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Use two Dropbox accounts on one computer (theterran.com)
38 points by bajsejohannes on Dec 25, 2012 | hide | past | favorite | 14 comments

I left a comment on the main blog as well, not sure if OP is blog author:

I think users may want to proceed with caution: How do you get around the files DropBox makes not colliding? If you look at a default install, just one instance, view all files in ~ using something like ls -la and you will see a pid file, some caches, some SQLite DB files, all hidden from Finder view.

Then there are the preference files and others stored in Application Support and Preferences, plus possible launchd items as well. Also Contextual Menu Modules that need to know the active user ID. You may find your public share URL's don't work or share the wrong paths.

It seems the second instance is going to stomp on the files of the first. I can estimate why it works in the beginning, as much data may be resident in memory. One app will always load first no matter what.

I think over time this may start to fail.

One suggestion to possibly make this a little cleaner, assuming it does continue to work, is put the call to launch the app into Automator for both apps. Then you are only adding one item to your startup items and never even launching the DropBox app directly from their package .app launcher.

Or, you could dig into the package and edit the startup paths there, but you probably will want to stay outside the .app bundle for update reasons. Updates would nuke those changes.

I think launching both from one Automator action is the cleanest. Though I am curious, for example, the black and white icon versus color. Those are stored as preference values. Can you look on your system to see where they are stored, and how DropBox is now storing two separate values? Does it do it in the same file or somehow magically create a separate file and know where to go looking for it?

There is a .dropbox folder in the HOME folder (whatever that is set to). It contains the following files:

    $ file *
    config.db:     SQLite 3.x database
    config.dbx:    data
    dropbox.pid:   ASCII text, with no line terminators
    filecache.dbx: data
    host.db:       ASCII text
    host.dbx:      ASCII text
    hostkeys:      data
    l:             directory
    photo.dbx:     SysEx File -
    sigstore.dbx:  data
    unlink.db:     data
config.db doesn't contain any interesting information, the directory "l" is empty, and I can't easily get any information out of the other files. It doesn't seem unlikely that all preferences are stored here, though.

Still, running both instances from a non-default HOME seems like sound advice.

> Still, running both instances from a non-default HOME seems like sound advice.

Setting HOME to a new value means that ~/ will always be resolved to that value. I think that the far more likely result is that this will work as expected.

Or you could just run Dropbox Encore on OS X: http://www.joyofmacs.com/software/dropboxencore/

I second, works great.

Good to keep in mind is that even though we now have some kinds of workarounds for situations that cause this problem, Dropbox is still doing something seriously harmful and potentially misleading. I like Dropbox, and I hope they rectify this situation natively, because the problems with having this kind of behavior in the app aren't entirely functional, but also ethical.

Dropbox is still doing something seriously harmful and potentially misleading.

Hmm, what do you mean? Which Dropbox behaviors are you referring to?

In Windows you can (I believe) just use "runas /user:Foo dropbox.exe" -- doesn't OS X have an equivalent option? This seems like a much simpler workaround.

Using 'su'[0] is the wrong approach. Setting HOME makes the home directory look different, while keeping all of the permissions the same as the current running user. This is all that's needed, as Dropbox (by default) uses '$HOME/Dropbox'.

0: https://developer.apple.com/library/mac/#documentation/Darwi...

Posting this after reading http://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=4962975 , and also being wary of how the administrator in Dropbox for teams can access your account.

I've tried it with a temporary account, and it seems to work well.

There is a pretty well know document on the Dropbox Knowledge Base about this.


Wouldn't this be the best solution?

I can understand why they would restrict it on free accounts, but why do Dropbox not allow multiple paid accounts on a single machine?

May I ask one question: why would I want to have two different Dropbox accounts under same login?

If this is about having "work" and "personal" Dropbox accounts then, please "listen to elders": it is really bad idea to mix "work" and "personal" stuff.

If nothing, just have a separate Windows users for "work" and "personal" use of your computer.

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