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Free Dropbox Accounts Now Only Sync to Three Devices (zapier.com)
140 points by doppp 8 days ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 180 comments

For anyone looking for an open-source self-hosted alternative: I've been really happy with Syncthing [0]. It's as invisible as Dropbox once set up.

It supports arbitrary topologies (two peer machines syncing, one central always-on machine and lots of clients, etc.); with a VM in the cloud it can closely emulate Dropbox (sans web-based file browser), but it will also support e.g. just a desktop at home and a laptop that syncs when it's on the LAN. Pretty useful!

[0] https://syncthing.net/

In my experience, syncthing works as advertised, however the UI is a bit of a mess(as many open source projects have).

Especially the android app. The status of what the program is doing at the moment is not communicated very well. The refresh rate for status updates seems to be very low, and so you have connection status being disconnected, then jumps to connected after a few seconds of frustration("why isn't it connecting!!"). Then it sits there at 0% ("whats wrong!), and jumps to 64% after a few seconds, then 99%. Then sits there("is something wrong?"). Eventually it finishes and everything is fine("yay it worked!").

Love the project. Hope they get UI experience down though, as it is the main thing holding it back in my opinion.

Try Nextcloud, the UI is quite good (both the website and the app).

While nextcloud has a lot of features, a kanban board, caldav and all the bells and whistles, what it lacks is a usable file sync feature.

The bugs have been open since way before the thing was called next cloud, but they have not been addressed. What you're stuck with is a "sync" client that opens a new connection to the server for every 4kb file you transfer. If you have a lot of those, it's lights out.

Syncing my document folder would have taken several weeks with nextcloud, it took less than half a day with Seafile and Syncthing.

PHP, ultra slow in comparison with Dropbox or Google Drive.

Slower than Dropbox but much, MUCH faster than Google Drive.

+1 for Nextcloud. The last versions are stable, well designed and really easy to install and maintain.

> +1 for Nextcloud. The last versions are stable, well designed and really easy to install and maintain.

I agree on all but the last part. They only provide step-by-step upgrades, so when I finally realize it's time to upgrade I'm so far behind that it's much easier to nuke the instance and start from scratch than do the ten upgrades one by one. I'm sure this isn't a problem for more diligent maintainers though.

I used to have the same problem. Then I discovered NextcloudPi which automatically updates (and has other nice things like automatic setup for Letsencrypt).

I agree, I think it is a fantastic product and I use it a lot, however the Android app is really confusing and doesn't really work that well.

When used as these directories will eventually be in sync it works great. When the user expects something to sync this second with visual confirmation it does not. In fact syncing too frequently automatically would be nice for the ui but bad for battery life on mobile.

Maybe it just needs a connect and sync now button for users to hammer.

No iOS version. All of the other alternatives integrate with the Files app and can be used in the file picker.

Can you recommend a reasonably priced cloud VM for mainly file storage?

Depends what you mean by 'reasonable' but I've always been happy to pay Hetzner c. €22 per month. You do get a lot of storage with some of their servers.


They storage is slow as shit and always been.

If it's just a sync backend then does that matter?

I recently started using a Digital Ocean droplet for my Nextcloud server. It seems very nice so far and I love the PhoneTrack addon. It helped me map out where we're going to put some of our buildings on our property.

I am going to look into mouting my home server's 2TB ZFS array via NFS on my droplet this week, and then reinstall Nextcloud and use that mount point for the user data.

I use GCE (Google) for this purely because they had the lowest per-byte cost for block storage, at least when I looked. The instance itself has the smallest CPU/memory config. IIRC my bill is about $7/mo for the instance with separate 200GB volume.

Ah, that's somewhat reasonable, thanks.

"For a Linux user, you can already build such a system yourself quite trivially by getting an FTP account, mounting it locally with curlftpfs, and then using SVN or CVS on the mounted filesystem."


I don't think this really applies here. The commenter isn't saying "why would anyone use Dropbox when they could just roll their own with these open source tools", they're saying "this product is a good option for those who are specifically looking for an open source alternative".

He's referencing a comment from the original Dropbox announcement thread (linked). It's famous because it misses the point of Dropbox spectacularly.

Sure, but Syncthing doesn't miss the point at all,so it's slightly out of place to bring up that line.

Or does it? You certainly wouldn't run into an arbitrarily imposed device limit.

It’s interesting to see how FTP became so fringe, when at a its peak pointing a browser at a FTP url would be enough to browse anonymously.

