the filesystem patch will work 100% of the time! Attempt at your own risk!

Install Dropbox fixer app

The Dropbox fixer application, also known as “Dropbox Filesystem Fix” is up on GitHub. To use it on your Linux PC the code needs to be compiled and built from source. To do this, you must install several dependencies.

Open up a terminal window by pressing Ctrl + Alt + T or Ctrl + Shift + T on the keyboard. From there, follow the installation instructions that correspond with the Linux operating system you are using.

Ubuntu

sudo apt install build-essential git

Debian

sudo apt-get install build-essential git

Arch Linux

sudo pacman -S git base-devel

Fedora

sudo dnf install install make automake gcc gcc-c++ kernel-devel git

OpenSUSE

sudo zypper install -t pattern devel_basis
sudo zypper install git

After installing the dependencies for the app, you can use the git clone command-line argument to clone the latest release of the Dropbox fixer code.

git clone https://github.com/dark/dropbox-filesystem-fix.git

After cloning the Dropbox fixer code to your Linux PC, move the terminal session into the new folder, by making use of the CD command.

cd dropbox-filesystem-fix

Inside the code folder, feel free to take a look at the Readme.md file. It outlines what the program’s capabilities are, various features, installation information, etc. Otherwise, execute the make command to compile the code from source.

make

The compiler will take a few minutes to compile the patch quickly. The resulting output of the build is libdropbox_fs_fix.so.

With the code compiled, it’s time to move the ~/dropbox-filesystem-fix folder into the /opt directory. To do that, make use of the mv command.

sudo mv ~/dropbox-filesystem-fix/ /opt/

Next, delete some of the files in the folder that aren’t necessary with the rm command.

sudo rm /opt/dropbox-filesystem-fix/detect-ext.c 
sudo rm /opt/dropbox-filesystem-fix/libdropbox_fs_fix.c 
sudo rm /opt/dropbox-filesystem-fix/Makefile

Update the permissions of the dropbox_start.py script using chmod.

sudo chmod +x /opt/dropbox-filesystem-fix/dropbox_start.py

Set up Dropbox to use the Dropbox fix script

The Dropbox fixer script needs to be set as the default launch command for the sync client, or the patch won’t work. To do this, we must first erase the shortcut settings in the default Dropbox app launch file.

WARNING! Close the Dropbox sync client on your system and stop it from running before running any of the commands below.

Using the echo command, set Dropbox.desktop to blank.

sudo echo ' ' > /usr/share/applications/dropbox.desktop

Next, delete the existing Dropbox startup entry from your system, as it contains the same code we need to change.

rm ~/.config/autostart/dropbox.desktop

Open up the blank Dropbox.desktop file in the Nano text editor.

sudo nano -w /usr/share/applications/dropbox.desktop

Paste the code below into the Dropbox.desktop file.

[Desktop Entry]
Name=Dropbox
GenericName=File Synchronizer
Comment=Sync your files across computers and to the web
Exec=/opt/dropbox-filesystem-fix/dropbox_start.py
Terminal=false
Type=Application
Icon=dropbox
Categories=Network;FileTransfer;
StartupNotify=false

Save the code with Ctrl + O in Nano. After that, exit Nano with Ctrl + X. Then, make a new copy of Dropbox.desktop to the ~/.config/autostart folder on your Linux PC.

cp /usr/share/applications/dropbox.desktop ~/.config/autostart/

Assuming everything is done correctly, Dropbox should now be ready to sync again on file-systems such as XFS, BtrFS, and other, unsupported ones.

To start syncing again, find “Dropbox” in the app menu on your Linux PC and double-click on it.

Limitations of the Dropbox Filesystem Fix

The Dropbox company has no intention of bringing back support for lesser-known file-systems again. So, this fix is the best that the community can do for the time being.

If Dropbox Filesystem Fix stops working for you, it may be best to re-install your Linux operating system with Ext4 or, set up a dedicated Ext4 partition for your Dropbox syncing needs.

Read How to patch Dropbox for Linux PCs that don’t use Ext4 by Derrik Diener on AddictiveTips – Tech tips to make you smarter

How to back up the Dropbox sync folder on Linux

Dropbox is a stellar backup system. It’s one of the few major cloud sync providers that offer up mainstream support for Linux (albeit limited in recent updates). Still, the Dropbox syncing system isn’t perfect on Linux, or any platform for that matter. The fact is, things can break, syncing can fail, and it puts your data at risk.

