liyanage 2 months ago

I've been a Dropbox user for many years but I'm looking for a replacement. What drives me nuts and hasn't gotten better over the years is their truly awful Python-based macOS client software.

It is constantly burning a ton of CPU/battery. It's always at or near the top of Activity Monitor's list in the Energy tab. It seems like their app constantly reacts to any file system activity, even if that activity is outside the Dropbox directory. My file system is busy all day long from building in Xcode and other things.

What I need is for Dropbox to improve that by making an efficient, battery-saving, native macOS client. What I don't need is what is announced in this post.

The two other things that I hate are the fact that they don't support symlinks and that they use a kernel extension. All of these things together made me start the search for a replacement.

Does anybody know how the CPU/power impact of Microsoft's and Google's offerings are on the Mac?

  • Syzygies 2 months ago

    Yes, their symlink handling is absurd, and they have the usual sanctimonious defense when questioned about this. To be fair, most commercial cloud services overthink this, and also get it wrong.

    A symlink is just a file, like any other. It is a user's responsibility to insure that a symlink will work elsewhere; cloud services should just copy the file, just like any other. The users who expect a symlink to trick a cloud service into special behaviour (like syncing folders elsewhere) are also wrong. You no more want a cloud service going off and "thinking" about a symlink, than you wanting it going off and "thinking" about porn it finds on your computer. These are just files; their contents or meaning are absolutely not any cloud service's concern.

    For example, a MacOS application bundle typically includes internal symlinks that most users are unaware even exist. Yes, DropBox breaks these, too. They tell you that their service is not intended for synchronizing entire file systems, as if properly handling an arbitrary file is somehow rocket science. I'll grant them that this is over their heads, but it's not hard.

    There's exactly one sync program that gets it all right: Unison, written by Benjamin Pierce, a world-famous computer scientist. Yes, he actually thinks about this more clearly than any of the programmers of commercial services, and the best community ideas are adopted.

    Unison handles symlinks properly.

    Atomic directories are a relatively new feature in unison: One can declare a directory atomic, forcing the user to choose at the directory level when there’s a conflict.

    I declare .git directories atomic. A better example: A MacOS .sparsebundle disk image file appears as many files (bands) inside a directory, but is intended to be seen by the user as an atomic file, not a directory. This has the advantage of more efficient backups: If one makes a minor change to a large mounted disk image (say, a few MB to a multiple GB disk image) then backup software isn’t forced to make a new copy of the entire multiple GB disk image.

    If one makes minor changes to the same mounted disk image on two machines, and then does a two-way sync, one could buy the farm. Most likely, there will be a conflicting root file alerting one to the problem. Far cleaner to simply be forced to choose one disk image directory over the other. Functionally, the entire disk images are in conflict, not specific files within.

    The ability to declare atomic directories is not a feature of any other two-way sync software, and it should be. A good heuristic: If a naive user can’t easily open a folder to reveal its contents (say, a Mac application bundle, or a sparse disk image) then the supporting directory should be treated as atomic by default.

    • usaar333 2 months ago

      You are taking strong positions on what is right or wrong when there is no objective answer and tradeoffs both directions.

      > It is a user's responsibility to insure that a symlink will work elsewhere; cloud services should just copy the file, just like any other. The users who expect a symlink to trick a cloud service into special behaviour (like syncing folders elsewhere) are also wrong. You no more want a cloud service going off and "thinking" about a symlink, than you wanting it going off and "thinking" about porn it finds on your computer. These are just files; their contents or meaning are absolutely not any cloud service's concern.

      Unison seems to be more designed for personal sync'ing than collaboration. That informs decisions.

      First off, Unison cannot sync symlinks to Windows (or at least WinXP since they didn't exist until Vista) (

      If you take your position that symlinks should be sync'd opaquely (as a file with a symlink target), collaborative relationships that involve symlinks are broken without much warning when a collaborator uses windows XP (the most popular OS when Dropbox came out!).

      At least following them (which Unison does allow with a setting) ensures Windows collaborators can see them.

      Dropbox could probably make the change now (few XP users remain), but you have legacy issues of existing users relying on the "follow" behavior to sync content outside of their Dropbox.

      > One can declare a directory atomic, forcing the user to choose at the directory level when there’s a conflict.

      Not forcing users to make choices before upsync occurs is an explicit design decision of Dropbox. It ensures that if I power on my computer after being offline, things will quickly sync to the cloud -- I don't need to spend time making decisions.

      • Avery3R 2 months ago

        >symlinks to Windows (or at least WinXP since they didn't exist until Vista)

        The version of NTFS in windows xp and the version of windows explorer both supported symlinks just fine. There was just no user-mode api to create them. You could use a kernel driver to make them, or even mount the disk offline and make them

        • usaar333 2 months ago

          Great point (found tons of resources here:

          Still a lot of restrictions here that would make in Dropbox's shoes circa 2008 not attempt to support them:

          1. Kernel driver requirement requires admin rights which hurts installing ability

          2. General instability (looks like applications might not respect symlinks right -- e.g. deletes could recursively delete contents within the symlink)

          3. Won't work with users running older NTFS or FAT32 (e.g. XP upgrades) -- not sure how common that was in 2008 though.

      • hdfbdtbcdg 2 months ago

        > windows XP (the most popular OS when Dropbox came out!).

        Symlinks actually worked in Dropbox when I used to use it in 2012...

        • usaar333 2 months ago

          Define "work"? Dropbox has never sync'd a symlink as a symlink - it follows then on the client machine and a copy is created on the server.

          (Source: worked there)

          • hdfbdtbcdg 2 months ago

            When did you work there?

          • hdfbdtbcdg 2 months ago

            Hmm I'm pretty sure it used to. I used it and if it had followed symlinks that would have broken things for me and I wouldn't have used it.

    • rsync 2 months ago

      "To be fair, most commercial cloud services overthink this, and also get it wrong."

        ssh [email protected] ls -asl some/dir
      ... looking good ...

      "There's exactly one sync program that gets it all right: Unison, written by Benjamin Pierce"

        ssh [email protected] unison
        Usage: unison [options]
        or unison root1 root2 [options]
        or unison profilename [options]
      (Ask about the HN readers' discount)
      • jng 2 months ago

        I tried to use unison for serious production work a few years ago, and it fell short. It would fail or become incredibly slow with large (but not huge) amounts of data. A pity because the concept is great. I wonder if it has improved since.

        • rsync 2 months ago

          "I wonder if it has improved since."

          Unison is very interesting and it is, indeed, very special in that it solves the very specific use-case of my parent post.

          However, my own opinion, and that of just about everyone who cares about backup tools is that 'borg' is the "one true way":

          • cookiecaper 2 months ago

            I played with borg some in the early days and was unimpressed with some of the methodology and code quality displayed on public forums like GitHub. This is kind of archival work MUST be correct and carefully designed due to its sensitive nature. I hope I'm not giving the project an unfair shake here, but I checked it again recently and the first several lines of the GitHub page list 3-4 fairly recent versions that have caveats around data corruption and the like ...

            This is not really isolated to borg, so I don't want to pick on them too much (plz shield your eyes in the direction of rclone...), but calling it the "holy grail" is a bit rich IMO. This kind of stuff is simply not industrial grade software.

          • Dylan16807 2 months ago

            Any idea if this benchmark is still accurate?

            ('attic' on there is actually borg)

            Borg has a lot going for it, but I'm hesitant to call something a holy grail or one true way if it can't do compact diffs. Especially when it needs active server software, which makes pruning much easier.

          • dual_basis 2 months ago

            What about restic?


            • rsync 2 months ago

              Yes, we support restic. I don't have anything interesting to say about borg vs. restic ...

        • hedora 2 months ago

          You can work around failures of large initial unison syncs by creating a partial directory tree on the target manually.

          It treats the creation of a new directory as an atomic operation, and rolls it back on failure.

          (So, if the initial sync will take a week, then precreate the top level or two of the directory hierarchy...)

          It’s an annoying problem, but after the initial sync, partial syncs are fast and reliable.

      • bubblethink 2 months ago

        I have always been intrigued by your service, and will probably try it at some point for a smallish setup for important data, but whenever I think of backups in the TB range, it gets way out of budget (even after accounting for borg or other discounts). Do you have any plans to compete on pricing with other popular cloud/storage providers? I understand that this is a different product for a different audience.

        • rsync 2 months ago

          "Do you have any plans to compete on pricing with other popular cloud/storage providers?"

          We try to keep out pricing very roughly inline with Amazon S3. If you know to look for the discount signup rates it should be very slightly cheaper than S3.

          We can't promise customers support from real UNIX engineers and also match B2 pricing. I'm happy with that and plan to continue on that path ...

          We would be very happy to have you.

          • slig 2 months ago

            > If you know to look for the discount signup rates it should be very slightly cheaper than S3.

            I'm interested. Do you mean the special borg account or should I look more? Thanks!

    • jolmg 2 months ago

      > The users who expect a symlink to trick a cloud service into special behaviour (like syncing folders elsewhere) are also wrong.

      I use neither Dropbox nor Unison, but on the treatment of symbolic links, every program that somehow manages files have some sort of configuration option to decide whether or not to follow symbolic links. It's not about tricking a service into special behaviour. It's just that either handling by following or not following the links are both appropriate behaviour in different situations.

      In the case of Unison, it chooses not to follow by default, but it also can be configured to follow as described here:

      Furthermore, when the destination host is a Windows system, Unison refuses to not to follow a symbolic link, since Windows doesn't support symbolic links.

    • mzs 2 months ago

      "symlink is just a file…"

      A file for which you exclusively use lstat() & readlink() instead of all the other usual functions in the standard library you use for regular files. What about named pipes? Or sockets? Or whiteout? Are they too just files since they have a filename?

      • bigiain 2 months ago

        "Please wait: backing up /dev/urandom - 0% of NaN"

        (To be fair, anyone who tries to backup /dev deserves whatever they get...)

        • mzs 2 months ago

            $ echo /dev/urandom | cpio -o | xxd -a
            1 block
            00000000: 3037 3037 3037 3737 3737 3737 3030 3030  0707077777770000
            00000010: 3031 3032 3036 3636 3030 3030 3030 3030  0102066600000000
            00000020: 3030 3030 3030 3030 3031 3737 3737 3737  0000000001777777
            00000030: 3133 3436 3430 3530 3035 3730 3030 3031  1346405005700001
            00000040: 3530 3030 3030 3030 3030 3030 2f64 6576  500000000000/dev
            00000050: 2f75 7261 6e64 6f6d 0030 3730 3730 3730  /urandom.0707070
            00000060: 3030 3030 3030 3030 3030 3030 3030 3030  0000000000000000
            00000070: 3030 3030 3030 3030 3030 3030 3030 3030  0000000000000000
            00000080: 3030 3130 3030 3030 3030 3030 3030 3030  0010000000000000
            00000090: 3030 3030 3030 3030 3133 3030 3030 3030  0000000013000000
            000000a0: 3030 3030 3054 5241 494c 4552 2121 2100  00000TRAILER!!!.
            000000b0: 0000 0000 0000 0000 0000 0000 0000 0000  ................
            000001f0: 0000 0000 0000 0000 0000 0000 0000 0000  ................
            $ echo $?
          • jolmg 2 months ago

            I chuckled at the "TRAILER!!!". I wonder what other file formats have silly things like this.

            From `man 5 cpio`:

            > The end of the archive is indicated by a special record with the pathname “TRAILER!!!”.

            This makes me wonder if this means that the cpio format can't reliably be used for files with the path "TRAILER!!!". Why would the format even need a special record to indicate the end of the archive? Is there any reason why one wouldn't be able to rely on the end of the file to indicate the end of the archive?

            • jolmg 2 months ago

              Seems cpio really can't deal with "TRAILER!!!" files:

                $ cd $(mktemp -d)
                $ echo foo > 'TRAILER!!!'     
                $ echo bar > barfile
                $ echo 'TRAILER!!!' | cpio -o | xxd -a
                1 block
                00000000: c771 2a00 31cc a481 e803 e803 0100 0000  .q*.1...........
                00000010: 025d ef8c 0b00 0000 0400 5452 4149 4c45  .]........TRAILE
                00000020: 5221 2121 0000 666f 6f0a c771 0000 0000  R!!!
                00000030: 0000 0000 0000 0100 0000 0000 0000 0b00  ................
                00000040: 0000 0000 5452 4149 4c45 5221 2121 0000  ....TRAILER!!!..
                00000050: 0000 0000 0000 0000 0000 0000 0000 0000  ................
                000001f0: 0000 0000 0000 0000 0000 0000 0000 0000  ................
                $ echo 'TRAILER!!!' | cpio -o | cpio -t
                1 block
                1 block
                $ echo barfile | cpio -o | cpio -t
                1 block
                1 block
                $ echo barfile | cpio -o | cpio -i --to-stdout barfile 
                1 block
                1 block
                $ echo 'TRAILER!!!' | cpio -o | cpio -i --to-stdout 'TRAILER!!!'
                1 block
                1 block
              • mzs 2 months ago

                tar has two blocks of zeros at the end.

                GNU tar uses entries where other tar implementations will overwrite previous files on extraction, AIX tar uses special four character names for binary blobs (plus xattrs as names, both after the affected entry), Solaris cpio uses another mode bit for sparse files, ACLs, and xattrs (I actually really like this, it extracts as a simple to parse text file[0] on other implementations), and most pax commands on Linux can't read/write PAX archive files.

                FWIW I make use of TRAILER!!! to let me know in a pipeline that everything worked (imagine a command earlier in the pipe fails early and not every entry is processed but ends on a boundary), but here the two pages of zeros that tar uses makes more sense (about the only thing tar does better than cpio).

                0:[email protected]

          • ktpsns 2 months ago

            How does this work? Looks like a bug in xxd for me (o.O)

            • mzs 2 months ago

              Nope xxd is fine, read the man page.

                $ PAGER='col -bx' man 5 cpio | awk '$1 == "mode" { print; while (getline) print }' | head
                mode    The mode specifies both the regular permissions and the file
                        type.  It consists of several bit fields as follows:
                        0170000  This masks the file type bits.
                        0140000  File type value for sockets.
                        0120000  File type value for symbolic links.  For symbolic links,
                                 the link body is stored as file data.
                        0100000  File type value for regular files.
                        0060000  File type value for block special devices.
                        0040000  File type value for directories.
                        0020000  File type value for character special devices.
                $ echo /dev/urandom | cpio -o | dd bs=6 skip=3 count=1 | od -tc
                1 block
                1+0 records in
                1+0 records out
                6 bytes transferred in 0.000025 secs (239675 bytes/sec)
                0000000    0   2   0   6   6   6                                        
    • tanderson92 2 months ago

      SyncThing also gets this right.

      • jvanderbot 2 months ago

        Yes, I love syncthing for many reasons. Those complaining about UI support will not love syncthing any more than other replacements. Also, setting up ST on phone, AWS, and my desktop was an exercise in patience. I now have a config I'm happy with, but it took a lot of effort that I wouldn't expect from just anyone.

    • Waterluvian 2 months ago

      So a file structure of a cyclic graph of symlinks is wrong and shall simply just break and blame the user?

      Or one where you have one large file and symlinks of it all over the place? Should it just explode in size unexpectedly?

    • aprdm 2 months ago

      I totally agree with this. Perforce gets it right for what it is worth.

      • offbyone 2 months ago

        I'll take "sentences I never thought I'd read" for $800, Alex!

    • liyanage 2 months ago

      This is a perfect description of my issue with their symlink handling, and their arrogant response to the complaint about it.

    • rdiddly 2 months ago

      Ideally all these choices you mention would be configurable settings...

  • vvoyer 2 months ago

    After receiving an email like: > This is all for just $20.88 more a year

    1. I never asked for anything more 2. you still charge me for more at a higher price

    I just bought 2TB data on iCloud, moving everything there. Now I will have good photo application with face recognition which is awesome. Do not expect any move from Dropbox to make your personal life better, they won't. They are going towards enterprise customers.

    Use iCloud that's it if you're in the apple word.

    • 0x906 2 months ago

      I self-hosted a Nextcloud installation and used 2x 4TB drives. The first is full dedicated to the Nextcloud use while the second is rsync-ed to the first every night. Then I deleted my 8 years old Dropbox account. Currently my only cloud provider is iCloud just for the photos, contacts, iwhatever backup.

      • cyberferret 2 months ago

        This is a timely post. I just set up NextCloud myself, to sync my external HDD to my own managed cloud storage service. I've got NextCloud running on a VPS, and linked to a series of storage buckets on Wasabi.

        Sometimes all I want is a quick and easy replication of local data to an off site storage facility, and also an easy way to share links with third parties who need access to certain stuff. I am getting tired of storage providers who started off by doing these two things really well, but then decided they wanted to add a ton of bells and whistles that are really of no value to me as a user.

        (To be fair, I think Box.Net is the only cloud storage provider I've used over the past decade that still retains their original premise).

      • ndarwincorn 2 months ago

        Assuming the second drive is always connected to the machine & on, why are you opting for that nightly sync vs. mirroring the two disks in raid1?

        • 0x906 2 months ago

          It's been a stupid decision at the time of the setup. Now its already there, and any attempt to change it will have to erase the drives, and this is a huge pain in the arse.

          • jlgaddis 2 months ago

            You can "convert" a single HDD drive into a RAID1 (mirror) online, without data loss or backup/restore.

      • countbackula 2 months ago

        I recommend Nextcloud as well. For anyone interested but without self-hosting a server, I've had great experience hooking it up with my Disroot ( email account which offers 4gb (free) storage.

        • freeopinion 2 months ago

          Some while back Seafile looked more promising than Nextcloud to me. Never got around to actually using either though. Not sure how things shape up now.

    • iak8god 2 months ago

      > 1. I never asked for anything more 2. you still charge me for more at a higher price

      They were going to raise their rates anyway, this is just an attempt to make it look like you're getting something more in exchange.

    • samcat116 2 months ago

      They also finally added shared folders to iCloud drive, which was the last major feature preventing me from switching

    • hbosch 2 months ago

      > Use iCloud that's it if you're in the apple word.

      Does iCloud automatically save versions yet? One of the default features, IMO, of the Dropbox/Box/WorkDocs/OneDrive world is that a history of saved versions is easily accessible for a single document. Last I checked, iCloud didn't have this one feature.

      • chipotle_coyote 2 months ago

        I think this may be something that needs to be exposed at the application level, e.g., iWork's "Browse All Versions" feature:

        I see this in other apps as well; I just checked iA Writer, for instance, and it shows me versions on iOS. (And, of course, if you have Time Machine enabled on your Mac, you can browse versions for everything on that system, but I don't know how that interacts with iCloud: I suspect it's doing local versioning of your cloud drive!)

        • hbosch 2 months ago

          That means it's a local, Mac-only feature. I like having access to old versions in the cloud, partially because my other computer is a desktop PC.

          • chipotle_coyote 2 months ago

            The support note that I linked about iWork says that with iCloud, "versions of your documents across all devices are saved periodically as you work on them," which is why I suspect there is a versioning feature exposed at the application level. As I noted, I see this in iA Writer, too. Unfortunately this doesn't help your use case, though.

    • Causality1 2 months ago

      Yeah, they fucked me when they restricted free accounts to 3 devices. As someone who spent years preaching the gospel of Dropbox to my non-techie friends and family, the number of angry phonecalls I received was more than enough to never recommend them to anyone ever again.

      • wnscooke 2 months ago

        Who called, and why were they angry (at you)?

    • zymhan 2 months ago

      Did I miss where they're charging existing customers more? My account page still shows $99/yr.

      • hellofunk 2 months ago

        The features are added to your account at no additional cost for your current term. However the renewal of your yearly contract will be at the new price.

      • Max-q 2 months ago

        I got a this mail:

        > Dropbox Plus just got an upgrade. And a new price—starting on [xxx] , 2019 (that’s your next billing cycle), Dropbox Plus will be $119.88 a year (plus any applicable taxes).

        • zymhan 2 months ago

          Ah I see, that is quite unfortunate. I'm guessing the changes are mostly a cover for inevitably having to raise prices.

          Also, I've been watching their stock price, so presumably they have been too.

    • itslennysfault 2 months ago

      Glad I'm not the only one that thought this. I just want a folder on my computer I can put stuff in and have it backed up / synced automatically. I don't use/want any other features.

    • jwong_ 2 months ago

      I still use dropbox right now for YNAB4 (The nYNAB offering is terrible and expensive), but this looks enticing. I haven't looked into using iCloud but the prospect of syncing during power nap and not having to use burn my VPN quota for dropbox (GFW blocks dropbox now, super annoying) is really interesting.

      2TB with iCloud also applies to a family, and serves as iOS backup storage as well.

      $10 for 2TB is great compared to what Dropbox gets you. I'm guessing no notification spam for upgrading too...

  • jwr 2 months ago

    Seconded. I can't put too many files in Dropbox, and additionally it burns power even if files are changed outside.

    In general, it is a CPU catastrophe, a penalty I have to pay in order to use file synchronization. I really hope that a better competitor appears.

    Additionally, the software pesters me with annoying popups pushing me to upgrade.

    • bluedino 2 months ago

      At what piont do you see issues? I'm on the free tier and only have about 3GB of files and have never noticed any CPU usages issues with Dropbox on my Mac

      • jwr 2 months ago

        Perhaps you haven't looked? Try cloning a git repo, or unpacking a tarball with many files (doesn't matter if it's inside Dropbox or not) and observe the CPU usage of the Dropbox process.

