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Data Storage Communications Network Networking The Internet Technology

Dropbox Kills Public Folders, Users Rebel (ndtv.com) 158

New submitter rkagerer writes: Dropbox unleashed a tidal wave of user backlash yesterday when it announced plans to eradicate its Public folder feature in 2017. Criticism from users whose links will break surfaced on Reddit, HackerNews and its own forums. Overnight, customers up-voted a feature request to reverse the decision, skyrocketing it to a "Top 10" position on the company's tracker. joemck explains: "There are countless users who have been using the public folder to post images and files in blogs and forums. These aren't just worthless jokes and memes that nobody will miss if you flip the switch and break all of them. These are often valuable resources that users have created and entrusted to you to retain and keep online." One user even created a comic strip for the occasion, with another concerned the URL he registered with the Coast Guard containing potentially lifesaving information will go dark. Although the feature was deprecated in 2012, it remained in place for existing users. The company provides an alternative sharing method, but some users claim it's not as convenient and doesn't provide direct links. According to the announcement, free accounts have until March 15 to update their links, while the lights will go out for paid accounts on September 1. UPDATE 12/17/16: Slashdot reader rkagerer notes, "Dropbox quietly killed the feature request after this story hit the front page, but the original content can still be found interleaved in the forum discussion."
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Dropbox Kills Public Folders, Users Rebel

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  • by Anonymous Coward

    Cannot control tubes!

    • by fyngyrz ( 762201 ) on Saturday December 17, 2016 @11:53AM (#53503063) Homepage Journal

      Live by the cloud, die by the cloud...

      You want your data? Then you're responsible for it. Right now, in the end, network presence costs somebody money. If you're not paying in some way, you can expect your data to go away at some point when they get tired of paying for you. Even if you are paying, eventually, they'll try and gain more profit by trimming service, and again you lose. Corporations always have to increase profit. The shareholders demand it. And you, you're the source of it. Anything you cost them, they will look to reduce if they possibly can.

      Plus, you can't trust them. These services variously demand your name, your email, your mobile phone number, your mother's maiden name, your social security number... and then, bam, breach...

      Most people on slashdot have no excuse. Set up an isolated server on its own wan-facing network, secure it, anything you want public facing, back it up off-LAN and then sneaker-net it to the server in a USB stick or whatever. Anything you don't want public facing... don't put it on the server. Put all those massively insecure home automation devices on the same network; then they can go crazy compromising security in an environment where they can't get at your non-public data. Watch the network traffic form the server, and if any of them start playing the "I am a botnet zombie", set them on fire and write off the manufacturer as a source of devices. The only way we'll ever get these companies to make good devices is if we make them pay for selling insecure crap. Plus, maybe then they'll hire real programmers again instead of these glorified script kiddies and cookie-cutter green-carders who don't know what a memory overrun even is.

      Control your own destiny instead of handing it over to corporate entities. Otherwise... it's very likely going to bite you eventually.

      Live by the cloud, die by the cloud...

  • by Anonymous Coward

    It's becoming more and more apparent that the on line economy needs to get real. That is, more transparent with costs, charging, whether things are actually really 'free' etc.

    This is another example.

    • I pay for a Dropbox account, and have a number of public folders which I would be very annoyed with having vanish... actually it's a bi reason why I sue dropbox and may go elsewhere if this feature vanishes.

      If Dropbox needs me to pay more per month to maintain this feature, fine - just let me know how much it is to do so. But just to take it away because they can't make it work financially seems like a poor move.

      • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

        by Anonymous Coward

        You're gonna sue Dropbox for being bi?

      • by ls671 ( 1122017 ) on Friday December 16, 2016 @09:16PM (#53501027) Homepage

        I pay for a Dropbox account...

        I pay for my domain name, host all data on my server and back the server content encrypted to my home machine and to a friend of mine home machine. I never had any problems. I have always been puzzled by people trusting free services to host their important and even sometimes sensitive data.

        • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

          by Anonymous Coward
          A lot of these folks think that the bandwidth being used by serving up images from free Dropbox accounts to web pages is, well, free. They are sort of idiots to think that Dropbox would continue to let them freeload like this as Dropbox faces increasing price pressure from providers like Amazon, OneDrive, Box, and others (none of which have quite the feature set of DropBox, but all of which have the basic storage often at a better price).
          • by Anonymous Coward

            Well why isn't bandwidth free? I see idiots on here all the time claiming the troops died for free internet, congress funded last mile build out, internet access is a fundamental human right, and other insane fucking bullshit.

          • I don't think it is free, which is why I pay for an account so I can share things that are supported by my payments... I do not have a lot of people accessing the files so they should be making money from me.

        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by Excelcia ( 906188 )

          Concur. Inexpensive virtual server hosting companies abound. For $10 a month, I have a Linux virtual server with a guaranteed dedicated CPU core and with SSD space far in excess of a free Dropbox account. It hosts my own domain names, Wordpress site, multi-domain email (with webmail) - in short, anything I need, I have on my own server. I can post anything I want and it will stay on my server as long as I want it to. My download links do not disappear. Software like Syncthing [syncthing.net] takes care of the synchro

          • The problem with hosting companies compared to cloud services is that you're more likely to have larger downtime if there are any problems, and you might not be protected with recent enough backups in case of hdd corruption / failure. These kind of problems are rare, but they do occur and can be catastrophic. B2B cloud services like Amazon S3 have excellent uptime track record and might able to give some guarantees, plus they provide and/or offer redundancy. Services like Dropbox are hosted in that sort of

        • by sydbarrett74 ( 74307 ) <sydbarrett74@nospAM.gmail.com> on Friday December 16, 2016 @11:52PM (#53501461)

          I pay for my domain name, host all data on my server and back the server content encrypted to my home machine and to a friend of mine home machine.

          Unlike the child posters, I'll refrain from being an AC. If your process could be made derp-proof, I'd be all for it. Unfortunately, few non-geeks have the acumen to implement such a backup plan. The Cloud(tm) remains the only practical solution for most.

          • Unlike the child posters, I'll refrain from being an AC. If your process could be made derp-proof, I'd be all for it. Unfortunately, few non-geeks have the acumen to implement such a backup plan. The Cloud(tm) remains the only practical solution for most.

            Exactly. I totally agree with grandparent -- I've got my own domainname + server for almost 15 years. However the ease of Dropbox sharing is amazing.

            • by cas2000 ( 148703 )

              it might be easy and convenient for the person who uploads the files, but it's a massive pain in the arse for everyone downloading them.

              downloading a shared file from dropbox requires you to enable scripts from half a dozen different domains (i use umatrix because it gives much better, more fine-grained control over permissions than noscript. also it works in both chromium and firefox) and then dropbox constantly nags you on every fucking download to register with their service and give them your personal d

          • Unlike the child posters, I'll refrain from being an AC. If your process could be made derp-proof, I'd be all for it. Unfortunately, few non-geeks have the acumen to implement such a backup plan. The Cloud(tm) remains the only practical solution for most.

            Then they put up with whatever their cloud provider makes them put up with. If you absolutely must have the cloud, and absolutely refuse to learn a few simple things, then you go with dropbox or some other, pay the bill, and do as they tell ya.

            I can understand why people might be upset, but if not of the alternatives are acceptable to them, then looks like they just have to be upset.

        • but not money. I never understand why, given what 2 minutes on google will teach you about wealth disparity on this planet, that folks don't get that.
        • I don't keep anything on Dropbox I couldn't get by other means; but the client is really excellent at syncing and I find it very handy. I also really like it for sharing things like slides for talks so others can get to them later, or pictures to share...

          I've also not really wanted to manage my own server but have resigned myself to it so I'll be giving it a try... I'll see about using rsync or something for a manual sync but honestly Dropbox is really convenient and I may just keep using it.

