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Google Drive for Linux? Patience, patience...

A Linux version of the cloud-connected file system apparently is still on Google's to-do list, but not a high-enough priority for some people's preferences.

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Stephen Shankland principal writer
Stephen Shankland has been a reporter at CNET since 1998 and writes about processors, digital photography, AI, quantum computing, computer science, materials science, supercomputers, drones, browsers, 3D printing, USB, and new computing technology in general. He has a soft spot in his heart for standards groups and I/O interfaces. His first big scoop was about radioactive cat poop.
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  • I've been covering the technology industry for 24 years and was a science writer for five years before that. I've got deep expertise in microprocessors, digital photography, computer hardware and software, internet standards, web technology, and other dee
Stephen Shankland
2 min read
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More than a year and a half ago, Google promised to bring its Google Drive to the Linux. Those who want to use the cloud-synchronized file system on the the open-source operating system, though, will have to keep on waiting.

In April 2012, when Google Drive launched, Google said, "The team is working on a sync client for Linux." In May 2013, the update was, "The team is still working on it." I asked for another update and got it Sunday: Google doesn't "have anything new to share at this time in terms of timing."

So Linux fans apparently can at least take heart that the project is still alive.

Google Drive synchronizes files across multiple devices and provides the file system used by the online apps of Google Docs, Google Sheets, and Google Slides. It integrates with the file native file systems on Windows, OS X, and Chrome OS.

The software's absence is a simmering issue for some. Gripes that bear the hashtag #driveforlinux surface on Google+, and 23,590 people have signed a petition seeking Google Drive support on Linux.

It's frustrating for fans of Linux on personal computers, but when it comes to software support, Google is still a better ally than many software companies. Google Drive for Linux may be a low priority, but it's a lot higher than Linux versions of Microsoft Office, Adobe Creative Cloud, and Apple iTunes.

Somehow, though, Google Drive rival Dropbox managed to get its app working on Linux, including support for Ubuntu, Debian, and Fedora versions of the operating system.

Linux fans worked for years to make their open-source operating system a useful alternative to Windows, but were hampered by the operating system's technical challenges and by missing software. Where Linux did succeed with mainstream consumers -- as the foundation for Android -- few know that it's running under the covers. Even programmers write to a higher-level software interface, a Java-like virtual machine.