        I checked right now and the Dropbox process on my machine has consumed a total of 39 minutes CPU time. That's 39 minutes of full-scale CPU usage. Even their "web helper" process (whatever that is) consumed two minutes and 41 seconds.

        • vonseel 2 months ago

          (Google) Backup & Sync currently shows 2:04.46 in CPU time on my Mac. I'm guessing that means 2 hours and 4 minutes. The machine was shutdown overnight and booted this morning. Is this something that resets with each boot?

        • bluedino 2 months ago

          I don’t have a use case for cloning a git repo to Dropbox

          • vishvananda 2 months ago

            the parent mentions in parentheses that the dir doesn't have to be in dropbox because it appears to monitor all files.

            • TeMPOraL 2 months ago

              Sounds broken on user end. Never seen anything like this when using Dropbox on several versions of Windows and Ubuntu, on both low-end and high-end machines.

              • zapzupnz 2 months ago

                > on several versions of Windows and Ubuntu

                This discussion is about performance of the macOS client. Saying that clients for other OS work well doesn't really contribute to it.

    • agumonkey 2 months ago

      dropbox, considering their size, is really in a position for a solid rewrite.

      ocaml ?

      nim ? rust ? go ?

      • c256 2 months ago

        DropBox is the Electron client of file sharing. They could make native apps that use native apis and get vastly better performance in time, power, cpu, and probably memory — but then they’d have to create and maintain a bunch of native apps. I know it’s common to hear HN comments like “they have the money/skill/opportunity to trade up to a better platform for more effort”, but everything I’ve seen says that it’s much harder to make that choice than to stick with the tech-debt you already have.

        Note: I’m not saying it’s literally an electron client. It’s an analogy. :)

        • tonyedgecombe 2 months ago

          It does bundle Chromium so it isn’t far off.

        • agumonkey 2 months ago

          I get it don't worry. Maybe they'll do it later when it will be an obvious advantage for the company.

      • aldanor 2 months ago

        It's particularly funny because they hired Guido (GVR) who is supposedly helping them migrate a million(s) lines of code py2->py3. Whereas a better solution in the long run would have probably been just rewriting the whole damn thing in Rust for all platforms.

      • hobofan 2 months ago

        Rust doesn't sound too unrealistic, given that they were one of its first big commercial users.

        • agumonkey 2 months ago

          they do rust ? fun

          • eridius 2 months ago

            They use Rust in the datacenter. The layer that actually writes bits to disk is written in Rust. I don't know why they haven't yet deployed a native desktop client that's a Rust core with a thin platform-native GUI wrapper.

            • jhurwitz 2 months ago

              Jamie Turner from Dropbox gave a talk at a Rust meetup in 2017:

              Edit: at 30:05 in that video, he briefly talks about a forthcoming (as of 2017) "full redesign + rewrite of Dropbox's 'sync engine' in Rust." He claims it will use 10x less memory, and be 50x faster on key operations.

              • zerd 2 months ago

                The also mention it here

                strings /Applications/ | grep -i rust shows some hits:

                Looks like they use it fairly lightly though.
              • agumonkey 2 months ago

                Thanks for the link, missed it

  • jamesb93 2 months ago

    I had the same inclination as you. Dropbox was cooking my 2015 Macbook Pro. What I can tell you might reduce research time.

    Google Drive has no differential sync. Any changes you make re-upload the whole file. This is a hard no for me. Also Google.

    I moved to Sync[0]. The pricing tier was more what I wanted (500GB). They support symlinks, differential syncing, selective sync as well as a 'Vault' for storing files in the cloud but not on your machine. I think it's end-to-end encrypted as well, not going to commit to saying anything specific in that regard. The Mac app is also a lot better, I find it spinning up a lot less for me and its a lot lighter in general. To be fair though, even with iCloud I get my fans whirring up when I start uploading lots of changes.

    I've also heard good things about pCloud[1] but I don't see any reason to change my workflow now after have to already change it.

    [0] - [1] -

    • cVwEq 2 months ago

      In addition to all the benefits listed above...

      Sync claims that, if you have the Sync setup create your own encryption key on your device, files are end-to-end encrypted. I believe them. Moreover, Sync support confirmed that they do not have access to meta-data about your files either. Thus, their admins do not have access to your unencrypted files or information about them.

      They support all the usual devices both on the desktop and mobile apps.

      Their servers are located in Canada, not the U.S., if geography matters to you from a privacy perspective.

      I will also second that Sync seems much speedier than Dropbox. Startup / connection time is maybe 50% faster on my dated machine. (Dropbox seems to say Connecting... forever!)

      You can run both Dropbox and at the same time if you want to migrate slowly. I use Dropbox for non-sensitive files (e.g. rando family pictures) and for sensitive files (e.g. birth certificates, financial files). With and their more thorough end-to-end encryption, I feel safer that my file data cannot be used for random studies or anything else Dropbox feels like they can justify [0].


  • pgm8705 2 months ago

    My previous experience with Google Drive was that it would chew up CPU and memory a lot more than I liked.

    I've been pretty happy with iCloud Drive since I switched to it. Works seamlessly and effortlessly on my Mac and iPhone, affordable pricing fo storage which can be shared with family, and also solves my photo storage needs with Apple Photos. The only drawback is the lack of shared folders, but they just announced that is coming soon.

    • jeromegv 2 months ago

      As soon as Shared Folder is released on iCloud, I'm moving everything out of Dropbox. I already pay for iCloud for my photos but have tons of unused space, that just makes more sense to consolidate, especially since Apple cares about optimizing for battery and CPU usage.

    • octorian 2 months ago

      Yeah, I've never had a good experience with the Google Drive client. Heck, I remember when the Windows version would suck up all available file handles and basically make the machine unusable.

      That being said, the whole point of Dropbox to me is that its cross-platform. iCloud Drive is basically worthless for the Dropbox use case unless your entire computing universe is on Apple equipment.

    • mvexel 2 months ago

      After reading some of the comments here I decided to give the Google Backup & Sync client another go on my MacBook Pro. The CPU fan has been blowing at full speed for the last 15 minutes. It's still terrible, extremely resource-hungry and slow.

      • felipelemos 2 months ago

        My perception is that this happens every time the app starts. After it scans everything the CPU/MEM/IO consumption goes down to reasonable levels.

    • kyrra 2 months ago

      (I work for Google, not on drive. Opinions are my own).

      Have you tried the newer drive client? Backup & Sync[0] replaced the old client and I believe is a bit better than the older client. If you are on GSuite, there is the Drive File Stream[1] that is a lazy-load of resources from a drive folder (which is why it's targeted for businesses only).



      • shereadsthenews 2 months ago

        Backup and Sync for MacOS at least is a disaster. It locked me out of my account because when backing up photos, if it can’t figure out how to convert files to normal quality JPEGs, it uploads them anyway and your quota is charged. Then a month later when you start wondering why nobody sends you email any more you might figure it out.

      • nogridbag 2 months ago

        I posted above, but can elaborate in some more detail here.

        I used the new Backup & Sync tool for the first time and had a poor experience.

        Context: I have a paid MS OneDrive account but maxed out my storage and was seeking alternatives (specifically ones with easy family sharing). It turned out my wife was already paying for Google One so we just used that. I downloaded Backup & Sync just to transfer my photos from my local PC into Google Photos. Backup & Sync's UI is terribly sluggish on Windows. Clicking the system tray icon renders a blank dialog and then a second or two later the dialog is rendered (Surface Book 1). The UI responsiveness was a turnoff but not my primary concern.

        In the sync tool and the Photos webapp preferences there are two checkboxes that affect syncing:

          * Backup & Sync client (upon upload to Drive copy photo to Google Photos)
          * Google Photos web app (automatically index Drive and copy images to Google Photos)
        As an end user I liked the separation of Drive and Photos from the user experience. I do not want to upload photos to Drive and have them sync to Google Photos. And I definitely don't want Google Photos to index all images on my Drive account.

        Simply using the Backup & Sync tool forces you to upload photos to Drive and have them sync over to Photos ruining that separation. And unfortunately in a case of bad timing there was some server outage on Google's end that affected the syncing of files from Drive to Photos. My photos successfully uploaded to Drive but did not appear in Google Photos web app, but no error is displayed to the user. I contacted Google One support and they informed me there was a problem they were aware of but also that I had to enable the latter checkbox in Photos webapp (have Google Photos index and parse all of my Drive images). I was incredibly hesitant to check that since I have a massive amount of images (not photos) in my Drive account (paper scans, tons of small icons, etc) and I don't want any of those appearing in Photos. I listened to support regardless, enabled that checkbox, and of course it did not work due to the server outage.

        • vonseel 2 months ago

          And I definitely don't want Google Photos to index all images on my Drive account.

          I've had this happen and it's a nightmare to fix. Once I accidentally had a node_modules folder sync to Google and it had images in some of the subdirectories for some reason, another time I had something else with third-party resources like an HTML eBook and ended up with random images of charts and graphs all over my Google Photos.

      • sedatk 2 months ago

        It’s still terrible. Actually Google Drive (or Backup & Sync) client hasn’t improved one bit in the last 4 years. The only update we saw was “material design” revamp that was about it. It still spends 15 minutes “preparing for sync” every time I restart and consumes considerable CPU while doing that too.

      • giovannibajo1 2 months ago

        As siblings say, it’s still terrible. I installed the business version on my Mac to give a look, I have zero files synced with it. After a few days I checked activity monitor and it had used tens of minutes of CPU time. For zero files and zero activity.

      • jonaswouters 2 months ago

        Backup and Sync is not so great. I wish the Photos backup client was still available, and I'd use that together with InSync.

        InSync is great and works on most platforms. I've been using it since dropbox lost a bunch of my important files in 2014. (I have multiple backups now)

  • atonse 2 months ago

    Is this really true? wow. I'm shocked that a company of Dropbox's size hasn't built native clients for each platform (or rearchitected the core to be based on something like Go or Rust that is fast and cross platform, and just building the UI parts in the native frameworks)

    • geodel 2 months ago

      From their POV whatever is in their data centers will be microscopically optimized and written in carefully handcrafted Rust and then later covered in blog posts.

      For clients their unspoken answer is 'upgrade hardware and stop whining' or 'we have strategic direction to deliver uniform client experience across platforms' which would just mean write some JS/Electron crap.

    • nogridbag 2 months ago

      I'm guessing you never used Google Drive's Backup and Sync on Windows. I used it for the first time a month or two ago. Simply clicking the system tray icon brings up a blank dialog that takes seconds to render. Both Drive and the sync tool have been around for quite some time so I expected it to be a polished experience.

      I also expected the integration with Google Photos to be excellent since Photos is a major Google service, but in a terrible case of bad timing I just happened to attempt to use it when Google had a Drive -> Photos service outage.

      • egeozcan 2 months ago

        The client used to be great when it was "Google Drive" but of course they had to rewrite and rebrand it to make it unbearable. Enterprise users, IIRC, still get to use the good client though.

    • AlchemistCamp 2 months ago

      Google's much larger and they moved away from some excellent native clients like Google Talk, which IMO took the crown from MSN and other chat clients a decade ago. It's the same story for photos and other apps. They've consistently killed native apps and replaced them with poorer-UX pure web apps.

      Meanwhile Slack is happily sticking with their Electron app and wasting the resources of hundreds of users machines and who knows how much electricity in total.

    • octorian 2 months ago

      For reasons I cannot fathom, it seems like bigger companies are far less likely to justify the resources to build multi-platform native software than smaller ones.

      • ken 2 months ago

        Seems logical (if depressing) to me: companies that do less work to customize their product to their target customers will find it easier to get big in the first place. Companies that care about craftsmanship above all else have to deal with being small. The violinmaker down the street from me does excellent work but he's never going to be as big as Toyota.

        Companies like Dropbox tend to make the bulk of their money by selling to other businesses, as well, which by definition is the set of customers who care more about volume and price than craftsmanship.

        Pretend you're a Dropbox salesperson, and your job is to go to other companies to sell them on enterprise Dropbox. How many times do you think you're going to hear someone challenge you on what version of Python the Mac client uses? It just doesn't happen.

        There's many small ("indie") companies that make great Mac software, and do it by being Mac-only. That means they'll never be huge, but it also means they're never going to have a second-rate Mac client.

      • jammygit 2 months ago

        My experience disagrees. I have a bunch of electron apps installed that single dev companies wrote

    • Shorel 2 months ago

      Does anyone still build native clients for anything?

      It seems no one bothers anymore, no matter the size of the company.

      Any native clients we have now were built years ago and now they are only maintained.

      I think nowadays even Audacity would be an Electron app.

      • atonse 2 months ago

        Yes, a company of dropbox's size definitely has an iOS team (not 1 iOS developer). They absolutely have the resources to do this.

        But I suppose you're right. Even true of Slack. It's totally a meme that Slack's electron client is horrendous and bloated, but it probably hasn't stopped their growth, so where's the incentive for them to improve it?

        • pfranz 2 months ago

          What sucks is that server-side performance is their problem, and client-side performance is your problem. It becomes their problem if growth slows or if users leave, but it's often too late.

      • brobdingnagians 2 months ago

        I'm starting a company and writing native clients. There isn't any reason not to. There are lots of cross-platform GUI libraries that are fine for business applications, you get native speed, there are plenty of languages that are both safe and fast. You get full access to the full power of the OS if you need it. I think the current craze of non-native clients is because of web-developers who don't know how to do anything else, so they just mimic a website on desktop.

        • fauigerzigerk 2 months ago

          >There are lots of cross-platform GUI libraries

          In what sense is an app native if it uses cross-platform GUI libraries? Ahead of time compilation alone doesn't make an app native in my view.

          • pfranz 2 months ago

            It depends what they're using. Often, the cross platform libraries are abstractions that just call the native functions for that platform. Even in that case it's difficult because differences to that platform can cause minor layout issues.

            There are cases where a custom, bespoke application for each platform is warranted, but that is rare. It's a continuum between the custom, bespoke and a UI/color scheme completely custom to your app.

          • Shorel 2 months ago

            wxWidgets uses the platform native controls and windows.

      • beamatronic 2 months ago

        That last line made me involuntarily twitch so hard I threw my phone

    • acbart 2 months ago

      Well, they're probably a little biased towards using Python, since they have the former BDFL just lying around :)

    • Longhanks 2 months ago

      The UI is, at least on Windows, using PyQt, and thus, Python, too. You can find the dlls in DropBox' installation directory.

  • pwthornton 2 months ago

    Just use iCloud.

    I switched a few years ago. It works really well. Unless you are using Dropbox with a team or a corporate environment, iCloud is better. I use a combo of iCloud (love the desktop syncing between my machines btw), and Google File Stream for team documents.

    • pathartl 2 months ago

      To me, this mass exodus from platforms to iCloud is _scary_. I've been rolling my own solution for some time now based on Resilio Sync. I understand that I'm the minority and a power user, but honestly giving Apple (or Google, or Dropbox, or _____) control over my files like that does not appeal to me in the slightest.

      On sort of a tangent, I'm also choosing not to use iCloud because I really feel like it gives Apple an excuse to establish anti-consumer practices when it comes to hardware repairability and data ownership. I had an amazingly terrible time at the Apple store recently and an employee tried convincing me that Google will sell my photos that I've uploaded to my G-Suite account. I believe what he said was "I just pay the $x/month for iCloud, because 3rd parties can't be trusted sometimes". To me, that is an amazingly terrible attitude that sounds like it came straight off the page of the language guidelines. As far as hardware repairability, Apple recently has moved to either soldered-on or proprietary connectors for their storage devices for most of their devices. In the 2016 MacBook Pros, they made an assembly to recover data via the lifeboat connector so if you had a logic board swap (which is what you get because they'd rather landfill/grind down than repair) your data could still be recovered.

      This has disappeared on the latest models. Finally, Apple in the past year has discontinued their Time Capsule product and has not made any large improvements to Time Machine. It is still a nightmare to use with SMB environments, which seems to not align with Apple's silent killing of AFP in favor of Samba.

      • xvector 2 months ago

        > control over my files like that does not appeal to me in the slightest.

        Then self-host Nextcloud on your NAS.

        > anti-consumer practices when it comes to hardware repairability and data ownership.

        Hardware repairability? Agreed, but this goes hand-in-hand with security. IMO all hardware and data should be entangled with the Secure Enclave/T2 chip but Apple is a long way from that (looks, however, as if they are working towards it).

        Data ownership? IMO Apple is pretty good with that. They care much more about privacy here than Google et al. If you truly want nothing on Apple's cloud, it's super easy to turn off iCloud too.

        > I had an amazingly terrible time at the Apple store recently and an employee tried convincing me

        I don't get tech people who do this. You go to a store, ask about a product that you are clearly more knowledgable than the employee on, and then complain that they aren't knowledgable? Unless you are lost there is zero reason for you to ask an employee about a product.

        That said, I trust Apple not to datamine your photos. I don't trust Google on that.

        > This has disappeared on the latest models.

        T2 chip. Security/convenience tradeoff. I'll take the security every time.

        Seriously, though, it looks like the only solution that you'll find palatable will be your own NAS with self-hosted Nextcloud - and, if you use a Mac, Time Machine.

        • pathartl 2 months ago

          > Then self-host Nextcloud on your NAS.

          Nextcloud's implementation is terrible.

          > IMO all hardware and data should be entangled with the Secure Enclave/T2 chip

          This is an absolutely terrible implementation of security. There is no reason that your data should be tied to a circuit board that does everything. Mac logic boards are ticking time bombs.

          > I don't get tech people who do this. You go to a store, ask about a product that you are clearly more knowledgable than the employee on, and then complain that they aren't knowledgable? Unless you are lost there is zero reason for you to ask an employee about a product.

          We as tech enthusiasts should care. What is shown and received by all consumers is what leads the industry. I went in because the baseband CPU had flexion damage in my iPhone 7. I went in for the out of warranty repair. They asked if I had a backup. I said yes. They asked if I did a local or iCloud, I just said no, I use Google Photos. I then got this obviously scripted sales pitch for iCloud.

          > That said, I trust Apple not to datamine your photos. I don't trust Google on that.

          They're _probably_ datamining your photos anyway. This trust that people have in Apple seems to be pretty blind.

          My entire comment was lead with yeah I'm a power user and a different case. My comment was tackling how Apple's attitude is anti-consumer.

          • Naac 2 months ago

            > Nextcloud's implementation is terrible.

            Please explain more

            • pathartl 2 months ago

              I have two major problems with it, what it's written in and how it manages files.

              It's written in PHP. I'm not complaining about the language... I started as a PHP dev and fully recognize why an establishment might use it. The issue I have is PHP is always a pain in the ass to get configured properly. Of course there's always docker implementations, but even those haven't been constructed well imo.

              Secondly, the way it manages files is absolutely terrible. Now I haven't really used it in about a year so I don't remember the specifics, but I now have a folder on my NAS that is pretty much not removable due to what I believe is an abuse of ACLs. What I really need is just something with a web interface that can sync with my other devices without imposing its own file/folder structure. At least with my experience in the past, this is a pain with Nextcloud.

              • Naac 2 months ago

                Can't speak to your first point, as my only interaction with Nextcloud php configuration has been to comment in/out various php modules. I don't have too many modules though, so maybe that's why I haven't had any configuration issues.

                Regarding file management, the working solution for me has been to mount any external storage with a fuse mount ( NAS, dropbox, etc. ), and then just use the Nextcloud "external storage" option. Other than Nextcloud's general slowness ( I'm running on an underpowered server ) I haven't had any issues.

    • treve 2 months ago

      I assume you're only using Mac devices though right?

      • fudgy73 2 months ago

        iCloud for Windows was recently revamped after collaboration between Apple and Microsoft [0].

        [0] -

        • 24gttghh 2 months ago

          No Linux support besides a web browser interface though...any alternatives in that realm? (iOS <--> Linux)

        • siproprio 2 months ago

          Where did you get this info from? That link says nothing about a Microsoft and Apple collaboration.

          • axolttl88 2 months ago

            Microsoft blog: “The new iCloud for Windows app introduces a new iCloud Drive experience for Windows 10 users powered by the same Windows technology that also powers OneDrive’s Files On-Demand feature, enabling users to be more productive offline on mobile devices and quickly share files on iOS.”


            • siproprio 2 months ago

              The parent poster should've made it more clear! Because the Apple Support link posted does not mention this collaboration anywhere, unlike the Microsoft blog.

              Edit: I'm trying the "updated" app now. No changes appear to have been made. It is still slow and buggy as hell, it still installs a ported and outdated version of half of the frameworks of OS X, as expected.

    • ryanmack 2 months ago

      Really limited on features no? No smart sync, revisions, or easy link sharing.

      • mrgill 2 months ago

        If you're on Mac, smart sync is available, it's native.

  • GordonS 2 months ago

    At least when I tried it a few years ago, the Windows client was also a crappy Python app that ate CPU and disk for around an hour after every startup.

    Why? To detect changes, they were storing a snapshot and comparing everything on disk to the snapshot. Which is madness when Windows has methods that don't require reading every damn byte on the disk - at the least, they could use a filesystem minifilter driver, or the NTFS USN change journal.

    As if that wasn't enough, after the startup scan they were using an unreliable method to detect further changes (same one as dotnet's FileSystemWatcher, I forget the name of the underlying Windows API).

    And to top it all off, even with only 2 systems sharing the data, there were conflicts all the time that required manual resolution (and I seem to recall Dropbox wasn't very good about surfacing these when they happened). Then there was a data loss incident, I presume due to some kind of conflict snafu - Dropbox only support at the time was a forum, and they were completely uninterested in even acknowledging that there was an issue.

