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Is there a TimeMachine like backup system for Ubuntu? If not, what is the closest thing?

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7 Answers

up vote 8 down vote accepted

I've used rsnapshot to excellent effect. You can have it rsync and keep as many old versions, based on time as you want/have space for. I've got 6 potential versions of things from today, daily for a week, 4 weeks, and then 6 months worth. I've already used it to recover several file I thought I'd lost due to overwriting.

The only problems I have had was it not running due to the previous run not completing in time, and so it left the lockfile dangling. This was on a remote machine that did password-less logins over SSH to rsync files off for backup/archive and I didn't log in very often to the server to check it. Running a logwatch script on there (emailing problems from the logs) at least made sure I saw the problems to restart it, and it's been hassle free ever since. On my local server, it's been no problem at all.

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Ah nice. From that page: "Using rsync and hard links, it is possible to keep multiple, full backups instantly available. The disk space required is just a little more than the space of one full backup, plus incrementals." You've used it for a while and found it stable then? –  quark Jul 31 '09 at 7:00
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You may want to try Back In Time

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You may want to point out that Back in Time is directly inspired by Time Machine, and uses rsync internally. lifehacker.com/5212899/… –  nagul Sep 23 '09 at 11:22
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Déjà Dup (day-ja-doop) is a simple backup program. It hides the complexity of doing backups the Right Way (encrypted, off-site, and regular) and uses duplicity as the backend.

Features:

  • Support for local or remote backup locations, including Amazon S3
  • Securely encrypts and compresses your data
  • Incrementally backs up, letting you restore from any particular backup
  • Schedules regular backups
  • Integrates well into your GNOME desktop
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I've used this successfully for almost a year now, and backup has never been this painless. –  Wolfram Arnold Jan 17 '12 at 23:54
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TimeVault was specifically designed to emulate TimeMachine. The theoretical feature set is what I want from a TimeMachine clone, specifically the space savings. Unfortunately it appears to be dormant: there's been little development activity in a while. I mention it for completeness, and because, if they can be prodded to work on it further, it looks quite promising.

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When using rsync, see Time Machine for every Unix out there for a tutorial, using the --link-dest option to create hard links to files that have not changed since the last backup. Like:

#!/bin/sh

# Mount point of the external disk
dest=/media/backupdisk

date=`date "+%Y%m%d-%H%M%S"`
latest=$dest/latest
current=$dest/$date

rsync -aP --link-dest=$latest $HOME/Documents $current

ln -s $current $latest-$date
mv -f $latest-$date $latest

(That site also mentions FlyBack, which still gets comments though the latest download dates from late 2007 May 2010. Maybe it's just very robust software, with no need for changes.)

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I am not aware of TimeBachine directly but we use RSync with a scheduled cron job.

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RSync is a good way to create a backup copy, but it doesn't help you keep a version history, which is, in my opinion, the handiest part of Time Machine. –  jtb Jul 28 '09 at 22:24
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@jtb, just to point out the obvious: Time Machine is mainly a backup system, not an archive (and certainly not a version control system). Especially files (or versions of files) that live shortly (less than a week) on your harddisk, may be expired from the backup much sooner than you may think. –  Arjan Jul 29 '09 at 7:49
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I for one am using Simple Backup Config/Restore, and backup the selected locations to an external hard-drive once every other day or so. Didn't have a problem as of yet, so I can't vouch for the restore part, but the backup one is OK.

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