23 Aug 2016

Yandex.Disk - an alternative to Google Drive with native Linux support

Google Drive is a powerful tool. It is a cloud-based file storage and sharing service from the well-known software company. It is fast, reliable and popular. But there is a limitation for Linux users: the Google Drive client is not available for any Linux distribution.

There are a number of unofficial clients for Google Drive, and I have even written a how-to guide for one of them: Jdrivesync. However, unofficial clients are not something you can trust, especially if they are supported by a "one-man-band" team.

What is the alternative then? It is an alternative cloud-based storage. There are many, but today I will speak about Yandex.Disk. This is a cloud storage solution by a Russian-based company Yandex that also provides search, email and several more services. Yandex.Disk has a native Linux client.

Let me show how you can use that service in your Linux operating system.

1. Register on Yandex. This will literally take you a couple of minutes. The initial disk space provided to you is rather decent. But if you use this referral link then you immediately get 1 Gb of additional web storage for free. And I get some extra storage too. There are several other simple ways to increase your storage limit, you will see them yourself once registered.

2. Install Yandex.Disk client. There is a simple way to do so on distributions with DEB package format:
echo "deb http://repo.yandex.ru/yandex-disk/deb/ stable main" | sudo tee -a /etc/apt/sources.list.d/yandex.list > /dev/null && wget http://repo.yandex.ru/yandex-disk/YANDEX-DISK-KEY.GPG -O- | sudo apt-key add - && sudo apt-get update && sudo apt-get install -y yandex-disk
If you use an RPM-based operating system or want to have more control over the installation, you can read the official Yandex guide.

3. Run the setup wizard. This is a necessary step to link your machine with the Yandex service. Run the command yandex-disk setup and follow the instructions.

Once the setup process finishes, you are technically ready to use Yandex.Disk on your computer. Simply copy any file to ~/Yandex.Disk (or the folder you specified during the setup) and they will be synchronized with the cloud storage. For example, you can create a shortcut to that folder in your file manager and then drag&drop files as you wish.

More details about the Yandex.Disk setup and running options are available at https://yandex.com/support/disk/cli-clients.html#cli-clients__cli-setup

4. Installing the GUI. There are more fun ways to integrate your file manager with Yandex.Disk and to control the Yandex.Disk client using the GUI. You need to install additional package YD-tools for that. Unfortunately, it is only available for DEB distributions.

Run the following commands:

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:slytomcat/ppa
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install yd-tools
Once the installation is over, you get an item named Yandex.Disk Indicator in the Internet section of your menu. Start it manually for the first time. If you want it to start automatically every time you start your operating system, click the indicator on the panel, select the Preferences menu item and tick the relevant checkbox.

Another checkbox in the Preferences enables the integration with your file manager. For example, you can publish any file to your Yandex.Disk using that menu item.

More information about this package is available at https://launchpad.net/~slytomcat/+archive/ubuntu/ppa


Of course, not all the options from the web version of Yandex.Disk are available in CLI and GUI versions of the Linux Client. Just to mention two:

1. Yandex.Disk web service integrates the web version of Microsoft Office applications that allow you to create documents right from the Yandex.Disk interface. You can only use these applications on line.

2. One of the purposes of web storage services is to share the stored files with other people. Unfortunately, you cannot create share links to your files from GUI or CLI clients. If you want to create such a link, you can click the Indicator icon in your notification area and select the Open Yandex.Disk on the web item. It will open the web version of your cloud storage where the link creation function is available.

Do you use Yandex.Disk or prefer another cloud-based solution?


  1. Great review. I was looking for alternative.

    1. If you want an alternative to Google Drive on Linux with native client, grab Mega (https://mega.nz) – they offer huge 50 GB free space, end-to-end encrypted. There's really nothing like that. I, myself, am using it for year(s) now.

    2. Thanks! I'll have a look at that.
      Although, I am a bit concerned about the small companies offering the cloud storage. How long will it survive?
      I feel more safe with companies like Google, Yandex, Microsoft as cloud storage is not their main and only product.

    3. I took a look at mega and noticed in the terms a lot of double talk and red flags. Mega, claims to use encryption. They do not list the type used, is it open source or closed. Also the encryption type is not noted, meaning 128 Bit, 256 Bit, could be 56 Bit RSA. Highly insecure.

      Other claims that Mega does not look at your data, however, if Law Enforcement requires access, they comply and give full access to it. WAIT?? how unless Mega has the crypto keys?? Hmm

      In Mega's "take-down" notice, Mega claims that if your data infringes copy write laws that it can be removed, o.k. hold on a moment here. How does Mega know this if your data is fully encrypted? Hmm

      Last but not least, Mega is located in New Zealand, their international laws which in some cases limit encryption to 56Bits, others are unknown. So, the public and private encryption are not the same as in America. If I were to sign up, I would lose my first amendment right to use my own encryption keys and not making them public. Being this service is located in another country I would in fact be, breaking the law using my own encryption.

      Again, a lot of contradiction going on about your privacy, passwords, and encryption. No Thanks.

  2. Mega.nz, free version 50GB of storage, end to end encryption, supports linux (.deb and other installers).

    1. Have you seen the comments just above?