    I switched to Seafile after that, and haven't looked back. I honestly don't understand why people would put up with that crap, but given the size of Dropbox they obviously do...

  • wazoox 2 months ago

    MIgrating to NextCloud, I'm pretty happy with it. It has many extensions, plugins, and helper applications. Say no to centralized web :)

    • saghm 2 months ago

      I've been hosting NextCloud on a $10/month Digital Ocean VPS for maybe 8-10 months now, and I've been super pleased with it. I'm not much of a devops person, but I found it fairly easy to set up and configure, and it runs smoothly enough that most of the time it's indistinguishable from using third-party cloud file sync service. I occasionally ssh in to apply updates (and renew the Let's Encrypt cert, since I've been having trouble getting it to renew through cron and haven't spent much time debugging why), but that's about it.

      • jwong_ 2 months ago

        How big is your sync folder? I have around 25GB I'd like to get off Dropbox.

        • saghm 2 months ago

          Fairly small; it's only about 5 GB, so I can't say for certain how well it would work with something that large. At least at the size that I have, changes propagate across my devices pretty much instantaneously .

          • jwong_ 2 months ago

            Sounds not too big magnitude in difference -- I'll give that a try

        • wazoox 2 months ago

          Mine is 5,1 GB; I've started more serious deployment for collaborative work and have set up a 20 TB shared folder, no problem. :)

        • artificialLimbs 2 months ago

          Mine is 2TB (capacity), because I mounted my ZFS array at home via SSHFS as the data directory on my droplet.

  • jonotime 2 months ago

    I've used Dropbox since the beginning, and Nextcloud for the last few years. Nextcloud client seems to use %10 of the memory of Dropbox on my machines. I'm now in the process of switching to SyncThing. The advantage of Syncthing over Nextcloud, is you can used it centralized or decentralized (without a server), I dont need to manage SSL certs and I dont have to poke holes in my firewall. Syncthing client also uses very little memory (a bit more then Nextcloud, but hey Syncthing is both a client and a server). Each of these services have their own strengths, so it depends on the features you want.

    • myu701 2 months ago

      The greatest power of Syncthing I've found is that once you get two devices to handshake, you're done.

      Laptop, meet phone Id, phone, meet laptop Id. Laptop, meet desktop, desktop meet laptop. Oh I've got my server, server meet desktop meet laptop and vice versa.

      Want some files to be available on all devices at once? Put it in the Bank Cannister folder which you've set as active for all devices.

      Want to drop airdroid or plugging in your phone's internal storage to transfer media files to/from the phone? Setup phone<->laptop<->desktop folder named PhoneMusic and tell the syncthing app to store the contents of that file in the same directory as your already existing music root.

      Want off-site backups but too cheap to pay for backblaze like me? Backup to Blu-ray, local external drive, and sync to off-site location (my dad's PC or DO droplet).

      And when I say sync, I mean setup the syncing folders then let it background P2P sync on its own time. Eventual consistency might as well be instant for all but 1% of the time where you look for the file then see it written to the 'local' drive before your eyes.

    • jammygit 2 months ago

      I had a lousy experience setting syncthing up for the first time, but then a really pleasant experience using it. I would recommend it as a decent sync option

      • dole 2 months ago

        For those on Windows, I recommend the SyncTrayzor Syncthing wrapper. Made the thought of getting Syncthing initially configured a lot less daunting and made getting off Dropbox much easier.

  • Legogris 2 months ago

    Have you considered Keybase KBFS for this? You get 250 GB for free, public/private with not too much metadata getting leaked, FUSE for desktop and also access on mobile devices.

    I haven't actually moved over to this myself yet, but it does look much better than Dropbox or (which I stupidly am still subscribed for despite their client being even worse than Dropbox - but at least it's encrypted...)

    Nextcloud mentioned previously is the obvious choice for the privacy-conscious, but does take some further responsibility to ensure integrity and availability.

    • eropple 2 months ago

      I like KBFS a lot, but you have to be careful about trying to use it as a Dropbox-alike. KBFS is always-online. If you have no network connectivity, you have no files.

      It's also not particularly fast.

      • Legogris 2 months ago

        They have been working on this and you can actually do it today even if it's not very well documented (again, haven't tried myself):

          $ keybase fs sync --help
           keybase fs sync - Manages the per-folder syncing state
           keybase fs sync <command> [arguments...]
           enable       syncs the given folder to local storage, for offline access
           disable      Stops syncing the given folder to local storage
           show         shows the sync configuration and status for the given folder, or all folders if none is specified
           help, h      Shows a list of commands or help for one command
        • eropple 2 months ago

          Interesting - I haven't seen this before. Thanks, that's awesome.

      • chias 2 months ago

        If you don't mind getting your hands a little dirty, you can basically just rsync a given local folder with your `/keybase` folder on a cron every so often.

        It's obviously not a right-for-everyone kind of solution, but it does get you fast local offline sync functionality with very little effort.

    • guruz 2 months ago

      > Nextcloud mentioned previously is the obvious choice for the privacy-conscious, but does take some further responsibility to ensure integrity and availability.

      I'd recommend ownCloud over Nextcloud as Nextcloud doesn't have file checkumming during transfer.

      • rbritton 2 months ago

        Because it's web-based, I had huge difficulty getting ownCloud to sync web files like .htaccess. I ultimately abandoned the effort, and I don't know if that has improved any.

  • redfern314 2 months ago

    Google's is much worse for any significant number of files. It burns a bunch of CPU/battery like you described for Dropbox, but it also freezes eventually and has to be force-killed. I gave up trying to sync my former Dropbox files to Drive.

    • redm 2 months ago

      When was the last time you tried Google Drive?

      I had the exact opposite experience. I tried to sync about 700k files to Dropbox and it chewed up CPU for hours, never got past "Preparing to Sync" (or whatever is the equivalent), then crashed. I tried a number of things. Circa about 2 years ago.

      Google drive does annoy me when it decides to do a "full scan" and won't sync anything new until it completes, BUT, it does sync all my data, and it doesn't crash or use tons of CPU.

      • jxdxbx 2 months ago

        I tried deleting a few thousand files from Google Drive and they just got stuck in the trash...had to manually select them all a screen at a time and delete them from the trash, since "empty trash" didn't work. I also ended up with several thousand "unorganized" files at one time--files that are visible to search but not shown in any folder.

    • dawnerd 2 months ago

      Drive does seem to run into their own API limits which is kinda dumb for a product targeting business use.

  • runjake 2 months ago

      > Does anybody know how the CPU/power impact of Microsoft's and Google's offerings are on the Mac?
    It doesn't matter, because from your stated issues with Dropbox, neither OneDrive nor whatever-google-is-calling-it-this-week will provide a suitable replacement for you. They both suffer from the same (and worse) shortcomings as Dropbox.

    Neither competitor qualifies as "a folder that syncs" and they both install all kinds of junk to your system.

  • ghobs91 2 months ago

    Maybe this is heavily dependant on the file structure of what's being synced, but I've tried Google Drive, iCloud, OneDrive, and Dropbox, and all but Dropbox have exhibited the CPU melting issue you describe.

    Dropbox was the only one that managed to sync 10s of gigs in a timely manner, without spending hours "analyzing files" before starting to upload.

  • pedroaraujo 2 months ago

    Seafile is a wonderful Dropbox replacement:


    Open-source and all. :)

    • jwr 2 months ago

      Hmm, it is made by a Chinese company. That gives me pause.

    • cmer 2 months ago

      Seconded. Significantly better than Nextcloud for file syncing. Nextcloud syncs over Webdav which can be pretty painful.

      • Naac 2 months ago

        > Significantly better than Nextcloud for file syncing

        Can you share numbers?

    • Naac 2 months ago

      Only the community edition is open source. Nextcloud has no "Enterprise" edition.

  • valerij 2 months ago

    the windows client constantly keeps a 3d rendering context (chrome) alive preventing my gpu from downclocking.

    as long as the client is running, my GPU is tacted at 1.6 GHz, if i kill the client GPU settles at around 0.14 GHz. this makes quite the difference in power consumption of my machine when left idle for multiple hours the day.

    nowadays i only start the client when i want to sync files or expect to receive some uploaded by my peers. after thats is done the client gets killed immediately.

    but why does it have an 3d context running you ask? for the small notification window where i can track the sync progress. i still remember the "native" solution they used few years back, did not have drop shadows, but the entire functionality was present via an WinAPI menus. Considering one can, with some OwnerDraw work, put progress bars and scrollable lists in Menus, i don't get the point of using an whole web browser to display a 600x200 popup.

    They really should take a look at bvckup2, how fast and efficient a backup/sync tool could be done in native way

  • jng 2 months ago

    At my small startup we tried using Google Drive as a Dropbox replacement a year or two ago. We are paying for Google apps so it made sense to try they're Dropbox-like service, and it had some seeming advantages too. We found it to be a lot less reliable than Dropbox in most senses. UI is worse, error handling is poor, you may easily end up losing data. Not worth it. Now we pay for Google apps for gmail, and for Dropbox for file sharing. Which btw has become a lot better now that there is cloud sync available in the pro subscription (not only in the business subscription), they raised the price from $10 to $12, but I'm so happy that I have been able to recover some much needed disk space in a convenient way!

    I agree with the issues with the Mac OS client burning too much CPU/battery, I've learned to live with that as an inconvenience, since otherwise, it works great by fulfilling the top priority you want in a service like this: it is reliable.

  • bitL 2 months ago

    Get your own NextCloud instance; you'd need to pay for some Linux VPS (<$5/month); installation takes 5 minutes and you have clients for all major desktop/mobile platforms.

    • dangus 2 months ago

      Ultimately, after that $5/month plus storage costs, you still have to handle security patching, DR, and everything an infrastructure engineer does all on your own.

      Not to knock it, I think it's a great option. It's just not for everyone, not for the dentist next door or anything.

      • xfer 2 months ago

        Hetzner provides nextcloud storage for €3. I have used their storage boxes before and they were good.

      • bitL 2 months ago

        I think it's a great idea for somebody that already runs their own VPS for their own homepage etc. Once you install NextCloud, you can continue by installing ActivityPub-based decentralized apps, replace most cloud offerings, and be happy about it ;-) I did that; arguably I am not a dentist but if some friend asked me to, I'd have done that for them.

  • darkpuma 2 months ago

    Symlinks in general suck on OSX. Try symlinking a file from an NFS mount onto your desktop and see if you get a thumbnail for it in Finder. In Finder, you won't. Now you might think, "well that's NFS, it's probably not thumbnailing those files because the latency exceeds some timeout." That's what I thought. However if you add that same directory containing such symlinks to your dock, you will see thumbnails for symlinked files when previewing that directory from the dock. If MacOS can thumbnail those symlinks when previewing the directory from the dock, then why can't Finder thumbnail those same symlinks?

    (Also in third party Finder alternatives, like Commander One, you will typically get thumbnails for symlinks.)

    • CamperBob2 2 months ago

      They suck on Windows, too. I've tried using junction points more than once to share a common library directory among several different projects, and have always ended up in makefile hell when some projects 'see' changes to files in the library directory while others don't.

      I can understand why Dropbox doesn't want any part of the dumpster fire that is symbolic linking. Maybe they work great on Linux, where they are a core aspect of how the filesystem works under the hood. But Dropbox has to present unified behavior across all supported platforms, and the last thing they want is to be put in the position of providing tech support for filesystem bugs and quirks and race conditions.

      • darkpuma 2 months ago

        Yeah, when it comes to cross platform stuff I'm pretty forgiving with this sort of thing. Finder botching it sends me up a wall though. It's probably only a few lines of code at most to fix it, but Finder is closed source so I can't investigate it myself, let alone fix it, let alone send my fix upstream.

        (And frankly I'm hesitant to even report it as a bug, since for all I know Apple will decide that NFS/symlinks getting thumbnailed in the dock preview is the real bug, and "fix" that leaving me worse off than before.)

        Edit: Also sort-by-kind also fails in Finder when symlinks are involved. When "keep folders on top" is set, symlinks will still sometimes (but not always) appear above folders.

  • pentae 2 months ago

    They also just put the price up of the plus plan $20 a year. I already pay for iCloud so I don't know why I'm still a customer really. Laziness I suppose. I trust Apple with my data a lot more also.

    • mirthflat83 2 months ago

      iCloud doesnt offer file history though. Once you accidentally delete a file, it’s gone.

      • mosselman 2 months ago

        Good point. Luckily I make encrypted backups to an external drive with timemachine, but you bring up an important detail when considering options.

        I use the 'Drive' app of my Synology NAS and I am very happy with it.

  • zzzmarcus 2 months ago

    I've also been in the process of moving off both Dropbox and Google Backup & Sync because they are such resource hogs on the Mac. iCloud drive isn't perfect, especially when it comes to sharing, but I'll accept that if it means my fans aren't going to be on full blast when it's running.

    I can't remember a time when I've had Dropbox open and not found it at the top of the CPU tab of Activity Monitor. This may be because I have a couple symlinks (not many, just some dotfiles) or because I have a large number of files (nothing ridiculous, ~100k photos backed up) but the fact is, it's been long enough for Dropbox to have figured this out and fixed it.

    It's bad enough to where I now leave Dropbox off all the time, then only turn it on when I need to sync something. With iCloud sync I don't even think about it, which is the way it should be.

    I opened Dropbox before starting this comment to see the new UI and even after giving it enough time to catch up, it' still using between 48 and 127% CPU. It makes even Outlook feel breezy.

    • bonestamp2 2 months ago

      Might not be right for everyone, and it's certainly not the best thing for this, but it's cheeeeap and practical... I use AWS S3 for sending files to others. Basically no file size limits, and you just pay for what you actually use, which is typically less than a few bucks/month for me.

  • bradgessler 2 months ago

    Agreed. Their iOS client is a huge pain too. Finding files is a bear. It’s so bad that Apple’s “File” app is a much better way to browse and search Dropbox files. I suspect in macOS Catalina we’ll be able to search files through a similar way.

    Also, Dropbox Paper shows the same lack of attention to detail. The iOS client has all sorts of really stupid basic bugs like undo and copy & paste not working properly. It’s nuts.

    It feels like Dropbox’s culture is to ship a product and not do the hard work that it takes to make the core basics rock solid on all devices and platforms. It’s really hard work, but it’s essential for a user base as large as theirs.

    The even harder part is for their leadership and PMs to say “No” to new features until they hey the basics right; otherwise they are going to find themselves in the position of doing a lot of things not very well.

  • mightybyte 2 months ago

    I've used Dropbox quite a bit and over the years via various promotions they ran worked up to over 8 gigs of space while still remaining on their free tier. A few months ago I switched from a combination of Dropbox and Google Drive to SpiderOak which has end-to-end encrypted storage. Been pretty happy with it thus far.

  • dawnerd 2 months ago

    No battery issues with google filesync on my mac. I do wish however that they'd spend some time improving it. Sometimes files never leave the cache which end up taking up a lot of space.

    Solution of course is to just use rclone and mount Google drive directly.

    For the price Google beats everyone.

  • y4mi 2 months ago

    Resilio and folder sync are popular p2p options if you don't need a web interface

    • thekyle 2 months ago

      Also, Syncthing if you want something open-source.

  • bretpiatt 2 months ago

    When you say 'support symlinks' what behavior would you expect the service to have with them?

    I run a company with sync software, we treat them same as any other file so if you have one in a folder set to sync, we sync it, we don't follow the link and sync the linked file (as the link could go outside of the configured sync folder).

  • dec0dedab0de 2 months ago

    I wonder how much of it is Pythons fault, how much is the way they designed it, and how much is the problem domain.

    • TkTech 2 months ago

      A well-written Python app using the respective platform's native events through say, watchdog[1] performs perfectly fine for huge numbers of files[t]. The language used isn't at all the problem with Dropbox's performance which has been a problem for as long as they've had a desktop app.

      If there's one specific bottleneck (ex: hashing files) then that's a prime candidate for Cython[2] or the plain CPython C-API.

      Even when you have dropbox restricted to a small folder with _no IO events at all_ it's still constantly working, which is the real problem and entirely an optimization/design problem.




      [t]: ... except when forced to use kqueue or polling

      • liyanage 2 months ago

        Agreed, and I'm a big Python fan myself, I didn't mean to bash the language.

        Somewhere between cool MIT dorm room side project and serious company there is a point where it's time to ditch it and reimplement it in in something that performs better.

        Another drawback of it being Python is that when it is causing the fans to spin, I can't inspect what's going on with Activity Monitor's sampler. It's all opaque nameless Python stack frames.

  • roberto8647 2 months ago

    I highly recommend Tresorit. I've been using it for just over a year and couldn't be happier. Simple interface and the app seems very performant (macOS). At least I haven't noticed it hogging resources.

  • dingle_thunk 2 months ago

    Pretty happy with OneDrive for Mac these days. They've been investing in improving it, and it shows.

  • neves 2 months ago

    Now try to have a Windows machine with Dropbox, Microsoft One Drive (very hard to turn off) and Google Drive! I've saved a lot of Windows machines just telling the owners to uninstall these services.

  • kevas 2 months ago

    Why not just get your own box and put NextCloud on it?

  • xvector 2 months ago

    Just use iCloud instead of Dropbox.

  • shereadsthenews 2 months ago

    It’s a cautionary tale about Python. If you start there you will never get off of it. You can hire Guido but you still won’t be able to go from 2 to 3.

    • drenvuk 2 months ago

      I find this sentiment amusing but inaccurate. going from 2 to 3 isn't that hard and going from python to something else also isn't that hard either. If there are tests that should handle all of the compatibility checks for a full rewrite.

      • hobofan 2 months ago

        > going from 2 to 3 isn't that hard

        That's true now, 6 months from EOL of Python 2, where all the common dependencies have upgraded, and there finally is agreement that Python 3 is the way forward.

        That should have been true on the day Python 3 was released.

        • gjm11 2 months ago

          Going from 2 to 3 isn't that hard because Python 3 was released ages ago with the expectation that the changeover would be gradual.

          The only ways I can see to make it that easy on the day Python 3 was released are (1) no backward-incompatible changes (but enabling such changes was the whole point of Python 3) or (2) doing all the preparatory work before "releasing" Python 3, which in practice would have taken just as long and required there to be a pre-release Python 3 to work with.

          #1 misses the main point of having a Python 3 at all. #2 basically looks just like the way things actually are, except that Python 3 is labelled "alpha" or "pre-release" or something for years longer.

          People like to complain about how slow the Python 3 changeover has been, but it seems to me that it's worked. The obvious point of comparison would be Perl 6, which hasn't exactly been a triumphant success. (Though there are many other differences between Python 3 and Perl 6, and it's not at all clear that Perl 6 would be widely used if they'd adopted a model more like Python 3's.)

          • b2gills 2 months ago

            Not to mention that just about all of the changes I've heard about in Python from 2 to 3 are changes that Perl5 has already handled in a backwards compatible way. (In at least some cases the changes happened more than a decade ago.)

Traster 2 months ago

I strongly feel this is a bad direction for Dropbox. Many companies have tried to integrate tools together. It's always half-baked simply because those tools aren't designed to be integrated. I find it kind of odd Dropbox would be bragging about a dropdown menu to create a Google doc. Surely if that's important to me I get Google drive - the integration will be better because the same company makes the different tools and you can actually stay within the eco-system. If Dropbox are planning to compete with this it's very difficult to see how they win over Google.

The integration with Google makes sense because they already own the tools that you're moving between. It seems really funky to have Dropbox crash that party. If you're trying to integrate with tools outside of the Google eco-system maybe dropbox atleast tries to allow it, I just can't see how it'd be anything other than clunky though.

Personally what I value is just basic cloud storage with a decent automatic sync. Obviously storage has turned into a commodity and dropbox are trying to compete on a new level, it just seems boggling to me that this is the direction they've taken.

  • hn_throwaway_99 2 months ago

    > Personally what I value is just basic cloud storage with a decent automatic sync.

    That reminds me of a pretty famous Quora answer (here that described why Dropbox succeeded:

    > Well, let's take a step back and think about the sync problem and what the ideal solution for it would do:

    There would be a folder. You'd put your stuff in it. It would sync.

    They built that.

    Why didn't anyone else build that? I have no idea.

    "But," you may ask, "so much more you could do! What about task management, calendaring, customized dashboards, virtual white boarding. More than just folders and files!"

    No, shut up. People don't use that crap. They just want a folder. A folder that syncs.

    "But," you may say, "this is valuable data... certainly users will feel more comfortable tying their data to Windows Live, Apple's MobileMe, or a name they already know."

    No, shut up. Not a single person on Earth wakes up in the morning worried about deriving more value from their Windows Live login. People already trust folders. And Dropbox looks just like a folder. One that syncs.

    "But," you may say, "folders are so 1995. Why not leverage the full power of the web? With HTML5 you can drag and drop files, you can build intergalactic dashboards of statistics showing how much storage you are using, you can publish your files as RSS feeds and tweets, and you can add your company logo!"

    No, shut up. Most of the world doesn't sit in front of their browser all day. If they do, it is Internet Explorer 6 at work that they are not allowed to upgrade. Browsers suck for these kinds of things. Their stuff is already in folders. They just want a folder. That syncs.

    That is what it does.

    • Barrin92 2 months ago

      >No, shut up. Most of the world doesn't sit in front of their browser all day.

      well, I've got bad news for the guy. Just being a data storage company is probably not a great business strategy because the web and competition have become ubiquitous.

