Using Dropbox on a PineBook Pro with Maestral

Dropbox does not provide a client for the Linux Arm architecture, so you don’t have a client for a PineBook Pro.

However, you can use the open-source project Maestral:

Maestral is a lightweight Dropbox client for macOS and Linux. It provides powerful command line tools, supports gitignore patterns to exclude local files from syncing and allows syncing multiple Dropbox accounts.

The Arch AUR repository provides packages for Maestral:

So I’m going to install the “Qt interface for Maestral” with the “yay” AUR helper I already have on my PineBook Pro (this will install a lot of python packages, and the installation will take a few minutes):

Let’s run maestral GUI from the command line:

And the app appears:

Let’s click on the button to link to the Dropbox Account

And click on “here” to retrieve the authorization token. This should open the browser; alternatively, you’ll be asked to select an application to open the full URL in KDE. Unfortunately, selecting a browser in KDE does not work, and it will keep asking for the application.

Thus, in KDE, I run from the command line:

This allows me to print the auth URL to the console, copy it and paste it into a browser. I can then authorize Maestral on the Dropbox site.

The Dropbox website then shows me a token that I copy and paste on the Maestral window above and press “Link”. (The other run command, “maestral auth link,” can be interrupted.)

The setup proposes to select a local folder to synchronize with Dropbox. Note that by default, it proposes “Dropbox (Maestral)”, but I prefer the standard one “Dropbox”, so I modify it accordingly.

And now, it’s time to select the folders to synchronize. I start with a very minimal subset of my Dropbox folders. As noted below, the initial synchronization will take a lot of time (depending on the size of all the Dropbox contents, not the folders you select).

In the taskbar, you can see the Maestral icon that started to synchronize. The icon provides a context menu.

From the command line, you can see the status of the synchronization with

The first run takes much time, especially for the initial “Indexing”. That’s due to a known issue,

It does index the entire Dropbox, even if only a few items are selected in Selective Sync.

For example, my Dropbox usage is

It took more than an hour just for “indexing”.

I guess that for the time being, we’ll have to accept that if we want to use Dropbox on the PineBook Pro.

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