Ubuntu – Dropbox 3.2.9 ignoring local themes / missing notification icon


After upgrading from xubuntu 13.10 to 14.04, I found that dropbox needed re-installation on my system, amongst a slew of other problems. I performed the following as suggested here:

sudo rm -rf /var/lib/dropbox/.dropbox-dist
dropbox start -i

EDIT: as this had failed to resolve the problem described below, I have also tried to install Dropbox from the .deb from here for Ubuntu.

This has installed dropbox version 3.2.9 which appears to be working again, however the notifier icon in the xfce4-panel does not abide by the locally set theme/icons:

dropbox icon not abiding by elementary-xfce-dark theme

Here, I am using elementary-xfce-dark, and can confirm that the Dropbox status icons I want to use are present in /usr/share/icons/elementary-xfce-dark/panel.

However, the icons actually being used (~/.dropbox-dist/dropbox-lnx.x86_64-3.2.9/images/hicolor/16x16/status) are PNG files with transparency, however on inspection the background is #EFEBE7, which suggests the alpha channel is being used, and something else is setting this as the background color.


On occasion, the Dropbox icon doesn't appear in the xfce4-panel at all after a reboot, either in the notification area, or the system tray.


So, err, after purging then re-installing Dropbox from here using the .deb package, I now intermittently see this after each hard reboot:

Correctly using background color with Dropbox icon image

Here's a list of everything I can remember I did before the hard reboot:

  • Installed the following:
    • libappindicator1 (tried because of these tips, found it was already installed);
    • libappindicator3-1 (was not already installed)
    • libappindicator3-dev (was not already installed)
  • Followed the tip from here which disables auto-start of the indicator-application-service at login (called 'Indicator Application' in the 'Session and Startup'/'Application Autostart' menu);
  • Sacrificed several goats.

I can confirm that:

  • The running version is being invoked from ~/.dropbox-dist/dropbox-lnx.x86_64-3.2.9/;
  • The dropbox icon appears in the notification area, not the system tray, of the xfce4-panel;
  • $ python --version produces Python 2.7.6

I'm uncertain as to precisely which, if any, of the above steps were necessary to affect the appearance of the icon. Again, disappointingly, the icon only appears intermittently — once out of every few shutdown/boot cycles, so YMMV!

I also note that when it is present, the icon(s) and theme/style being used are still not consistent with the locally set theme. For example, check out the tooltips :

dropbox 3.0.3 tooltip not using local theme …versus… bluetooth notification area icon using local theme


  • There appears to be chatter about this problem here, and here, suggesting that the latest version of dropbox (3.0.3) now uses the Qt UI. The behavior of dropbox 3.0.3 to ignore local themes also seems to apply to other linux distributions such as Mint and Arch.
  • This page suggests that xfce4 had a bug which did not permit Qt5 software from using the local theme. However, upgrading to xfce4-session version 4.11 has not solved the problem.
  • I'm about to embark on a fresh install of xubuntu 14.0.4-1 to address other issues, so I'll report back here as to whether the problem persists.
  • After installing a fresh version of xubuntu 14.04-1, I now see no dropbox notification icon at all! I presume that if I find a way of activating it again, I might still have the same problem. I'll keep on it…
  • Trying out various installation options (deb files from the dropbox website, compiling and installing from source) has not yielded any solution yet. Suggestions welcome!

Best Answer

So, no complete answer in over two months?

enter image description here Allllllll-righty then!

Now presenting... my ever-so-embarrassing, not-really-to-be-recommended, disgustingly cringeworthy hack:

  • Find your notification icons in the .dropbox-dist directory, which might be in ~/.dropbox-dist or /var/lib/dropbox/.dropbox-dist. Inside this, the icons are in the folder dropbox-lnx.x86_64-3.2.9/images/hicolor/16x16/status (or similar, your path may differ depending on the version and build used).
  • Determine the colour of your xfce4-panel. This is easy using a tool like Gimp with the colour picker tool (enter image description here). Mine happens to be #242424.
  • For each of the notification icons which are PNG images with transparency, open them with Gimp. Yes, that's right folks, I'm going to change that background from transparent to a solid color (in my case, #242424). *Hangs head in shame.*

The result:

enter image description here

enter image description here

Looking good. This is perfectly fine for me, as I don't change the xfce4-panel color. However, some things to note:

  • You'll need to restart dropbox for the change to take effect:
    • ~$ dropbox stop
    • ~$ dropbox start
  • If you edit the stock 16x16px icons, you might find them centred with a 2px #EFEBE7 border if your icons are 22x22px. I addressed this by simply enlarging the icons to my required size (22x22px).
  • If Dropbox is ever updated, your icons might be blown away. If you're going to try this yourself, keep a backup copy of your icons outside the Dropbox directory. Or, you can just download them from here (if you also use #242424 for your panel color):

  • dropboxstatus-logo.png (dropboxstatus-logo.png)

  • dropboxstatus-idle.png (dropboxstatus-idle.png)
  • dropboxstatus-busy.png (dropboxstatus-busy.png)
  • dropboxstatus-busy2.png (dropboxstatus-busy2.png)
  • dropboxstatus-x.png (dropboxstatus-x.png)
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