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Backup is incredibly important. Obviously there's no best backup tool, but a comparison of the options would be very interesting.

  • Graphical Interface? Command line?
  • Incremental backups?
  • Automatic backups?
  • Install method: In standard repositories? PPA?
share|improve this question
I would say the backup solution depends on what you are using the machine you are backing up for. A collection of work/school critical projects/code has a far different set of needs from a computer storing an ungodly amount of porn and music. On my home setup I have a small script that backs up a couple of folders I wouldn't like to lose, it does this incrementally. My work laptop gets everything backed up to a server and never has mission critical stuff left on it anyway. – Toby Aug 18 '10 at 21:15
It's not a features comparison, but this poll might help: Read the comments too! – Alin Andrei Aug 18 '10 at 21:19

33 Answers 33

Déjà Dup Install Déjà Dup

Déjà Dup is (from Ubuntu 11.10) installed by default. It is a GNOME tool intended for the casual Desktop user that aims to be a "simple backup tool that hides the complexity of doing backups the Right Way".

It is a front end to duplicity that performs incremental backups, where only changes since the prior backup was made are stored. It has options for encrypted and automated backups. It can backup to local folders, Amazon S3, or any server to which Nautilus can connect.

Integration with Nautilus is superb, allowing for the restoration of files deleted from a directory and for the restoration of an old version of an individual file.

Main Window Screenshot

Restore earlier version of file

Note that as of February 2016 this project appears to be almost completely ignoring bug reports with only minor triage activity and the last bugfix dates back to 2014, though there are new releases with minor changes.

share|improve this answer
I don't quite understand? You can't restore specific versions of individual files very easily. However you can restore the entire backed up content to a specific backup. For instance I can restore to last week, or to the week before, or the week before that, etc – 8128 Aug 30 '10 at 7:12
It can connect to anything nautilus can see. So if you can mount it in the file system that's one option. There's also then the ability to connect to ftp, ssh, webdav or a windows share. My samba knowledge is limited I'm afraid. – 8128 Sep 8 '10 at 19:28
You can restore specific versions of individual files. It includes a nautilus extension. All you need to do is right click on a file and select "Revert to previous version." – andrewsomething Oct 13 '10 at 21:44
is there a command line interface for Deja Dup? – Oct 24 '11 at 20:18
3 Deja Dup is based on Duplicity, which provides a command line interface. Another choice is duply. – nealmcb Jun 29 '12 at 5:46

Back in Time Install Back in Time

I have been using Back in Time for some time, and I'm very satisfied.

All you have to do is configure:

  • Where to save snapshot
  • What directories to backup
  • When backup should be done (manual, every hour, every day, every week, every month)

And forget about it.

alt text

Project is active as of February 2016.

share|improve this answer
Is there a way to get this to backup to a remote server? When you select a target directory, all non-local directories are hidden, and typing it into the location bar doesn't work. – zacharyliu Dec 5 '10 at 7:23
There's a "gotcha" with backintime - "dot" files are excluded by default. If you want your home directory's dot files, use backintime's Settings->Exclude and remove .* – user8290 Feb 16 '11 at 17:49
To backup to a remote server you can use the ~/.gvfs folder, witch is where remote server is mounted by nautilus. But Déjà-Dup can do backup faster then back-in-time, while back-in-time is better to see files individually. – desgua Mar 27 '11 at 15:33
I like the feature to define separate profiles. This helps me define different profiles for different partitions of my drive and update the backups of only the partitions I need to. Also the first backup operation will take less time. – Chethan S. May 18 '11 at 12:28
@Lii BackInTime uses plain file copies which are hard-linked between snapshots. You can browse them with every tool you like. – Germar Mar 12 at 0:25

rsnapshot vs. rdiff-backup

I often refer to this comparison of rsnapshot and rdiff-backup:


  • both use an rsync-like algorithm to transfer data (rsnapshot actually uses rsync; rdiff-backup uses the python librsync library)
  • both can be used over ssh (though rsnapshot cannot push over ssh without some extra scripting)
  • both use a simple copy of the source for the current backup

Differences in disk usage:

  • rsnapshot uses actual files and hardlinks to save space. For small files, storage size is similar.
  • rdiff-backup stores previous versions as compressed deltas to the current version similar to a version control system. For large files that change often, such as logfiles, databases, etc., rdiff-backup requires significantly less space for a given number of versions.

