Integrate ownCloud in Ubuntu with Symbolic Links

Ever since I switched to ownCloud last year I have pretty much stopped using my local file system for any personal documents or media. This is especially handy since I typically used several different computers in a given day.

The only thing that is a bit frustrating with this setup is all the wasted links that exist in Nautilus by default. This includes “Documents, Music, Downloads, Videos, etc..”. Although you can simply remove these and use the bookmarks feature of Nautilus to make new folders, there is a better way!

Enter symbolic links. Symbolic links are one of the most useful and powerful parts of UNIX based systems. Using symbolic links we can simply redirect the Documents, Music, Pictures, etc folders to our ownCloud folder. This way Nautilus will show you your ownCloud files when you click on these existing links. This essentially integrates ownCloud with your native file system making it pretty transparent and seamless.

This can easily be accomplished in two steps.

  1. Remove the existing folder (this is required to get the symbolic link working.) If you have any data in the existing folders currently be sure to back it up and/or move it because the next step ** will delete these files! **. For example, to reroute our Music folder:
    rm -rf /home/$USER/Music
    
  2. Create the Symbolic Link
    ln -s /home/$USER/ownCloud/Music /home/$USER/Music
    

Now you have created a symbolic link, and assuming you have some content in your Music folder on ownCloud you will now see this content when you click on the Music link in Nautilus. In addition, if you open up a terminal and run ls ~/ you will see that the Music folder is now a lighter shade of blue. You can repeat this step for any additional folders. This will make your life easier and keep Nautilus nice and clean.

If you made it this far, you should probably follow me on twitter. 🙂

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