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Apple's "Time Machine" Now For Linux... Sort Of

CmdrTaco posted more than 6 years ago | from the because-you-can dept.

425

deander2 writes "Apple's 'Time Machine' is cool, but I use Linux, not MacOSX. So here is a Linux implementation (built off of rsync, of course). No fancy OpenGL, but quite functional none-the-less."

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Question (5, Insightful)

stoolpigeon (454276) | more than 6 years ago | (#21267533)

I have not used Leopard - so this is a real question, not a snarky response. My understanding was that a large part of what makes the whole Time Machine work and worthwhile is the interface. So if you don't have that, isn't it just another backup tool? Let me reiterate - this isn't a rhetorical question. Is doing the same thing without the interface sufficient or is it missing the point?

Not the interface (5, Insightful)

Thornburg (264444) | more than 6 years ago | (#21267643)

IMO, it is not the _interface_ that is cool about Time Machine, but the ease of use and the fact that it is fully automatic.

I didn't RTFA, so I don't know if this "Time Machine for Linux" implementation is as easy to use or not, but the real thing that makes Time Machine cool is that even my mother can use it.

The Ars Technica article about Leopard has lots of very cool details about Time Machine in it, including how it works. (It uses hard-links, including hard-links to directories, so in each and every time-stamped folder on the backup drive, you have a *FULL* copy of your HDD at that time (minus anything you excluded from the backups). Read that portion of the Ars Technica article if you want answers to questions about it.

Re:Not the interface (5, Insightful)

Hatta (162192) | more than 6 years ago | (#21268043)

IMO, it is not the _interface_ that is cool about Time Machine, but the ease of use and the fact that it is fully automatic.

What's the difference? The interface is how you use software. If it's easy to use, it has a good interface.

Re:Not the interface (4, Informative)

MouseR (3264) | more than 6 years ago | (#21268269)

Yeah. There's more to Time Machine than just a one-off backup of your data. TM aggregates changes and you can roll back to any point in time.

Think of it as CVS. It tages backup times but actually only copies new data as it's checked in.

Also, TM is not confined to the Finder per say. if you're in Address Book and lost a contact, type in the filter string to locate it. Still can't find it? Right there from Address Book, hit Time Machine and Address Book will be served with backed-up address book data, filtering on the fly, as you go back in time until you find what you've been looking for.

Same thing for anything spotlight-able.

So, yeah, it's got a pretty interface, but TM goes way beyon just file/backup management.

Re:Not the interface (4, Informative)

slashflood (697891) | more than 6 years ago | (#21268293)

It uses hard-links, including hard-links to directories, so in each and every time-stamped folder on the backup drive, you have a *FULL* copy of your HDD at that time (minus anything you excluded from the backups
This is exactly how BackupPC [sourceforge.net] works! The interface isn't as fancy as Time Machine (because it's web based), but even the workflow is the same. It is fully automated and you don't have to touch anything. As soon as your notebook is connected to the BackupPC server, it starts to make an incremental backup. The restore is as simple as selecting the date, the directory and clicking on a button.

Re:Question (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21267773)

RTFA. (I know, I know.) This is actually just a GUI that brings together existing Linux technologies to provide a Time Machine type of system. So in that respect, it's almost exactly like Time Machine. Whether it's truly as easy to use as Time Machine or not is something only the users of Flyback can answer.

rdiff (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21267845)

isn't rdiff more or less the same thing

this one has many advantages over timemachine (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21267857)

for one, you don't have to have OSX to run it, another advantage is that you don't have to have apple hardware to run it. Two winning attributes if there ever was one.

Re:Question (5, Insightful)

krog (25663) | more than 6 years ago | (#21267875)

Another thing which makes Time Machine so cool is that it is hooked into the filesystem at a low level. Rather than having to inspect the entire directory tree rsync-style, Time Machine uses the FSEvents interface to stay informed of filesystem changes. FSEvents isn't perfect (it actually only records when a directory's contents have changed) but it beats rsync-ish traversal any day.

In my opinion, without such a method for watching FS changes as they occur (or later, from a log), any hackish solution will fall far short of Time Machine's performance.

Re:Question (1)

morgan_greywolf (835522) | more than 6 years ago | (#21268187)

Isn't that what ReiserFS plugins are for? Speaking of reiserfs, namesys.com seems to be down, otherwise, I'd like to the document.

Re:Question (4, Interesting)

Khazunga (176423) | more than 6 years ago | (#21268305)

Actually, I have mixed feelings about having a daemon following inotify (fsevents equivalent for linux) in order to backup. My setup uses backuppc [sourceforge.net] , which daily rsyncs my disk and backs it up using much the same archival solution that Time Machine uses. The rsync is non-noticeable (and, in my case occurs during working hours). An inotify daemon, on the other hand, could be responding to lots of small requests that produce null results (temp files, disk writes over the same sectors, etc).