      • apple4ever 2 months ago

        I disagree. If you have a niche, and you do it WELL, you can do that. And Dropbox did.

        But now they are messing that up. And not just this. They implemented a 3 device limit, and the next level is super expensive. Unlike any of their competitors. I'd say that is not a great business strategy.

        • granshaw 2 months ago

          Doing well in a small niche is fine for a lifestyle company - for a public company like Dropbox expected to keep growing? Not so much.

          • IanSanders 2 months ago

            If it's staff that is expected to keep growing, then yes.

            Reminds of Evernote which eventually had 50:50 management/development split

    • Paul-ish 2 months ago

      That answer is 8 years old. Files seem to be disappearing from a large number of problem domains, in favor of webapps. That doesn't bode well for Dropbox if it is a trend that continues.

      • Baeocystin 2 months ago

        Hiding file systems is both en vogue and maddening for people who actually work with files. Which is everyone, even if they don't know it. The amount of assistance I've had to give even technically-competent users when it comes to even finding where the heck their data even is has skyrocketed over the past couple of years.

        • CriticalCathed 2 months ago

          !!! I have experienced this. It's primarily people with shiny new macbooks who can't figure out where any of their files actually are even though they are constantly editing them!

          Eventually there's going to be some serious blowback. You can't expect people to efficiently use their computers if they can't even find their godamn files!

      • hrktb 2 months ago

        Interestingly enough, Dropbox is/was popular on iOS because of being the closest thing to a filesystem.

        With iOS13 this also erodes, but going against the trend was beneficial for them up to this point.

    • shrimp_emoji 2 months ago

      I've looked for Dropbox alternatives, and none of them match up in ease of use or features. A folder you put stuff into and that syncs to everything else (with optional selectivity so that your 250 GB music library isn't synced where you don't want it) is amazing, and that it works on everything from iOS to Windows to Linux is amazing.

      It'd be great if the clients were native and faster or whatever, but shipping beats perfection.

  • rc-1140 2 months ago

    > Personally what I value is just basic cloud storage with a decent automatic sync.

    Similarly. That was the biggest appeal to me back when I first discovered them and they were giving out bonus space for their free plan depending on the number of people that any one user referred. On top of this shift, didn't Dropbox just limit the number of computers one could have their data synchronized between? These moves seem bad overall.

    • sethhochberg 2 months ago

      The limit on number of syncing devices has me exploring other options - I'm an oldschool Dropbox user, I got most of my storage space with referrals years ago, and I consume about 6GB on the free plan. I don't need 2TB. I don't really even want 2TB, and I'm certainly not going to pay over $100 a year for 2TB. I'd pay some smaller amount of money for the ability to sync additional devices without storage that I'll never use nor need, but nobody does a-la-cart pricing.

      Apple will sell me 50GB on iCloud for $0.99 a month. That fits my needs much better, I just need to go through the exercise of making sure their web interface isn't horrible on my one remaining Linux system.

      In fairness to Dropbox, I'm probably not the kind of user they want at this point. They got their mileage out of my early referrals, and I've never paid them a cent.

      • FullyFunctional 2 months ago

        You (and I) were definitely part of the problem, but limiting the number of devices was brilliant on their part as it forced me (and many others) to think hard about my options. Unlike you however, I came to the conclusion that 1) Dropbox are far superior to the competition for me (eg., I regularily build and test out of a Dropbox folder), 2) I actually get enormous value of it. $120 (they raised the price) is worth it.

        I am also unimpressed with this new desktop app which solves a problem I don't have, but as long as their core syncing tech. remains functional, I just want them succeed.

        • m_fayer 2 months ago

          > long as their core syncing tech. remains functional, I just want them succeed.

          I feel likewise. But I'm afraid their core tech will slowly fall into neglect as they cast about for new revenue streams - and in this particular case that core tech does too important a job for me to tolerate even moderate neglect.

        • apple4ever 2 months ago

          The limiting isn't really the problem, because its smart like you said.

          The problem is free -> $120 a year is a big jump. I don't need 2TB of space. I probably don't even need 10GB of space. But I would pay $50 for more space and more devices.

      • wwweston 2 months ago

        I don't need 2TB either, but I do need a cross-platform solution where the incentives of the company are aligned more or less with mine in providing the service.

        iCloud will always primarily be about Apple devices, which I like well enough and have several of, but maybe won't always. Microsoft's offering will probably be the same from the PC side of things. Google will offer me the world for free but data mine the hell out of it.

        Dropbox seems to really care about cross-platform experience. Except in rare cases, it just works. It's just folders from my POV. And so... I pay them about $100 a year and they provide this service. Seems to have worked out pretty well for me.

        • asdff 2 months ago

          No idea about linux users, but onedrive on mac is virtually indistinguishable to dropbox, but with more function with ms product integrations.

          These days it's been apple being lazy with cross platform, not microsoft.

          • innocenat 2 months ago

            There are no official OneDrive client for Linux.

        • dflock 2 months ago

          The dropbox linux client works, but it's not great.

          It's recently stopped syncing for me because it now only supports ext4 filesystems, for some reason - and I currently have everything on btrfs.

      • mceachen 2 months ago

        When I had to renew my Apple developer account for PhotoStructure to sign binaries, I tried to log in on my Linux desktop and was getting back http 500 server errors. On a whim, I tried on my Mac and the same URL stream worked.

        Realize they aren't prioritizing cross platform testing or support. I found that other people had reported the issue a while ago.

  • derefr 2 months ago

    Look at things from another perspective: this drop-down menu that gets extended with all these “pluggable capabilities” is the very same menu, conceptually, that you get when you right-click in the empty space of a folder in Windows Explorer or the macOS Finder.

    As far as I can tell, Dropbox’s vision is of having the same sort of thin-client experience of having an app that represents “your files” and lets you do things do those files like an Explorer or Finder would—but with this app providing these integrations regardless of your platform (Windows/macOS/Android/iOS/ChromeOS/Linux) or cloud provider.

    This is already the play that Slack used: despite Google Hangouts being integrated better with the Google enterprise ecosystem, people still use Slack instead, and take advantage of its integrations with Google apps instead. Regardless of platform or ecosystem, Slack supports your use-case, such that it’s easier to get everyone in an organization to agree on Slack than to get them to agree on a platform/ecosystem. Dropbox thinks it can pull off the same play, for the “file explorer” use-case. Dropbox wants to add enough functionality that the “best-practice workflow” for an enterprise—the one that onboarding docs get written about, the one they train people in—will involve using Dropbox to move files around and open them in various apps, because that’s simpler than the docs they’d have to write to explain how to do the same thing in the different paradigms of each platform the enterprise supports.

    It’s an enterprise B2B play, though, and sadly, there’s already a neutral third-party “Windows Explorer in the cloud” that has beat them to capturing this market: Box. They’re definitely trying to fight Box over market-share here, and I’m not sure they’ll manage it; Box focused much more on things enterprises really want from the start (like document security—IBM can put its customers’ data in Box without worrying, etc.)

  • blfr 2 months ago

    if that's important to me I get Google drive - the integration will be better because the same company makes the different tools and you can actually stay within the eco-system. If Dropbox are planning to compete with this it's very difficult to see how they win over Google

    I agree with you completely, Google should have squashed Dropbox like a tiny, helpless bug that it is in comparison. Yet reality disagrees and they haven't.

    Google can't even deliver a proper client for Google Drive on Linux which is a system many Googlers use. It all remains a mystery to me.

    • vinay427 2 months ago

      > Google can't even deliver a proper client for Google Drive on Linux which is a system many Googlers use. It all remains a mystery to me.

      Despite it being promised at the launch of Google Drive, several years ago. I finally moved off of Drive to nextCloud as a result.

      • jiveturkey 2 months ago

        If you can use nextCloud at all, as a substitute for Google Drive, then Drive isn't the product you wanted in the first place.

        The strength of Google Drive is in the collaborative document editing. Not the "drive" aspect of it.

        Today anyway. It didn't start out like that.

        As a sort of global filesystem, it fails miserably IMHO and always did. Even if it were available on Linux, I wouldn't use it for that purpose.

  • bad_user 2 months ago

    I use Google Docs / Sheets both at work and for some personal stuff.

    I would never use Google Drive because it's a piece of shit. Whenever I used it I ended up with data being corrupted and this happened for both the standard Backup and Sync and the new Drive File Stream. Files being corrupted or missing is the worst scenario possible for a file sync service. Not to mention it's really, really slow and inefficient.

    I keep using Dropbox because it's the only one that works.

    Also I don't get what the point of the Google Docs integration is, but who knows, I might end up using it.

    • andrei_says_ 2 months ago

      I can see the integration as being useful in your not having to remember what service your files are on.

  • aloer 2 months ago

    I agree. Looks like retreat to me.

    Previously when they bought Mailbox or when they introduced Paper (which I never used...) I thought they are up to something exciting and innovative regarding how we work/do common workflows. Now it looks like they outsource the most important parts to others and accept being the glue in between. Integrations are just not that exciting

  • jamesmcintyre 2 months ago

    I might not be fully understanding your point but I would disagree with the idea that just because many companies have tried to integrate tools together and failed that it must point to some inherent flaw in the idea itself. Instead it should just point to inherent difficulties in executing the idea.

    All of our tools having silos of data and only having difficult to implement one-to-one integrations seems broken- it does not feel like it has to be this way as part of the nature of the software.

    Here are two reasons we have not yet seen this executed well:

    1) If you're Atlassian or Microsoft it's likely perceived that it's not in the best interest of your business model to spend a non-trivial amount of resources on deep integrations with 100's of popular 3rd-party apps but instead it's much easier to see how it is in their best interest to just clone those popular apps and deeply integrate them into your suite. This way they keep users using their software and are able to charge for the new app (or eventually charge more for the suite).

    2) So then there's space left for a software solution to enter the market that does world-class deep integrations with the 100's of popular SaaS api's and a great UI/UX that makes working across all of these apps intuitive- potentially an entirely new level of usability in modern productivity workflows. But as a startup idea this actually does tend to fail and I think it's primarily because it's a non-trivial engineering problem to build these integrations and a startup, with scarce engineering resources, is forced to choose ~1-3 integrations to start with as their initial customer-facing version. This then results in a product that is not compelling and just seems like yet another one-to-one integration solution.

    It seems that if a new level of software interoperability enabling a new level of user experience is to happen the startup would have to be very well funded with a decent "stealth mode" runway. Or a large software company would have to throw a decent chunk of resources at the idea (not PM's convincing the business case for an integration piecemeal).

    And then there's one other way this could happen:

    If you look at Android and iOS you see that they already have thousands of productivity apps integrating deeply with their native API's. And already this has enabled things like iOS Actions Extension API where you can send something like a pdf to any app you have installed that registers its ability to handle pdf's. On Android features like Slices allow an app developer to put a "slice" of their UI into other apps based on the intent or action happening on the other app. I can see a future where Apple and Google increasingly push their mobile operating systems to the desktop-size screen and the productivity user base. While it may seem unlikely now it may be that iOS and Android are best positioned to introduce a new level of software interoperability to the modern enterprise productivity market in the form of a better desktop experience.

    • TeMPOraL 2 months ago

      > All of our tools having silos of data and only having difficult to implement one-to-one integrations seems broken- it does not feel like it has to be this way as part of the nature of the software.

      The problem is completely self-inflicted and caused by greed. It isn't difficult to make software interoperable - you actually have to work hard to make it non-interoperating. Which is precisely what aforementioned companies did by creating data siloses exporting just tightly-controlled APIs, guarded by ToSes preventing interop from happen organically. SaaS companies broke interoperability on purpose.

jonstokes 2 months ago

Looks like Zawinski's Law is still 100% true:

“Every program attempts to expand until it can read mail. Those programs which cannot so expand are replaced by ones which can.” Coined by Jamie Zawinski (who called it the “Law of Software Envelopment”) to express his belief that all truly useful programs experience pressure to evolve into toolkits and application platforms (the mailer thing, he says, is just a side effect of that). It is commonly cited, though with widely varying degrees of accuracy.

  • mattnewport 2 months ago

    So why are there no really good email clients?

    • kevinmgranger 2 months ago

      Because email clients can only be as good as email itself, which isn't really good. ;)

      • mattnewport 2 months ago

        I know you're being facetious but email clients fail to satisfy me primarily when it comes to search and organization, remaining performant when dealing with large archives of mail, good UI/UX and robustness / reliability. None of these are really problems inherent to email, though they are perhaps inherent to software.

        • joshschreuder 2 months ago

          I think the same problems appear in other domains with large libraries. Music players have also been historically terrible with bad UI, slow searching and many of the same issues you mentioned.

          • scifi6546 2 months ago

            surprisingly I have found rhytmbox by the gnome devs to be pretty good. It does what is supposed to very well and it works which is all I want out of a digital music player.

  • orloffm 2 months ago

    Back around 2000 programs were instead expanding until they were able to burn CDs. And apps a few years ago - until they included Snapchat-like stories.

  • JohnJamesRambo 2 months ago

    I've never heard of this, thanks for sharing. So true.

mbreese 2 months ago

Whatever happened to the philosophy of “do one thing and do it well”?

I use Slack and Zoom often, but I have never once thought — gee I really wish I could just open up this presentation in Dropbox directly into my Zoom meeting. I just don’t see the integration working in that direction.

Sure, Dropbox should make sure that it’s available as a provider to save/open files for other programs — that make sense. The integration with MS Office makes sense — where Office is aware when you’re working on files that are stored in Dropbox.

This just seems like they are trying to do too much. I can’t see the strategy...

  • solatic 2 months ago

    > Whatever happened to the philosophy of “do one thing and do it well”?

    When you're a startup, you do something new and (hopefully) do it well. You get customers and you grow.

    Eventually you become an established company. You do your thing really well, and customers are happy to pay you the price you ask. You make a healthy profit margin and times are good. Competition takes notice.

    You keep doing things well, but your competition has a second-mover advantage. They get to work with newer tooling, no legacy codebase, all the benefits of a fresh start. They start to win your customers away from you.

    You're doing things well, but it no longer really feels well, because your success in the marketplace no longer correlates with the maturity and quality of the product you're offering. You may have an incredibly mature and well-supported product, but it feels stale. It turns out that customers appreciate qualities like "refreshing" and "modern" that your product seemingly lacks.

    As you start to lose customers, your declining revenue forces you to lay off employees and your stock starts to decline. Without a big change, you go out of business and shutter your doors for good. The executives are forced to sell the IP for pennies on the dollar to some patent troll as part of the company's bankruptcy and liquidation proceedings, and might open-source the IP if no buyer can be found.

    • Majromax 2 months ago

      > You keep doing things well, but your competition has a second-mover advantage. They get to work with newer tooling, no legacy codebase, all the benefits of a fresh start. They start to win your customers away from you.

      ... so you're saying the first-mover begins coasting and fails to invest in its product, while the plucky upstart puts in novel research and development.

      That might be common, but it hardly seems inevitable. If anything the 'old guard' should have a relative advantage from better know-how, including knowledge of what pitfalls to avoid.

      The true underlying issue might be the false assumption that market position is durable, rather than purchased with a depreciating investment in tooling, process, and technology.

      • mannykannot 2 months ago

        > That might be common, but it hardly seems inevitable.

        You have circularized the discussion. Solatic's post is not suggesting that it is inevitable, as it is a response to the question "what's wrong with doing one thing well?"

    • blowski 2 months ago

      I agree - grow or die. “Do one thing well” might work well for open source Unix CLI tools, but not for companies with shareholders expecting dividends. I wish it wasn’t that way, but that is how it is.

      • asdff 2 months ago

        That's the issue with taking too much funding or going public. You become beholden to the profit margin and the quality of the product is completely irrelevant if it still prints money. You turn your company into a metastasis, demanding exponential growth, market share, and profit as the only metrics of success.

        What ever happened to just doing well enough to pay the bills, your employees, and a touch saved for a rainy day? Thousands of companies operate like this: restaurants, shops, trades, nothing you'd find on the NYSE of course. Why do you need to double in value every few years? Expand exponentially like a cancer? As your company grows and you wrangle more engineering talent into your directionless product, how much innovation are you stifling in the process? These engineers could be founding their own private companies instead of working for your public monstrosity, they could be working on products that are good on merit and bad on profit. We could be years ahead if corporatism didn't invade engineering and silo the best talent into contracts of secrecy, shattering open communication on technology in the process.

        Take self driving cars. Quite a few companies are working on the same goal, repeating the same work. In an ideal world these engineers would all be in the same building, sharing notes, running joint experiments, and the end product would be sponsored by all the companies funding the endeavor. But instead we live in a world that values getting there first and 'beating' your colleagues in other companies, even if it takes longer than if everyone was collaborating. We value the dollar more than the technology.

        • anderspitman 2 months ago

          I agree with a lot of what you're saying, but I think with the self driving car example having diverse competing approaches helps avoid stagnating on a local optimum.

          • asdff 2 months ago

            Right, but whats the point if you can never learn about these different approaches and freely discuss them and improve them? I mean there could be two people in an apartment building in the valley banging their head on their desk over the same issue and they could never talk to each other about it due to NDA.

            We all learn about collaborating and helping people with their issues——really just teaching each other, the best way to learn imo——with capstone projects in engineering schools, then we forget it all when we enter the workforce and sign our NDAs and suddenly gag ourselves from talking about our work to other people in the field.

        • scifi6546 2 months ago

          The open source world really kills your argument. Red Hat is on the stock exchange and it is fairly happy to work on a product for long time periods (rhel and related products) without it turning into a gigantic blob. I feel it just depends on the industry. Some industries want rapid development while others (like the enterprise) value stability.

  • SamuelAdams 2 months ago

    > Whatever happened to the philosophy of “do one thing and do it well”?

    It's simple: no company wants to pour money into bugfixes. Managers / PMs / "product owners" who advocate for big, new changes (something like "integrate services" to "drive user engagement") get funding.

    In a business view, if you're standing still you're at risk of being left behind. As long as software is tied to a company, it will never remain simple and do just one thing. The incentives are simply not aligned.

    • asdkhadsj 2 months ago

      > In a business view, if you're standing still you're at risk of being left behind.

      On a related but perhaps off topic note; Is that wrong?

      I agree with everything you've said. Yet, I do wonder, is that business decision wrong? I've not spent much effort on the business side in my life, but from the outside I feel like I agree with their statement. Maybe not so much as in the "left behind" mantra, but more specifically I feel once a business reaches "success" (however you want to define that), your next objective should be maintaining/expanding the core product, and diversifying entirely.

      It seems to me that being a one product company runs a risk of another company choking you out in various ways.

      As an end user I of course love my products to say solely focused on the thing I want. I want Spotify to be my music app, nothing more. But I can sympathize with the decisions to diversify a companies offerings even if unrelated to the original core product.


      • iguy 2 months ago

        I agree. I know why humans must diversify, to avoid having all their eggs in one basket, but why is it obvious that companies should? Their owners should invest in other things, but maybe it's better to admit that a given company is a bet on a particular niche, and if it dies, it dies.

        In fact I'd go a bit further, and say that if every company seems to become a conglomerate, that's a sign that something is broken in how a country works. If it's advantageous for two companies doing completely different things to be under one name, one roof, then it's likely that their real skill is in something else, like political connections, not in making whatever products it is they make. And that's unhealthy.

        • wutbrodo 2 months ago

          I agree in the frictionless vacuum sense, but I think you're missing an element of how firms work.

          Just spitballing, but it's incredibly non-trivial to both aggregate skilled labor and organize them into an effective entity. Being eager about tearing down and spinning up these organizations to keep each entity single-purpose seems like it would be a lot less efficient (and competitive) than taking advantage of an existing well-run organization to do things that are somewhat related.

      • yankeehue 2 months ago

        > It seems to me that being a one product company runs a risk of another company choking you out in various ways.

        One possible solution then is to change your company to be a multi-product company, instead of adding new-product features into your one product.

    • m_fayer 2 months ago

      > As long as software is tied to a company...

      I hope you're wrong, or at least wrong enough to leave room for a few "small is beautiful" outliers.

  • maxxxxx 2 months ago

    They need to hit their growth numbers. Either they come up with something new ( which is really hard) or they keep expanding their current main product. The latter is much easier.

    In my view a lot of products could be frozen once they are mature . MS Office could have stopped most development a decade or more ago, Gmail could have stopped years ago. Windows could have stopped UI changes with XP or 7. But what are all these people supposed to do if not tweaking their product?

    • mmckelvy 2 months ago

      Such a good point. I think MS Office peaked with Office 2003. Most changes since have made the product slightly worse in my opinion.

  • ajross 2 months ago

    > Whatever happened to the philosophy of “do one thing and do it well”?

    Investor demands for growth. Dropbox already did one thing well. But they took money on the promise that they'd do more things and make more money than they could with that one thing they did well.

    • djsumdog 2 months ago

      I wish more companies would take the Craigstlist model. There are very few posts they charge for and it's enough to keep the company totally doing. Even when Backpage was around to compete with them, they still were able to do that one thing well and keep going.

      The constant demand for growth is not a good thing. You can only sell so many eyePhones or Intel CPUs before people just would rather keep old things working longer or recycle or not consume things and save their money for travel/experiences.

      • rchaud 2 months ago

        Lots of companies have probably attempted to achieve Craigslist-levels of simplicity; we never hear about them because they have mostly ended up on the ash heap of failed businesses.

