When Git on Dropbox conflicts – No problem

I recently wrote about a free way of running version control without owning a server, by hosting a remote repository in a Dropbox folder. One concern raised about using git on Dropbox was “what happens if people push at the same time”. The fear is that the conflicts would irrecoverably corrupt the git repository and cause a headache. Of course we have the local backups of data, but there was a nagging doubt that perhaps a corrupted server could corrupt a local repository. Anyway I tested what really happens by doing it, and learn a bit about git in the process.


I wrote a script that commits random data and pushes to a bare repository hosted on Dropbox. After push blasting the Dropbox folder with 1,000 pushes from 2 machines in parallel, syncronisation with Dropbox took ages longer than usual (10 minutes)

PCB ordering

Janek “hand soldered BGAs” Mann has just published his extensive PCB prototyping buying experience. [Addition by Al] And Hacklab member Peter Jackson (@greenhac, not the Lord of the Rings guy) is documenting his experiences with laying out his first board and ordering prototypes from Seeed Studio on his blog.

Easy Version Control: Git on Dropbox

The problem: you need to share files with people on an ad hoc basis for a project.

One choice is sharing files with Dropbox. On the plus side of Dropbox is it’s ease of use, however, there is a drawback that if you work on the same files you get “My conflicted copy of x” spawning everywhere and making a mess. If you are coding you will trip over other author’ changes.

To work around that problem you need version control. But that can come with baggage. You’ll need a server to run a git/svn/cvs (infrastructure), or a project on GitHub/sourceforge/google code (open source requirement, or pro account). Some projects don’t have these resources or freedoms, so they do without version control, but there is another way…

You can run the best version control software from inside a Dropbox folder! (or Google Drive) Running git from a Dropbox folder does not require spending money, having a server or open sourcing files. Because git compresses its repositories, it also reduces your Dropbox quota usage. Awesome! And it is easy to install. In this article I will show you how to set everything up properly, and give you a quick user guide to git incase you (or your collaborators)  have not used it before. By the end you should be able to setup and use git like a true intermediate.