Right, but my point is that the person he sent it in reply to didn’t miss the point in the same way.

I thought it was frowned upon to use version control on binary files? Or is it just git that doesn't support them?

You can also try ownCloud [0] which can be installed on a LAMP server and has possibility to access from all platforms with both syncing and mounting. You can also hook in existing storage as backend.

[0] https://owncloud.org/

I use both owncloud & syncthing, but they serve different needs. I use OwnCloud to share stuff with friends an family, but I use syncthing for syncing stuff across my "fleet". The main advantage of syncthing is that it runs standalone even on servers where I have no privileges.

See https://try.popho.be/securing-home.html & https://try.popho.be/byeunison.html

Alas, fsync() appears to be (still) broken which means there's no viable iOS client. But that's my only complaint with Syncthing - it's extremely helpful for sharing metadata between machines.

Oh. There is an iOS syncthing client named "fsync" for some reason.

Alas, that's the broken one. It seems to be able to see the other hosts in my swarm but can't actually sync any data. Except sometimes. But then only random files.

I know it's the one you were calling broken, I'm just surprised they picked such a confusing name.

It was very strange to wonder why the fsync function would be broken or why it would prevent syncing files.

Oh well. Instead of paying $10/month for a terabyte with Dropbox, I can pay $10 for:

- Office 365 with Word, PowerPoint, Excel for 6 users each with a terabyte of storage.

- iCloud with 2 terabyte that I can use to back up all of my devices.

Or I can get Amazon Cloud Storage up to 1TB for $60 a year.

EDIT: Corrected iCloud and OneDrive storage.

Try those companies' sync apps and you'll be back to Dropbox in a hot minute. I once tried to use the OneDrive app and it said my files would take 9 hours to back up, after an hour I gave up and tried Dropbox and it did it in an hour.

Nope. Dropbox never. ever. shuts up about me being out of space, emails me constantlyand displays Windows alerts whenever I log on. I have over a GB of space left on my account. Dropbox support says that's just how their system works so I'm off to Onedrive.

I have about 800gb of photos and raw photos, 3 desktops and 2 laptops, all backing up to OneDrive. Never ever had sync issues. The sync in Singapore to OneDrive is faster than DropBox. (Never had issues with DropBox tho)

On the one hand OneDrive's client was awful years ago, haven't tried the current codebase.

On the other hand Dropbox has caused me major problems as recently as a couple weeks ago, and manages to keep bogging down explorer itself, which is a much worse sin than slow initial sync.

Your first sync will be slow but after that onedrive is no different for me than dropbox on Mac OS. In fact I put all my files in the onedrive folder now. Integrates with office at work so I can save stuff to my personal laptop and phone pretty easily.

I don´t trust Microsoft with my data since they deleted all my mail history back when they took over the Hotmail.com.

That was back in 1997....

I’m sure they aren’t using the same infrastructure.

But that being said. My pictures and videos are automatically synced to:

Google Drive: (free, resolution reduced theoretically)


BackBlaze: iPhone -> OneDrive -> BackBlaze.

Microsoft is perhaps the single company that has changed the most since 1997.

OneDrive works fine, and at least with Windows 10 you have the option to not download a file to the local machine until you actually need it. The business version used to be a huge mess, but even it works properly these days.

I suspect this is what is hoped but how are users actually using the service? As a mediocre backup service? File sharing with friends/family? Just to ship data conveniently between a bunch of devices that often share the same lan?

The last use case can be served as well by syncthing which can sync unlimited TB of data between devices for $0 per month.

I have a bunch of devices and like to have some files available on all of them. If I import photos to my desktop, they’re on my laptop and phone automatically. When I download PDFs and things I put them in Dropbox and can read them from the train next morning. Etc.

https://rclone.org/, works everywhere. You don't need to rely on 'company X app Y'.

Dropbox doesn't even have options for less. Most other ones let you have 100GB or so for 1-2$. I have ~50GB of data, and I don't want to be paying 10$ when I'm not using 90% of it.

Yes, that's the issue of their pricing, I don't need that much space.

That sounds good value for money. But the Dropbox syncing experience is unparalleled for me. For that alone, 10$ is worth it.

A few years ago I would have agreed. However, when Dropbox started telling me which file systems I could use (not even consistent across OS), then Dropbox just became another dumb syncing service.