Fine-grained backups may be interesting, but I wouldn't be interested in any kind of performance drag because of it. Daily backups have served me just fine, thanks.

FS with snapshotting (3, Interesting)

CarpetShark (865376) | more than 6 years ago | (#21268365)

Hmm. My understanding/guess back when I first heard about it was that Time Machine was going to use the snapshotting feature of ZFS. Other Linux filesystems do have this feature. It's new and cool, but it's not ultra-new or ultra-high-tech. And yes, version control has been doing something similar for a long time.

Recovery tool is better than a backup tool (5, Insightful)

emj (15659) | more than 6 years ago | (#21267909)

It's more of a way to recover your backup tool. So you are right, Time Machine is nothing without the interface. It sucks not being able to recover data easily, and sadly most other tools seems to concentrate on snazy ways to backup, not how to recover.

Re:Question (5, Insightful)

dlsmith (993896) | more than 6 years ago | (#21268021)

I don't know whether this Linux implementation does something like it, but what I like most about Time Machine isn't the interface. It's the fact that the backup utility takes care of disk management automatically.

My current backup strategy works something like this:

  1. Set up Retrospect nightly backup scripts.
  2. Happily enjoy the security of having backups for a few weeks.
  3. Wake up in the morning to see an "external disk full" error message.
  4. Procrastinate for weeks while I try to decide whether I'd rather trash the entire archive or find someplace to dump my 80 GB of data (which probably involves making space somewhere, which is always a project).
  5. Finally get fed up with having no backups and just discard the archive.
  6. Return to step 1.

If I were smart and vigilant, I would catch when the archive reaches about 30 GB, and create a new one then, so that managing older archives could be done in more tractable chunks. If I were rich, I would just buy a number of external drives that I would rotate as they filled up. But I am apparently neither, so I just get stuck in this cycle in which I only have a current backup 1/3 of the time, and older archives are randomly discarded or distributed wherever I can find the space.

The great thing about Time Machine is that it consistently fills up my disk with the most relevant backup data: current backups at a high frequency, and months-old backups at a low frequency. When space runs out, the oldest data gets thrown away, but the quantum chunk is a diff between backups, not an entire 80 GB archive.

Re:Question (2, Informative)

herve_masson (104332) | more than 6 years ago | (#21268075)

Whatever the merit of this python gui, comparing it to time machine is far fetched, to say the least...

I think you're right: the value of time machine lies in its GUI. Much more than in its underlying file copy techniques. Like in any serious backup tool, the interface is _the_ key element. Obviously, data needs to be saved reliably somewhere, but that's something we can do in various ways for a long time.

An efficient backup/restore GUI is hard to do. This is what Apple has done beautifuly here, and this is what bring the tool in the average user's hands. This is new.

Re:Question (1)

dave420 (699308) | more than 6 years ago | (#21268325)

It's usefulness is a mixture of backing up and recovery. If you look at (and this is going to hurt to say it) Windows' Volume Shadow Copy, which does essentially the same thing (stores snapshots), to recover a previous version, you simply right-click a drive, folder or file, select "restore previous version", click a date, and it's done. Or you can restore the files to a different location so you can check them out/compare them, etc. So a decent snapshot-based system doesn't revolve around flying windows or OpenGL, just a sensible way to put data in and to get data out. :)

Warning! Do Not Use! (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21267535)

Never stick your dick in to an unknown glory hole. You never know what is going to happen.

I learned this the hard way last night.

Innovation (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21267543)

Anyone aware of any Linux features which are actually new and innovative? All we ever seem to hear about is Linux ripping off the latest toys from Apple and Microsoft.

Re:Innovation (0, Flamebait)

sammyF70 (1154563) | more than 6 years ago | (#21267747)

sigh .. yep .. i wonder when linux will eventually catch up with Apple and use something like "spaces" .. i mean ... wow! Those apple guys really know their shit. Think about it! .. virtual desktops?? wowwww man!!! wooooowww!!! That's innovative!!!

We *REALLY* need that for Linux!

Re:Innovation (1)

repetty (260322) | more than 6 years ago | (#21267899)

> sigh .. yep .. i wonder when linux will eventually
> catch up with Apple and use something like "spaces"
> .. i mean ... wow! Those apple guys really know
> their shit. Think about it! .. virtual desktops??
> wowwww man!!! wooooowww!!! That's innovative!!!
> We *REALLY* need that for Linux!

You're not taking this well, are you?

Re:Innovation (2, Funny)

sammyF70 (1154563) | more than 6 years ago | (#21268247)

Sure am ;) I just find that kind of "In the beginning there was Apple .. then everybody started copying it" Appleboy talk fun.

Re:Innovation (1)

Computershack (1143409) | more than 6 years ago | (#21267937)

sigh .. yep .. i wonder when linux will eventually catch up with Apple and use something like "spaces" .. i mean ... wow! Those apple guys really know their shit. Think about it! .. virtual desktops?? wowwww man!!! wooooowww!!! That's innovative!!!

