Normally, any ReadyNAS add-on will be active right after installation. This is not the case with the Dropbox add-on. The reason for this is that you have to first tell it what user accounts on your ReadyNAS are going to have the Dropbox service enabled. To do all that the Dropbox add-on comes with it’s own configuration pane which is located in the Installed Add-Ons section of FrontView.
After installation of the add-on you can access the central management portion of the add-on by clicking on the “Installed Add-Ons” link in FrontView’s left menu panel. Depending on how many add-ons are installed on your ReadyNAS already you will have to scroll down a bit to reach the DropBox entry.
As you will notice the configuration pane is split into three parts: the description of the add-on, a global dropbox section and a section for the personal dropboxes. In the personal dropbox all user accounts with a personal home directory defined on your ReadyNAS are listed. Please note that although the Dropbox service may be shown as active (checkbox is ticked in the upper left corner) no service instance is running (no green lights anywhere).
To demonstrate the actions necessary to enable a dropbox on your ReadyNAS we will now enable the Global Dropbox. The steps for a personal dropbox are essentially the same except for the fact that you can’t turn a personal dropbox into a share. To enable the Global Dropboxjust click on the “Enable” button to its right. You will be prompted whether you really want to enable this dropbox and if you are sure that you do, click on “OK”.
The Dropbox add-on will now enable the service which in case of the Global Dropbox is linked to the “admin” user as the next popup will tell you. Of course if you enable a personal dropbox, this will be linked to the user you choose when enabling the dropbox. Please note that for every user you enable the Dropbox service for a separate daemon process is started. Although they usually don’t require a lot of CPU power or RAM resources there may be slowdowns while the initial contents of the remote dropboxes is transferred.
After starting the Dropbox service for any user or the Global Dropbox it may take a while for the control pane to catch up with the changes. Usually all changes are reflected within 20 seconds or so after which you should see some green lights coming on. For a new dropbox you will also see a blue link icon. This indicates that the Dropbox service is ready but not yet linked to any Dropbox account. As shown in the picture you can get some status information by hovering your mouse over the different icons.
To link the local Dropbox service with a Dropbox account, just click on the blue link icon. You will be presented with a popup message which contains an URL and some additional information. You have to copy and paste the URL shown into your browser’s address bar.
Please note that if you stop and later on restart the Dropbox service for a local dropbox on your ReadyNAS that hasn’t been linked to an account yet, the URL will change on every restart.
Once the URL is copied to your browser’s address bar and you pressed “Enter” you will be taken to the Dropbox website. If you are already logged in you will just have to enter your Dropbox account’s password to activate the link between the Dropbox service on the ReadyNAS and your dropbox. Otherwise you will have to authenticate (or create a new account) first.
If all went well, you will see a green notice on the top of your browser window telling you that the remote dropbox was successfully linked to the account.
Returning to FrontView you should after a couple of seconds see the blue link icon turning into a green light. This indicates that the local Dropbox daemon on your ReadyNAS has successfully connected and linked to your Dropbox account and started synchronizing the contents.
To finally make the Global Dropbox available as a share on your network, switch to the “Shares” -> “Add Shares” pane in FrontView. There add a new share with the name Dropbox (take care of proper capitalization), insert a nice description and if you want to further restrict access untick the Public Access checkbox. Once you click the “Apply” button the share will be made available to all (public access) or just some users.
Enabling personal dropboxes works essentially the same way. The only difference is that you can’t turn them into a share like you can do with the Global Dropbox. Using the “Stop” buttons next to each active Dropbox service you can temporarily disable the service either for the Global Dropbox or any individual dropbox. Likewise, the “Disable” button will stop and disable the service, meaning that the Dropbox daemon for that particular dropbox won’t be started automatically on a system restart.
Actually these aren’t real issues but known facts or intended behavior:
- Personal dropboxes are only available for users that
- have a user id of 500 or higher (normally user ids start at 1000 on the ReadyNAS)
- have a home directory under the /c/home path
- have a user name that doesn’t start with a “.”
In short: only user accounts administered locally on the ReadyNAS can have a personal dropbox.
- Changes in the service like stopping, starting, disabling and enabling may take up to 20 seconds until they are reflected in the control pane
- Disabling a service or even removing the whole add-on will not remove the data in the global or personal dropboxes. This is to make sure that content won’t be deleted by accident. If you want to remove the content of an inactive dropbox, manually remove the Dropbox folder.
- When disabling a dropbox an existing link to a Dropbox account will not be removed. So on restart the daemon will again connect to the account it was linked with before.
- Similar to the above, if you need to link a dropbox to a different account, you will need to first disable the Dropbox service. Next you have to manually delete the .dropbox folder either in the /c directory for the Global Dropbox or in the user’s home directory. The Dropbox folder also needs to be removed or renamed.
- The add-on contains no safety checks whatsoever. What this means is that you are able to delete the contents of any dropbox while you are connected to the service. This will result in a replication of this remove action, resulting in a wipe of all dropboxes connected to this service. This is actually what would happen if you accidentally cleaned out your local Dropbox directory. But when using the Global Dropbox you should make sure any of your users knows about this behavior.
- Unless Dropbox provides a binary version of their software for Sparc processors anytime in the future, there will be no version for the ReadyNAS Duo/NV/NV+ or other ReadyNAS models using a non-Intel CPU.