        • by Zumbs ( 1241138 )

          I pay for a Dropbox account...

          I have always been puzzled by people trusting free services to host their important and even sometimes sensitive data.

          Like me, GP is paying for a service ;-)

          I don't have much in my public folder, and most are single files where I have posted a few direct links on various parts of the interwebs (circa 2010). I don't remember exactly where, so it would be hard to track them down, if I needed to update the links to avoid causing link rot. Yeah, yeah, little of value may be lost, but for that one or two people that would like to follow the links, it could be annoying.

        • This also affects paid users: as if your web host decided to change what urls you could use to serve files from.

        • Yeah I'm sure the run of the mill person is capable of that. It's amazing how detached from reality slashdot has become.

          • Yeah I'm sure the run of the mill person is capable of that. It's amazing how detached from reality slashdot has become.

            Well, if the run of the mill person is incapable and who we're aiming at, they have to pay a price for not wanting to learn, or not having the time. That's actually pretty simple supply and demand. If I host a cloud service, I make the rules. If I have to use Dropbox, I play by their rules.

            And is it detached from reality to note that this stuff isn't exactly rocket surgery?

            • they have to pay a price for not wanting to learn

              I agree. They should pay a price. Like say pay a subscription to a service that provides this for them. I heard www.dropbox.com has such a service and the premium subscription isn't too expensive.

              And is it detached from reality to note that this stuff isn't exactly rocket surgery?

              No. It's detached from reality to expect everyone knows everything that isn't rocket ... surgery. You're completely oblivious to how difficult this is, worn down by years and years of computer use no doubt. That doesn't change the fact that not knowing something specific about one specific field doesn't mean someon

              • they have to pay a price for not wanting to learn

                I agree. They should pay a price. Like say pay a subscription to a service that provides this for them. I heard www.dropbox.com has such a service and the premium subscription isn't too expensive.

                And if they don't provide that service any more? Should DropBox be forced to provide it? If the concept of a pubic folder is smart, there should be dozens of vendors waiting to tgrab all th ebusiness DropBox will lose as a result of their decision.

                No. It's detached from reality to expect everyone knows everything that isn't rocket ... surgery. You're completely oblivious to how difficult this is, worn down by years and years of computer use no doubt. That doesn't change the fact that not knowing something specific about one specific field doesn't mean someone is stupid.

                How odd you call it "worn down". Just something I happen to know a little bit about.

                Not many of us do everything we need to do ourselves. I don't do my own oil changes or work on my vehicles any more - although I used to when I was young and poorer. I do maint

                • And if they don't provide that service any more? Should DropBox be forced to provide it? If the concept of a pubic folder is smart, there should be dozens of vendors waiting to tgrab all th ebusiness DropBox will lose as a result of their decision.

                  I never said Dropbox should be forced to provide anything. This isn't about Dropbox at all. It's about Slashdot users berating people for using Dropbox without offering a viable alternative, and when the alternative comes up, what will you do then? Say it's all good despite links being broken?

                  You're the IT expert, not me. A good altnerative would be to make a self-hosting service as simple as dropbox, not to replace dropbox with some other service only to have this discussion again in 5 years with you comin

        • I pay for my domain name, host all data on my server and back the server content encrypted to my home machine and to a friend of mine home machine. I never had any problems. I have always been puzzled by people trusting free services to host their important and even sometimes sensitive data.

          I think there are a couple reasons - not good ones either.

          Suits love the idea of the cloud, and there are people lined up to tell them what they like to hear. You can get rid of a lot of payroll, it's secure, it has a cool name, and nothing can go wrong, and we'll take care of all your backups, and by this time the suit needs a post-priandal cigarette.

          And people who are just a little too trusting that the outfit the store their stuff on is going to be in business forever, is going to maintain the fea

        • by murdocj ( 543661 )

          I use free dropbox and google drive. Why not? If they disappeared tomorrow, I'd still have the contents on my local drive. In the meantime it's available and synced across multiple computers.