A great way to ensure that the data in your Dropbox folder is always safe is to create a local backup. On Linux, there are many different ways to create backups, so we’ll be exploring a couple of ways to back up the Dropbox sync folder, with minimal effort on the user’s part.

Method 1 – Tar

The fastest way to create a back up of the Dropbox sync folder is to use the Tar tool to create a TarGZ archive, for easy storage. The benefit of going this way is that there is no additional software to install; compress and go.

Tar in terminal

Creating a Tar backup of the Dropbox sync folder in the terminal is probably the easiest way to do, as you need to run a command. To create a new backup of your sync folder, follow the step-by-step instructions.

Step 1: Go to the system tray on your Linux desktop and locate the Dropbox icon. Once found, right-click on it with the mouse to reveal its context menu.

Step 2: In the context menu, locate the “Exit” button and click it to close the Dropbox sync client.

Step 3: Open up a terminal window and use the tar command to create a new TarGZ archive of your Dropbox sync folder (~/Dropbox)

tar -czvf dropbox-backup.tar.gz ~/Dropbox

Step 4: Let the Tar program archive scan through all of the files in your Dropbox sync folder and add them to the new dropbox-backup.tar.gz folder.

Step 5: When the archiving process is complete, copy dropbox-backup.tar.gz to an external hard drive, home server, etc.

Encrypt backup

Many Dropbox sync folders contain sensitive data. Things like tax documents, personal family photos, etc. For this reason, you may want to encrypt your backup. That is if you want to prevent unwanted people from accessing the backup file.

To encrypt the Dropbox backup, you’ll need to use the GnuPG tool.

Note: need to install GnuPG? Check out Pkgs.org for more info.

In the terminal, run the gpg command with the “c” command-line switch to encrypt the newly created dropbox-backup.tar.gz file.

gpg -c dropbox-backup.tar.gz

After entering the gpg command, the terminal will ask you to enter a passphrase. Enter something memorable and secure. Alternatively, generate a password with the Strongpasswordgenerator.com tool.

Following adding the password to the file, Gpg will finish the encryption process and output dropbox-backup.tar.gz.gpg. Next, you must delete the original dropbox-backup.tar.gz file, as it is not encrypted.

rm dropbox-backup.tar.gz

Finally, copy the dropbox-backup.tar.gz.gpg file to an external HDD, home server, or somewhere else safe.

Restore backup

To restore a Dropbox backup made in Tar, do the following.

Step 1: Move dropbox-backup.tar.gz or dropbox-backup.tar.gz.gpg (if you chose to encrypt your backup) to the home folder using your Linux PC’s file manager.

Step 2: Turn off the Dropbox sync app.

Step 3: Delete the original Dropbox sync folder.

rm -rf ~/Dropbox

Step 4: Extract the backup and restore it to its original location.

gpg dropbox-backup.tar.gz.gpg 

mkdir -p ~/Dropbox

tar dropbox-backup.tar.gz -C ~/Dropbox

Method 2 – Deja Dup

Want a more turn-key backup solution for your Dropbox sync folder? Consider using the Deja Dup tool. It can automatically archive and encrypt your Dropbox files with minimal effort.

To gain access to Deja Dup, install the app.

Ubuntu

sudo apt install deja-dup

Debian

sudo apt-get install deja-dup

Arch Linux

sudo pacman -S deja-dup

Fedora

sudo dnf install deja-dup

OpenSUSE

sudo zypper install deja-dup

Open up the Deja Dup application on your Linux desktop. Then, inside of the app, find the “Folders to save” option and click on it.

Click the “+” button to open up the file browser, and use it to add your Dropbox sync folder to the “Folders to save” list.

Next, click on your home directory in “Folders to save” and remove it from the list, so that Deja Dup only backs up your Dropbox sync directory.

After adding the Dropbox folder to Deja Dup, click on “Storage Location”. Then, set Deja Dup to save your backup to an external hard drive, local drive, server, or whatever other location you choose.

Click on “Overview”, then “Back Up Now” to create the new backup. Be sure to check the box that enables encryption, if you want to keep your files safe.

Restore backup

To restore your Dropbox backup made with Deja Dup, do the following.

