LabKey uses Google Apps for email, calendar and document sharing. With the release of Google Drive, I got a request to sync some files from an internal file share to the Google Doc/Drive.

The file server is on a linux server(Ubuntu 10.04 LTS), running SAMBA. There is currently not a linux client for Google Drive. But there is an open source client, Grive that I used for testing.

Given that Ubuntu 10.04 is getting a little long in the tooth, it took a bit of effort to get Grive compiled on the server.

Install the required software

There is not whole lot of documentation, but the Grive webpage gives an overview of the required libraries. I started from there and installed

apt-get install build-essential cmake make openssl
apt-get install libstdc++6 libstdc++6-4.4-dev
apt-get install libjson0 libjson0-dev expat libexpat1-dev
apt-get install libssl-dev libssl0.9.8
apt-get install libcurl4-openssl-dev
apt-get install binutils-dev

Install BOOST

The BOOST libraries are required, however, the compile failed when using v1.4.0, which is installed via APT. After some digging, I found that compilation problems were fixed in later versions. I downloaded and installed BOOST 1.4.9.

Install the perquisite software

apt-get install bzip2 libbz2-dev zip unzip 
apt-get install python-dev

Download the latest version of BOOST

cd /usr/local/src 
tar xzf boost_1_49_0.tar.gz

Build and install the BOOST libraries

./b2 install

This installs the libraries into /usr/local/lib and the header files into /usr/local/include

Build the grive software

Download and expand the software distribution

cd /usr/local/src
mv master match065-grive-b6fb4a6.tar.gz
tar xzf match065-grive-b6fb4a6.tar.gz

Build and install the software

cmake CMakeLists.txt
make install 

This installs the binary at /usr/local/bin/grive and the libraries into /usr/local/lib

Using grive software

In order to use the grive software, you will need to set the LD_LIBRARY_PATH to include /usr/local/lib. ie something like

export LD_LIBRARY_PATH=/usr/local/lib


  1. Create a directory to hold the files from your Google Drive
  2. Follow the instructions in the Usage section at the Grive webpage to grant Grive access to your Google Drive.

NOTE: The authorization credentials for accessing your Google Drive account are stored in a file named .grive. I strongly recommend

  • securing this file so it can only be read by the owner of the directory
  • blocking access to this file via SAMBA, if this is going to be a shared drive. (See hide files option)

Syncing your files and directories

To sync your files form Google Drive down to the local directory, all you need to do it run


Grive will sync in both direction and seems to work great. This is not a daemon, you will need to manually perform the sync after any files have been changed or your could use a CRON job to periodically perform the sync.