We *REALLY* need that for Linux!
Indeed. Especially seeing as Virtual Desktops have been available for Windows XP for over 6 years and they work on Win98 and possibly 95...

Re:Innovation (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21268031)

Indeed. Especially seeing as Virtual Desktops have been available for Windows XP for over 6 years and they work on Win98 and possibly 95...

I think sort of work might be more accurate

Re:Innovation (1, Funny)

corychristison (951993) | more than 6 years ago | (#21268035)

Especially seeing as Virtual Desktops have been available for Windows XP for over 6 years and they work on Win98 and possibly 95...
Ooo! Is that when the screen goes blue because your system has been infested with pirates and you have to turn your system off and through it out the window to save your data? I loved that feature.

... Yes it's a joke!

Re:Innovation (1)

sammyF70 (1154563) | more than 6 years ago | (#21268275)

hmm .. used them for the first time in X-Windows on HP Unix Machines at the University ... around 1993.

Re:Innovation (3, Insightful)

Cecil (37810) | more than 6 years ago | (#21267963)

Or, you know, maybe it was just Time Machine that is ripping off Dirvish [dirvish.org] , which I've been using to do backups on my fileserver for years.

useless (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21267559)

since linux behaves ok when it move files in presence of exceptional conditions. there is no need for time machine.

I'm too lazy to do any research... (3, Interesting)

snark23 (122331) | more than 6 years ago | (#21267569)

...but how is this different Dirvish [dirvish.org] , which has been around for years?

Re:I'm too lazy to do any research... (1)

snark23 (122331) | more than 6 years ago | (#21268227)

To answer my own question, there are apparently two differences:

1. The technical difference: Apple's "Time Machine" is implmented at the file system level via ZFS. Dirvish's integration is less tight, allowing you to use whatever file system you want, but requiring the historical/snapshot data to be stored in a specially set-aside directory.

2. The non-technical difference: "Time Machine" has a sexy user interface. Dirvish does not. It's easy for CLI nerds to dismiss this point, but by reading the comments here, it's apparent that people really like this sexy user interface. "Flyback" is mostly trying to duplicate that interface.

Re:I'm too lazy to do any research... (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21268351)

time machine does not use ZFS. In fact, Leopard as shipped cannot write to ZFS partitions. ZFS would be the "correct" way to handle it, there current implementation is a hack, as this rsync implementation shows. It's the type of solution you'd expect from a project in an Advanced OS course.

Yes, they have a nice sexy inteface (and that's good and all), but in truth there interface isn't really that amazing. For most people, microsoft shadow copy interface is just as usable.

Ghost (1)

Steauengeglase (512315) | more than 6 years ago | (#21267571)

Couldn't I just stick that Ghost for Linux CD I burned last year in before I go to bed and get the same results?

Re:Ghost (1)

Constantine XVI (880691) | more than 6 years ago | (#21267995)

Ghost isin't automated, it can't restore single files, it's not exactly easy to use, etc.

Time Machine is for recovering old versions of files on a whim.
Ghost is for restoring an entire system to a certain state.

So ... (3, Insightful)

kalidasa (577403) | more than 6 years ago | (#21267573)

Like TimeMachine, can this restore multiple versions of the same file? Did you use ZFS? Or is this just a GUI front end for a simple rsync backup?

Re:So ... (1)

CapitanMutanda (1185685) | more than 6 years ago | (#21267641)

Like TimeMachine, can this restore multiple versions of the same file? Did you use ZFS? Or is this just a GUI front end for a simple rsync backup?
VMS was doing versioning ages ago... but the GUI does the trick apparently

Re:So ... (2, Informative)

Lachryma (949694) | more than 6 years ago | (#21267761)

Time Machine does not yet use ZFS.

Re:So ... (4, Insightful)

dsginter (104154) | more than 6 years ago | (#21267951)

Think of it this way:

Rsync is to data what duct tape is to... well, everything else: it might not be pretty on a visual basis, but you'll be damned to find a better solution on a bang/buck basis.

Most geeks are pretty happy with duct tape and rsync. This will be difficult to change because geeks, nearly by definition, can see beauty beneath an ugly fascia.

Makes you wonder ... (2, Insightful)

ThirdPrize (938147) | more than 6 years ago | (#21267585)

what apple users did for backups before version 10.5 of their operating system? I just drag my important files onto an external drive.

Re:Makes you wonder ... (1)

tulmad (25666) | more than 6 years ago | (#21267697)

Most of us just dragged our important files to an external drive

Re:Makes you wonder ... (1)

Just Some Guy (3352) | more than 6 years ago | (#21267733)

Most of us just dragged our important files to an external drive

Yep. The biggest advantages that I see are that you don't have to remember to do it, and that there's one central, (presumably) well-maintained backup solution instead of a million home-rolled automation attempts.