        Craigslist won big early on because they took the personals and ads business away from broadsheet newspapers. That's pretty much it; they didn't try to go beyond that, and they're completely justified in not wanting to. Airbnb came in and pretty much took all of CL's short-term rentals business. CL is a small company and Craig Newsom (sp?) probably didn't even care.

        He had the advantage of getting there first, and making a ton of money as a result. That is not the case today, so to expect newer companies to follow in CL's footsteps is unrealistic.

      • azinman2 2 months ago

        Stock market doesn’t work that way. You are legally required to grow, forever until the end of time (or your business). I think it’s one of the most toxic forces that leads to pollution, over-consolidation, etc.

        • thekyle 2 months ago

          As I understand it, corporations are not legally required to "grow, forever until the end of time", they are required to act in the interest of shareholders. Typically, that means returning value to shareholders of the company.

          Growing the company is one way to achieve that. Other ways include paying out a share of the profit the company is making via a dividend or using share buybacks to reduce the number of outstanding shares.

          There are plenty of examples of companies doing all of the above on various public exchanges. For example, utility companies often don't grow very much (if at all) but they do have consistent cash flow which they pay out as dividends.

          • azinman2 2 months ago

            Don’t utilities grow as we generally consume more and more resources?

            In the Caden of dividends, wouldn’t they also need to increase over time to act in the best interest of shareholders?

            • thekyle 2 months ago

              > Don’t utilities grow as we generally consume more and more resources?

              Yes, you are correct. Most utility companies do grow to some extent, just very slowly. You also have to compare the rate that they grow against other metrics like GDP. If a company is growing slower than GDP you could make an argument that they're actually shrinking.

              > In the Caden of dividends, wouldn’t they also need to increase over time to act in the best interest of shareholders?

              Yup. In theory, if a company does not grow sales at all then their dividend should be able to grow at the same rate as inflation. Most companies do grow sales to some extent and thus are able to grow their dividend more than inflation.

              For example, Coca-Kola has grown their dividend on average 7.46% per year. AT&T on the other hand has only grown theirs 2.26% per year which is closer to inflation.



        • dymk 2 months ago

          There is no legal requirement to grow.

          There is no "fiduciary duty", it's just unwitting HN folk pretending to be business savvy.

          • ajross 2 months ago

            The first statement is true. The second sort of misses the point. "Fiduciary duty" isn't a moral obligation or a social norm, it's a darwinian thing.

            Publicly traded companies are controlled by whoever wants to buy them. If a company has assets that could produce a profit of $N, but it's currently not doing so and only making $M (and its share price reflects the lower revenue), it will be in someone's interest to buy the company and rework its priorities so it makes them more money.

            So... the grandparent was effectively right. Over time, all public entities will act to maximize profit.

          • azinman2 2 months ago
            • wutbrodo 2 months ago

              I was going to point out that you're missing (or intentionally ignoring) the very next piece in that debate series[1] linked at the bottom of your link, which takes the view that this requirement doesn't exist. But it's not a very good-quality piece, which is presumably a function of the article format (short-form debate aimed at unsophisticated readers).

              The flipside of that is that I don't think your original linked piece makes much of a case at all either.


              • azinman2 2 months ago

                “Modern corporate law does not require for-profit corporations to pursue profit at the expense of everything else, and many do not.”

                We aren’t talking about corporations, but rather publicly traded companies. As the previous article pointed out you do have an obligation to your shareholders, and that obligation is to somehow act in their best interest.

                Certainly the stock market price goes down if you aren’t growing. And prices going down means you’re not doing right by your shareholders.

                I’m happy to be wrong here (I hope it’s true) but whether law or not it seems to be an immutable force.

                • manigandham 2 months ago

                  The stock price does not have to keep going up. Dividends and buybacks are another option based on cashflow which doesn't require growth.

                  • azinman2 2 months ago

                    And can they remain flat without impact stock performance?

            • mattnewport 2 months ago

              Maximizing shareholder value is not the same thing as perpetual growth.

        • skinnymuch 2 months ago

          Where are you legally required to do that? What law is that?

          • azinman2 2 months ago

            Fiduciary duty to shareholders

            • skinnymuch 2 months ago

              I don’t think that’s actually true. Your original statement. The duty is just to behave how a reasonable or prudent person would behave. I doubt there would be a lawsuit case against Craigslist that would win if Craigslist was a public company.

  • jpalomaki 2 months ago

    “do one thing and do it well” - I've liked that approach, but being on the buying side and as the number of solutions needed keeps on increasing, I'm getting second thoughts.

    Like what you might end up with with this approach and selecting best of breed: Dropbox, Slack, Zoom, Office 365 desktop, Google Apps (email), Some CRM solution, Github, client security solution, VPN solution, Jira, Confluence (wiki), Zendesk (helpdesk).

    If you want things like single-sign-on and some additional security and management capabilities then you typically need to pick some higher pricing tier for each service. The price per user per month adds up. And as a added bonus, you also need to spend time managing all these and handle the monthly invoices/receipts.

    What Dropbox is now doing is of course not solution to my problem. The only solution to the issue I'm having is consolidation of the services or smaller players teaming up and giving me unified package (like Dropbox+Slack+Zoom). Fully integrated packages like Microsoft 365 are quite tempting, even though I know the individual pieces are not "best of breed".

  • archagon 2 months ago

    This is the problem with VC funding: any simple utility will inevitably become a confusing tangle of services that nobody wants. Dropbox became ubiquitous because it was a dead-simple folder that automatically synced, but that just doesn't rake in the big bucks. So they're forced to glob on pointless features until the whole thing collapses like a flan.

  • passthejoe 2 months ago

    For me, the "killer" feature of Google Docs/Sheets is the ability of multiple users to be in the document at the same time, all making changes, and all those changes being seen by all in real time. I don't think that shared Dropbox files can replicate this same functionality, so maybe apps on their side is the way to bridge the gap.

    • giancarlostoro 2 months ago

      This is also possible with Sharepoint from Microsoft, but you can open them all up in the desktop versions of those apps which I prefer.

      • s1mon 2 months ago

        Kinda sorta. Yes the MS applications are more powerful, but the collaboration tools still are not as real-time as Google. My work was forced to switch from Google to MS, so I have years of experience with both. People often have to reopen files to see other people’s edits or there’s a huge lag that we never had with Google. We’re in SF, CA with a fast fiber connection. There’s also not exact parity between the desktop versions and the web versions of the applications. It’s easy to start to try to do something only to discover that, for instance, you can’t group objects in web PPT. Granted, with Google, while it’s pretty much always the same experience, but there are the long tail features which are missing.

        • giancarlostoro 2 months ago

          My experience has been with Excel and it wasn't all that slow, but I have not used it extensively as you have. I am over in Maitland, FL not sure what our speed is tbh.

        • MrPea 2 months ago

          What's amazing is that Google has had this functionality for a little under a decade. No other company matches the real-time editing still

  • thinkharderdev 2 months ago

    They were losing ~$500m a year (and growing) doing one thing and doing it well.

    • usaar333 2 months ago

      I don't think Dropbox ever lost that much per year. $200M was lost in 2016 (once Dropbox decided to not burn money like crazy); $300M in 2015. Source: S1 ( In general losses were shrinking, not growing.

      (Don't believe the 2018 annual numbers; something like $450M of that "loss" is the result of accounting issues where RSUs converting to stock at IPO is considered an expense)

    • pwinnski 2 months ago

      I have long thought that one of Steve Jobs' biggest errors was in telling Dropbox "that's a feature, not a company." It sure seemed like he was really wrong, but if Dropbox can't make money, maybe he was right after all.

      • tonyedgecombe 2 months ago

        Well it is now a feature in iCloud.

        Perhaps those original comments on the DropBox launch people keep referring to were right all along.

        • azinman2 2 months ago

          And it doesn’t work nearly as well. He underestimated how hard it would be to solve it properly.

          • signal11 2 months ago

            iCloud is great for Mac/iOS users. I never felt it worked well on Windows. It never felt right. So yes, Apple still has work to do if they want wider iCloud use. Maybe they don't want to?

            But Microsoft and Google are creeping up. Their file sync is almost there with Dropbox.

            OneDrive works on Mac and Windows, supports Files on Demand (similar to Dropbox Infinite - essentially placeholder files, very useful for small SSDs), and are working on differential sync for 2019.

            The kicker is that OneDrive costs $99 as part of Office 365 Home, and gives you + 5 family members each 1TB storage, GBs of Outlook storage, the desktop Office apps for all devices including Android (they run really well on Android-enabled Chromebooks). And access to phone-based support. What's more, many people can get Office 365 discounted to $70 via the new Home Use Program, or even free if they're students or teachers[1].

            Google One ( is also a pretty formidable offering where available. File storage via Google Drive, a great photo storage service, tons of Gmail space, and access to Google's support teams.

            So yes -- file storage is becoming a feature and the Google & Microsoft offerings will end up tempting many customers. Dropbox still does sync really well and has the best app, in my opinion -- including the only one that works on Linux, but I'm not sure that'll be a massive concern for the average customer.


            • tzs 2 months ago

              > The kicker is that OneDrive costs $99 as part of Office 365 Home, and gives you + 5 family members each 1TB storage, GBs of Outlook storage, the desktop Office apps for all devices including Android (they run really well on Android-enabled Chromebooks)

              For those who haven't looked at Office 365 in a while, it should be noted that Office 365 Personal was upgraded a few months ago. It used to be that Personal was for 1 person, with at most 1 Mac, 1 PC, and one mobile device. If you wanted to put the Office applications on more devices than that, you needed Home.

              They removed that limit a few months ago. Now Personal lets you install on an unlimited number of computers and mobile devices, with the only limit being at most 5 can be signed in at the same time.

              So now it essentially is if you have more than one person in your household who would like an Office 365 account, get Home. That covers 6 people, each of whom gets 1 TB of OneDrive, and can be signed in on up to 5 devices simultaneously. If it is just you, get Personal, which is $30/year less.

              I've not figured out if it is possible to buy additional OneDrive storage if you need more than the 1 TB that is included.

            • josteink 2 months ago

              > Dropbox still does sync really well and has the best app, in my opinion -- including the only one that works on Linux

              That used to be true, but Dropbox decided they no longer wanted that market-advantage.

              I’ve uninstalled Dropbox from all my Linux machines because it no longer supports ZFS (or any other file-systems except ext4).

          • asdff 2 months ago

            Onedrive at least works great in my experiences. I bave a dropbox account, but my uni supplied me with a huge onedrive allotment. I sync every user file on my computer and I can access it anywhere with an internet connection. The msoffice integrations are great too, and ms office online is pretty feature rich.

            Dropbox had a great idea, but it's not hard for a large company to copy it like microsoft did. Apple just does a lot of things half assed if it's not a priority to them. Nothing stopping iCloud from being better than dropbox in a couple years if apple one day decided they gave a damn about it.

            • axolttl88 2 months ago

              OneDrive and OneDrive for Business (which is really the Sharepoint thing) really has turned out to be good. We’ve been using it for about 3 years now in our small business which is mostly a Mac + Office365 + Azure AD shop.

              We have a mix of iOS and Android, and some physical and virtual Windows 10 PCs.

              The macOS sync client is generally very fast and keeps out of the way. It gets tripped up occasionally, but no more so than any other. It was really clunky when we first started using it for Sharepoint, but they seem to be iterating fast these days and we see very few issues at all.

              For Sharepoint365 the sync client means our people just treat it as our “cloud network drive” with selective folder sync options (we don’t use any of the other Sharepoint stuff).

              If you’re an Office365 shop, the integration is incredibly nice. I can start work on a Word doc on a PC and save it in OneDrive or Sharepoint365, and then on my iPad open Word and the document is sitting right there as the last file I worked on in the File>Open screen, with a “Go to where you left off” marker when the file is open.

              We tried Box and liked it initially, but it became hard to justify it in the face of easy functionality and pricing from Office365+OneDrive. iCloud isn’t flexible enough for most of our business use cases. DropBox performance was always an issue and we didn’t want to saddle our dev laptops with that performance hit.

            • signal11 2 months ago

              What's more, you can likely (depends on country etc) use Office desktop apps and your OneDrive storage on any supported device, including native apps on Android-supporting Chromebooks, for free as long as you have your student ID, as part of their Office 365 for Education programme -- see my other comment (works for teachers too).

              They're really competing hard in this space, and I suspect they're trying to get ahead of Google One here. They've already left Dropbox far behind.

    • jacobcohen11 2 months ago

      Maybe it's because they were expanding too much and hiring too many people

      • asdkhadsj 2 months ago

        I'd be curious if they simply couldn't compete, and they recognized that. Ie, their competition is heavily Google, Microsoft, Amazon, etc which offer competing products as part of their suite. Yet, Google/etc doesn't really care about file sharing/storage. It's just one component in a much larger model.

        I'd be curious if, due to cloud prices/etc, Dropbox didn't feel they could actually sustain a competitive price and become profitable. So they're trying to expand to other avenues and find something that works.

      • asdff 2 months ago

        Who provides dropboxes actual storage? That provider could just keep squeezing dropbox until the provider creates a copy of dropbox or has them bent over just to the point of them switching to another provider. Maybe dropbox should have been building their own data centers in the mean time, cutting their overhead. That idea of restraining growth in favor of long term stability probably wouldn't sit so well with the shareholders who want their pie tomorrow.

      • andrewjrhill 2 months ago

        It's a lack of focus on increasing sales throughput. They should have looked to resolve bottlenecks between when a lead first hits their website and when a sale is finalised.

        There's always something along that process that is poor and holding back the rest of the process. An increase in throughput = increased sales.

        • arkitaip 2 months ago

          You don't think their funnel is optimized already? The truth is that Google and Microsoft have the mind shares and products that integrate well with their respective eco systems already. Google Drive and OneDrive just work and are highly affordable already.

  • miguelmota 2 months ago

    I agree with the sentiment that dropbox is doing too many things that don't make the most sense but sometimes the company doesn't have a choice but to try new things to extend the userbase into different markets because that's what VCs are demanding and expecting them to do. VCs want a 10x return and not a 2x return on a lifestyle business.

  • T-hawk 2 months ago

    > Whatever happened to the philosophy of “do one thing and do it well”?

    This relies on composability, integrating together several such components into a coherent whole.

    Users don't understand composability or want to do it. They want the integration to already exist and just work.

    • goobynight 2 months ago

      Right. Imagine teaching most people to pipe "ls" into "grep", even without any flags. You've already lost double digit percentages of people.

    • Barrin92 2 months ago

      to be fair not every developer likes it either. Not to start the traditional flamewar but I've always been a much bigger fan of emacs than of vim precisely because it gives me a powerful, integrated environment rather than a set of distinct tools.

      You could also compare wechat to traditional isolated apps, and in my opinion well integrated platforms trump collections of tools almost always.

  • rodgerd 2 months ago

    > This just seems like they are trying to do too much. I can’t see the strategy...

    I work at a place with enterprise O365. When you've got things like Teams, well, you might argue that Teams isn't as good as Slack, you think Dropbox is a bit better than OneDrive, and so on, but it's really hard to argue paying for all those things is worth it when you've got something that e.g. lets you record your Teams meeting, run it through voice recognition, and turn it into a OneNote transcript to sit alongside your repo of project docs for the same meeting.

    Sometimes well-integrated solutions are more than the sum of their parts, and that's the problem Dropbox is facing.

    • TeMPOraL 2 months ago

      Well-integrated solutions were simple until SaaS companies purposefully broke it. There's nothing in software that would make it impossible to have an arbitrary calendar app work well with arbitrary file browser, file syncer, text editor, document editor, etc. A bit of system-level tools (that's kind of what the OS is for), a bit of common protocols. But when each of the above became redone as SaaS, interoperability became a matter of service providers signing agreements with each other, and not something end-users could set up.

  • ori_b 2 months ago

    > Whatever happened to the philosophy of “do one thing and do it well”?

    Turns out that it dies if you try to grow it near walled gardens. The soil doesn't suit it.

  • derefr 2 months ago

    > gee I really wish I could just open up this presentation in Dropbox directly into my Zoom meeting.

    Do you ever right-click a file on your desktop and expect to be able to do an “Open With” action to open it in a Zoom meeting?

    Dropbox is trying to recreate/recapitulate that functionality—the functionality of OS file-explorer GUIs, and how they act as a launchpad for feeding files to third-party intent providers.

  • coldtea 2 months ago

    >Whatever happened to the philosophy of “do one thing and do it well”?

    It was seldom the thing users wanted and could use, and ended up being relegated to the dev-oriented UNIX userland.

  • icelancer 2 months ago

    >> Whatever happened to the philosophy of “do one thing and do it well”?

    VC Money.

Dwolb 2 months ago

SaaS needs to chill out for like two seconds.

What we’re seeing here is a strategic maneuver by Dropbox to move up the UX stack from a single file syncing tool to a meta/coordination layer between SaaS products. The goal is to own the user experience and integrate all the adjacent or overlapping SaaS tools in a user’s workflow so you can control both the user and the suppliers.

We’re going to see this more frequently and it’ll look weird coming from different tools trying to level up and pull this off (i.e. what will email look like with this?).

One issue is as incumbents partner/buddy-up and competition heats up, we’ll see a bunch of bundling, increasing consumer costs while locking out newcomers.

  • dreamcompiler 2 months ago

    Agreed. The beauty of Dropbox used to be their utter invisibility. They just seamlessly synced my files in the background. If they're now going to insist on being "in my face," I'll take my business elsewhere. And whichever Dropbox vice president tried to make his bones with this project can pound sand.

    • iscrewyou 2 months ago

      Yeah. That was the attraction. It was invisible and got the job done. Recently, the notifications about their new products inside Dropbox is simply spammy.

    • andrewjrhill 2 months ago

      I audibly "ughed" when they introduced that stupid dropbox floating action button in Office 365.

  • TheRealDunkirk 2 months ago

    > SaaS needs to chill out for like two seconds.

    Love this quote.

    BUT... I know my group is trying to address exactly what Dropbox seems to be aiming at here. How do you find all the hundreds and thousands of pieces of information that are being generated in just a small group of people? Sharepoint is Microsoft's current attempt, and even though my megacorp uses it, my group has asked me to create an alternative, because it sucks (and hard, given our implementation). There needs to be just ONE BOX that searches EVERYTHING.

    I just finished a prototype of a search tool for firmware dumps, based on Elasticsearch. It works even better than I hoped. It only takes a few seconds to search across thousands of images for combinations of hundreds of yes/no questions. (Albeit quite a bit longer to marshal the actual values.) My current though is to create an index to dump all Office documents into, and let Elasticsearch do its thing. I can create a taskbar app to drag files into, and a spotlight-like search box to dig up anything dumped into it.

    Tell me there's a better way. I don't really want to write this app. This is an obvious problem for an organization of ANY size now. (It's a problem for my church's staff of 10!) I, for one, am glad to see Dropbox taking a stab at it.

  • shostack 2 months ago

    Sidebar, since I suspect you were commenting more on consumer email services, but this sort of "moving up the food chain for owning customers and lock-in" has been happening for a while in the ESP (email service provider) space that companies use to manage their customer-facing emails.

    For a bit now all the big email players have been getting acquired as part of some larger "marketing cloud" that attempts to fully integrate that as the hub for an audience platform that then ties in with other external touchpoints and such. One of the aims seems to be that owning the audience and performance data has inherent lock-in, and thus forced stickiness. Really interesting to see in context of recent BI tool acquisitions.

  • dudus 2 months ago

    Oh no god forbid a company slightly change any of their offerings and add more features that will appeal to most of their audience. Then go around and try to advertise this on Hacker News, which we like to think is a community of visionary and entrepreneur geniuses but we really are a bunch of self-entitled and change averse edge case users that know better.


    Also, required "fuck Google" quote at the end.

    • TeMPOraL 2 months ago

      It's not change aversion and edge case circlejerk - it's a reaction to Dropbox pulling an user-hostile move, damaging their core product in a most likely vain attempt at trying to become the platform for office data management.

      My problem with such moves is that you have a bunch of companies making their product worse trying to capture a winner-takes-all market, and whoever eventually wins will be the platform that further screws users by taking more and more ownership and control of data and computation away from them.

  • drstewart 2 months ago

    >(i.e. what will email look like with this?).

    Take a look at Front (a YC company I believe) for an example of a place trying to do this

  • pbowyer 2 months ago

    And it's not like it's not been tried before. ODrive does it [1], and has revised their offering as (from the outside it seems) people didn't pay what they expected for the convenience.


danieldk 2 months ago

Me and my wife ended both ended our Dropbox Plus subscriptions last weekend (after being paying users for five years or so). As a side-effect, my mom also cancelled her subscription (since she was using it to share photos with us).

The primary reasons:

- Constant nagging in the user interface to upgrade to Dropbox Pro or Dropbox Business. Don't want it, don't need it.

- Accumulation of a lot of UI clutter over the years. When you used to log in, you just your files. Now you get suggestions, unread comments, or whatever.

- Dropping support for file systems outside ext4. One of my machines uses Linux on ZFS, now I need to LD_PRELOAD shims to make Dropbox work. No, I am not switching back to ext4 for you, Dropbox.

- The camel that broke the straw's back: raising the prices from 10 to 12 Euro per month. It is not like we can't afford it. But storage and bandwidth gets cheaper, but Dropbox gets more expensive. We do not need the new features: why would I need 2TB if I am only using 200-300GB of space? And no, I don't want Smart Sync, which puts itself in ring-0 through a kernel module.

If Dropbox had just stuck to its nice, clean, and simple interface, focusing on syncing across machines with various OSes or file systems, we would still be happy, paying users. They wouldn't have to add anything (though the File Requests feature was nice). Just don't bother me with nonsense and let me do my work and share with family + friends.