The main killer of course being that they dropped support for exFAT, so there's zero way to use Dropbox on a drive shared between OS. That sounds a bit niche, but it basically means Dropbox can't be used on external storage.

Don't get me wrong, exFAT is dated. However, the supported file systems vary between OS, so you can't even use Tuxera (or FUSE) NTFS on Mac.

There's a lot of complaints about this on the Dropbox forums; so they know, they just don't care. So that's a black mark both technically and for customer support.

I've worked on a cross-platform product that deal with files on disk. I completely understand why they limit to certain filesystems and why that list is different per OS. I briefly tested out a setup where we tried to share an external drive between Linux and Windows...I think it was formatted ext3. We needed symlinks to work and that was a no-go in Windows on anything but NTFS and the inverse wouldn't work with Linux. I've also had to deal with subtle user/permission differences when moving drives between computers depending on the partition.

It seems like a situation where 95% of your users are covered by supporting a few partition types and a significant amount of time would be spent trying to do anythings more.

It is unfortunate they dropped exFAT support.

The hard case of syncing files between OS is one they are already handling what they deliberately stopped handling was any other filesystem on Linux other than ext4.

This actually doesn't make much sense as logically they ought to be depending on an abstract interface to the filesystem not a particular filesystem unless the filesystem in question actually lacks features required to make the software work.

This is actually so because it actually did work for years across a wide variety of filesystems. I was syncing files between one machine with ext4, one with zfs, and my android device without difficulty.

This is perceptibly to the user like websites that used to check to see if you were running internet explorer and auto fail if you were running firefox. It actually works if you fake the user agent.

Humorously you actually can work around the problem in the same fashion.


However its easier and safer just to drop dropbox.

Yeah. All this noise about explicitly disabling itself on ZFS made me kind of disenfranchised with Dropbox.

It’s no longer the universal solution it used to be. That was it’s one selling point its competitors didn’t have. Good job ruining it!

If my next phone is an Android, I’ll probably move everything to syncthing and call it a day.

But dropbox ignores permissions and I'm pretty sure it doesn't use symlinks. And it fails to work on filesystems with more features then necessary.

It can't completely ignore filesystem permissions even if you're not tracking them. It's obvious Dropbox isn't the right fit for a lot of people's needs here anymore--and I agree that sucks.

I can't speak to Dropbox since I don't use it for much, but even if a filesystem has those features it's not always a good idea because of a support, q/a, performance reasons, or future features. I was just trying to give my own abridged version of "mistakes programmers make about X"

I was a Dropbox subscriber for over 6 years. However, I stopped paying once they stopped supporting Btrfs and XFS... the two FS I use on most of my machines. I still have a basic account on a Mac and iOS but I don't use it much and I have moved my most important data somewhere else.

I know there are hacks to make it work with other FS but I can't trust hacks with my data.

I quit dropbox when they dropped support for xfs on linux. I've been pretty happy with Google Drive with insync Linux client.

The syncing is unparalleled because Dropbox does block-level/delta syncing (per 4KB I think?) instead of file-level syncing. This becomes very readily apparent if you store large variable files on Dropbox vs. another cloud storage service. Change a few KB? Dropbox syncs it in a few seconds, whereas most (nearly all) other services will happily re-upload your entire multi-gigabyte file again and again and again on each edit.

I often make small changes to large files, so this matters to me. Does iCloud or anyone else handle changes this way, or just Dropbox? I’ve used Dropbox forever, but it feels like more of a commodity these days, and I’m finally paying for iCloud storage.

How does it handle it when you add something to the middle of a file and every block afterwards has shifted data?

If it's getting file change notifications, it can look at which blocks had changes written, and only do those. This doesn't help if every block has changes, but most programs that work on big files will have ways to minimize the number of blocks touched, simply to make it faster to save the file.

I guess they probably use a rolling hash, that would be the smart thing to do.

I think I first heard of them with casync. The gist of it is that you hash file contents in a sliding window, and use a condition on the resulting hash to chunck your file. That way, blocks are determined by the file content, not an arbitrary offset, and this allows to propagate deltas even with insertions or removals.

Not being able to sync arbitrary folders is a huge caveat, though. To some extent, I can use symlinks to alleviate that, but it always feels very brittle

Not to mention a native Linux client, that's huge for me.

As long as you only use Ext4

Also important to notice: OneDrive does not count shared folder from other users against you. See: https://support.office.com/en-us/article/add-and-sync-shared...