Step 1: Open up the Linux file manager on your computer.

Step 2: Shut off the Dropbox sync client.

Step 3: Find the Dropbox sync folder, right-click on it with the mouse and delete it from the computer.

Step 4: Open up Deja Dup and click “Restore.” Be sure to select “Restore files to original location”.

Read How to back up the Dropbox sync folder on Linux by Derrik Diener on AddictiveTips – Tech tips to make you smarter

How to automatically start programs on Mate

The Mate desktop environment has a lot of settings that users can take advantage of for customization purposes. One of the best, most in-depth customization features is the autostart function, as it allows users to automatically start programs on Mate. They can decide how their Mate system loads up programs, scripts, and even services!

Configuring the autostart function on the Mate desktop is done through the system settings. To gain access to this area of the desktop, follow the instructions below.

Autostart programs via GUI

Configuring automatic program starting in Mate with the GUI is done through the Control Center application. To access the control center, open up your menu and look for “Control Center.” Alternatively, the app can be opened by pressing Alt + F2 and writing in mate-control-center in the box.

In the Control Center application on the Mate desktop, you’ll see a whole lot of different settings. All of these settings correspond to individual aspects of the Mate desktop environment and can be changed at will.

Scroll through the Control Center application and make your way to the “Personal” section. From there, find the “Startup Applications” button and click on it to access the autostart configuration area for the Mate desktop.

Inside of the Startup Applications Preferences window, you’ll see a huge list. In this list, there are dozens of startup services, programs, scripts, etc. If you’d like to create a new, custom startup system, locate the “+ Add” button and click on it with the mouse.

After clicking on the “+ Add” button, a small pop-up box will appear. In this box, there are several text fields. The fields are “Name,” “Command,” and “Comment.”

To automatically start up a program, find the “Name” box and write out the name of the program. Then, write in the name of the program in the “Command” box.

For example, to automatically start up Firefox in Mate upon login, you’d write “firefox” in the command area.

Removing program autostart with GUI

You may wish to stop a program from automatically starting on the Mate desktop. To do this, gain access to the Control Center.

Note: for quick access to the Control Center in Mate, press Alt + F2 and write “mate-control-center” in the command box.

Once in the Control Center GUI tool in the Mate desktop, look for “Startup Applications” and click on it to gain access to the autostart GUI.

Inside of the autostart GUI, scroll through the list of startup entries and select the one you’d like to disable with the mouse. Then, check the check-box next to the service to stop it from automatically launching.

Alternatively, remove the startup entry for good by selecting the startup entry in the list with the mouse, and selecting the “- Remove” button.

Autostart programs via terminal

The Mate autostart GUI tool is a great way to manage automatic startup programs quickly. However, it’s not the only way. If you’re a terminal fan, you can also create automatic startup entries in the command-line.

To make a new startup entry, launch a terminal window with Ctrl + Alt + T or Ctrl + Shift + T. Then, move the terminal session into the /usr/share/applications/ directory.

cd /usr/share/applications/

Run the ls command and view the program shortcuts in the folder, so that you may locate the name of the program you want to auto-start.

ls

Can’t find the app you need? Combine ls with the grep tool to more easily filter out a keyword.

ls | grep programname

Take the name of the program and plug it into the following cp command to create a new autostart entry. For example, to autostart Firefox on Mate through the terminal, you’d do:

cp firefox.desktop ~/.config/autostart/

Removing automatic program start in the terminal

To get rid of an automatic startup entry for the Mate desktop environment from the command-line, you’ll need CD into the ~/.config/autostart directory.

cd ~/.config/autostart

Can’t access the ~/.config/autostart directory on your Mate desktop? If so, you may not have an autostart folder. To create one, use the mkdir command.

mkdir -p ~/.config/autostart

Inside of the autostart folder, run the ls command. Running this command will allow you to take a look inside the folder.

ls

Take note of the files revealed by the ls tool. Then, plug them into the following rm command to delete and disable the startup entries.

rm programname.desktop

Want to delete more than one startup entry at a time? Use the rm command, but instead of specifying the exact name of the startup entry file (such as firefox.desktop,) you can make use of the wildcard (*) function in Bash on Linux.

