Sunday, April 10, 2016


In my earlier post about Google Drive for Linux I enumerated several options available for getting Google Drive to work under Linux.

The first option I tried was actually not on the original list. After I installed a Windows 10 Home virtual machine on my Ubuntu 15.10 Desktop, I downloaded and installed the Google Drive client for Windows. I set up a Shared Folder between my Ubuntu host OS and the Windows 10 guest OS so that Google Drive would actually sync everything to my /home/<user>/Google Drive directory under Ubuntu. I thought this was going to be an easy solution to the problem of not having an official Google Drive client for Linux.

Turns out I was wrong. The Google Drive Windows client completed the initial sync process which was good, but then it would immediately bomb out and quit with an error which was bad. Not much of a point having the Google Drive client on Windows if it's not going to stay opened and monitor the Google Drive shared folder. Therefore I uninstalled the Google Drive Windows client from my VM and went with my second option.

So I decided to give overGrive a try. Sure I had to pay $4.99 for a license to run it but I thought that was a reasonable price for a dedicated Google Drive for Linux client. Purchasing the license with PayPal was simple and downloading the latest DEB package for Ubuntu was trivial.

I started going through the installation instructions for Ubuntu and was doing fine until I hit the section about pressing the "Connect account..." button and linking overGrive with my Google Drive account. For whatever reason, Chrome kept opening up a new window with no tabs instead of bringing me to the Account Management screen in Google.

After contacting overGrive support, I did some searching and came across this thread Ubuntu 15.10 Chrome: external links are opened as blank tabs in new browser window. I just had to edit ~/.local/share/applications/google-chrome.desktop and add the %U parameter to the end of the Exec= line. Now external links like the one from "Connect account..." work properly and I was able to link up overGrive with my Google Drive account.

Currently overGrive is still doing its initial sync with Google Drive. It has taken quite a bit more time for overGrive to complete this task on Ubuntu than for the Google Drive Windows client. It seems the difference between the two is that the Google Drive Windows client appears to be multi-threaded and asks to sync several files at once while overGrive appears to be single-threaded and asks to sync one file at a time.

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