So with shared folders, you can have 5T space in OneDrive.

Also Office 365 Home is $80/year on Amazon.

Dropbox double dips and counts shared folders against you? That seems weird because they're already counting it against the person who uploaded it to begin with. So for a 1GB file they have removed a total of 2GB of quota between the sharer and the receiver.

Yes. And agreed.

I’m sure whoever came up with the idea got a nice raise.

I'm guess its to prevent people from getting a bunch of free accounts and sharing folders between them to create a unified view of larger effective quota.

Except they do the same thing with paid accounts.

I got 15 months of Office 365 with 1Tb OneDrive storage for ~$55 at Costco.

Just thought I'd mention because I normally wouldn't have thought to go to Costco for Software, but it's a great deal and they just give you a code that you redeem from Microsoft's website. It has worked great so far! Cheapest place I know for buying Office.

Yours is perhaps the unlikeliest comment in the entire thread.

Is there any other interesting software offering by Costco?

Before Windows 8 made anti-viruses obsolete, they used to offer AVG for around half the price it was online. I'm not sure any longer because I haven't found the need to install one since then.

Google's Gsuite has unlimited storage for 12 bucks a month. Technically there's a five user minimum but... they don't actually enforce it.

I know it's a little more involved getting set up but their syncing works pretty good too (and file sync is also awesome).

I didn’t see anything else of value in GSuite besides the storage for personal use and email with your own domain.

The downside to G Suite is that to share files with other people, they must also have G Suite accounts.

I'm working for a company that frequently needs to share large files with third-parties, where "large" is "larger than modern email limits". The requirement to have a G Suite login is a complete non-starter for most of the companies we interact with, but Dropbox is fine. So, we use Dropbox to share files with those suppliers.

Disclosure: I work for Google Cloud.

We actually introduced “pin code sharing” [1], so that you can share (and even let folks comment and edit) without requiring a Google Account (which to be clear, isn’t actually identical to “GSuite Login”, you can register any email as a Google Account, but I recognize you may not want to).

[1] https://gsuiteupdates.googleblog.com/2018/12/share-files-mor...

I am heavily using Google Photos (paid account), but it’s frustrating how slow uploads are, how bad it deals with batches of files (can take hours to upload a few thousand photos) and how little visibility there is over what is actually syncing and what is stuck.

I use primarily OSX/iOS, is the Drive experience any better ? I was seriously thinking about moving from Dropbox to Drive, but these issues are giving me pause.

Google Photos still seems super geared towards a consumer / pure phone photo backup experience and purpose. I wish they would expand it further to accommodate heavier use / amateur needs, better mass upload and mass management, folder management etc. It's definitely not a file folder sync design like Drive or Dropbox.

If you just want to upload pure files without all the photo AI etc, then Drive folders should work fine for your needs. It'll largely be a backup / cloud storage destination.

> I am heavily using Google Photos (paid account), but it’s frustrating how slow uploads are

Are you sure that's not your connection? I just uploaded 2000-3000 photos last week via web. Only took about 15m. I'm on 100/100MBit.

The only downside with Drive File Stream on Windows is wsl doesn't have native support for it, you have to use a network map or third-party software to map it to something wsl can interface with.

That's the conclusion I came to as well. I use Dropbox but I found the notice about increasing restrictions a couple months ago, and looked at iCloud and OneDrive.

Other than what you mentioned, OneDrive always offering Office Online and the apps with a lot of shared storage for other users. And iCloud gives you that device backup for multiple people, another thing it grants you is the ability to use iCloud email. The web interface is the cleanest and most dignified looking of all major vendors. The snag with iCloud email is their calendar isn't the best, you can't have it email you reminders for appointments as you can with Outlook.com and Gmail. iOS notifications only, which is a very annoying restriction. I like to be notified, but also have an email sitting in my inbox on more detailed instructions on what may need to be done.

Starting from scratch today with the goal being zero-cost, I'd pick Outlook.com and OneDrive. If I'm willing to perpetually pay, iCloud.

May have to get on that and at least get over to Outlook/OneDrive, but tough to leave Gmail when everything is all setup as you like it. Dropbox is easier to leave, they're pushing it by decreasing value rather than improving it.

Actually iCloud’s $10 a month plan gets you 2TB these days

But it's Mac only, AFAIK. Windows and Linux users are SOL with iCloud.

iCloud Drive is supported on Windows (although client quality is far below competitors like OneDrive) and a web client is available for Linux (which is in line with competitors).

iCloud Drive works on Windows.