Using the wildcard (*) will allow you to automatically remove and delete all desktop shortcut files from the ~/.config/autostart directory.

rm *.desktop

Read How to automatically start programs on Mate by Derrik Diener on AddictiveTips – Tech tips to make you smarter

How to set up auto night mode in KDE

KDE Plasma 5 doesn’t have an automatic night-mode, which is disappointing, but understandable, given that most KDE users aren’t begging developers to add this feature in large numbers. So, if you’re itching to have your KDE desktop automatically transition from light to dark themes depending on the time of day, you’ll need to make use of the Yin-Yang application to set up auto night mode in KDE.

Note: Though this post focuses on KDE Plasma 5, Yin-Yang works with other desktop environments too. More information on the official page.

Install Yin-Yang on Linux

The Yin-Yang application comes distributed as an AppImage. The reason the developers have gone with this method of distribution is that the program will not have to be compiled. Instead, download the file, make a couple of tweaks and go.

Getting the Yin-Yang AppImage from GitHub is best done with the wget downloader application. To use it, launch a terminal window by pressing Ctrl + Alt + T or Ctrl + Shift + T on the keyboard. Then, use the wget command to get the latest AppImage release of the app.

Note: don’t want to deal with AppImage? There is also a single executable binary available for the Yin-Yang application. Grab it here.

wget https://github.com/daehruoydeef/Yin-Yang/releases/download/v1.0-beta/Yin-Yang.AppImage

After the app is done downloading, it’s time to make a new folder with the “AppImages” label. This folder is necessary so that we can put the Yin-Yang application somewhere safe, and protect it from accidental deletion.

To create the new “AppImages” folder, use the mkdir command.

mkdir -p ~/AppImages

With the new folder created for Yin-Yang, use the mv command to move the file into it.

mv Yin-Yang.AppImage ~/AppImages/

Enter the “AppImages” folder with the CD command.

cd ~/AppImages

Finally, finish up the installation process of the Yin-Yang application by updating the file’s permission set.

chmod +x Yin-Yang.AppImage

Source code

If the AppImage release of the Yin-Yang application is giving you issues, try downloading the source code.

To get the source code, as well as the instructions on how to build Yin-Yang from scratch, head over to the “Building” page on the developer’s GitHub.

Configure auto night mode on KDE

Configuring KDE to run night mode with Yin-Yang, you must first open up the Yin-Yang AppImage. There are two ways to do this: the terminal or the file manager.

To open up the application through the terminal window, use the CD command and move your session to the ~/AppImages folder.

cd ~/AppImages

Once in the AppImages folder, run the app for the first time with:

./Yin-Yang.AppImage

Or, open it up in the KDE Dolphin file manager by clicking on the “AppImages” folder, followed by the Yin-Yang AppImage file.

When the app is open, it’s time to configure dark mode. To instantly switch between modes, find the “Light” and “Dark” button. Click one of them to transition instantly.

Alternatively, to schedule when your KDE Plasma 5 desktop environment switches from light and dark, find the “scheduled” button and click it with the mouse.

After selecting the “scheduled” button, locate the “Light” and “Dark” boxes. Change the times that you’d like to see your PC switch between themes.

Please note that the schedule area of Yin-Yang works with the 24-hour time format. If you have issues writing or understanding time in this way, do yourself a favor and check out this page here. It will help you convert 24-hour time to a traditional 12 hour time.

Light/Dark wallpaper

Yin-Yang supports using different wallpapers depending on the theme you’re using (light/dark). To set individual wallpapers to switch to when Yin-Yang is running, do the following.

First, open up the app and find the “Settings” button. Then, go into the settings area and make your way to the bottom of the app and find “Wallpaper.”

Click on the “Light” or “Dark” buttons to open up a file browser. From there, use the file browser to navigate to the wallpaper image file you’d like to use for that mode.

Use Yin-Yang with VSCode

The Yin-Yang application can work with Microsoft’s Visual Studio Code so that it automatically switches between light and dark themes like the rest of your KDE desktop.

To enable this feature, click on “Settings” in the app window. From there, locate the option “VSCode” and check the box next to it.

Use Yin-Yang with Atom

Yin-Yang supports changing the appearance within GitHub’s Atom code editor. To enable this feature, open up Yin-Yang and click the “Settings” button.

In the settings area, scroll down and look for the “Atom” section, and check the box next to it to enable the feature.