          • I think the problem is if, say, you're looking for the WiFi drivers for 1976 Maytag and you go to www.filez4oldstuff.com/forums, the links will be broken.

            Could you be arsed to put new ones up?

        • This is what I was going to say:

          Except running and maintaining your own server is more work and cost more then a dropbox account. Many of us with the knowledge to do this have still chosen to use Dropbox for the convenience. Now, show me an open source solution that will link to my phones and automatically upload photos to an OwnCloud instance then It'll be worth me maintaining my own instance.

          Then I thought, "you know, I haven't event looked into owncloud in a while". They do now have apps that will uploa

      • by lgw ( 121541 )

        Using S3 as an image hosting service. [codinghorror.com] S3 is also a nice cheap way to do static websites without messing with a shady hosting company. Not the easiest way in the world, but still easy enough for anyone who can code.

        • by CaptainDork ( 3678879 ) on Friday December 16, 2016 @11:41PM (#53501435)

          ... but still easy enough for anyone who can code.

          Do you acknowledge the oxymoron?

          • by lgw ( 121541 )

            What has Slashdot become? I don't recognize the place any more.

            • I've been on Slashdot so long, I bought the T-shirt years ago (seriously).

              It's still what it's always been, for me:

              It's news for nerds; stuff that matters.

              Nerds often are professionals who certainly know how to code, but also cater to a user base that certainly does not.

              That's why statements like, "Don't use (Facebook, Twitter, etc.)," " ... simply code it," are so annoying in some contexts.

              While the savvy among us can do miracles of a semi-religious nature, those whom we serve cannot.

              • by lgw ( 121541 )

                In this case, though, it's relevant measure. If you can make your own static web page (not exactly the height of coding ability), hosting it on S3 is trivial.

                • In this case, though, it's relevant measure. If you can make your own static web page (not exactly the height of coding ability), hosting it on S3 is trivial.

                  My wife uses a paid Dropbox account.

                  I asked her to read this.

                  It doesn't end well.

                  • by lgw ( 121541 )

                    To share images? Just get the FF plug-in for sharing images on S3. It's very cheap (and ad-free) unless you get a lot of traffic.

                    To share static web pages? You can set up everything to host them on S3 through the console, though you have to be a bit of a geek to figure it all out. There's no coding required, but it's that level of complexity that separates coders from non-coders. (The worst step is AWS's odious permissions stuff). It's easier than running your own hosted server, to be sure.

      • But it being the cloud - it's just the the cloud, and you might find yourself facing a similar situation with your next cloud supplier, and the one after that, and the one after that.

        I'll bet it is more than just cost that causes this dropping of public folders. But regardless of the reasons, when you are a customer of some outfit that stores your stuff on their servers, you are just a customer, not a boss.

    • "Cloud" /kloud/
      noun: cloud; plural noun: clouds

              1. Somebody else's computer.
              "I put a bunch of files on the cloud, and now they're gone"

      • Hmm, I thought the primary meaning is still a bunch of water floating in the sky, with a marketing gimmick for someone else's unreliable computer being far on the list.

  • Public Folders (Score:5, Informative)

    by darkain ( 749283 ) on Friday December 16, 2016 @09:03PM (#53500993) Homepage

    While I personally do no hold a Dropbox account, this decision pisses me off to no end just as much as it does their own users. When looking for rare content required for administering and managing legacy hardware and software, users have been hosting them on public Dropbox accounts. This includes PDF manuals, firmware updates (required for security!) and other useful shit that vendors either no longer provide, or have entirely gone out of business and have no way to get the content from. Yes, the people who host this content on Dropbox right now could move it, but there are thousands and thousands of forum links that will literally break over night and would need the authors to go back and edit said links to point to the new storage locations.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      While I personally do no hold a Dropbox account, this decision pisses me off to no end just as much as it does their own users.