I switched to Resilio way back when, before they redirected all their efforts to their enterprise solution. It has rough edges, but works well enough. I'm not sure whether I would pick it today if having to remake the choice.

What's the point of having a freemium model if people can't actually use your service as intended to see what benefits a full version will provide? If I'm trying to open a file on my phone and the app won't let me log in, my reaction isn't going to be "guess I should pay to upgrade" but rather to hit uninstall.

The flip side is, what's the point of a freemium model if the free product gives most users what they want, so they have no incentive to ever pay to upgrade?

I've been a dropbox user for years and haven't paid them a penny since the free product does everything I need it to.

they did what many other companies do. Use the freemium model to gain users and publicity, then try to reduce costs and convert free users to premium by destroying the free tier.

This seems... Unsustainable?

Why is it unsustainable? After enough time, most people who would use it for free already are. Now, the goal is to either get rid of the free users or convert them to paid users.

They actually have to make money now instead of depending on VC funding.

I have been using a self-hosted Seafile[0] instance since 2014 hosted on my Linux server. It's written in Python[1]. I have never had an issue with it. I sync to my desktops, laptops, phones, etc. It works on all major platforms. It has an online browser just like Dropbox too, supports link sharing, WebDAV, etc. Its server-side storage is based on git[2].

I was really impressed with all the upgrades throughout the years. The upgrade scripts that come with their installations which I run on my Linux box are clearly labelled (e.g. 5.1_to_5.2.sh) and run successfully without giving me random obscure messages that you might sometimes expect.

I recommend people check it out to see if it could work for you.

The only downside really is that since it's git-based storage, you can't just specify "this is the directory I want to serve", rather you have to upload everything via Seafile and it will write it out in its git filesystem (which means it's duplicated if you already have a copy on your filesystem.) This is in contrast to OwnCloud[3] I think, which will let you access/serve remote files from their original location.

[0] https://www.seafile.com/en/download/

[1] https://github.com/haiwen/seafile

[2] https://manual.seafile.com/develop/data_model.html

[3] https://owncloud.org/

Agreed. BTW, parts of the server are actually written in C.

Best thing about Seafile is its syncing performance. Worlds better than owncloud/pydio, and it doesn't choke on large directories.

As expected, the large majority of comments, on a site dedicated to starting up a business, are how to use free alternatives or stop using it altogether.

You imply some sort of contradiction.

1. Businesses also want to minimize expenses. 2. Hacker News, despite its host, is not dedicated to starting up businesses. It has a broader range than that.

A lot of things related to hacking (like phreaking) are about getting things for free, so it seems like it’s in the spirit of the name of the site, at least.

I too was struck by this, although not entirely surprised. Still, as a counterpoint, I've been a Dropbox user for nearly 10 years now, and have been paying for 8 - 9 years. I'm completely happy with the service and, although alternatives are available, I haven't found any compelling reason to change.

Dropbox is no longer a startup. I think they'll be just fine without the support of a niche internet circle.

Sure they will be just fine, my point was about how so many are eager to get paid, yet vocal to pay for the work of others.

It is ironic, you're right. But we all know Dropbox was never really respected by the userbase here, beyond being a magical money making endeavor.

All the initial comments were about how Dropbox simply repackaged the abilities of free built-in linux tools.

> All the initial comments were about how Dropbox simply repackaged the abilities of free built-in linux tools.

No. No no no.

The now-first comment was asking what the value was for a linux user and also had two other pieces of criticism/advice that were very valid. The same user that posted that also said "You are correct that this presents a very good, easy-to-install piece of functionality for Windows users."

Second top-level comment calling it genius. Third calling it good but also sharing one of the other pieces of criticism. Three more calling it good. One asking about scaling. Etc. The thread as a whole is exceptionally positive.

Go refresh yourself: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=8863

Surely Dropbox wouldn't have been a sucessful business if it was more than just a repackaging of built-in UNIX tools.

Hahahhaa. Ha. That's rich.

You don't think Facebook is a rebranding of friendster and myspace?

Actually one could even think beyond them to stuff like Hi5.

But no, there is the business value and the added services that the competition failed to offer to stay in business.

No they weren’t. Dropbox has received majority positive feedback on HN since its first post up until at least a few years ago.