  • dreamcompiler 2 months ago

    I'm getting tired of their constantly dropping support for older versions of MacOS (I don't upgrade MacOS often because every new version is a net productivity hit for me), and their upgrader daemon that

    A. Cannot be shut off, and

    B. Upgrades my Dropbox client whether I want it to or not. Even with Google's very determined auto-upgrader, I finally figured out how to shut it off. Not Dropbox.

    Here we go again. Every constant-growth oriented company with happy customers eventually decides to go to war with said customers as a last-ditch effort to extract more revenue, and thus forces them to its competition.

    • dreamcompiler 2 months ago

      To clarify, when I said, "dropping support for older versions of MacOS" I didn't mean "product still works but you're on your own." That's what most companies do and I have no problem with it. Dropbox doesn't do this. With Dropbox, the client program stops working entirely for no good reason and on arbitrary dates when they think your OS is too old. I find this entirely unacceptable.

    • pkaye 2 months ago

      What is the Apple support life cycles for OS X? Last I remember it they didn't support much beyond the current version and previous.

    • oauea 2 months ago

      If you refuse to update your software you deserve to have a hard time.

      • chrismeller 2 months ago

        That’s a bit harsh. While I understand not wanting to perform a new OS update (at least not immediately) or not being able to (they deprecate old hardware too) I do understand that it’s a matter of resources and that most people are going to be on a handful of your most recent releases, so it makes sense to spend your time on those.

        At the same time (most) people don’t actively seek to disable updates for things until something goes wrong. If your app is working on my current OS and filesystem it’s incumbent upon you to recognize that and not automatically push out an update that breaks that.

        For something as relatively simple as Dropbox’s original functionality (all files from folder x are synced to their server and every other machine on your account) it also seems like a relatively reasonable ask for them to version things and continue to support that functionality for quite a long time.

        • lowercased 2 months ago

          > it also seems like a relatively reasonable ask for them to version things and continue to support that functionality for quite a long time.

          Or... just don't force an upgrade. Notify me at some point that it might not be 'supported' after a certain date, and subject to data loss, etc. We understand with many other pieces of software that after a certain date, they may still 'work' but we won't get support.

          There's certainly some security risks to deal with there, and perhaps reminders closer to cutoff dates would help?

          But, yes, basically agreed.

          relatedly, I've had dropbox on and off, but felt pushed in to paying for it, and resented that push (and ultimately never did). Had multiple client years ago all 'love' dropbox and wanted to work that way. They all loved that it was 'free', but... when I had to work with 5 of them, each sharing up to their 'free' limit with me, it put me over the free limit in to 'pay up' territory. Not a 'break the bank' amount, of course, but it bugged me that I needed to fork out.

          • chrismeller 2 months ago

            > Or... just don't force an upgrade. Notify me at some point that it might not be 'supported' after a certain date, and subject to data loss, etc. We understand with many other pieces of software that after a certain date, they may still 'work' but we won't get support.

            > There's certainly some security risks to deal with there, and perhaps reminders closer to cutoff dates would help?

            That was actually my whole point. If you have security updates to push, then push them. An automatic push should not break my existing functionality under normal circumstances. There will always be extraordinary situations where it’s required, and at some point you do have to make the tough call that the hundred people still using something will just have to deal with it... but it shouldn’t be the norm.

  • AntiqueFig 2 months ago

    > Dropping support for file systems outside ext4. One of my machines uses Linux on ZFS

    Well if you're using ZFS you can create a zvol for your dropbox folder and format it in ext4 and it'll work:

    • josteink 2 months ago

      I tried that and it still stopped syncing.

      After numerous attempts, I decided to stop battling tools which aren’t working for me, so I just uninstalled Dropbox instead.

      Their loss, not mine.

    • denimnerd42 2 months ago

      I love this guy's series on ZFS.

  • ubermonkey 2 months ago

    >Accumulation of a lot of UI clutter over the years.

    Wow. I literally never see UI clutter, because I never log into the site, and only rarely use the iOS apps. DB is mostly just multi-system sync & versioning for me, and in that regard it works GREAT.

    • wingerlang 2 months ago

      Same here, the only UI I see is the green icon next to the file that gives me assurance that it works, and the occasional syncing animation.

      However with the price increase and not being even close to hitting even the old 1T limit I think I will be looking for something else, which sucks because I really like the product and have been using it for almost a decade at this point, or more.

    • rconti 2 months ago

      The UI got worse when they broke it, what, 4, 5, probably 6 years ago now? It USED to be a menu bar icon with a green check showing it was up to date. Now its just a box. Now when I click the dropdown I can either view a "notifications" or "recent files" tab, neither of which I want. One of my notifications (the oldest of the 3 that show on the screen is A YEAR old. It used to look like an OS X menu. Now it's just some weird list with arbitrary icons spewed all over the screen that's utterly inconsistent with everything else on my system.

      At least it used to be clean. Now it's not.

  • peternicky 2 months ago

    Your feedback resonates with me when I think about my experience with nearly every new software I come across. If it isn’t a monthly subscription (or the yearly option where I am ‘saving’ money) being shoved down my throat, more than likely I am being propositioned to pay for features that I simply don’t care about.

    One example, Airtable, has paid plans. In order to get the feature I want, I need to upgrade to the second paid plan for $24 per month. I don’t care about the additional collaboration features. I don’t care about having 10gb or whatever for attachments. So tired of this pricing scheme.

    • larrywright 2 months ago

      One thing that bites me is that a lot of products are marketed at businesses rather than consumers. There are things I’d use for myself or my family, but the pricing is not conducive to that. Leankit is a great example. I’d love to use it, but it would be way too expensive to justify. Basecamp is the same way (didn’t used to be). The additional features that are used to justify the high price are things that only a business would need, and therefore not useful to me.

      I get it, selling to businesses is where the money is at (and probably a lot less hassle than consumers). If I ran a SaaS company I’m sure I’d do the same thing. Still irks me that so many things are unavailable due to the high cost.

      • wlesieutre 2 months ago

        Screenhero was great screen sharing utility until it turned into part of an $8 per user per month Slack subscription.

    • _ah 2 months ago

      Unfortunately this is basic business economics. When you want to drive overall revenue, it's often cheaper to boost an existing customer and sell them more stuff rather than go try to find an additional new customer.

  • lacogubik 2 months ago

    I felt similar and the price increase was last drop. I use it mostly to store originals of pictures and video however that also means that they are little bit forgotten. Whole family is on iOS so after I found out that Apple Photos can merge raw and jpg into single item in their UI, it was no brainer to switch to iCloud and import all the images/videos into Photos and rest of the files into iCloud. As a bonus I can share storage with whole family in iCloud, which is not possible with Dropbox.

  • Cthulhu_ 2 months ago

    Yeah I wouldn't mind paying less for less storage space, I'm only using it nowadays to keep a live backup of photos I take (also because pulling photos from the iphone onto a windows PC doesn't seem to work anymore?), using only 3.4% of the 2 TB of storage.

  • turdnagel 2 months ago

    I'm considering the same thing and switching to iCloud Drive as my family is heavily invested into the Apple ecosystem. The next versions of iOS and macOS will support shared folders, which was the one thing holding me back.

    Also really annoyed about the price change. It seems to me like they know most people don't use the full 1 TB, or anywhere near it, so it's practically meaningless to extend to 2 TB. You really have to want to use all their collaboration tools to make paying $12/mo worth it. Otherwise they're just sucking up more margin.

    • rconti 2 months ago

      I recently started paying for iCloud for phone backups because it's so damn cheap, and I don't leave my desktop on (with itunes running) often enough for our phones to backup to anymore.

      Only thing preventing me from moving from free Dropbox, is just the hassle. I guess I should. Also, I sync Dropbox to my Synology NAS, but it's not for any purpose other than just having another copy Just In Case.

  • Liquid_Fire 2 months ago

    > Dropping support for file systems outside ext4.

    Out of curiosity, why does Dropbox even need to care what the filesystem is?

    • mbreese 2 months ago

      It has to do with how they use xattrs to manage the syncing. They now only support a single FS on each OS. You could certainly argue that other filesystems have the necessary capabilities, but Dropbox decided to only support ext4. It’s probably the dominant filesystem for Linux, but in a community as diverse as Linux, that means leaving out a lot of other potential customers.

      • sithadmin 2 months ago

        >in a community as diverse as Linux, that means leaving out a lot of other potential customers

        After reaching a certain critical mass, maintaining additional features and functionality to reach potential customers is counterproductive. It directs resources away from the core product and customers. Given that Linux users probably represent the long tail of Dropbox customers, supporting anything other than the most mainstream configuration seems wasteful.

        • rogerbinns 2 months ago

          > Given that Linux users probably represent the long tail of Dropbox customers ...

          You also need to account for network effects. Every startup I have been at in the last decade went like this:

          The engineers are using Linux, so for everyone to collaborate, a solution that works on Linux too is needed. That is a list of one - Dropbox, and they got their business accounts, and professional accounts.

          Now Dropbox is dropped, or on the way out in all those places. Their lack of multi-account support (and I don't mean the nonsense they do pseudo merging accounts) also made it a huge pain anyway.

        • AlexandrB 2 months ago

          > After reaching a certain critical mass, maintaining additional features and functionality to reach potential customers is counterproductive. It directs resources away from the core product and customers.

          This seems like an odd take in the comments section of an announcement of all new features that many people don't seem to care about. My ideal Dropbox would be able to sync with every filesystem under the sun since easy synchronization is their core product. Not integration with Slack or Trello or some weird workplace workflow.

        • mbreese 2 months ago

          You’re right.

          In this case, I should have just as easily said “paying customers” because there were a decent amount of people already using Dropbox (and paying for it) that had other than ext4 filesystems. I know many people that got bitten by this also had encrypted home directories (Ubuntu ecryptfs), which was also not supported and fairly common.

          I personally use Dropbox heavily because it is an easy way to sync shared folders between all of the people I work with (mix of Mac and Windows). However, it’s really difficult to also use it with the Linux servers I also need to sync data to/from. In the end, I created a developer account and use a script that is linked to that account to copy data to/from Dropbox on demand.

          Would it be nice to have a supported solution for this? Yes

          Do I expect a supported solution from Dropbox? No. There are too many variables and I don’t expect Dropbox to be able to handle everything. I’m just happy that they make a solution possible for me to manually use.

  • jrs235 2 months ago

    >- Accumulation of a lot of UI clutter over the years. When you used to log in, you just your files. Now you get suggestions, unread comments, or whatever.

    I contacted support a few weeks ago because I couldn't find the file(s) I was looking for. They keep changing the UI. They told me to use the search feature. That feature is lacking and it doesn't help that I don't know the filename since it was an uploaded photo from my phone. I left them feedback that the UX sucks and that they need to stop changing things for changing sake. Things are/have gotten worse regarding their UX. I think their devs are thinking and selling themselves on their ideas of what improvements are rather than current customers. If they want to try new things, leave the existing product alone and a launch an entirely new(er) product like DHH and basecamp do without disrupting their own existing paying customers![1]. Don't upset happy customers and give them a reason to re-evaluate your offering and other options.


  • robbiep 2 months ago

    I attempted to upgrade to business and found their support so awful I took them and the team elsewhere... I hope their support has improved recently

  • TheRealDunkirk 2 months ago

    > If Dropbox had just stuck to its nice, clean, and simple interface, focusing on syncing across machines with various OSes or file systems

    Seems like there's a really clear "SKU" that could be continued and refined, alongside this new initiative, to keep people like yourself happy, paying customers. Why would they be so shortsighted to think everyone would want this new thing?

    • mrzool 2 months ago

      Because Hacker News is not the real word. I bet most Dropbox customers will love this.

  • heinrichhartman 2 months ago

    Same here cancelled after they dropped ZFS support.

  • vonseel 2 months ago

    why would I need 2TB if I am only using 200-300GB of space?

    I don’t understand how anyone outside of photographers and people working with audio or video could need that kind of storage.

    I have used Dropbox and Google Drive with around 1TB of Logic Pro X projects before, but that’s a ton of data to keep laying around (without using selective sync) and represents much more than the “active” projects I actually need to keep handy.

    As a normal personal user, I’m probably closer to your estimates of 200-300GB of data and that’s mostly iPhone photos data. I currently stored my photos with Google but am planning to move my data over to iCloud since all my devices are Apple and performance seems better.

  • vorpalhex 2 months ago

    Yup, same here. Switched to pCloud which seems nice enough so far though rudimentary.

    • Bombthecat 2 months ago

      The lifetime sounds interesting. But I'm not sure if lifetime really means lifetime..

    • user00012-ab 2 months ago

      Checked it out this morning and made the switch away from dropbox.

  • sonnyblarney 2 months ago

    "If Dropbox had just stuck to its nice, clean, and simple interface, focusing on syncing across machines with various OSes or file systems, we would still be happy, "

    A thousand times, yes - are you listening Dropbox?

    If you don't do this, you're going to get 'Zoomed' (i.e. basic company like Zoom comes along and eats your lunch for just doing the basic offer)

  • disiplus 2 months ago

    we use Google drive it has "small packages" 100 200 GB that are really cheap.

    • weavie 2 months ago

      Same. It isnt as nice as Dropbox as there doesn't seem to be any linux support, so I use Grive running as a cron job.

      It does run on ZFS though. I never realised Dropbox didn't. I guess that puts to rest that ocasssional nagging thought that maybe it would be worth the extra £8 or so to move to Dropbox.

      • josteink 2 months ago

        > It does run on ZFS though. I never realised Dropbox didn't.

        It did. For years. But recently they added additional code to intentionally cripple it on non-ext4 systems.

        Messing up working setups for existing users like that is just plain unprofessional.

        I’m leaving, and this was the main reason: effectively no Linux-support.

        Edit: after reading this announcement, I’m absolutely terrified. Setting up Nextcloud is now next on my to-do list.

        I don’t think I’ve ever seen a product pivot go this bad. I wonder how all the engineers at Dropbox feels about this.

      • beberlei 2 months ago

        I am quite happy with Insync, which implements a dropbox like client on top of Google Drive and works on Linux.

      • dullgiulio 2 months ago

        Have you ever looked at Perkeep (former Camlistore)?

  • newscracker 2 months ago

    Dropbox seems to have prioritized enterprise customers and de-prioritized consumers as customers. Most consumers would need a solid storage and sync solution, and nothing more. So you’re likely not the target customer any longer.

  • slig 2 months ago

    Did you switch to another hosted paid hosted service or are you hosting on your own?

    • danieldk 2 months ago

      We ended up with two solutions: for family, we now upload photos to Smugmug with a password-protected gallery. The simplest plan is good enough for us and is ~50 per year.

      For file sync, we switched to Resilio Sync. I had used Resilio Sync before for moving large files. It's not perfect, but gets the job done and is very fast. We use two encrypted-only peers: our NUC that acts as our home NAS, plus a Hetzner server with 200GB storage (for 15 Euro per month), which is easy to scale up if we need more storage. So, there are two always-available peers.

      We back up everything with restic and Arq on macOS to the NAS and to Backblaze B2. But we were already doing that when we used Dropbox.

      The new setup also simplifies things a bit: before we needed Dropbox + Boxcryptor to encrypt data on Dropbox, but now untrusted nodes just use Resilio's encrypted-only peer functionality.

      I did briefly consider NextCloud, but support for end-to-end encryption does not seem to be mature yet.

      • skinnymuch 2 months ago

        I’d love to use Smugmug but their video support was pretty bad the last two times I tried using it. Google and Apple photos seem to be the only photo and video platforms that actually work.

  • pkulak 2 months ago

    What did you switch to?

syntheticnature 2 months ago
  • doodpants 2 months ago

    I was thinking the same thing. As I read the page, all I could think was, "No, shut up." :-)

    • lotsofpulp 2 months ago

      I think the situation has changed with mobile devices and mobile OS becoming just as important as desktop. For consumers, they want whatever is easiest, results in better battery life, and secure. Presumably, Apple will be better able to integrate folder syncing due to their ownership of iOS, and so Dropbox is wise to be concerned that they can lose their edge there, since switching vendors is a matter of dragging a folder from one window to another for the consumer.

jxdxbx 2 months ago

What a disaster. The entire initial premise of Dropbox was to sync files reliably. Then I can use real, native apps to edit them. The new Dropbox approach on the other hand inherently requires everything to be in the cloud--I already hate that, but even if I didn't, others already do this and do it better.

I feel like Microsoft actually has the balance right. OneDrive still behaves just like a normal sync client. But to do certain kinds of real-time collaboration you can just point native, desktop Office apps to the cloud version of the file. But when you're offline you still have the same kinds of access you need.

Who ever asked for Dropbox OS?

  • timdorr 2 months ago

    The problem is, files are dying. 99% of the documents shared with me nowadays exist only in some cloud product. No one sends files anymore, it's all Google Docs links and such.

    The only real place where files still live are with developers and designers. And even then, the move is away from locally-hosted content and stuff that only exists on someone else's server. VS Code remoting, Sketch Cloud, etc etc.

    Dropbox is just fighting against the tide of the entire Internet. I don't disagree that it's disastrous, but what are they going to do? Their core product is going away. It's like being an oil company nowadays.

FunnyLookinHat 2 months ago

The blog has a loading icon? It took 10-15 seconds to render for me.

Anyone else think this client-side app trend has gotten in the way of recognizing a great case for a server-side render (or even a cached page)?

  • onion2k 2 months ago

    Anyone else think this client-side app trend has gotten in the way of recognizing a great case for a server-side render (or even a cached page)?

    10 - 15 seconds to load a page is the result of poor code rather than 'because it's a client-side app'. Consequently you need to compare a poorly built client-side app with a poorly coded server-side app, or a poorly configured cache, for it to be a fair comparison. And, sadly for us all, there's every chance it'll be just as slow if was rendered somewhere else.

    The answer to slow pages is to build them better no matter what tech is being used to drive them.

    In the case of this page specifically, loading 17.3Mb of gifs is the main problem.

    • randlet 2 months ago

      > loading 17.3Mb of gifs is the main problem.

      The main problem is that for some inexplicable reason the text of the page isn't shown until those gifs are loaded.

      • danShumway 2 months ago

        The really fun thing is that it requires work to break this.

        By default, pages on the web progressively load gifs and images. You have to put in more work just to make your user experience worse.

        It's the same thing I see on some sites that use `div`s as links instead of normal `a` tags. Someone had to go to all of the trouble of adding click handlers, tab indexes, extra styling and classes, just so the page would be less semantic for screen readers.

      • onion2k 2 months ago

        Yep. There's no excuse for that. It's actively bad front-end dev.

  • randlet 2 months ago

    Page won't load at all for me in Firefox 67.

    edit: Took 93 seconds to load a couple of the gifs which seems to have blocked rendering of the entire page. <sigh>

  • dreamcompiler 2 months ago

    99% of client-side rendered pages would provide a superior user experience with server-side render. SSR is what the web was designed for after all. CSR is merely fashionable, not better.

    • onion2k 2 months ago

      99% of client-side rendered pages would provide a superior user experience with server-side render.

      If you're loading a single page and then unloading it that's right. If you're interacting with a page it's often a lot faster to make a small request to fetch new data and just update the part of the DOM that needs to change rather than unloading everything, fetching the new page and all the associated resources that aren't cached, parsing the new page, and repainting everything.

      SSR is what the web was designed for after all.

      That's plain wrong. Using a browser to launch an application was one the use cases in Tim Berners-Lee's original memo about the web in 1989 - "If one sacrifices portability, it is possible so make following a link fire up a special application, so that diagnostic programs, for example, could be linked directly into the maintenance guide." ( There's no suggestion that the user would have to leave their browser when they clicked such a link.

      Fast forward 10 years from Tim's proposal and Microsoft added XMLHttpRequest (via ActiveX) for fetching fragments of data to IE5 in 1999. We've had 20 years, which is 2/3 of the time the web has existed, of client-side applications. You may well have a preference for server-side rendering but you don't get to claim the web was designed for server-side as a fact. It's not true.

      • dreamcompiler 2 months ago

        Two things: Ajax is a good idea and I have no problem with it. CSR for updates is not an issue. My problem is with using it for whole pages that cannot render at all until a huge JS program has been run. When you're building a SPA, this is fine. But most web pages (like the original blog post here) shouldn't be SPAs.

        Second, I didn't remember that clause from TBR's memo, so thanks for the reminder.

    • qwerty9876 2 months ago

      it's not a webpage. It's an application that happens to run on browser platform.

      If you downloaded a regular software and the exe file was 5MB that would be considered small nowadays, yet if a web application fetches that in JS it's considered large.

      (sidenote: not defending the gifs they're just idiotic)

      • makapuf 2 months ago

        It depends what you can do with it. Downloading a full 5MB app just to be able to scroll down and show text and a few images can be seen at big. Why not use a webpage ?

  • toper-centage 2 months ago

    Took me some good 20 seconds. All i could see was the spinner, but the page had a long scroll, meaning that the content was there. What was it still trying to load?? And in the end it loads this fugly website full of massive pictures. Where have we gone wrong as developers?

  • ukyrgf 2 months ago

    "Connecting to" indefinitely for me on macOS Firefox.

  • ihuman 2 months ago

    Ironically, their CMS is blocked by my office's firewall and the website isn't, so the website loaded instantly for me.