Differences in speed:

  • rdiff-backup is slower than rsnapshot

Differences in metadata storage:

  • rdiff-backup stores file metadata, such as ownership, permissions, and dates, separately.

Differences in file transparency:

  • For rsnapshot, all versions of the backup are accessible as plain files.
  • For rdiff-backup, only the current backup is accessible as plain files. Previous versions are stored as rdiff deltas.

Differences in backup levels made:

  • rsnapshot supports multiple levels of backup such as monthly, weekly, and daily.
  • rdiff-backup can only delete snapshots earlier than a given date; it cannot delete snapshots in between two dates.

Differences in support community:

  • Based on the number of responses to my post on the mailing lists (rsnapshot: 6, rdiff-backup: 0), rsnapshot has a more active community.
share|improve this answer
Do either support data deduplication? – intuited Feb 5 '11 at 21:48
So it sounds like rsnapshot is just generally better. – mlissner Apr 30 '11 at 6:26
librsync is not a Python library but a C library. It is based of the rsync algorithm and used by rdiff-backup directoy from Python so it doesn't have to call an external utility and parse the output as rsnapshot does. – Anthon Feb 21 '14 at 7:05

rsync Install rsync

If you're familiar with command-line tools, you can use rsync to create (incremental) backups automatically. It can mirror your directories to other machines. There are lot of scripts available on the net how to do it. Set it up as recurring task in your crontab. There is also a GUI frontend for rsync called Grsync that makes manual backups easier.

In combination with hard links, it's possible to make backup in a way that deleted files are preserved.


share|improve this answer
rsync is a useful tool, but it isn't great for backup. It doesn't keep historic versions. – Erigami Aug 19 '10 at 18:32
I've changed this to talk about rsnapshot, which is what I think the author was referring to. – 8128 Aug 19 '10 at 18:53
@fluteflute: No, I did not mean rsnapshot. So your changes completely changes the meaning of my post. I replaced rsnapshot by a link explaining a bit more about rsync using as a backup. – Roalt Aug 23 '10 at 11:00
Using "cp --archive --link --verbose /MAKE_SNAPSHOT{,_date '+%Y-%m-%d'}/" and "rsync -avz --link-dest=../OLD_BACKUP_DIR SOURCE_DIR NEW_BACKUP_DIR" ist just plain simple. rsnapshot adds some convenience, but maybe you don't need it. personal preference.. – webwurst Aug 23 '10 at 12:53
There is GUI frontend for rsync called Grsync ( that makes manual backups easier. I use it for making backups to my portable hard drive. – Dmitry Jun 11 '11 at 17:58

Duplicity Install Duplicity

Duplicity is a feature-rich command line backup tool.

Duplicity backs up directories by producing encrypted tar-format volumes and uploading them to a remote or local. It uses librsync to record incremental changes to files; gzip to compress them; and gpg to encrypt them.

Duplicity's command line can be intimidating, but there are many frontends to duplicity, from command line (duply), to GNOME (deja-dup), to KDE (time-drive).

share|improve this answer
There are also a number of GUI frontends to duplicity, such as Time Drive – Ryan Thompson Aug 25 '10 at 23:10
Time-Drive no longer has ppa's for current versions of Ubuntu (precise) and source only seems to be available if you donate.This stopped me from evaluating and I now use 'duplicity' from the command line to do backups as root (as Deja-Dup doesn't handle root backups well) and can still use deja-dup's nice restore gui options (from within Nautilus). – Chris Good Mar 29 '13 at 6:07
According to the duplicity website, it is still in beta. Not sure I'll recommend that anyone use beta software to backup or restore critical data, even if its family photos. – bloudraak May 28 '13 at 4:05


A cross-platform (proprietary) cloud sync for Windows, Mac, and Linux. 2GB of online storage is free, with paid options. Advertised as a way to "store, sync, and, share files online" but could be used for backup purposes too.