      You should be pissed of at the users who baked-in a Dropbox feature that has been deprecated for nearly 5 years.

      I can't imagine why it wouldn't be obvious to anyone that this was a tenuous situation that Dropbox has had many good reasons to discontinue.

      • by Anonymous Coward

        While I personally do no hold a Dropbox account, this decision pisses me off to no end just as much as it does their own users.

        You should be pissed of at the users who baked-in a Dropbox feature that has been deprecated for nearly 5 years.

        I can't imagine why it wouldn't be obvious to anyone that this was a tenuous situation that Dropbox has had many good reasons to discontinue.

        I was never notified the feature was deprecated. I subscribed to the service, they offered me a feature, so I used it.

      • by Anonymous Coward

        I'm a paying user of Dropbox, and I don't remember them ever telling me that my public folder was deprecated. You'd think I'd at least get the occasional email or login message about that.

    • Depending on a third party rarely works. Someone who cares, say for example, you, should take all of those forum posts and links and files, and back them up somewhere, while they work.

      Take on the effort and the costs, and possibly copyright complaints.

      Oh wait, we are trying to just complain here and not actually do anything. Sorry, carry on then.

      • by thsths ( 31372 )

        > Depending on a third party rarely works.

        So you have your own internet, build your on PC from pieces of rock, and probably your own automobile, too?

        Of course we depend on third parties, modern life is absolutely unthinkable without. And that includes services, some of which are quite stable, but cloud hosting does not seem to be one of them.

    • > that will literally break over night

      If by overnight you mean "A 5 year grace period" then sure. If it hasn't been copied or mirrored in that time its probably not worth saving.

    • Absofuckingloutely entirely this. Little BIOS updates to old hardware, links found on some obscure forum and files obscenely difficult to find. I stumble across at LEAST 10 of these kinds of files a year and those are the ones I notice.

      Dropbox has slowly gone down the tubes for years, god they are awful.

      • Absofuckingloutely entirely this. Little BIOS updates to old hardware, links found on some obscure forum and files obscenely difficult to find. I stumble across at LEAST 10 of these kinds of files a year and those are the ones I notice.

        So, genuine question here...this problem did not start existing after Dropbox - in fact, it dates back to when drivers were delivered on floppy disks and downloads varied from OEM to OEM, so FTP repositories were how this was dealt with for decades prior to Dropbox. The question is this: at what point did this fall out of vogue? Sure, Dropbox is prettier and all, but it's not like FTP stopped working, or that FTP's lack of security is such a travesty for a manual or a driver. Sure, GoDaddy might not be cool

        • I agree with you, I recall those days fondly - and being able to navigate the tree for other useful files you might need or previous versions but times have changed.

          What's unfortunate is such files disapear so regularly due to shit like this, it's a shame there's not a single driver repository which is trusted by so many manufacturers it becomes the defacto place to post drivers and KEEP drivers indefinitely.

          • Because there is no financial incentive to do so. You are asking for a library function to be created from a whole swath of now likely non existent companies. Who is going to pay for that? The non existent companies? You? Me? Dropbox?

            Sounds like something Wikipedia might do but it's hardly a trivial task. There are dozens of web sites purporting to have old manuals and other files. Half the time you gel malware. The other half you get the wrong file.

            Perhaps the Library of Congress? Bill Gates? Iva

    • I was ready to join the lynch mob, up until the last sentence of the summary. It was deprecated in 2012. If it goes dark in 2017, then you've had 5 years to get yourself organised, and migrate. That's plenty of time, and more than adequate notification.

      • by bro1 ( 143618 )
        I don't remember seeing any depreciation notices anywhere in the UI
        • Mr Prosser: But, Mr Dent, the plans have been available in the local planning office for the last nine months.
          Arthur: Oh yes, well as soon as I heard I went straight round to see them, yesterday afternoon. You hadn’t exactly gone out of your way to call attention to them had you? I mean like actually telling anybody or anything.
          Mr Prosser: But the plans were on display
          Arthur: On display? I eventually had to go down to the cellar to find them.
          Mr Prosser: That’s the display departme

        • I don't remember seeing any depreciation notices anywhere in the UI

          That's because you're not an accountant.

