How-To Geek

4 Alternatives to Google Drive for Linux


We’ve covered using Google Drive on Linux with third-party software, but why bother jumping through those hoops? You can use a cloud storage service that officially supports Linux instead – several of Google Drive’s competitors do.

Google may be leaving Linux users out, but other services like Dropbox, Ubuntu One, SpiderOak, and Wuala don’t ignore Linux users. They even offer more storage and other useful features, such as local encryption of your files.


Dropbox was the first popular cloud storage service, and its client ecosystem is much more mature than Google Drive’s. Dropbox offers clients for every platform, including Linux. Download and install the Dropbox package for your distribution to get started.

Dropbox only offers 2 GB of space for free, but you earn 16 GB from referring friends to Dropbox (each referral gets you another 500 MB). While the free storage offered is less than Google Drive, you could potentially have much more free space without paying a dime.

There’s not a lot else to say about Dropbox – it works similarly to Google Drive, offering a folder that synchronizes between your computers. It’s clear that Google Drive was inspired by Dropbox in many ways. Dropbox has beefed up its security recently, and now also offers Google-style two-step authentication.


Ubuntu One

If you’re using Ubuntu, Ubuntu One is already installed. Like Google Drive, it offers 5 GB of free cloud storage – but there’s also a Dropbox-style referral program that lets you earn up to 20 GB more. You can place files in your Ubuntu One folder to sync them or sync any other folder on your computer.

Ubuntu One isn’t an Ubuntu-only cloud storage service. Ubuntu One offers clients for Windows, Mac, Android, and iPhone. It can also be run on other distributions of Linux – the client is open-source software and anyone can compile it for other distributions.

To get started with Ubuntu One, assuming you’re using Ubuntu, click the U-shaped Ubuntu One icon on the dock or launch Ubuntu One from your dash.



SpiderOak’s distinguishing feature is its support for encryption. Unlike Google Drive, Dropbox, and Ubuntu One, all files you upload to SpiderOak are encrypted on your computer before they’re uploaded. SpiderOak advertises that they’re stored in an encrypted form where not even SpiderOak’s employees can view them.

SpiderOak offers a Linux client in addition to Windows, Mac, Android, and iOS clients. Accounts include 2 GB of space for free, but you can also earn up to 10 GB of free storage with a Dropbox-style referral program. Its interface is a bit complicated, but the encryption is a powerful feature.



Wuala, owned by external storage manufacturer LaCie, is another cloud storage service that offers a Linux client in addition to clients for other platforms. Like SpiderOak, Wuala distinguishes itself by offering local encryption of your files – they’re uploaded to and stored on Wuala’s servers in an encrypted form.

Wuala also offers 5 GB of storage for free. Another 3 GB is available through a referral system.


If you still want to use Google Drive on Linux, InSync is your best bet – especially while it’s still free.

Chris Hoffman is a technology writer and all-around computer geek. He's as at home using the Linux terminal as he is digging into the Windows registry. Connect with him on Google+.

  • Published 12/4/12

Comments (6)

  1. David Bradley

    If you have a LaCie hard drive you can also get 10Gb extra free on your Wuala account. Big advantage is that it’s based in Switzerland so well beyond the reach of the FBI ;-)

  2. cam2644

    These are all very good alternatives to Google Drive.Well laid out article.Thanks

  3. Yusuf

    I didn’t know that Ubuntu One works in Windows and IOS

  4. TheFu

    How about rsync over ssh to a server that we control?

    Trusting any 3rd party is crazy, especially when lots of folks have a router that will do this already, just connect a cheap HDD over USB and setup a free dynamic DNS account that your router probably already supports.
    Heck, Mom has had this for 8 yrs now.

    Or you could get some friends together to split the $20/month cost of a Linode. 20 friends – $12/yr each – seems like a bargain as long as nobody is a true bandwidth hog.

    Normally I wouldn’t bother with this (too complicated for _normal_ users), but we are all running Linux already, so setting up ssh and rsync is pretty bonehead for these readers.

  5. boysha

    Thanks! Very helpful article.

  6. Jouko

    Instead of rsync I’m thinking of duplicity ( Either to a friends HDD or google drive, which is supported. Encryption comes with the package so no need to trust anyone. :)

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