Are there any open-source file syncing apps out there that you can point to your own AWS account? Sure you are still dependent on another service, but S3 costs are negligible compared to Dropbox or others.

NextCloud supports S3 as primary data storage.


Seafile's paid version support S3 backend storage and is free for 3 users.

Previous discussion 65 days ago, 52 comments: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=19362778

It's worth noting that only devices (PCs, mobiles) using the official Dropbox app count as devices.

I've never used the official app to connect to Dropbox, so now I guess I never will.

How do you sync files? Do you just manually upload them throw browser and download them from another?

It seems like the OP doesn't use Dropbox's killer feature, which is seamless and faster syncing than anything else out there.

I don't see the point then of using Dropbox exclusively in such fashion. All cloud storage services used like that are interchangeable.

Just like OP I'm a paying Dropbox customer that doesn't use the official client. I mainly use it to backup my 600 Gb and counting music library via Arq [1]. There's no way I'd store something as critical as my music collection in the default Dropbox sync folder. Plus, I only need a one way sync that preferably happens at night. So I have no need for the official client.

I know there are dedicated backup services like Backblaze, however occasionally I also need to share a large file or two with someone or need to offer a public download. It's often enough that I don't want to use wetransfer or similar services. Even more often I need a service that syncs data and settings of various iOS apps. While iCloud is fine, Dropbox is widely supported on iOS. I basically need a general purpose web storage and Dropbox seems to be the only one that handles all these use cases fine.

[1] https://www.arqbackup.com/

Fair and true.

I've always been a bit scattered across multiple cloud service, for various reasons, so I opted to use software that could sync with multiple and avoid installing so many clients.

That said, Dropbox's other maybe-not-quite "killer feature" is that it's exclusively intergrated into a number of applications for settings and data backup/syncing. In those cases, Dropbox's purpose is interchangable, but in practice it's not.

I mainly use Dropbox as a way of syncing a bunch of textfiles between my PC and phone, so I use GoodSync[1] on my PC and FolderSync[2] on my phone. That said, I've recently started using Resilio for some other stuff, so I could probably do away with Dropbox for this use case, and just use that instead.

The other time I use Dropbox is for apps that use it as an intergrated way of syncing or backing up settings, such as MoneyDance[3].

[1] https://www.goodsync.com/

[2] https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=dk.tacit.andro...

[3] https://infinitekind.tenderapp.com/kb/syncing-and-sharing-da...

This really happened a couple of months ago, and really sucks. There aren't that many alternatives to Dropbox if you require both Windows, Mac and Linux client support. I ended up settling on Nextcloud (ownCloud fork) hosted by Hetzner[1].

So far it's pretty good. Photo sync works from Phone works perfectly, and the desktop apps are decent enough. I did get bitten by a recursive folder-sync bug [2], which is certainly not of Dropbox quality but at least pull-requests are welcome.

[1] https://www.hetzner.com/storage/nextcloud

[2] https://github.com/nextcloud/desktop/issues/1000

I switched to Nextcloud about a year ago and I've been very happy.

Firstly, I now have as much disk I need, and secondly, the warm fuzzy feeling you get when you know your files are now in your own control :)

There's pCloud[1] as well. I've been using it for a couple of years now after Dropbox → Google Drive → Seafile. (And maybe another one I forgot.)

They're not perfect but definitely good enough. They reeled me in with a lifetime subscription when I was contemplating buying a NAS for home.

Where I've run into syncing issues with them is working in a project directory with Git on Linux and Windows (using Git Bash). The latter (I think) caused syncing issues. Anyway, it's a bit niche and one isn't supposed to do this anyway. Still Dropbox and Seafile seemed to handle this fine.

[1] https://pcloud.com/

Linux support is already effectively dropped if you use anything beside ext4, so it’s no longer the reliable cross-platform champion it used to be.

They’ve certainly lost my goodwill. What a shame.

Feeling some deja vu, as it's quite similar to what Evernote did (also equally feeling like shooting themselves in the foot in regards to user goodwill). Well, at least I already have a crapton of devices synced and they didn't retroactively disable it like Evernote did.

This started 2 months ago. I deleted Dropbox.

I had Dropbox installed on all my devices, but wasn't really actively using it, that was until it kept asking me to upgrade to a paid account, that's when I moved all my files to iCloud and deleted my Dropbox account.

Since I only use Apple products, I don't really have to worry about cross OS compatibility.