Re:Makes you wonder ... (1)

y86 (111726) | more than 6 years ago | (#21268249)

You still need your external drive.

  • If your internal drive burns a bearing you don't lose your data you just lost 12 versions of it.
  • This not an external backup tool, it's a versioning tool, like easy CVS for your data.
  • It's an awesome idea but it does not replace external backups.

Re:Makes you wonder ... (1)

drerwk (695572) | more than 6 years ago | (#21267751)

I've used Retrospect since 1990. Terrific product. So good I haven't had to buy an update for years. Probably why Dantz was bought.

Re:Makes you wonder ... (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21267807)

awful product

Yeah, makes me wonder ... (4, Informative)

dazedNconfuzed (154242) | more than 6 years ago | (#21267755)

I just drag my important files onto an external drive.

The whole point is that you don't have to do that, it happens automatically.
AND it catches all the files that you didn't think were important, but are.
AND it lets you roll the system back to the state it was in at any given time in the past (hence "time machine").
AND it takes care of any problems that can happen during backup (like "disk full", "power failure", etc.).

Re:Yeah, makes me wonder ... (4, Insightful)

moosesocks (264553) | more than 6 years ago | (#21268127)

I'm also going to go out on a limb and say that most users don't know where their .MBOX files are, or even what they are. But they'll definitely be missed in the event of a crash.

Or another scenario that's a bit more likely (especially with email inboxes it seems), the mail database gets corrupted, and before you realize it, the automatic backup overwrites the good copy on your backup disk with the corrupt one. I know of a few people this has happened to.

Time Machine is a very good thing, and I commend Apple for it, especially since their old backup app sucked, and wasn't even included in the OS.

Now, how about getting network backups to work properly, and patching Time Machine to gracefully deal with large files?

Re:Makes you wonder ... (1)

dbzero (64544) | more than 6 years ago | (#21267769)

Before Time Machine, I made two bootable backups. One to an external firewire drive and the second to an internal drive. When the software I used--SuperDuper! [shirt-pocket.com] --updates to Leopard, I'll go back to doing that to at least one drive and possibly continue using Time Machine for the other.

Re:Makes you wonder ... (1)

Bert64 (520050) | more than 6 years ago | (#21268133)

It it possible to get time machine to back up over the network, to a non apple server...
I like the idea of automatic backups, but all my macs are laptops so having an external disk permanently attached is a nuisance. I would like backups to be performed whenever i'm attached to my home network, and stored on a linux server that has a stack of large drives.

Re:Makes you wonder ... (1)

slyn (1111419) | more than 6 years ago | (#21267871)

SJobs claimed in the keynote when he unveiled Time Machine that 80% knew they should back up regularly, 26% did backup data, but only 4% did backups on a regular basis.

I got those numbers from here [arstechnica.com] , but those numbers were first released (made up? ;P) at WWDC earlier this year IIRC.

How is this different than Shadow Copy? (1)

tunafreedolphin (1033472) | more than 6 years ago | (#21267589)

How is this different than Shadow Copy?

Re:How is this different than Shadow Copy? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21268209)

Shadow Copy only allows you to restore a whole drive as opposed to just single files.

Re:How is this different than Shadow Copy? (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21268329)

that isn't the case. shadow copy allows you to view any previous state of a folder that's in the shadow copy db and restore any single file. when browsing a shadow enabled folder from XP or Vista, you can choose to 'view' older versions of a folder rather than 'restore' and from there you can drag and drop any files you'd like.

Re:How is this different than Shadow Copy? (1)

dave420 (699308) | more than 6 years ago | (#21268375)

It's a different implementation of pretty much the same thing, bar shadow copy's shadow volume use, network awareness, restore functionality, etc.

Completely misses the point (5, Insightful)

Just Some Guy (3352) | more than 6 years ago | (#21267593)

We've had backup systems for decades. Even Windows has a more functional system than Leopard by accounts I've read. What Leopard did is make backup and restore sexy to the point that people will actually want to do it.

"Flyback" is a replacement for, well, I'm not sure what. It's certainly nowhere near Time Machine whose primary innovation was "damn gotta get me that" user-friendliness.

Re:Completely misses the point (4, Informative)

santiago (42242) | more than 6 years ago | (#21267815)

What Leopard also did was add file system support for hard links to directories, so that backups from different points in time could be easily presented as complete volume images without any need for a special backup file format, yet still share storage for unchanged files.

Re:Completely misses the point (2, Insightful)

Sosarian (39969) | more than 6 years ago | (#21268177)

RSync also has this, tools like dirvish take advantage of it.

Re:Completely misses the point (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21268403)

Forget about sexy, Leopard makes it easy. I used to have a haphazard system involving rsync running off a script copying to an external drive. Now I bought an internal drive and let the OS do everything for me. Could I have hacked together some system to work off an internal drive before? Sure. Did I? Hell no. And that is what makes all the difference.

