2022-07-06 "Bye Bye Bye"

Get it? Get it?

Bottom line: If you run Linux, yeah, you probably should.

I've been using a third-party software solution to solve a problem that shouldn't even exist. Because of this, I was be able to switch from Dropbox to Google Drive. One less account is always a welcome change. Once I got more used to the Keep interface, I dropped Evernote (and $4/month) for the Google product. Keep is a free* note taking app from Google. Evernote was, of course, more feature-ful, but it was also slowly failing and getting really noisy in its desperation. I was continually assailed by ads for upgrading my service and they kept dropping features from the free version to try to get people to upgrade. Just as I jumped ship, Evernote Corporation dumped a bunch of employees trying to stay afloat.

It's sad and I'm sorry for them. I certainly miss some features. As they say, "It happens to the best of them." Them, in this case, being software developers.

I am always grateful for websites that you can log into using another website for that same reason. "Continue with Google" makes me very happy. Insynchq.com is one of those, and it makes sense since it is accessing your Google-hosted files.

I can't say how many times I have not left a comment simply because I didn't want to create yet another website account.

But I digress.

Personal Finance

A terabyte with Dropbox runs $10 a month. For that same price I can get twice the storage with Google, plus other benefits such as access to live help for Google products and the ability to share my storage with family members. That's probably one reason for the larger space. The live help is also shared with family members. You can add up to 5 people to the service, like with a YouTube subscription.

The Insync client works very well. The front end is apparently written in python and it features a command line option for the hard command line geeks. You might think that's why I'm excited, but no.

I'm excited because there's finally a decent Drive client for Linux!

I only started using Dropbox because it was realistically my only option, not because I preferred it. I got my Dropbox account initially because it was convenient and free. I invited some people to use the service and probably did a few promotions to increase my space for free and still pretty quickly ran out of space. That was even before I started backing up to the cloud like a smart person.

Now, let me say, Dropbox is a fine company and I mean that in the way you might say an attractive person is fine. Dropbox is dead sexy. I accidentally deleted my entire Dropbox folder by adding things in the wrong order (I changed my Dropbox folder to a new location with an empty folder and Dropbox said, "Okay, you want it empty" and dutifully deleted everything). I guess it was my fault, but I'm not sure that should even have been possible. Regardless, Dropbox fixed it. A couple emails and a couple days later my account was fully restored with excellent customer service. Really, if you're looking for good cloud storage, you could do far, far worse than Dropbox.

And they even have an official Linux client! Unlike some search giants we might mention...

But! (note the exclamation)

Google is more than storage.

If storage is all you need, by all means, use Dropbox. They're awesome. They even seemed to be trying to push into the office space when I left them.

But I need more than storage. Google services offer a single sign on solution for most things I need to do. I have had a Gmail address for, well, a very long time. In that time I have seen Google grow from nothing to something to damn near everything under one roof. When the corporate masters divide up the planet, I'm going to be living in the United States of Google. I've chosen my side, I guess, or my side has chosen me. Either way, all my base are belong to them.

The downside here, and it's a very distinct one, is that despite building their entire empire on Linux, Google gives a big middle finger to Linux users and either supports Linux as an afterthought or a side effect but never as a focused initiative. It's Linux either last or never and, in this case, it's never. Linux has in-house solutions for Drive that they refuse to release to the public and they sure give it up to Microsoft at every possible opportunity until and if Chrome OS or Fuchsia overtakes the market.

It's irritating.

And so: Insync

If and until there is ever an official Drive Linux client, I have a solution. Yes, it is a proprietary, for-money solution, but that doesn't bother me the way it once did. My politics support the Free Software Foundation but I also live in a reality in which people need to feed their families. It's really hard to sell something you can easily get for free and making the source available to Linux users means easy to get for free. Linux users tend not to be frightened of source code or building software from scratch. Many of us even prefer it that way.

Wisely, the developers also have Windows and Mac versions available, but I think Linux is really the target audience for obvious reasons (we need it). This means that I can get it for any computer I work with and have the same settings and interface available to me. I'm happy about that. The license allows unlimited installs, you pay per account. Insync isn't necessary for Chromebooks since Drive is treated as just part of the file system.

So, if you happen to be a Linux user, or you're flirting with the idea, there is one less reason not to fully embrace the alternative operating system.

Switching to Linux is about making compromises, and sometimes sacrifices, in order to gain both freedom and security. Also I just like the way Linux works better.

Happy hacking!