You may still want to worry about platform lock-in, if only for the option value of being able to leave when Apple inevitably makes a decision you disagree with.

Files, other than backups and app data that's only useful for the actual devices, are pretty service-agnostic. All you need to do is to copy over everything to another service and you're up and running.

It's in the back of my head, when I feel the need to switch, I can easily copy all my files over. So not really worried about being locked-in with Apple.

No matter what decision Apple makes, it'll likely never be so bad I switch to Windows, Linux, or Android. Married to the ecosystem for better or worse.

I sometimes worry about becoming unemployed and then having my main machine die on me. I wouldn't be able to pay top dollar for an Apple machine.

Using commodity hardware gives me peace of mind regarding this scenario, unlikely as it sounds.

Yep I’m married to the ecosystem as well, but if my main MacBook from early 2015 breaks in the next few months while not being employed, I’m not sure what I’d do. I mean I know I’d probably use my family’s older 2011 MacBook until I get a new MacBook later on. But if that MacBook isn’t available, I might have to switch.

I have a paid account and for awhile it kept nagging me to upgrade to a new and more expensive account tier and even added a nag to the right click context menu. I guess someone important complained, because things are mostly back to normal now

So you deleted the free service you were using when the service provided decided to charge for it?

I'm weirdly fine with this. I've noticed over the years that I'm using dropbox less and less as competitors have sliced up the file-syncing and sharing problem in different ways. For example, one of the things I used to use DB for was to make sure documents or other media were available on all my devices. Now I just host them with an ebook server or plex or whatever. Lots of my office document needs are covered with Google drive or Office 365.

My work uses OneDrive extensively and it integrates really well across devices and the web for on-line editing. Dropbox never really had a better use-case than syncing and missed the boat on using the easy u/l mechanism for various kinds of sharing/social activities. I'm more or less considering moving to OneDrive for home use as well even if the sync isn't quite as good because it works better than DB across almost all other parameters.

Also nobody here's mentioned Amazon Drive which I find interesting.

This is what happens when a great company/product decides they want to squeeze money out of their customers.

I saw this happen with Evernote. It's starting to happen with Dropbox.

I wish there were a company really focused on the long term, and that cared about customers more than bottom line.

Dropbox / Evernote competitors: please, show up.

It's free. FREE. Free costs money. Give me a break. I use Dropbox & Evernote free tier. I can't complain about the limits, either I pay up or shut up and use it or find an alternative.

The problem isn't having limits on the free tier. The problem is changing the services for existing accounts (free or otherwise), in this case to completely cripple free accounts. I wouldn't even complain if they only applied the 3-device restriction to new free accounts

Bitrix24 is another decent Dropbox alternative for group accounts. Available both on-premise and in cloud - https://www.bitrix24.com/features/docs.php

What about BitTorrent Sync? Is that still a thing, and didn't do Dropboxy type things?

I’ve been evaluating Resilio Sync as an alternative to Dropbox these past few weeks. The main problem I’ve come across is the extreme amount of RAM this program needs. Their website says they require 2kB RAM for every indexed file, which is insane. I’d wanted to run this on a Raspberry Pi, but it doesn’t fit in the Raspberry’s 1GB of memory

I don't remember details but the last time I tried it the program didn't work reliably enough for me. Nowadays there's Syncthing which does the same thing but better.

It is not the same thing. SyncThing's model of having to add every host to every other host (possibly with introducer nodes) is much more complex. With Bittorrent/Resilio Sync, you can just give someone else a read-only or read-write key for a folder, and they become part of the swarm. Also, Resilio Sync supports encrypted-only nodes, which participate in the swarm by providing bandwidth, but only see ciphertext. This makes it possible to use e.g. an untrusted VPS as an always-available node.

Unfortunately, Resilio had to ruin it with complex enterprice-y license schemes.

It is now called Resilio Sync and it still works fine. Unfortunately, they have focused more on enterprise customers and now have more enterprise pricing.

I use it to sync my multiple android devices, home laptop and two servers.

Quite happy with it.

I just ran into this because I use Dropbox sync with 1Password.

My 1Password standalone license is now limited to three connected devices as a result. Very disappointing.

Can't say I'll be giving dropbox my business.

Uh, you didn't give them your business earlier either, because you were using the free tier?

Why would I give them my business now, after being kicked off? If I'm going to pay for a service, I'd sooner pay for Google Drive.