Note that even on paid accounts revision history is limited to one year and on free accounts it is only one month.

Dropbox in use on Ubuntu

share|improve this answer
Synchronisation tools should not be confused with backup tools. A synchronisation tool can help make a backup more efficient like rsync can spare bandwidth for exemple. But it is not a solution for backup unless it has strong revision history. Why? Imagine you get a virus which infects your file and modify them. The modified will get sync, and you will lose them. Dropbox has some kind of revision history. So it could serve as an ersatz for backup. But keep in mind that it is not guaranteed that you can restore your files when need arise! – Huygens Oct 13 '10 at 20:14
As I understand it, Dropbox keeps all versions of your files so rolling back shouldn't be an issue. Thus, Dropbox is more than just sync. – Derek Oct 14 '10 at 2:28
It can be used for backup, but it is not a proper solution. User should be aware of it's limitations. But as I said previously, if it has strong revision history, you could trust it. Dropbox has 30 days history. So if one file gets infected but you find that out 31 days later, you don't have any backup to restore the file. Don't worry, I did not put your answer down. It's a possible answer also, but I would prefer to avoid confusion. – Huygens Oct 14 '10 at 10:26
I believe the 30-day history limit only applies to free accounts. – Ryan Thompson Oct 17 '10 at 1:45
Spideroak provides unlimited revision history with free accounts. – intuited Jan 9 '11 at 5:09

luckyBackup Install LuckyBackup

It's not been mentioned before, so I'll pitch in that "LuckyBackup" is a superb GUI front end on rsync and makes taking simple or complex backups and clones a total breeze.

Note that this tool is no longer developed.

The all important screenshots are found here on their website with one shown below:


share|improve this answer
For me it is the most configurable option and includes an option to backup to a remote FAT32 partition (for those who have old and poor made NAS like me...). Wonderful! – desgua Jun 23 '11 at 16:15

BackupPC Install BackupPC

If you want to back up your entire home network, I would recommend BackupPC running on an always-on server in your basement/closet/laundry room. From the backup server, it can connect via ssh, rsync, SMB, and other methods to any other computer (not just linux computers), and back up all of them to the server. It implements incremental storage by merging identical files via hardlinks, even if the identical files were backed up from separate computers.

BackupPC runs a web interface that you can use to customize it, including adding new computers to be backed up, initiating immediate backups, and most importantly, restoring single files or entire folders. If the BackupPC server has write permissions to the computer that you are restoring to, it can restore the files directly to where they were, which is really nice.

BackupPC Web Interface - Server Status Page

share|improve this answer
BackupPC is a very nice solution for home / home office / small business. Works great for servers too and mixed Windows / Linux environment. – Amala Apr 21 '11 at 23:16
I'm surprised at how many issues I've run into with backuppc in Precise 12.04. The documentation is geared towards doing config by hand, not via the pretty web interface. It is confusing to configure. They have no convenient upstream bug tracker, just a mailing list, but I've run across many unresolved bugs, including those mentioned at issues with BackupPC on Ubuntu 12.04 | and at… – nealmcb Jun 29 '12 at 1:42
Note also that it installs apache to run the web site, opening port 80 for outside access. Worse, it requires a password to do web config, but sends the password over the network in the clear by default. See other security issues at Configuring BackupPC for secure backups and access controls - backuppc – nealmcb Jun 29 '12 at 1:57


I used Bacula a long time ago. Although you would have to learn its architecture, it's a very powerful solution. It lets you do backups over a network and it's multi-platform. You can read here about all the cool things it has, and here about the GUI programs that you can use for it. I deployed it at my university. When I was looking for backup solutions I also came across Amanda.

One good thing about Bacula is that it uses its own implementation for the files it creates. This makes it independent from a native utility's particular implementation (e.g. tar, dump...).

When I used it there weren't any GUIs yet. Therefore, I can't say if the available ones are complete and easy to use.