No Open Source Invovation here! (3, Informative)

jellomizer (103300) | more than 6 years ago | (#21267595)

I hate to sound like a fanboy but...
Apple did spend many months working on the interface and desing to try to make backups as
easy as possible... All the time they took was really in design time... A much smaller portion
was used in actually coding.... (Find files that have been altered from last update -> Copy Said files
to alternate drive in directory with the date as a name, make note of files that have deleted)

To Restore data go to the date of backup when data existed merge with previous dates and account for
deleted files.

Once selected copy files back to origional drive...

It really isn't a complex process... And I am not supprised that someone made it for Linux
within a couple of weeks of Leopard being public...

Apple did all the design work which was actually the hardest part the programming isn't that hard.
I would be careful for patent issues though... Apple is a big pattenter... (Espctially after
Microsoft stole their interface)

Re:No Open Source Invovation here! (5, Informative)

ickoonite (639305) | more than 6 years ago | (#21267817)

(Find files that have been altered from last update -> Copy Said files to alternate drive in directory with the date as a name, make note of files that have deleted)

Trivialising the technical underpinnings of Time Machine is unwise, and plays right into the hands of those who say Apple is all about show and lacks substance. In fact, the way Time Machine knows what files have been modified is really quite elegant and shouldn't be underplayed. I shan't go into the details of it all here, but if you are interested, see the relevant page [arstechnica.com] of John Siracusa's excellent review of 10.5 [arstechnica.com] over at Ars Technica.

In the meantime, you might like to consider learning how to spell.

:|

Re:No Open Source Invovation here! (1)

jellomizer (103300) | more than 6 years ago | (#21268171)

Trivializing good software design is unwise. As programmers we go ga-ga over something that we think wow I doubt I can code this easilly, the person who made this musta been really smart. The design process and getting even the simple stuff to work well is actually a lot of work more then you think. Normally as programmers we copy what people do, heck lately for my photoshop work I have been adding reflections because looking at the picture of the reflections I see how to do it in photoshop Copy Layer, Flip Virtically, 35% transparancy. New Layer Gradiant fill from Background color to transparent over the object. Easy to do, but I never done it before because I never though of trying to do it... The same with back in when I did ANSI Art for BBS's After seeing the Wolfinstine 3D graphics for the logo I figured out how to make my ANSI look like Metal. Before having experience with GUI I envisioned computers of the future (Um now today) to look completely different. Except for windows I was thinking more of frames. The design part is where the real inovation is, once someone has a good design programing it, is very simple... The part that makes jobs are programmers hard is the fact there is rarely a design team so they need to do the design work as well. There are actually very few things that will take massive programming skills to complete, things I would give programmers a lot of credit are things like Googles search algorithm, Graphic Tools healing brush... But most things are just because of good design, and perhaps coding with a lot of detail but with skills that anyone with a CS Degree can accomplish.

Re:No Open Source Invovation here! (1)

jdgeorge (18767) | more than 6 years ago | (#21268309)

Informative, but condescending to the point of insult. However, I have no mod points, so I can't mod either way. Instead, I will make a few comments:

Trivialising the technical underpinnings of Time Machine is unwise...
Hmmm... unwise? Perhaps uninformed, but surely not unwise, unless...

...and plays right into the hands of those who say Apple is all about show and lacks substance.
Plays right into their hands, eh? Well, then those people would have had their way with him, wouldn't they, had not some heroic Slashdotter stepped in to prevent that disaster by informing the poor ignoramus. It appears that we can consider this crisis averted.

The links are helpful and informative, thank you.

Re:No Open Source Invovation here! (2, Insightful)

thegnu (557446) | more than 6 years ago | (#21268109)

Apple is a big pattenter... (Espctially after Microsoft stole their interface)

Which they stole from Xerox. Funny. I saw Woz speak, and he stated the following:
a) they toured Xerox, and saw everything they did, went home, and made it for cheaper
b) Windows "stole" their interface
c) The Creative Labs suit about the iPod interface was silly and unfounded

Hmmm? So any lawsuits AGAINST Apple are silly and unfounded. Those same lawsuits file BY Apple are great and wonderful, huh? Can someone explain this to me?

By the way, I think patenting obvious ergonomic ideas is stupid, and it's not theft to copy an interface. The same way making a car with a steering wheel on the left side is not theft of intellectual property. Apple has, IMO, more mud on their faces because they have the balls to turn around and call themselves moral. And as our president says, "You can't claim the high horse and take the low road."

Re:No Open Source Invovation here! (1)

jellomizer (103300) | more than 6 years ago | (#21268317)

No I wasn't supporting Apples Patents I was just stating after Microsoft took their design. Apple just started getting more serious about protecting their patents, to prevent that action happening again. Yes we all know apple got the original Idea from Xerox, but Apple was actually using the idea and made it so it was useful and affordable, value add. Then Microsoft took and used the interface without adding value to it...

