Maestral open source dropbox client

This looks like a promising open source dropbox client replacement with the following benefits:

it is apple silicon native
uses much less memory
does not count against 3 device limit
app is much smaller

the downside:

Only does the sync not app ie paper etc (although i consider this a benefit)
Uses the public dropbox api which means it does not support binary diff. i believe that means if there is a change it will resync the whole scriv package (but I am not sure because scriv is just a folder)

I am installing in one a laptop to see how it works.

The Scrivener package is not binary, so file-level comparisons should work.

I would think the main downside to using the API will be speed. Dropbox intentionally throttles API usage and limits how many requests you can make at once, meaning developers have to throttle it even further to avoid throwing errors at the user (Scrivener for iOS’ sync could run way faster were that not the case).

That aside, this is very interesting! I’ve been using a simple little open source command-line tool which allows for one-by-one transactions. It’s fine for how I use Dropbox (very, very little), but it is not at all useful for anything at a folder-level scale of syncing.

I like that this offers larger scale syncing while not having to give up the automation and simplicity of the command-line.

I don’t have any large files, so I have not had any problems with speed. I use Dropbox only for Scrivener and covers. I only put text in scrivener, so my largest one with all research and 3 novels is under 15 mb. My largest cover image is 150 mb.

So far, this is working well. But, I have more testing to do to make sure the sync works as well as the official client. Then we will wait and see until Scrivener releases a native apple silicon client.

The speed issue will be more for file quantity than file size. I’ve noticed no difference between third-party clients and the official client for individual download speeds. Where things can get slower are when you have 3,500 files to sync one way or the other. Depending on how structured your projects are, that may never be a huge issue, but heavy snapshot usage and very detailed outlines will overall be slower to sync.

I don’t know why we would ever release a client for the Mac/PC. We could never make one as good as the official version, or even third-party tools like this. The only reason we did that for iOS is because iOS doesn’t allow tools to help each other out. The big advantage of these services has always been (on open platforms anyway) that they can handle the heavy lifting for the software, and the software itself can be ignorant of the process since the result is files on the disk, like any other area of the user folder you work in.

Just installed the Mac GUI version from the downloaded DMG on my iMac (MacOS 11.4) as a way around the 3 device limit. Worked on installation yesterday, not today. It has already been reported on the developers GIT. Apparently, Maestral 1.4.5 has a bug in the Maestral code and there is also a bug/incompatibility in the latest Dropbox API.

I hope the latter doesn’t impact Scrivener for iOS/iPadOS.


Did you restart your mac or did it just stop on its own?

I restarted my Mac. I shut down pretty much every evening as a matter of course.


I on the other hand almost never shut down my machines. That is why I have not seen this bug.

I have not seen any problems with ios dropbox.

@xiamenese I see you filed a bug report over on github and the developer is working on it. Hopefilly it will be fixed in the next release.

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Thanks. I’ve been in correspondence with him. Others still seem to be having the problem, but for me it eventually sorted itself out after many rounds of opening manually, unsetting automatic opening, rebooting, resetting automatic opening, rebooting … rinse and repeat.

So for the moment all seems to be good for me.



Any other reports on how well Maestral is working, especially as a tool to sync Scrivener? I’d love to switch from the official Dropbox client to get rid of some of the overhead, especially on my M1 Macs.