Bacula is very modular at it's core. It consists of 3 configurable, stand-alone daemons:

  • file daemon (takes care of actually collecting files and their metadata cross-platform way)
  • storage daemon (take care of storing the data - let it be HDD, DVDs, tapes, etc.)
  • director daemon (takes care of scheduling backups and central configuration)

There is also SQL database involved for storing metadata about bacula and backups (support for Postgres, MySQL and sqlite.

bconsole binary is shipped with bacula and provides CLI interface for bacula administration.

share|improve this answer
pls explain 2nd paragraph: "This makes it independent..." – Tshepang Jan 11 '11 at 23:31
There is a web interface written in python: – iElectric Apr 25 '12 at 16:00
@Tshepang meaning it doesn't rely on tools installed on operating system itself. – iElectric Jul 8 '12 at 20:09


A "highly efficient file backup system based on the git packfile format. Capable of doing fast incremental backups of virtual machine images."


  • It uses a rolling checksum algorithm (similar to rsync) to split large files into chunks. The most useful result of this is you can backup huge virtual machine (VM) disk images, databases, and XML files incrementally, even though they're typically all in one huge file, and not use tons of disk space for multiple versions.

  • Data is "automagically" shared between incremental backups without having to know which backup is based on which other one - even if the backups are made from two different computers that don't even know about each other. You just tell bup to back stuff up, and it saves only the minimum amount of data needed.

  • Bup can use "par2" redundancy to recover corrupted backups even if your disk has undetected bad sectors.

  • You can mount your bup repository as a FUSE filesystem and access the content that way, and even export it over Samba.

  • A KDE-based front-end (GUI) for bup is available, namely Kup Backup System.

share|improve this answer
Some nice features, for sure. But note that so far it doesn't save file metadata (ownership, permissions, dates) and that you can't delete old backups so it eventually runs out of space. See a review: Git-based backup with bup and the README: apenwarr/bup - GitHub – nealmcb Jul 1 '11 at 20:28
Now metadata seems to be supported, see 'bup save' and 'bup restore' have immature metadata support. On the plus side, they actually do have support now, but it's new, and not remotely as well tested as tar/rsync/whatever's. If you'd like to help test, please do (see t/compare-trees for one comparison method). – student Mar 20 '13 at 18:22


I had considered a bunch of options and configurations (using rdiff-backup, duplicity, backup-ninja, amazon s3, remote server). What it finally came down to was simplicity.

CrashPlan is cross platform, but not open source.

There is a charge if you use their servers to host your backup, but you can also backup to a folder (or drive), another computer you own, or a computer of someone you know. Or any combination of those.

It's also worth noting that with a (paid) CrashPlan Central 'family' plan you can backup all the computers you own.

share|improve this answer
One interesting point of Crashplan is that it is easy to set multiple backup locations, and that you can share backup spaces with relatives/friends. So that you can do a sort of online backup to another computer. Of course your data is safe, it is encrypted. – Huygens Oct 13 '10 at 20:10

Simple Backup Install Simple Backup

Simple Backup is another tool to backup your file and keep a revision history. It is quite efficient (with full and incremental backups) and does not take up too much disk space for redundant data. So you can have historical revision of files à-la Time Machine (a feature Back in time - mentioned earlier - is also offering).


  • easy to set-up with already pre-defined backup strategies
  • external hard disk backup support
  • remote backup via SSH or FTP
  • revision history
  • clever auto-purging
  • easy sheduling
  • user- and/or system-level backups

alt text

As you can see the feature set is similar to the one offered by Back in time.

Simple Backup fits well in the Gnome and Ubuntu Desktop environment.

share|improve this answer
Simple backup has failed for me multiple times, one time resulting in some pretty upsetting data loss. I would not recommend it. – Alex Launi Nov 1 '10 at 3:16
@Alex I'm interested... I use back in time, but I had tried Simple Backup before. I choose the first because I can browse the backups. Could you be more specific about the problem encounter? Just out of curiosity. – Huygens Nov 1 '10 at 21:57
The tarball it created had tons of invalid data in it, leaving it unextractable. This happened more than once. – Alex Launi Nov 2 '10 at 15:17
I would not recommend this tool; it's very hard to use it as root (by default it will save everything in your home directory meaning that a bad rm command will purge everything) and it keeps generating bad compressed files (though it gives a warning) and the GUI is not as nice as that of back in time. – user2413 Nov 8 '10 at 13:00
@Huygens:> Sorry, for my poorly worded comment. My experience is that, by default, the current version of sbackup does not save the back ups in a root-protected directory. If you do not change the default, your back ups will obviously not survive a bad .rm command. This second point is not related to Alex's point on bad tar.gz's and is linked to the choice of default behavior of sbackup, not to its intrinsic qualities. – user2413 Nov 9 '10 at 16:53