I beleave Apple lost the Creative Labs suit and pay them royalties to use the patents. Wich they should if they stole the patents. There is a large issue of patents then who are the Patent good guys and bad guys, The Patent system for software is broken allowing to many patents for simple things.

hard link directories (5, Interesting)

Ydna (32354) | more than 6 years ago | (#21267621)

To make it really work like Leopard's Time Machine, we need a way to create hard linked directories. I mean besides the obvious ones that are made for us. Otherwise you get massive trees of directories containing hard linked files (for those that have not changed).

It's easier to just use rsnapshot [rsnapshot.org] .

Re:hard link directories (2, Insightful)

sammy baby (14909) | more than 6 years ago | (#21268147)

Heh. Just be careful how you go implementing that, or you could wind up with problems like these [worsethanfailure.com] .

Ubuntu TimeVault (5, Informative)

phoebe (196531) | more than 6 years ago | (#21267631)

There's already been work on a Linux Time Machine, just not ready for prime time yet: TimeVault [ubuntu.com] .

Re:Ubuntu TimeVault (1)

ceeam (39911) | more than 6 years ago | (#21268355)

BTW, except of Mark's past, why do they serve almost everything over HTTPS?

Cool (1)

Rik Sweeney (471717) | more than 6 years ago | (#21267633)

Think I might install this tonight. At the moment I just have a crappy little script that copies my entire home directory onto a backup drive, overwriting anything that has changed.

Looks like the Hungry Hippo release of Ubuntu will have a new application soon.

Re:Cool (1)

ThrobbingGristle (62723) | more than 6 years ago | (#21267971)

As mentioned elsewhere, I would look at rsnapshot or rdiff-backup. Scripts (no GUI, that I know of) but both wonderful in their own way.

oblig (1)

SailorSpork (1080153) | more than 6 years ago | (#21267665)

...But will it run on Vista?

more oblig (2, Funny)

russlar (1122455) | more than 6 years ago | (#21268039)

...But will it run on Vista?
you make the assumption that Vista runs.

Why not a simple SCCS? (5, Interesting)

dpbsmith (263124) | more than 6 years ago | (#21267699)

What I'd like to see is a very simple source code control system, built on the same design. Perhaps one that would just serve the needs of a single programmer.

The essential thing is that it should look like a file system, with direct access to the project directories at any state in development... write access to the current version, read-access to previous versions... directly accessible to any piece of code via the normal file API.

There should be no need for copying files back and forth from a central repository to a working directory.

It should be equally friendly to text and binary files. It should not take much disk space to store versions of files that have not changed at all from one project version/label/whatever to the next. It is not necessary or desirable to store just the diffs between text files; in the year 2007 we really can afford the disk space to store an entire new source file even if only a few lines in it have changed.

It should not rely on some central database that can be a central point of failure if it gets corrupted.

It should reliably serve both the functions of version control and backup. Bells and whistles in version control are less important than backup. In particular, if it's on an external drive and the CPU fails, you should be able to plug that external drive into a new CPU and go on accessing it immediately.

To those who work on hundred-engineer projects that need full-bore version control and CASE tools and so forth, peace. I'm not talking about a one-size-fits-all solution. I'm talking about a lightweight, simple, minimalist tool that as far as I know doesn't really exist today.

Re:Why not a simple SCCS? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21267901)

sounds like Rational (now IBM) Clearcase :
http://www.ibm.com/software/awdtools/clearcase/ [ibm.com]

Re:Why not a simple SCCS? (1)

corychristison (951993) | more than 6 years ago | (#21267939)

I cannot agree anymore. I've done a lot of searching around (although, maybe not as much as I could have) and I cannot seem to find anything of the sort. I was hoping there was something available in FUSE... but (last I checked) there was not. I am not much of a C/C++ person (HTML and tools pay my bills) although I do know a bit, I wouldn't have much of an idea where to start with something like this.

Please, if anybody knows of anything that works like this in Linux, please let me know!

Re:Why not a simple SCCS? (3, Informative)

ajayrockrock (110281) | more than 6 years ago | (#21268221)

What I'd like to see is a very simple source code control system, built on the same design. Perhaps one that would just serve the needs of a single programmer.


How about mounting a webdav file system with a subversion backend that has autoversioning turned on? That way, every time you write to the filesystem, SVN will make a new version. I did this for an office file server and installed track to point to the same repository. So now people have a cheap web interface to view revisions of documents.

http://svnbook.red-bean.com/en/1.2/svn.webdav.autoversioning.html [red-bean.com]

All the Mac's in the office mount the webdav repo, my linux box mounts it via fuse, and even windows has "web folders". It was kind of a fun project that turned out to be pretty useful.

--Ajay

Re:Why not a simple SCCS? (1)

hey! (33014) | more than 6 years ago | (#21268239)

Well, sure. But why make something look like a file system. Why not have the file system do this for you, if it is keeping a journal of changes anyway for recovery purposes? Or if you're only journaling metadata, why not use the 30-60% of free space to store old versions of blocks, throwing them out with some variation of LRU?

