Google provides inexpensive cloud storage — google drive — but does not provide a native Linux client for mirroring those cloud files on the local computer.

Into this gap strolls insync, a Mac, Wintel, and Linux client for connecting a local computer to google drive storage.

This product is NOT free, but for any business user, it makes sense, especially when compared to the annual cost for a DropBox account — $99 for the least expensive option — which has much more storage than I could ever need.

NOTE: The pricing for insync has increased from when I first purchased it, but here is a link for a $5 discount (and a $5 credit to myself — not sure what I can use it for, however).

Like DropBox, insync runs a GUI daemon for managing and tracking file syncing in the cloud.

InSync files window

When version of 1.3.17 arrived, the GUI daemon started crashing on startup. Tech support, unfortunately, never tracked down the problem. My last communication with tech support in early 2018 was to run insync without the daemon to record the errors in real time:

$ insync start --no-daemon
Segmentation fault (core dumped)

Luckily, I had an easy workaround: to run insync in headless mode, via the terminal command insync-headless start. Everything that can be checked or done via the GUI interface can also be done in headless mode. Type insync-headless --help or man insync-headless for the details and options that are available.

And, with the 18.04 version of Xubuntu — Bionic Beaver — and version 1.4 of insync, the GUI problem with insync has disappeared (just like the similar problems with the DropBox GUI). That is, the insync GUI is back in all of its glory. Unlike with the DropBox fix, however, insync’s GUI is still part of the Notification Area panel plugin. So, keep that plugin in place.

Certainly, while insync in headless mode works fine, the GUI-version has the added benefit of integrating with Thunar.

So, it is good to have the full benefits of insync back.