tar your home dirrectory

open a terminal

  • cd /home/me
  • tar zcvf me.tgz .
  • mv me.tgz to another computer
    • via samba
    • via NFS
    • DropBox
    • Other

Do the same to /etc
Do the same to /var iff your running servers in default ubuntu setup.
Write a shell script to do all three tars

Backup your browser bookmarks

This is enough for 95% of folks

  • backing up aplications is not worth the effort just reinstall packages.

To restore
mv me.tgz back to /home/me right click extract here

share|improve this answer


A dropbox like backup/syncing service with comparable features. Free accounts have unlimited revision history.

  • Access all your data in one de-duplicated location
  • Configurable multi-platform synchronization
  • Preserve all historical versions & deleted files
  • Share folders instantly in web
  • ShareRooms w / RSS
  • Retrieve files from any internet-connected device
  • Comprehensive 'zero-knowledge' data encryption
  • 2 GBs Free / $10 per 100 GBs / Unlimited devices

Listed supported systems: Debian Lenny, OpenSUSE, RPM-Based (Fedora, etc.), CentOS/RHEL, Ubuntu Lucid Lynx, Ubuntu Gutsy Gibbon, Ubuntu Karmic Koala, Ubuntu Maverick Meerkat, Ubuntu Intrepid Ibex, Debian Etch, Ubuntu Hardy Heron, Slackware 12.1, Ubuntu Jaunty Jackalope

More info at

share|improve this answer
Note that there's no automatic way to delete old backups. Thus, unless you're fond of manually hunting through their clunky UI, there'll be no end to the amount of space required. SpiderOak says that you should never need to delete old backups thanks to their deduplication. I disagree. Also, SpiderOak omits symlinks, claiming that they're complicated to handle due to the possibility of symlink loops. – Scott Severance May 29 '12 at 10:33
This really isn't a backup tool. I used SpiderOak in 2009 and it failed in multiple ways: failed to backup whole directory trees, never finished syncing properly, and I couldn't recover much of the data it did back up. Don't depend on SpiderOak for backup or sync is my view - even if they have fixed these bugs the architecture is still syncing all files to all PCs, and simply not suitable for backup. – RichVel Nov 1 '12 at 12:19


Similar to Back in Time

Apple's Time Machine is a great feature in their OS, and Linux has almost all of the required technology already built in to recreate it. This is a simple GUI to make it easy to use.

FlyBack v0.4.0

share|improve this answer
Note that this software is not actively maintained: its last update was in 2010 (that's what I call back in time). – Jealie Jul 21 '15 at 17:23

DAR Install DAR

DAR - the Disk ARchive program - is a powerful command line backup tool supporting incremental backups and restores. If you want to backup a lot of files then it may be considerable faster than rsync (rolling checksum) like solutions.

share|improve this answer

Areca Backup

is also a very decent GPL program to make backups easily.


  • Archives compression (Zip & Zip64 format)
  • Archives encryption (AES128 & AES256 encryption algorithms)
  • Storage on local hard drive, network drive, USB key, FTP / FTPs server (with implicit and explicit SSL / TLS)
  • Source file filters (by extension, subdirectory, regular expression, size, date, status, with AND/OR/NOT logical operators)
  • Incremental, differential and full backup support
  • Support for delta backup (store only modified parts of your files)
  • Archives merges : You can merge contiguous archives into one single archive to save storage space.
  • As of date recovery : Areca allows you to recover your archives (or single files) as of a specific date.
  • Transaction mechanism : All critical processes (such as backups or merges) are transactional. This guarantees your backups' integrity.
  • Backup reports : Areca generates backup reports that can be stored on your disk or sent by email.
  • Post backup scripts : Areca can launch shell scripts after backup.
  • Files permissions, symbolic links and named pipes can be stored and recovered. (Linux only)
share|improve this answer

Jungledisk Pay for application

Is a winner as far as I'm concerned. It backs up remotely to an optionally-encrypted Amazon S3 bucket, it's customisable, it can run in the background (there are various guides available for setting that up). There's a decent UI or you can hack an XML file if you're feeling so inclined.