Such a system would be useful but it doesn't, in my opinion, take the place of either source code control or backups.

If you're hard disk fails, you are screwed, so it's not a backup.

If you change your copy of the source so that it breaks everybody else's code, nobody knows this, so its not a source code control system either. Nor does it help you set up version 3.2.5 on different machine than the one that hosted it. And if you add tagging, branching and patching functions to it, it's not so simple anymore.

Still, it's a good idea. I've said for a long time that people ought to use SCCS functions for any set of documents that is important. SCCS provides both document management and some level of backup (although offline backup is still needed for the repository). Programmers have the advantage of working in documented, non-proprietary formats, so that it is possible to diff things meaningfully, but even so SCCS would be useful for just about anybody, if they can be trained to commit with the right frequency. Taking that decision out of their hands is better than allowing them to make really bad decisions, but it's not ideal.

If you are a single programmer, there is no reason not to use an SCCS. You don't have any special requirements, other than overcoming the sloppiness that besets even the best programmer's solo work. So if you are a solo programmer, I'd urge you to install an SCCS, and not rely upon any built in OS versioning.

Re:Why not a simple SCCS? (1)

MyDixieWrecked (548719) | more than 6 years ago | (#21268241)

Although what you describe sounds pretty nice and is great since it would have zero learning curve, the best part of your standard source versioning system (svn/cvs) is that you take notes when you commit your changes and your revision #s contain groups of changes.

Your system would make it difficult to figure out what changes were made at what points in time and what changes should be grouped together.

It would be nice to be able to roll back to any state of any file in conjunction with svn, though.

Wombat (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21267701)

I've used Wombat [alleft.com] in the past. It's basically a perl wrapper for rsync with a scheduler built in for hardlinked snapshots. Each image is a "full backup".

Ubuntu has built in backup system (2, Interesting)

Colin Smith (2679) | more than 6 years ago | (#21267711)

"Simple Backup Suite". Not quite Time Machine, but very simple and effective.

apt-get install sbackup

 

Re:Ubuntu has built in backup system (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21267961)

apt-get install sbackup
Come on now, don't make Ubuntu less friendly than it is. Just to to Applications->Add/Remove and search for sbackup. Click and install.

Longer than a command-line but it's all GUI and friendly.

Re:Ubuntu has built in backup system (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21268277)

Maybe he's using debian, you insensetive cold!

Preposition Nazi (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21267779)

I think you mean you built it *on* rsync.

"something like"=/=real thing. technology missing (4, Insightful)

wouterteepe (923706) | more than 6 years ago | (#21267795)

Claiming to have created a backuptool "inspired on" time machine obliges one to give some more documentation than... ehm... none. A few things I know about time machine, which are not trivial: Every backup in TM is a fully consistend directory tree for which no special software is needed to consult it. Disk space is saved by using hardlinks on the filesystem in a very delicate way, including hardlinks to directories (!!!). As a result, one can very selectively delete backups without corrupting anything. (e.g., you don't want to know the state 11 am, but do want to know the states at 10 pm and 12 pm? easy facilitated without any special software). TM uses a special feature in Leopard to keep track of modified files and directories, in such a way that TM itself does not have to scan for modified files, but is informed by the OS of modified files. This notification does not even require a deamon process. Now I do believe one can wrap together something which does backups. But standard unix/linux tools don't offer the above facilities - AFAIK. And rsync certainly does not facilitate multiple hardlinks to a directory to be made. Therefore, this shameless plug probably does not offer something similar to time machine. Unless the author also claims that a Trabant is something like a Ferrari.

Re:"something like"=/=real thing. technology missi (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21267917)

Unless the author also claims that a Trabant is something like a Ferrari.



It is!

Re:"something like"=/=real thing. technology missi (1)

Bert64 (520050) | more than 6 years ago | (#21268181)

I believe linux does have facilities in the kernel to detect if a file has been modified... But i imagine you'd need a daemon to monitor this and store the list of changed files.
I wonder how long before linux does have something similar to time machine tho?

Re:"something like"=/=real thing. technology missi (1)

wumpus188 (657540) | more than 6 years ago | (#21268211)

This notification does not even require a deamon process.

Actually, TM uses FSEvent framework and does require fseventsd daemon.

Rsync backup is not Time Machine (4, Insightful)

guruevi (827432) | more than 6 years ago | (#21267869)

I have had this type of rsync backups for years now on personal computers and servers. There are several scripts floating around the internet that do exactly what Time Machine does. The problem is 1) usability and 2) interface.