  • gildas 2 months ago

    This page weights 30MB because of the images, server-side rendering won't help.

diziet 2 months ago

I do a lot of UI/UX design as a part of what I focus on, both at work and for fun. This page is a juxtaposition of well thought out elements and things that make me go `???`.


  - Good product marketing messaging
  - Well done images and GIFs that get to the point
  - News-site like past first article scrolling, I bet it drives more engagement. I even like how the UI elements change color when you go to another article.

  - Huge spinning circular thing at the top
  - Content not taking the whole size of the page but strangely   taking the right 2/3rds~
  - Non-retina images
Would love to see metrics on:

  - Tweet highlight integration. Does it drive valuable KPIs?
  - Font: They are using . The case study from the foundry that made that font has a section with color `rgb(181, 208, 230);` font on a `linear-gradient( #d20b28 , #d20b28 );` background. That's light blue on somewhere between scarlet, crimson, vermillion or venetian red color space. My brain slightly breaks reading it. Does having your own font drive engagement? What do the KPIs on that look like?
  • sunaden 2 months ago

    Coming from a similar background I actually think they over-designed their whole blog.

    I don't see why they would not put the content to the middle, have a static background so the only thing that changes are the gifs and text as you are scrolling and perhaps pick a more readable, nicer font (though that is probably highly subjective).

    Overall, I feel like the Dropbox app UI shown in gifs and the blog are from two very different companies.

  • 0xffff2 2 months ago

    Please don't use indent for lists. It breaks formatting severely on mobile, and in this case even on my 4k desktop monitor.

    Unintended copy of the comment below...

    I do a lot of UI/UX design as a part of what I focus on, both at work and for fun. This page is a juxtaposition of well thought out elements and things that make me go `???`.


    - Good product marketing messaging

    - Well done images and GIFs that get to the point

    - News-site like past first article scrolling, I bet it drives more engagement. I even like how the UI elements change color when you go to another article.


    - Huge spinning circular thing at the top

    - Content not taking the whole size of the page but strangely taking the right 2/3rds~

    - Non-retina images

    Would love to see metrics on:

    - Tweet highlight integration. Does it drive valuable KPIs?

    - Font: They are using . The case study from the foundry that made that font has a section with color `rgb(181, 208, 230);` font on a `linear-gradient( #d20b28 , #d20b28 );` background. That's light blue on somewhere between scarlet, crimson, vermillion or venetian red color space. My brain slightly breaks reading it. Does having your own font drive engagement? What do the KPIs on that look like?

  • steve_adams_86 2 months ago

    This entire launch feels like what you've described. Things like these tool tips are absolutely killing me:

    It feels rough on the edges.

    • TN1ck 2 months ago

      Oh wow, thanks for sharing that! Heavy animations are always tricky for productivity apps, as the increase in latency is bad for the day to day usage. This animation doesn't even look good and is just annoying after the third sight. For a productivity app, even a simple fade is sometimes too much. Really wonder how this could get approved.

mromanuk 2 months ago

Story of a disruptive product

  1. make something simple and useful
  2. grow big
  3. add more features
  4. repeat steps 2-3 several times
  5. congratulations your product is now bloatware
codingdave 2 months ago

Whenever I see moves like this, I think to myself how little of a real positive impact SharePoint had in the Enterprise world. And that was linking Office products, in large organizations that already used the products, and already collaborated for their jobs, while including the ability to write code against it all.

Trying to build the same functional goals, for people who not under a single organization's umbrella, to link together products that are not coming from a single vendor, and not designed to work together... feels like a stretch.

  • geekamongus 2 months ago

    MS continues to bungle their whole strategy. After being in Google-centric organizations for a decade, I moved to a Microsoft-centric company 18 months ago, and it's been a challenge.

    I am continually dismayed at how difficult it is to choose the best way to do a simple task. Sharepoint? OneDrive? Online Word vs. Offline Word?

    Choose the wrong one? Too bad! You now have to spend 20 minutes figuring out what went wrong and why the doc you sent around to your coworkers is suddenly in this weird purgatory state of part-online, part-offline, and you aren't sure which one to edit anymore.

  • gowld 2 months ago

    over a decade later, Google still has nothing comparable to Sharepoint. Everything is slow and bloated web apps preventing users from finding / reading / editing documents that should be synced locally.

    • jimbob45 2 months ago

      Except not? Google Docs is simple for finding / reading / editing documents that are synced via the cloud. Why did you pretend to agree with the parent commenter if you were gonna contradict them?

tvanantwerp 2 months ago

My office uses Dropbox Business extensively, and I'm not excited by any kind of "new" Dropbox. Businesses need to trust in the stability of their tools, and this signals to me the exact opposite of stability. I haven't got any clue how this could interfere with the workflows we've already established. Major product changes like this give me anxiety.

herf 2 months ago

I really love Dropbox Paper, so I get part of the collaboration story.

What I don't like is that it's so hard to share a file, or to send an image in a chat -- all paths lead to dropbox links instead. When I get a Dropbox link on mobile chat now, I know it's going to take nearly a minute to see the content. Why?

  • CondensedBrain 2 months ago

    They probably think of it in terms of control. One of their big upsells is controlling access to shares. They don't see it as a problem that you have to save it to the device then share from that because it's not for you from their perspective. It's for people sending project assets to collaborators.

    • aianus 2 months ago

      I think it makes a lot sense for the dropbox link to be the default, especially on mobile.

      I almost never want to download the file over LTE to my smartphone and re-upload it to a different web service and waste (2 * filesize) of my limited mobile bandwidth to share a file.

  • jwr 2 months ago

    Oh, yes, Dropbox links. I started telling my coworkers that if they share a file via dropbox, I will not even try to open it. The experience is so abysmal (the wait, then their ridiculous interface that turns a PDF into a buggy JavaScript application), that I don't even try to click on those links anymore.

  • stingrae 2 months ago

    What I really don't understand is, why I still cant put a dropbox paper document in a folder with my files on dropbox?

rangibaby 2 months ago

I like Dropbox again lately.

They added smart sync and 1TB extra to “plus” accounts, which is nice after their pathetic use of Finder integration + OS notifications to nag users to upgrade to the next paid tier (on a paid account!). It’s what they should have done in the first place.

  • wingerlang 2 months ago

    They also increased the price right? What I want is lower space and lower price.

sciurus 2 months ago

It looks like Dropbox is completely focused on the business market and not improving the consumer experience anymore. I've stuck with them for years because of the linux support, but am probably going to jump ship soon. My main complaint is the lack of a way to build a shared photo library with my spouse. Both Google and Apple support this.

  • roel_v 2 months ago

    But switch to where? All.the alternatives don't have the features and/or are even more unreliable (Google).

    If only Fastmail would build a product like this, them I would trust...

    • sciurus 2 months ago

      Switch to Google Drive and Google Photos, most likely.

      I'd have local backups, so I don't think I'd trust it any less with my data than I trust Dropbox.

    • chrismatheson 2 months ago

      What about keybase? Encrypted and synced (I think)

jedisct1 2 months ago

This is awful.

I'm a Dropbox Pro user, using it to store documents that have to be accessible from all my devices, as well as to share galleries with my clients.

None of these integrations with Slack and Zoom make sense. I don't need them, and now that a product I used to trust for its simplicity and reliability has become a horribly bloated beast, I don't trust it any more.

This is bad, Dropbox. Maybe sell this as a totally different product, but for people, including corporate users, that only want reliable file syncing, this is a big turn off.

s9w 2 months ago

Dropbox is the worst offender of feature creep I know. Why would I possibly want to create new files in Dropbox?

  • ben509 2 months ago

    It has some tough competition, e.g. RealPlayer.

timdiggerm 2 months ago

At least the interface is still the same colors, instead of the gross palette of the blog and their rebrand.

  • manuelmagic 2 months ago

    I really don't get why they are throwing away a nice, clean, smooth interface to embrace a new big "touchy" UI even on the browser and the desktop. I understand it's important to implement a native App for smartphones and tablets, but I do not like at all the trend to transform the desktop UI with big buttons, huge padding everywhere etc. (GMail style).

  • uasm 2 months ago

    The blog looks like one giant acid trip.

    • Operyl 2 months ago

      Totally agree. The first thing I found myself doing was staring at the silly animation on the top left for a minute, what a waste of time.

      EDIT: Oh god the front page is just as much of an acid trip now.

      • dumbfounder 2 months ago

        That gif on the blog made me physically ill.

        • Operyl 2 months ago

          The "tall letters" on the post title kind of did me in there. I don't know what they were thinking.

    • fphhotchips 2 months ago

      The whole thing looks like something out of the 80s. Like a bad VCR science video that you know still gets played when it comes time for the kids to learn about atoms.

  • phaedryx 2 months ago

    Agreed. I think it was a step back.

benjaminwootton 2 months ago

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.


F00Fbug 2 months ago

Not what we need!

When they dropped support for XFS, I was locked out and happily went looking for a replacement.

Syncthing ( ) does everything I need. Instead of some nameless cloud company hosting my stuff, my 'cloud copy' is a big USB hard drive on a Raspberry Pi.

I still have to keep Dropbox because of a couple of multi-org projects I'm involved with use it. I'm done putting my personal stuff on it, though.

  • jxdxbx 2 months ago

    I'd be interested in something like Syncthing, but it would have to have an iOS client that worked correctly as a file provider. Both Dropbox and Google Drive have half-implemented Files support (Dropbox doesn't work offline via Files even when Files are saved offline in the app, Google Drive doesn't allow you to create new files via the Files APIs, and both are pretty buggy all around).

gus_massa 2 months ago

Sorry for been negative, but I liked the simplicity of the old Dropbox: You create a magical folder in a machine, a magical folder in another machine, and they are automatically synchronized using pixie dust or something. I don't want a new social media network.

brightball 2 months ago

And the new desktop app is Windows and Mac only. Of course.

My primary reason for using Dropbox initially when it first came out was because it was fully cross platform. The longer they go, the farther we get from that.

The only Linux updates I’ve seen from them have been deprecating support for things.

  • octorian 2 months ago

    And I wonder how long that'll last... I chose Dropbox because of the Linux support, as I actually use all 3 of the major platforms (Windows/Mac/Linux) regularly.

    If I have to leave Dropbox, I honestly don't know what I'd replace it with. It works well enough on all 3 of the platforms I use it on, that I really don't want to switch to some janky duct-taped alternative.

    Meanwhile, it seems like every other hot startup product has this somewhere in their FAQ:

    Q: Will you support Linux?

    A: Here at Foocorp, we all love Linux! Seriously, we're huge fans! However, we've decided that we can best serve our customers by focusing on our Windows (and maybe Mac) products and giving the middle finger to you annoying Linux users.

    • brightball 2 months ago

      Maybe it’s time for ownCloud?

      • josteink 2 months ago

        Nextcloud is the proper fork to use these days.

rrmoelker 2 months ago

Heads up, downloads 20MB and might take a long time to load (for some reason it took over a minute on my laptop)

bin0 2 months ago

Oh yay, a new interface to learn. Just what every body asked for, not. Companies do this all the time to justify higher prices. Some times, a well-done piece of software can just go into maintenance mode for a while.

But do you know what I hate about dropbox? Dropping support for most linux filesystems. Seriously, why? That was the one deciding factor for me. I had looked at other options, but that did it. Owncloud does a fine job, and most people at my company like it fine.

brandon272 2 months ago

I remember the feeling I had when I first used Dropbox - I was excited. The app itself was so unobtrusive and managed to sync my files fast and reliably. It seemed crazy not to use it because there was so little compromise involved.

Fast forward to today, years later, where I don't have any syncing solution enabled on my computer. And not because I don't want or need syncing - but because all of the current offerings, including Dropbox, are either bloated or have performance issues or lack reliability.

Dropbox chose a path and it is what it is. Maybe this strategy is working for them in with respect to revenue growth, and that's great for them, but when I'm here without a syncing solution that I would gladly pay for, it seems like an opportunity is being missed somewhere.

ChrisRR 2 months ago

Jesus, what is this mess? I just want to be able to sync files without any hassle. In fact, I'm willing to pay for that luxury.

Why does Dropbox need video conferencing now?

mvexel 2 months ago

The single reason why I prefer Dropbox over the other file storage / sync products is that their sync client works so much better on Mac. It eats fewer resources, is quicker to start and sync once started, doesn't need to 'restart its sync engine', and has the most flexible selective sync. The addition of 'smart sync' to personal accounts is a nice recent addition.

I don't care for all this new functionality targeted at collaboration / corporate use, and I hope Dropbox will start offering a barebones 'I only need to sync files between devices' plan. I've been happily paying $120/y for that for years and hope they let me continue to do just that, or at least stay out of my way they way they have in the past.

  • asdff 2 months ago

    I think you should explore some of the alternatives every once in a while, or just maintain a free plan and like 1 folder. Just checked activity monitor and onedrive only uses ~60mb of more ram on idle at least, although (and I believe it's since been pached) it had a memory leak bug at one point and would start eagerly consuming my 16gb of ram if left unchecked. The fix for that was just restarting one drive after startup, no big deal. Even on big syncs (I did ~250gb one time) it syncs about as fast as my upload speeds go and didn't seem to bog down my computer at all.

g_sch 2 months ago

My first reaction: this feels like it's adding a lot of noise and clutter to the interface, but also a lot of powerful collaboration tools. Personally, I've been using Dropbox to sync files between my devices, so this redesign is clearly not targeted toward me. But if it works, it might help Dropbox make inroads in the business/enterprise market that Box seems to be dominating so far.

martin_drapeau 2 months ago

So they created a SPA which takes 6MB to 7MB and 220+ requests to list files in a directory?! That's a whole lot of engineering. In fact, they seem to have recreated Google Drive. SharePoint online is also the same - very long time to load.

As a user, I just want to view files in directories. The landing page should show me the last documents I worked on. That's pretty much all I need.

mark_l_watson 2 months ago

I really don’t like the $20/year price increase. I am used to costs for infrastructure decreasing.

I pay for Dropbox, SpiderOak, Google Drive, iCloud, and OneDrive. Now that I have mostly retired, I question needing so much redundancy. I feel like I have to purchase OneDrive because it is so inexpensive for the whole family and also getting Office apps thrown into the deal.

I like supporting SpiderOak even though I use it very lightly. I like supporting privacy oriented companies so I am sticking with them. Also, iCloud is very convenient and inexpensive - another keeper.

DropBox should offer more plans. Few people need two terabytes of data and it gives them an excuse to charge more.

alpb 2 months ago

Dropbox is constantly getting worse for personal usage. They recently bumped up the prices about $10+ a year.

As a photo storage, it fails heavily as well. They turned down the Carousel app which made it super easy to browse photos over time. Google Photos easily dominates this space with the search features. Right now the Photos experience on Dropbox lacks the most basic features and I'm planning to stop renewing my personal Dropbox subscription this year, primarily because of poor photo storage support.

For everything else, I'm planning to just go with S3/GCS and just rsync my files in there periodically.

  • orloffm 2 months ago

    And what are you planning to do with photos? Are you aware of any mobile app of Google Photos caliber that can just point to a S3 bucket?

fourier_mode 2 months ago

I am pretty sure, its not going to be well received by HN, for the simple reason that they are appealing to their corporate audiences rather than developers.

the_af 2 months ago

I use Dropbox to sync my data between home and work computers, both running Ubuntu. I need this to be transparent, and for Dropbox UX to be invisible. So far this has been the case. If they change this, I'll stop using it. I'm not sure from this announcement if I can simply ignore all these new features and continue using it as always.

eyeball 2 months ago

I just want my files backed up and sync’d across device.

iCloud changes look promising. May be time to ditch Dropbox. If only Apple would have a good app on Linux and let me run Mac OS time machine into iCloud.

  • Slippery_John 2 months ago

    The lack of Time Machine backup into iCloud is just baffling to me. That 2TB package has lots of room for backup. If they're worried about eating too much into shared space then let me pay for a time machine partition.

  • randlet 2 months ago

    I've been happy with pCloud which has Win/Linux/Mac/Android/iOS clients.

    • FullyFunctional 2 months ago

      I pay for both and pCloud is cheap but inferior (for me) in two ways:

      1. pCloud doesn't support file permissions or symlinks, thus you can't use it as a real filesystem (eg, building and testing software out of it).

      2. pCould is a "cloud fs" (the files aren't on a host filesystem), whereas Dropbox is syncing a host filesystem. The difference is very visible in performance.

      If the first issue was fixed (I've asked them many times, to no avail), I could live with the second.

      • Shorel 2 months ago

        Number 2 pCloud way is to add sync folders, you do that from the Sync tab in the preferences dialog. Sadly the command line client doesn't let you add the sync folders. An alternative for the GUI is to edit the sqlite configuration file.

        In my experience pCloud works fine for me having the Documents, Music and Pictures folders synced, and having many other folders as cloud only.

      • robyn92 2 months ago

        Up vote for pCloud, definitely worth it!

ketralnis 2 months ago

All I want from Dropbox is a $5/mo plan. $12/mo for 2 TB, maybe 100mb of which I'll ever use, is just too much. $12/mo pays for a whole ec2 instances to host your own on

joshstrange 2 months ago

I don't know what I was expecting but it was not this mess, dear god not a SINGLE feature on this "New Dropbox" is even slightly appealing to me. I just want reliable file-syncing. I enjoy smart sync on my MacBook since I have so many pictures and other large files and smart selection (or whatever it was called) wasn't really cutting it for me. Other than that there isn't anything Dropbox has added in the last 5 years that I have cared about.

I have to imagine there are a number of open-source alternatives now that just require a linux server in the cloud. Hell Backblaze B2 storage works out to about $70/yr for 1TB of space with with 100GB of churn (adding 100GB and deleting 100GB) and download each month (way more than I need), couple that with some syncing tool and I think you've got just about everything I need.

bane 2 months ago

I'm surprised how few people here have talked about OneDrive. It used to be rubbish, but Microsoft has finally really figured it out. My company basically has everybody just do all of their work out of their OneDrive accounts, syncing hundreds of GB per user without fuss.

The integration with their web office apps is pretty flawless, and I've worked with groups of 20 or 30 people on large projects in sharepoint and whatnot without any major fuss.

The web versions of the office tools are fairly basic, but you can seamlessly open them in the desktop equivalents and it autosaves back to the one-drive copy. Even better you can email links around to people and they can view the one-drive copy without any problem or having to send attachments all over the place.

I haven't used the personal version yet, but it's a very compelling business offering.

  • tw04 2 months ago

    They still have weird rules around file names that can break syncing and sharing entirely. Be nice if they could just handle that in the client.

  • kpwags 2 months ago

    Does OneDrive encrypt data for personal users? Last I saw they only encrypted business accounts.

jpmattia 2 months ago

For all the gnashing of teeth on this thread, I think the bigger point is being missed:

Most of the Dropbox post is pitching for collaboration. They have probably recognized that catering to teams has much better revenue growth than mere individual users.

drageth 2 months ago

Dropbox continues to become bloated but it’s still the only client that supports delta sync across platforms. I tried switching to onedrive and google drive but they all are lacking in sync capability.

josteink 2 months ago

The new Dropbox for me:

- the free plan completely gimped with only 3 devices allowed to link

- the official Linux client effectively rendered useless as it no longer works on anything except ext4 filesystems (an artificial limitations added years after I’ve gone all in ZFS).

The new Dropbox clearly wants me to leave. Which is a shame.

I’ve always chosen Dropbox because it was the universal solution which “just worked” everywhere, while all the competitors had a catch here or there.

Now Dropbox are intentionally adding limitations making it non-universal, and therefore losing its own unique selling point.

bradam 2 months ago

You should not consider Dropbox a file storage and sync provider, anymore. Dropbox (and almost all other big established storage/sync providers) moved to a new territory (market) called Content Collaboration Platform. This contains applications which provide comprehensive capabilities that support use cases from productivity and collaboration to content protection and infrastructure modernization. As some of you already mentioned, there are several reasons for it:

1. File storage and syncing is commodity. It is quite easy (compared to what was 5-10-15 years ago) to create a sharing & syncing capability software. Also, there are AWS/Azure as infrastructure so no one needs to handle this part of the business.

2. These big providers move to small-medium business and enterprise sector from personal users. It easy to understand, an enterprise contract with 5000+ users a year is much more profitable than acquiring loads of personal users who do not want to pay at all most of the times.

3. Lastly, big companies want to buy an integrated solution, which handles not just one thing well™, but contains extended functionality and support external providers. In Dropbox's case its file commenting, Zoom & Slack integration, etc.

Source: I work at an end-to-end Encrypted cloud storage and sync company as an analyst, reading market research and analyzing companies like Dropbox 9to5.

malchow 2 months ago

I pay Dropbox $199/yr and it's frustrating. I want to share files, photos, videos, and other items with individuals and small audiences all the time –– both for business and personal purposes.

But Dropbox is so convinced that it needs to be a social network or a workplace platform that I can no longer reliably share things with others. Dropbox sometimes forces a sign-in or a sign-up before the anonymous end user can view my shared file. Am I crazy, or is that just unacceptable?

jressey 2 months ago

Wow, that takes way too long to load. SPAs killed the internet.

diegof79 2 months ago

I used to be a Dropbox fan: it was the first program installed on a new machine, and I recommend it to friends and family.

However, I never converted to a paying user. That seems to be contradictory and maybe another data point of how hard could be growing a global user base.

I live in Argentina. Here any subscription in USD should be considered carefully. Each time that I evaluated to become a paying Dropbox customer, I decided that the cost/value equation didn't work for me:

- Photos: Google Photos works very well on mobile, and they give you unlimited space (if you are willing to sacrifice picture quality).

