Hello, I'm a Dropbox User since the first days in 2007.
It was a blast in school and university, but the desktop clients got worse and worse. I even dealt with the shoving in my face of some Dropbox features like the Microsoft Word button, the constant upselling screens in the Dropbox desktop client ... BUT now i can not take it anymore. My pretty fast Lenovo Thinkpad from 2018 now aches under the constant high load Dropbox Sync puts on it.
I'm a professional software developer and i the past i used the Dropbox folder as my Workspace, it was my desaster backup, saved me a couple of times and it worked. Put light load on the system even on big projects in Jetbrains IntelliJ IDEA, synced even the usesless debug folders in a reasonable time.
Since the beginning of 2019 i have shutdown Dropbox on the systemstart and while i m working. Maybe after work is done i can start it (which takes longer and longer in the years) and painfully watch how it scans folders, the thinkpad turns into a jetplane and takes ages to sync. The same game on a new i7 8700k with plenty of ram, countless new Windows 10 fresh installs. Yes i use 550 GB of my 2000GB of storage and have 750.000 files in my Dropbox but it worked in the past, and this is not unreasonable for a Pro-User.
I subscribe to the Dropbox Tech Blog and now it clicked: You are compressing the files on the client with "Brotli", save bandwidth, storage space and money on your side, make it in theory faster to download (because no recompression has to take place), but this whole concept just crashes under its own overengineered weight! You named this "Broccoli: Syncing faster by syncing less" and state your "zero-crash policy" ... well i can make it crash 3 or 4 times a day.
Conclusion: The user experience sucks and the product does not deliver it's promised features.
My yearly subscription is ending in one month and i will not renew my subscription. I'm testing Google One and Microsoft OneDrive and OneDrive looks pretty decent, not as polished as Dropbox ... but it syncs faster, doesn't crash and uses way less ressources.
100% with you bro. Glad someone else is noticing this, and saying it out loud. For the last year or so I've resorted to this same method - keeping dropbox client closed unless I absolutely need it to be running. Same on both macOS and Windows. Unfortunately on iOS it cannot be really totally closed (might be due to its Files app integration?) and I often find the app at the top of my battery consumpion view with a tag 'Background activity' - and yes, I have disabled Background activity privileges for the app.
If things are not improving for the better soon, I think there is no future for Dropbox really.
(long time dropboxer, but only now went through the trouble of making this community account, inspired by your post ...and boy did they manage make this difficult as well, by verifying some 5-6 times with the photo blocks that I wasn't a spam bot, geez)
I've also looked into alternatives when my last billing renewal was due, but eventually couldn't be bothered since migrating would be a major pain in the ass and Smart Sync is a cool feature that others don't seem to have.
Dropbox experience has been degrading slowly for years and we've all been putting up with it but at some point it'll cross a line and alternatives will offer the same features, so yeah, they better do something about it.
All I want is a Dropbox app from 10 years ago + Smart Sync + an ugly native-built UI that loads faster than I can get annoyed by it.