    • While I personally do no hold a Dropbox account, this decision pisses me off to no end just as much as it does their own users. When looking for rare content required for administering and managing legacy hardware and software, users have been hosting them on public Dropbox accounts.

      It's too bad there is no other solution. Like maybe these people, who seem to have a web page, could store their files on their hosting service? My hosting service has all of my different files I need to distribute, and it can be as complex or as simple as I like. I have control of the files, and have local and site backup.

      Yes, I pay for it - and despite some protestations by people who do pay for Dropbox, I'm certain that most of the butthurt minions are modern day "everything must be free!" people who h

    • by cas2000 ( 148703 )

      > but there are thousands and thousands of forum links that will literally break over night

      so, no significant change to standard behaviour then?

      web forums suck, always have and always will. even if you find what you're looking for after wading through pages 1-73 (of 160) of bullshit, stupid questions & comments from cretins, and really fucking irritating animated avatars (the worst of which end up in my block list, either individually or if i'm lucky there'll be a consistent url prefix to turn into

  • The cloud is (Score:5, Insightful)

    by sphealey ( 2855 ) on Friday December 16, 2016 @09:08PM (#53501003)

    The cloud is someone else's hard drive attached to someone else's server in someone else's data center at the end of an Internet pipe controlled by someone else. If that works for you - and it might! - great. But do be aware of what you are doing.

    sPh

    • Thanks! I was going to post a similar thought, but you beat me to it. Lesson: NEVER have content that you give a bubbly-fart about live on a "Cloud" environment without someway to immediately and transparently re-direct to your own, private server.
    • So, generally speaking, you're telling us "if you're renting it, you don't own it, and certainly can't control it." I concur. And I'm always amazing at how people are continuously surprised by this, over and over again.

    • Please advise all the push here dummy internet users how they can setup their own server on their own HDD in their own home and control it themselves.

      You instantly fail this challenge if it is more complicated than entering an email address, password, clicking upload, and then clicking share.

      • by swb ( 14022 )

        This would be easier if Owncloud was focused on delivering an appliance in the manner of FreeNAS/NAS4Free or pfSense and the appliance was the primary intended installation and included interfaces for managing all aspects of the system and networking.

        The challenge, of course, with anything like Owncloud as an appliance is that they're a conglomeration of multiple packages, plus an OS, and layering a GUI over all of the parts that needs to be managed, including OS and package updates, ends up being nearly mo

        • There are many appliance style devices available already. Not Owncloud, but Seagate, WD, Synology, all of them offer small devices with built in services. I have offered support to several people who have such devices. Network issues, problems with firewalls and routers, software too complicated.

          I've never had to offer support for a Dropbox user. The cloud is more than just someone else's computer. It's some else's effort. It would be wise to remember that when drawing comparisons between any self managed s

      • Please advise all the push here dummy internet users how they can setup their own server on their own HDD in their own home and control it themselves.

        You instantly fail this challenge if it is more complicated than entering an email address, password, clicking upload, and then clicking share.

        So it's like those bottom dwelling reality show people are who we must aim for?

        I personally don't give a damn about people who's ability is capped at an email address, a Password1, and clicking on "share".

        How many of those people you figure are sharing anything of worth? Memes?

        Exactly how stupid do we need to get before deciding that breathing is too hard? How many of the least common denominator people do you think are paying for the service?

        • So it's like those bottom dwelling reality show people are who we must aim for?

          Nope, just 99.9% of the internet population. If you think this is any different then you need a serious reality check.

          I personally don't give a damn about people who's ability is capped at an email address, a Password1, and clicking on "share".