- Files: I end using iCloud or Drive for the occasional file sharing in the cloud. When I evaluated subscribing to Dropbox for my father -which is also an Office user- the Microsoft Office365 (that includes OneDrive) was much more convenient.

- Backup: A huge chunk of my work files are in Drive (because of GSuite for companies), or in Github. The rest (like iPhone Backup) is by default upload to iCloud.

- Mobile Apps: Before iCloud, many apps included the option to sync with Dropbox (and they created an API for that). But after the iCloud improvements, now that option is missing from most of the iOS apps.

- Paper: it's a great idea, and for a moment I imagined that Dropbox was going to compete with design sharing tools (like InVision). But when I tried Paper, it wasn't enough to do the switch.

I hope that Dropbox is able to find a good product strategy because I used to love their product. This announcement and my personal experience make me think that they are facing a turning point.

yoran 2 months ago

I wish Dropbox Paper would adopt some of the features for organization that we see in Notion or Slite. Our team has moved to using one of those services because our Dropbox Paper folders became a mess. At some point, you just stop remembering where you put things and finding documents becomes too much of a friction. The simple sidebar that you can see on Notion or Slite makes a huge difference in getting an overview of the organization.

perlgeek 2 months ago

I seem to recall that Dropbox once tried to become a platform, and failed miserably.

Is this the second attempt?

I'd prefer it if they just made file syncing easier.

  • CondensedBrain 2 months ago

    Paper is one of the best writing experiences I've ever had, and the export option is solid, but that's about it. It's trying to operate in the space already taken by OneNote. The web-based tools in Office already output to real files you can get at through OneDrive. Even Google's office suite doesn't do that.

    That's probably where Dropbox sees itself headed: the corporate office suite space Microsoft currently dominates. I don't think Dropbox has much of a chance there. There was a time when Microsoft was in a shaky enough position for someone to knock them down, but then they got a new CEO and convinced people to take another look.

    • chrismorgan 2 months ago

      Paper is good at managing collaborative editing, but I find it awful as a general editor: instead of working with what the browser provides, it tries to be clever and implement most things from scratch, and like almost everything that ever takes that approach, fails painfully, sitting firmly in the uncanny valley. (It definitely has various nice features that ameliorate this pain, but I still don’t like it at all.) Over the last year or so I have reported I think five or six distinct bugs (in three messages, I think), mostly ones that are really annoying for me, and I have not heard back from them, nor, to the best of my knowledge, have any of them been fixed. The one I hit the most regularly is selecting text at the start of a paragraph, and starting typing; for example if capitalising a list that someone else typed in lowercase. What you type goes onto a new line, rather than the same line. (I do not recall any of the other bugs I’ve reported off-hand; because I don’t actually use Paper all that much.)

      And ugh, hanging punctuation is just a bad novelty that is of dubious value in prose, and strongly negative value in other forms of content. I believe it has no place in something like Paper—it feels to me like one of the developers came across the concept and thought “that sounds cool, can I make it work in Paper?” (and did a decent, though not brilliant, job of it, I admit) without stopping and thinking whether they should do it.

      Oh, and Paper is so slow to load, just like Dropbox is these days. I only open either when I have to, they’re so slow to load and resource-heavy.

lr 2 months ago

Unrelated to this "new" thing, but what is it with corporate blogs: They almost never have a direct link back to the product website! Why is there not a link to at the top of the page?!

marc_omorain 2 months ago

I have a few qualms with this app:

1. 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. From Windows or Mac, this FTP account could be accessed through built-in software.

2. It doesn't actually replace a USB drive. Most people I know e-mail files to themselves or host them somewhere online to be able to perform presentations, but they still carry a USB drive in case there are connectivity problems. This does not solve the connectivity issue.

3. It does not seem very "viral" or income-generating. I know this is premature at this point, but without charging users for the service, is it reasonable to expect to make money off of this?

dreamcompiler 2 months ago

There's a ridiculous amout of unnecessary dancing monkey Javascript on this page.

arkitaip 2 months ago

I would be surprised if Dropbox still exists as an independent company in five years. Google Drive, Microsoft OneDrive and Apple iCloud are good enough, cheap and integrate well with respective player's eco system that makes it incredibility difficult for competitors.

radimm 2 months ago

Trying to remember the last time I have / wanted to use Dropbox.

- backup/photo storage went to iCloud Drive (shared family space)

- Notes sharing (Apple Notes or Google Drive)

- File storage (iCloud/Google Drive)

- Photo storage (Google Photos)

There were times when Dropbox was omnipresent. So interesting to see, but no, thank you.

nostromo 2 months ago

Dropbox's home and landing page design language is so completely different than their actual product -- it's like they're two different companies.

Compare their disjointed design to companies that do it well, like Stripe and Apple, and it's night and day.

swalsh 2 months ago

I used to run OpenSuse, when I installed it, I basically just went for the express install, which formatted my drive with xfs. I had dropbox setup, and one day a popup told me it was no longer supported. They decided my file system was not secure enough to store my own files. Their solution was I should repartition my drive using ext4. Then reinstall. That sounded like a bunch of work I didn't want to do, so I googled for competitors. Found one, and was able to import all my files in a few minutes. Haven't had a reason to switch back since.

Today I'm an Arch user, and my filesystem is EXT4... but I haven't found a reason to switch back. The new service is working just fine.

  • paride5745 2 months ago

    Out of curiosity, what do you use now?

    I just went full Linux and I am looking for a good Cloud storage for my docs and pics.

cwyers 2 months ago

This is the exact opposite of what I'm interested in -- the UI for cloud files should be the UI for files on my local machine. Pretty much every time I have to abandon the Windows file folder UI in OneNote, I feel like something has failed somewhere.

jchw 2 months ago

Can they just remove Linux support already? It’s been abandoned. I cancelled my Dropbox for this reason, and it gets worse every year.

I realize some will appreciate missing this update, but alas, what happened to Skype has made me realize it’s never a good thing.

  • awill 2 months ago

    Agree. If you don't care about it, drop it. Then users will immediately get the message rather than be frustrated as support gets worse and worse. I'm glad I use the xfs filesystem on Arch Linux. I dumped Dropbox immediately. Pretty happy with insync for Drive.

amacbride 2 months ago

Do Not Want.

(Seriously, I understand the need for companies to broaden product offerings, explore new markets, etc., but it often leads to the original product that made them successful getting neglected, discontinued, or made terrible in some fashion.)

cmg 2 months ago

If I didn't need Dropbox for client work, I'd be dropping my Pro account today. They sent a nice flowery email [0] yesterday talking about some of the new features.

I decided this was a good reminder to go and check my Dropbox security settings and logged into the website -- which I rarely ever do. Only then did I see that my yearly price was increasing by nearly $21. [1] That should have been made very clear in the email.

[0] [1]

  • bluetidepro 2 months ago

    It seems you missed the original email, or something messed up and you weren't sent it. I got the [0] that you linked to today, but also got this email last Tuesday: - Which was the original email from them that was informing the change, and it was very clear. Today's email (your [0]) was just the marketing follow up email saying the plan features were now available.

    • cmg 2 months ago

      You're right. I just searched again and that came in a week before yesterday's email.

      So while I admit I forgot about or glossed over the original email, the flowery marketing email should have had a reminder about that.

  • pwenzel 2 months ago

    I was a little frustrated by the price increase as well. That said, I have a ton of stuff in there and am not itching to move it. I also don't want to roll the dice with another vendor when I know Dropbox works for me. I'll probably pay the extra $20 and keep on keepin' on.

pihalbrecht 2 months ago

What are the best alternatives to Dropbox?

Is google drive better?

  • randlet 2 months ago

    pCloud works well for me (support for all major platforms). Google drive has no Linux support which is a deal killer for me.

    • dcx 2 months ago

      pCloud looks pretty good - I happen to be shopping around for a Dropbox replacement too. But just a heads-up, when I checked around online I found these [1] [2] [3] comments. It sounds like they have a tool that runs internally to detect piracy and it sometimes picks up false positives, which might cause your account to be deleted?




      • ben509 2 months ago

        From their terms[1]: "pCloud will have the right to investigate and prosecute breaches of any of the above to the fullest extent of the law. pCloud may involve and cooperate with law enforcement authorities in prosecuting users who breach these Terms. You acknowledge that pCloud has no obligation to monitor your access to or use of the Site or Services or to review or edit any User Content, but has the right to do so for the purpose of operating the Site or Services, to ensure your compliance with these Terms, or to comply with the applicable law or the order or requirement of a court, administrative agency or other governmental body."

        They also have the usual "we'll take down anything that Disney tells us to" DMCA arrangement. Are other clerd providers better?


      • robyn92 2 months ago

        I have contacted them and it seems they use hash file organization to look up for these blobs, and also it would be stupid not storing your porn on the zero-encrypted folder they have... If you want to keep your pirate files there it might be the same logic dunno :D

      • randlet 2 months ago

        Yikes. That is troubling. Thanks for the heads up.

    • SmellyGeekBoy 2 months ago

      Gnome has support for Google Drive built-in. To be fair though it was pretty much completely unusable until the latest release, and now it's seamless.

  • _Donny 2 months ago

    Have a look at Nextcloud. It is a FOSS alternative that works just like Dropbox without all that bloat. It works surprisingly well on most platforms and is nicely customizeable:

    There are several providers that setup an instance for you with an admin login. I cannot stress enough how happy I am with that solution.

  • apple4ever 2 months ago

    Run your own: Seafile or NextCloud

    Big company: iCloud or OneDrive

workingpatrick 2 months ago

I see these new integrations and all I can think about is the privacy implications.

  • narrowtux 2 months ago

    You don't have to enable integrations.

    • workingpatrick 2 months ago

      It's nice that they are optional, do you know if they are opt-in or opt-out?

jrs235 2 months ago

From their website: "It’s pretty amazing how much technology helps us accomplish at work. Things that used to take days now take hours, and many small tasks—like updating a spreadsheet cell—are as easy as they should be."

Let me fix that for them...

It's pretty amazing how much constantly changing the UI and workflows slows us down from getting work done. Things that use to take seconds now take minutes, small tasks-like finding a file-take longer and require more cpu cycles because you need to use search (assuming you know the file name you're searching for) rather than using the previous, familiar directory structure UI which either a) no longer exists or b) takes several extra clicks and minutes to reveal again.

As I mentioned in another comment: I contacted support a few weeks ago because I couldn't find the file(s) I was looking for. They keep changing the UI. They told me to use the search feature. That feature is lacking and it doesn't help that I don't know the filename since it was an uploaded photo from my phone. I left them feedback that the UX sucks and that they need to stop changing things for changing sake. Things are/have gotten worse regarding their UX. I think their devs are thinking and selling themselves on their ideas of what improvements are rather than current customers. If they want to try new things, leave the existing product alone and a launch an entirely new(er) product like DHH and basecamp do without disrupting their own existing paying customers![1]. Don't upset happy customers and give them a reason to re-evaluate your offering and other options.


michaelmrose 2 months ago

Already replaced Dropbox with Syncthing when they decided to only support ext4

mundu_wa_hinya 2 months ago

They lost me when they nuked xfs support (which was working beautifully). I can't rework my nas FS which has TBs of data just to get Dropbox. I'm just waiting for my yearly subscription to expire...

pi-rat 2 months ago

Aha, so that’s why Dropbox now uses half a gb of ram and bundles chromium...

yangcheng 2 months ago

I don't get why I would save a google doc in Dropbox. I just tried that, and the Dropbox's search can't search content on my google doc. The google doc also takes five more seconds to load compared to if I just create a google doc on google, and it's not available offline either. So what're the real benefits users get?

robbiemitchell 2 months ago

This isn't just about Dropbox. Notice the enhanced collaboration with Slack and Atlassian (which is already an equity holder in Slack).

This alliance looks like an attempt to displace Microsoft in owning the "office runtime". You have Microsoft's Teams, Office 365, and Github vs. Slack, Dropbox, and Jira.

The interesting thing is that Google is actually in a much better position to do this by way of GSuite, but their own internal messaging answer to Slack hasn't gotten out of pre-launch.

bdz 2 months ago

I was thinking about using Amazon Drive (100 GB for $12 a year is perfect) but for some reason their upload client changes the date properties of every single file (creation and last modified). So for example if you have a file from 2011.01.12 it will be changed to the current day today no matter what. Not sure why is it doing it but kinda breaks the deal for me otherwise I'd switch there...

CriticalCathed 2 months ago

Wait. Do people actually routinely use the dropbox web interface? I only ever go there to manage deletion and recovery of files; and that's maybe at most only been necessary a handful of times over the years.

I have used dropbox religiously, even on my phone, from the day it became available. It's a folder on my machine that I put things in to sync across devices.

sambe 2 months ago

Unlimited version history is still listed on my account. I recall this was grandfathered indefinitely for all existing users. Does anyone know how this fits with the new announcement?

I have only ever used it outside of 30 days, and the "yay! look what we are forcing on you at a large price increase" email is not especially welcome anyway.

meerita 2 months ago

They did a horrible redesign, killing amazing UX and UI in favor of a hypter design fantasy. This one still shows the hangover. I feel really sad and bad for the those amazing guys who made the Dropbox product I've used back then when i valued a good cloud storage, sync and a web screen to manage things when i had any trouble.

tjr225 2 months ago

Was going to use Dropbox pro as my photo handling solution but they don't support NFS!? I keep all of my photos on a NAS by my router. I'm sure there is some way around it but Flickr's auto uploader works fine with my NFS set up. This is related to the post I just made in the google photos post.

runxel 2 months ago

For a moment I was like "oh wait, there STILL alive?"

They just got worse and worse in the last years while being somewhat aggressive... "No, shut up!" I don't need no Business Dropbex, who the hell you think I am?

Also prices went up – but I can have 10TB locally for 250 bucks meanwhile.

rkagerer 2 months ago

Ugh. Do not want. Dropbox used to be a great little tool that did it's job well. Now they're trying to turn it into a Swiss army knife that will do several things with mediocrity.

I stopped loving Dropbox when they killed off Public Links, and it's gotten worse from there.

redler 2 months ago

Their strategy looks like an attempt in the direction of becoming a sort of third-party Google Wave.

vnorilo 2 months ago

1. Implement rsync + ftp

2. Take venture capital

3. Gotta jump that shark

neverminder 2 months ago

And yet still no changes in pricing. For individuals it's either 2 GB free or 2 TB for 12 euro per month, nothing in between. I'd be fine with 100 GB. Dropbox has native linux client, but shit pricing, Google Drive has better pricing, but no linux client.

nkkollaw 2 months ago

I'm still waiting for Dropbox to support placeholder files for personal accounts.

I feel like there is more functionality to their (now old) core proposition that they could be working on instead of trying to be a better Google Drive for Google products.

simonebrunozzi 2 months ago

Dropbox doesn't care about individual customers. The real money for them is in the enterprise. There, different priorities are at play.

Unfortunately, I've been a Dropbox user for many years but I'm really tempted to switch away.

Mikho 2 months ago

Why would people still use Box, Dropbox, etc. when MS Office subscription provides so much more value, including huge storage, Office apps, and cross-platform integrations for less money. That's basically no brainer.

donatj 2 months ago

Is there an alternative to Dropbox that properly handles resource forks? (macOS tags, file comments, custom icons, etc?) My heavy use of them is what has kept me on Dropbox rather than Google Drive for the time being.

judge2020 2 months ago

I guess I shouldn't be surprised, but the desktop app is basically an electron app by using QTWebengine (Chromium embedded).

ycombinete 2 months ago

Is there a good alternative to Dropbox that also does block-level file syncing?

schnable 2 months ago

You can pay a few bucks more, get cloud storage AND Office from Microsoft.

  • fencepost 2 months ago

    Less than that actually if it's personal (O365 Personal 1TB, Home up to 5 I think), or a little more for business and get OneDrive+SharePoint and hosted Exchange email. Works nicely on Windows 10, a little less so on older versions, and probably a lot less well on *nix which is relevant since a lot of folks on this thread are concerned about the loss of ZFS support. Not sure how it is on OS X but hopefully decent.

maxxxxx 2 months ago

I always get scared when I read “meet the new xxxxx”. Usually either the UI has been reshuffled or features have been dropped. It’s really rare that things get better with such an announcement.

maehwasu 2 months ago

The fact that Dropbox has access to your files is a nightmare waiting to happen. Yes, I know they currently don’t use them for anything bad. No one ever does, until they do. I’m out.

siproprio 2 months ago

While we're at it, dropbox paper also refuses to allow users to remove entries from the "recently viewed" history, if the document is owned by someone else.

rrggrr 2 months ago

This will fail. (acquired by Facebook) was the model they should have pursued. I need an environment to share info with clients and this isn't that.

  • laurencei 2 months ago domain is for sale? Did FB close it down when they purchased it?

crad 2 months ago

Anyone else find the design of the page so distracting it was hard to focus on the content? All of the animation behavior, hiding and showing of elements, etc.

timwis 2 months ago

I would have been excited if these were open integration points; instead it's just allowing you to connect your various walled gardens together :(

edhelas 2 months ago

2019, UI showcase of a multi billion $ company is still done using multi mega-bytes GIF files. What was video compression technologies about already?

ionwake 2 months ago

Can someone summarise the changes in a couple of sentences? I haven't got a clue what the differences are after sepdning a couple of minutes on the site.

Thank you

  • vorpalhex 2 months ago

    "Enterprise" features including half baked slack integrations, and web shortcuts like it's 1999

rossdavidh 2 months ago

So, it appears that Dropbox is letting feature creep turn a perfectly good product which I would have paid for forever, into one I need to leave. What is the best alternative? Just looking for automatic syncing and backup, and the historical versions available from the server is nice also. Suggestions? Simpler is better.

  • flipcoder 2 months ago

    I switched to MEGA. The desktop client MEGAsync is actually quite decent. Very similar to classic dropbox

asdff 2 months ago

Anyone running nextcloud on their server? Interested in building one now that a year of 2tb dropbox costs as much as a 1tb ssd and a raspberry pi.

m00x 2 months ago

This website is near impossible to read on a large 4k screen. The huge headers and the low contrast makes is very shitty reading experience.

iscrewyou 2 months ago

> And don’t worry—you can still organize all your work from the Dropbox folder in Windows File Explorer and macOS Finder.

DON’T mess this up, Dropbox. Don’t.

mmargerum 2 months ago

Is there some open source version of something like rsync that is available to just sync between machines on a LAN? No cloud involved.

  • butteroverflow 2 months ago
    • faitswulff 2 months ago

      Does anyone use SyncThing on iOS? Last I heard the support was read only from a now defunct app called fsync. Thinking about migrating my family over, but this is a blocker for me.

  • SisRob 2 months ago

    Just use rsync + ssh.

    • mmargerum 2 months ago

      i forgot to mention one of the machines is windows and I didn't want to go down the cygwin rabbit hole. It is windows 10 though so perhaps I could use WSL.

lewis1028282 2 months ago

I hate the new website it's so slow. Even the blog took 10s to render, why does a blog need to be flashy, just show some text.

geekamongus 2 months ago

Looks like they introduced a higher price, too.

ForzaBlu 2 months ago

Great content for the Emoji Movie sequel :)

camdenlock 2 months ago

Oh dear: “It’s more than an app, though—it’s a completely new experience.”

How to tell when designers have taken over a company...

guggle 2 months ago

Pay more, without my consent, for features I don't care... bye bye dropbox. Rsync will do.

darth_skywalker 2 months ago

Storing a directory as a git repo (e.g. on GitHub) is a pretty good alternative to Dropbox.

xu_ituairo 2 months ago

This reminds me of the early web when everyone was obsessed with making one-stop portals.

dvduval 2 months ago

The new Digg redux it seems. They don't seem to have tested the market before launch.

cabaalis 2 months ago

"We listened to you..." post in 3, 2..

dzonga 2 months ago

seems Dropbox is trying to clone an OS. Given that you can do a bunch of office related stuff inside dropbox

tscolari 2 months ago

I've created some much internal hate trying to use their paper and the search function there that I'm not trying dropbox ever again I think.

ReedJessen 2 months ago

The load time on that site is bananas.

miguelmota 2 months ago

Thought it was April 1st for a second

aeonsky 2 months ago

This looks way too much like Jira.

pier25 2 months ago

WTF is going on at Dropbox? Are they losing so many users they now need to make this ridiculous integrations?

  • lm28469 2 months ago

    Gotta keep your oversized engineering team busy.

    Same thing with airbnb, uber, &c. They constantly release side projects that are forgotten after a month and never used, even internally. Fonts, CSS frameworks, &c.

  • kalleboo 2 months ago

    Dropbox is valued at 9 BILLION dollars. With that valuation, they can't just be a file sync app, they are required to have some kind of "take over the world" roadmap.

manojlds 2 months ago

I have a few qualms with this app...

randy408 2 months ago

That page took 15 seconds to load

goodmattg 2 months ago

Does anyone else see "work in progress" at the top of the page?

  • dhruvrrp 2 months ago

    that is the name of their company blog i think...

    • goodmattg 2 months ago

      Is there some inside joke to the blog name? I really don't get it...

makeszerosense3 2 months ago

Dropbox messed up when they had a chance to buy Quip for $300M.

pihalbrecht 2 months ago

What could be the best alternative to Dropbox?

Four8Five 2 months ago

I still can't get over Dropbox's ugly color scheme and aesthetic.

AtlasLion 2 months ago

I left DropBox the minute I read they hired war criminal Condoleezza Rice.