Other settings

The Yin-Yang application has a lot of settings that let users configure and tweak how both Light and Dark modes work in the app. To gain access to these settings, click on the “Settings” button and go through the list of options that appeal to you.

Read How to set up auto night mode in KDE by Derrik Diener on AddictiveTips – Tech tips to make you smarter

How to use the Manjaro Linux driver installer

Manjaro Linux is one of the best new Linux distributions that are gaining traction in the community. It’s not hard to see why, as it takes the usually complicated Arch Linux distribution and puts it in a friendly, easy to understand casing — effectively adding training wheels to an unstable base.

The Manjaro operating system has a whole host of strengths, but by far its best ability is its robust driver installation tool. Thanks to this, even new Linux users can quickly and effectively get everything from the latest GPU drivers to something as confusing as a WiFi card working with little trouble.

There are two ways to use the Manjaro Linux driver installer: the command-line or the Manjaro GUI settings application. In this guide, we’ll go over how to use both.

Note: the Manjaro driver installer usually detects proprietary drivers. If your devices are already working and the installer doesn’t show it, it means you are using the open source ones already built into the Linux kernel, and there is no need to install anything else.

Install drivers through CLI

The Manjaro driver manager works through the CLI with the help of the mhwd command. To use it, open up a terminal window by pressing Ctrl + Alt + T or Ctrl + Shift + T on the keyboard.

Once the terminal window is open, use the sudo -s command to transfer the terminal session from a traditional user to Root.

sudo -s

From here, you need to run the mhwd command from the terminal, to detect what hardware devices are available and have drivers ready to install.

mhwd

In the output, the Manjaro Hardware Detection tool will list all non-free, device drivers that it has found, and are available for installation.

To install a driver, take a look at the driver output. For example, to install the Video VMware driver in Manjaro, you’d do:

 mhwd -i pci video-vmware

Just follow the syntax below.

Note: not sure how to find the “Type”? Look under the “Type” column in the Mhwd terminal window.

mhwd -i TYPE DRIVER-NAME

Uninstalling drivers through CLI

Uninstalling a driver with the Mhwd CLI tool works just as good as the installation process. To do it, run the mhwd command to view all drivers.

mhwd

Next, find the name of the driver you’d like to remove under “Name”. Then, look under the driver’s “Type” and figure out what type of driver it is.

Follow the syntax below to remove drivers through the Mhwd CLI.

mhwd -r TYPE DRIVER-NAME

Install drivers through GUI

In Manjaro, the developers offer up an excellent graphical utility that can be used to download and install hardware drivers quickly. Better yet, it doesn’t require any special know-how to use!

To get your hands on the Manjaro driver installer, open up the settings application on your desktop, and search for “Manjaro Settings Manager”. Once the application is open, scroll through the settings application for “Hardware Configuration” and click on it to access the driver area.

Note: only hardware not currently using drivers by the Linux kernel will appear here. If a device doesn’t appear, it already has a driver to use!

From here, a list of hardware will appear. Look through the list of devices, and find the device you want to install a new driver for. Then, check the box next to “open source” (or non-free/proprietary if need-be) with the mouse.

With the box checked, right-click on the device and choose the “+ Install” button to install the new driver on your Manjaro Linux PC.

When the driver is done installing, it’s a good idea to reboot your machine, as the newly installed driver may not load right away.

Uninstalling drivers through GUI

Uninstalling a driver from the Manjaro driver GUI app works like this. First, open up the Manjaro Settings Manager app like before when you installed the drivers on the system.

With the application open, scroll down to “Hardware Configuration” and open it to access the driver list. Then, locate the hardware device that you’d like to remove a driver from, right click on it with the mouse, and select “- Remove” to uninstall.

When the driver is removed, restart your PC to finish the process!

Other ways to get drivers on Manjaro

The Manjaro Linux driver installer helps users gain new drivers for their hardware devices. That said, it’s not the only way to install new drivers. If your hardware devices aren’t being detected on Manjaro, the next best thing is to update to a newer release of the Linux kernel.

Manjaro Linux makes it incredibly straightforward to update to newer versions of the Linux kernel. For more information on how to do a kernel upgrade, check out the guide here!

Read How to use the Manjaro Linux driver installer by Derrik Diener on AddictiveTips – Tech tips to make you smarter