          I would. Some of the smartest people in the world are incapable in the world are incapable of complex IT solutions. Some of the most resourceful gatherers and providers of information are barely able to figure out how to log into an internet forum. It is these people who end up providing the entire world a wealth of information via the internet. You can lock them out if you want. Personally

          • Nope, just 99.9% of the internet population. If you think this is any different then you need a serious reality check.

            The reality check is not on my part. If you don't want to do the work - you must pay the price. This means that sometimes you will get screwed in your estimation. That is reality. If you want to have control, you must exert control. Because if you don't have control, you might just lose public folder priveliges. This is not rocket science, it's just like how years ago my Mother in law used to get new mufflers every inspection until I took her car in and told them "Prove that her muffler went bad in 6 months

    • Yes, that's exactly correct and all, but you're being pedantic and missing the point: The cloud is an aberration of responsibility.

      By using the cloud, you compartmentalize the information component of your company: user access and control, encryption, backup, up-time, security -- all of that hard stuff over time is placed in a nice little box with a bow on top. Oh, and a monthly bill for services rendered. Which you of course had better pay since your data is hostage, but you're the one asking them t
  • Half and half. (Score:5, Interesting)

    by msauve ( 701917 ) on Friday December 16, 2016 @09:11PM (#53501013)
    Fine for "free" users. You get what you pay for, and can't expect any more. But for paid users, this is evil. At the very least, they should maintain all existing links, while forcing new content to change to the new schema.
    • by TCM ( 130219 )

      What they should and should not do can be easily found out by looking at your contract. And that's the end of the story. If you want free market, act like a responsible market participant.

      • by msauve ( 701917 )
        If they want to use public airwaves to make money, they're subject to regulation, which limits what they can put in a contract.
  • by JoeyRox ( 2711699 ) on Friday December 16, 2016 @09:29PM (#53501069)
    Online companies are using the same BS strategy from the first internet boom and this one will end just as badly. Promise users the world for free (to build scale rapidly), become the dominant player in your niche, and then come up with a business plan that entails taking back the expensive but high-utility services that customers came to you in the first place for. The process is entirely backwards because it eliminates the price-discovery feedback loop that businesses need in order to establish whether their business model/pricing is even workable.
    • These companies have very few employees, which are the main cost of any business. So they get lots of investor capital because if 9 out of 10 fail or even 99 out of 100 then the 1 success pays for all the failures and the failures become tax write offs were with lots and lots of paper money lost but nothing of any real value.

      Now, take away the ability to shift tax write offs for company A to cover company B's profits and maybe there's be a problem. But even then that one success in 100 is so crazy profi
      • Scale = revenue and the main cost of dropbox's business is servers, storage, and backbone bandwidth.
  • by mark-t ( 151149 ) <markt AT nerdflat DOT com> on Friday December 16, 2016 @09:39PM (#53501101) Journal
    .... for DropBox to change public document access to a redirect, provided by the owner of the dropbox folder? The person will have to find a new host and provide the url to DropBox so that it can redirect, obviously, and then DB's public document system basically turns into url redirection mechanism so that the existing links don't break if the person who had uploaded the doc finds a new host for the content.
  • I had a few "free" lifetime apps and services that reverted to a paywall or charge for the pleasure now. Google features like Maps and Picasa? They change or get deprecated and within a few years links and embedded features disappear. My MS OneDrive "forever free ~25gig cloud storage" has been cut in half. I've learned not to trust any second or third party online channels for anything other than temporary stuff. Hopefully the new "lifetime" in today's world hasn't been modified to actually mean five year
  • Evil corporation! (Score:3, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday December 16, 2016 @10:03PM (#53501171)

    How dare they give only 4 years of deprecation warning, only 3 months specific warning to non-paying users, and only 9 months specific warning to paying users!?! Apparently the Coast Guard has no other place to store documents! People will drown!

  • Cloud = other people's computers + other people's software.

    Any and all clouds that you depend on will one day vaporise.

    "... while the lights will go out for paid accounts on September 1."
    Even if you pay for it.