No end-user is going to put an rsync script in their cron jobs and specify in what mounted partition to store it and then later use rsync to restore the specified files. -- if an end user understands at all what I just said of course

Time Machine's interface is revolutionary. It gives you a way of looking back in time at your own computer and does it in a fancy way consistent with the interface. It does so for any Time Machine enabled application including Mail, Address Book, i*. If you have to restore a piece of mail from backup I doubt you'll know the name of the file it was stored in rsync or any other type of backup let alone knowing how to restore it without removing all the new messages.

Why did we always have to be bashing users for not creating their backups again? Because it was too difficult and too time consuming to make them. Time Machine takes literally 30 seconds to set up and the rest is automated. That's why people will start making backups. It's not difficult anymore and it's going to save me a lot of headaches.

Just my 2c.

Apple is brilliant (1, Insightful)

FranTaylor (164577) | more than 6 years ago | (#21267885)

For stimulating the design of the new Linux backup system.

All linux users should tip their hat to Apple for renewing the interest in better backup solutions.

This is why free software rules.

And also why we need companies like Apple who raise the bar.

erh? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21267907)

Sounds like a glorified trashcan.

rdiff-backup (2, Informative)

JBv (25001) | more than 6 years ago | (#21267929)

I use rdiff-backup with a cron job to do backups of my laptop to an external drive. It takes between 20-50 mins to do a daily backup of ~50Gb of data with about 200-700Mb of changed files. The only missing feature would be a "time machine" file browser in konqueror.

Re:rdiff-backup (1, Informative)

FranTaylor (164577) | more than 6 years ago | (#21268091)

You need to reconsider the use of the word "only" in your description. Time Machine is waaay more than what you have there.

Meh. (1)

Enahs (1606) | more than 6 years ago | (#21267941)

Give me the following:

1.) A backup system compatible with rdiff-backup, or at least as simple as rdiff-backup (i.e. the incremental copy, minus one folder, can be the latest snapshot)
2.) Make it work with gamin, so that backups are automatic
3.) Make 'thumbs' for files it understands, and store those as well

END RESULT: Who needs Leopard?

Re:Meh. (1)

FranTaylor (164577) | more than 6 years ago | (#21267973)

Okay, one feature down, only 9999 more to go. I'm sure your Leopard-killer will be ready before the end of the universe.

Re:Meh. (1)

tomstdenis (446163) | more than 6 years ago | (#21268079)

yeah because no other distro has [reading apple website]... a terminal, text editor, web browser, C compiler, etc...

right ...

Re:Meh. (1)

FranTaylor (164577) | more than 6 years ago | (#21268261)

Yes, my wife uses all of those things on her computer. Not! Where is Garage Band? Are you telling me that a non-geek can compose music on Linux? Try explaining to your wife how to format and partition a drive in Linux. On the Mac you don't even need to explain it. I have linux on my desktop, but my wife cannot work with it. She needs a Mac. She is a massage therapist and has no patience for the computer crap that you and I put up with all the time.

Restore support in Linux installer (4, Interesting)

wumpus188 (657540) | more than 6 years ago | (#21268027)

Under Leopard, you can wipe your disk clean, put in Leopard DVD and reboot... one of the first options would be to restore system from Time Machine backup. With this tool, what is the point of including /bin, /usr etc. in the backup if there is no system restore support in Ubuntu installer?

Not an rsync expert by any means but.... (2, Insightful)

antifoidulus (807088) | more than 6 years ago | (#21268115)

One of the things that actually make time machine work well is that OS X keeps a log of every file updated on the system, and when the time machine daemon runs it looks at that log and knows which files to back up(as well as what time to mark them with etc). Now, maybe I'm doing rsync the stupid way, but doesn't rsync have to rescan every file on the system to see if it has changed? If you are backing up large directories that could be a large performance hit....

R1Soft! (2, Informative)

zeeklancer (1185769) | more than 6 years ago | (#21268179)

rsycn is a bit slow, and I find that it can't cope very well with a large amount of files. The only Linux solution I have found to be anywhere near the capability of TM is R1Softs CDP solution. It is too bad it does not run on Apple, but it does run on Linux and windows. R1Soft does have remote backups which in my opinion makes it a much better solution all together. In any case, I use TM for my Apple boxes and R1Soft for Linux / Windows, rsync is way to slow on any platform. http://r1soft.com/ [r1soft.com] -Zeek

Rsnapshot (3, Informative)

Urban Garlic (447282) | more than 6 years ago | (#21268321)

When I first heard about "time machine", my first thought was that consumer-grade commercial software had finally discovered rsnapshot [rsnapshot.org] . It's packaged for Debian, and available in "sarge" -- that makes it at least three years old.

Rsnapshot is an rsync-and-hard-links based scheme that also doesn't store duplicate data, and provides nice date-indexed browseable full file trees, much like the way both "time machine" and this flyback gizmo are described.

I haven't been this excited since AOL re-invented "ytalk"...

nice...but (1)

Marin3 (988561) | more than 6 years ago | (#21268393)

a pity it uses gtk, if it used qt it would be cross plataform, none-the-less great work :)
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