"As a result of this decision, I will continue to not pay for this thing that I have never paid for"

As a result of this decision, I will no longer consider doing business with Dropbox in the future, and I will steer colleagues and students away from using Dropbox

With your attutude, I would be quite happy not to have you as a customer.

One could easily argue they would never become paying customers anyway, though.

Why wouldn’t they? They have in the past. I myself would have considered upgrading to a paid account if I’d needed more space then what I got from referrals. Now, I’ll stay away from them out of sheer spite for being treated in such a backhanded way.

Well IMO we should treat Dropbox's new policy as indicative. Apparently many people were happy with the free tier and made it work -- me included; I initially had a big installers folder which I then offloaded to an external HDD because I wouldn't be able to have my more important files synced.

So Dropbox figured out people would continue to freeload forever and devised a strategy to try and convert some. That's my theory.

I would be curious to learn/hear some of the backstory on how they picked 3, since where to draw the line with freemium seems like it's hard to get right.

If I had to guess: Computer, Tablet, Phone.

Force nuclear family unit into pricier plan. I know a lot of people that use dropbox for family photos, and after events and gatherings pass links to people to view or add their own photos from these events.

My guess would be: Desktop, Laptop, Phone.

So, you set up Nextcloud in snap a [0] on some home computer or server and then leave it like that... or, if you must, point Dropbox to the the same folder on said pc/server (remember to use Ext4 people, ugh) and group clients like that. But at this point, I'd be looking for alternatives.

[0] https://snapcraft.io/nextcloud

All the previous noise about explicitly disabling itself on ZFS (non ext4-filesystems) on Linux made me kind of disenfranchised with Dropbox.

It’s no longer the universal solution it used to be. That was it’s one unique selling point its competitors didn’t have. Good job ruining it!

If my next phone is an Android, I’ll probably move everything to syncthing and call it a day.

Wonder how much of this is related to them being public now. It's still useful for me with only 3 devices so I wouldn't be ready to start paying them though.

"Fortunately" they also dropped support for XFS so I can't even use on my work computer anymore...

I moved to seafile. Excellent alternative covering all dropbox features.

Well... I guess they have to try to make money somehow

Don't we all?

So meta

So glad I left Dropbox after they got hacked.

How many people have more than 3 devices to sync between anyways?

I bet normal use case is to sync between desktop, laptop, and phone.

And I'm sure now some people will comment how they use Dropbox to sync stuff to their whole extended family for some obscure reason and that is fine. Then the free version is just not for you.

For me it seems to still work like it used to.

Yours is a fair argument, but you are being downvoted for a contrarian view. I too have two devices I ideally have to sync between.

Also, why do we expect corporations to dole out free goodies for everyone? Dropbox has a good product, they should be able to charge for it.

I expect them to honor the agreement I had with them when originally signing up with them, and promoting them to others (earning 20GB of storage through referrals). If they want to reserve new features for paid accounts, fine, but don’t cripple existing free accounts to make them effectively useless.

I agree with you, if there was any mention of free storage for referrals, it should be honored. There should be no legal binding agreement. We are not savages to need contracts for everything. A person's (or corporation's) word should have some value.

And where exactly did Dropbox make a legally binding agreement with you that allows you to sync 20GB to an unlimited number of devices for perpetuity? The agreement you're referencing doesn't exist.

We are civilized people and don't need to shove contracts in each other's faces for everything. Somehow we have gone from being too violent to too litigious. Not bad compared to violence, but can be better.

Of course there’s no legally binding agreement. It’s still a shitty move to renege the conditions of an existing account.

>effectively useless.

fake news

> How many people have more than 3 devices to sync between anyways?

Work machine, home laptop, home desktop, phone.

Oops. One will have to go.

Why would you need to sync stuff between your work machine and private machine? That's just dumb and irresponsible.

You being technically apt would probably set up distinct accounts for say yourself and a spouse and share between if relevant but family accounts are incredibly common for average people.

The average immediate not extended family size is 4.

Also please note that setting a distinct device limit of 3 is only an effective and useful change if and only if it effects a significant number of users and pushes a significant number to paid accounts.

If you are miss using service then you accept the consequences, which in this case is paying for it.

I don't think we disagree that they can charge whatever they like. I think we disagree that having 4+ devices attached to an account is uncommon. I suspect that its actually the common case like a netflix or hulu account.

Streaming services are completely different they contain no personal information.

Laptop, remote workstation, 2 phones, 3 iPads

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