    • There's the cloud and there's the cloud. There are billion-dollar companies whose businesses rely entirely on Amazon's cloud.

      • There's the cloud and there's the cloud. There are billion-dollar companies whose businesses rely entirely on Amazon's cloud.

        And they're up for a nasty surprise in not-so-distant future.

        Although at this point, it's hard to claim they couldn't see it coming.

  • by StormReaver ( 59959 ) on Friday December 16, 2016 @11:58PM (#53501479)

    I don't understand why people are so outraged. This is the very nature of cloud services -- you store your information on someone else's servers, depending on their whims to keep that information accessible. There are no guarantees that the information you put on someone's servers today will still be there tomorrow.

    What I find the most stunning is that some people are putting, "...valuable resources that users have created and entrusted to you to retain and keep online" on someone else's servers, and expecting that it will still be there when they need it.

    • What I find the most stunning is that some people are putting, "...valuable resources that users have created and entrusted to you to retain and keep online" on someone else's servers, and expecting that it will still be there when they need it.

      What I find most stunning is that people find it stunning that people with no IT experience or background would host random stuff on a web service that makes it really simple to host random stuff. Just what do you suggest they do?

      You instantly fail this question if it requires more of the end user than entering an email address and a password and clicking upload followed by share.

  • Shuts down free service that turned out to be worthless for the bottom line. Bottom feeders rage for days.

    • by eWarz ( 610883 )
      Note to self, large fortune 500 companies and the US coast guard are considered to be 'bottom feeders' these days even though they all pay for accounts...what i'm trying to get at ever so politely is that you should probably read the article before you comment.
      • by lxs ( 131946 )

        If a five year grace period isn't enough for them, then they are bottom feeders. despite their overpriced suits and shiny uniforms.

        • If a five year grace period isn't enough for them, then they are bottom feeders. despite their overpriced suits and shiny uniforms.

          What grace period? The first I've heard of them dropping the service is this post on facebook. They certainly haven't made it obvious that the feature is depreciated happily letting users create new public links and shares.

  • Dead links (Score:3, Informative)

    by rkagerer ( 1456991 ) on Saturday December 17, 2016 @02:57AM (#53501829)
    After this story hit the front page, Dropbox quietly killed off some of the links it points to (go figure).

    The original feature request along with all its comments up until it was squashed has been faithfully recreated [pste.eu].

    Here's the coast guard [pste.eu] comment, and a snapshot of the Top 10 [imgur.com] list as it appeared Friday afternoon.
    • The missing comments have started showing up in the forum thread [dropboxforum.com]. It looks like Dropbox didn't censor the feedback; they just expunged the feature request and merged the comments into another discussion on the same topic.
  • you can't trust cloud service providers, especially cloud storage providers. at all.

    if you want to host something - files, web sites, whatever - host it yourself. it's not hard.

    even if you don't have a reliable internet connection at your office or home, a VPS is cheap (but make sure you backup everything on it regularly, at least nightly, to another machine on a different network so that you can host it elsewhere if you ever need to - you can't trust hosting providers either, but at least you have direct

  • by cjjjer ( 530715 ) <.cjjjer. .at. .hotmail.com.> on Saturday December 17, 2016 @12:49PM (#53503265)

    Actually the title should read...

    Dropbox killing deep linking resources

    This after reading hundreds of comments and concerns on the various forum topics about how most people were mad about having to update their websites and the "thousands" of links that point to these resources.

  • If you think Dropbox or any cloud provider doesn't snoop on your stuff, wake up and smell the roses. I know for a fact that Microsoft does. Now it seems the Dropbox does too, no matter what they say about encryption, etc. I suspect that Gmail is next. Lots of storage space, easy sharing too but I doubt they like what some people are sharing. Sensitive stuff should be encrypted in the cloud and everything should be backed up on optical or something similar. My 2 cents.

If A = B and B = C, then A = C, except where void or prohibited by law. -- Roy Santoro

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