I backup all of my home machines with the same account, no problem. I also can remotely access my backed-up data via .

It's not free, but in US terms it's certainly cheap enough (I pay around $7 a month). I feel that's more than acceptable for an offsite backup where someone else deals with hardware and (physical) security etc issues.

I can't recommend it enough.

-- peter

share|improve this answer
I've been using this one for years, and I agree. This is a very good product, and one bonus for me is that it is cross platform. You can use the same product across all platforms you use, be it Linux, Mac or Windows. – sbrattla Oct 4 '15 at 19:19

I run a custom Python script which uses rsync to save my home folder (less trash etc) onto a folder labelled "current" on a separate backup HDD (connected by USB) and then the copy (cp) command to copy everything from "current" onto a date-time stamped folder also on the same HDD. The beautiful thing is that each snapshot has every file in your home folder as it was at that time and yet the HDD doesn't just fill up unnecessarily. Because most files never change, there is only ever one actual copy of those files on the HDD. Every other reference to it is a link. And if a newer version of a file is added to "current", then all the snapshots pointing to the older version are now automatically pointing to a single version of the original. Modern HDD file systems takes care of that by themselves. Although there are all sorts of refinements in the script, the main commands are simple. Here are a few of the key ingredients:

exclusion_path = "/home/.../exclusions.txt" # don't back up trash etc
media_path = "/media/... # a long path with the HDD details and the "current" folder
rsync -avv --progress --delete --exclude-from=exclusion_path /home/username/ media_path
current = "..." # the "current" folder on the HDD
dest = "..." # the timestamped folder on the HDD
cp -alv current dest

I had some custom needs as well. Because I have multiple massive (e.g. 60GB) VirtualBox disk images, I only ever wish to have one copy of those, not snapshot versions. Even a 1 or 2 TB HDD has limits.

Here are the contents of my exclusions file. The file is very sensitive to missing terminal slashes etc:

share|improve this answer
A tool that does something very similar for you (always having complete snapshots, using hard links to not waste disk space) is rsnapshot -- maybe you should give it a try – Marcel Stimberg Sep 2 '10 at 9:08

Attic Backup

Attic is a deduplicating backup program written in Python. The main goal of Attic is to provide an efficient and secure way to backup data. The data deduplication technique used makes Attic suitable for daily backups since only the changes are stored.

Main Features:

  • Easy to use
  • Space efficient storage: Variable block size deduplication is used to reduce the number of bytes stored by detecting redundant data.
  • Optional data encryption: All data can be protected using 256-bit AES encryption and data integrity and authenticity is verified using HMAC-SHA256.
  • Off-site backups: Attic can store data on any remote host accessible over SSH
  • Backups mountable as filesystems: Backup archives are mountable as userspace filesystems for easy backup verification and restores.


Attic requires Python >=3.2. Besides Python, Attic also requires msgpack-python and OpenSSL (>= 1.0.0). In order to mount archives as filesystems, llfuse is required.


There is also now a fork of Attic called Borg.

share|improve this answer


TimeVault a is tool to make snapshots of folders and comes with nautilus integration. Snapshots are protected from accidental deletion or modification since they are read-only by default.

The application is currently in beta stage and can be downloaded from Launchpad.

share|improve this answer


'Obnam is an easy, secure backup program. Backups can be stored on local hard disks, or online via the SSH SFTP protocol. The backup server, if used, does not require any special software, on top of SSH.

Some features that may interest you:

  • Snapshot backups. Every generation looks like a complete snapshot, so you don't need to care about full versus incremental backups, or rotate real or virtual tapes.
  • Data de-duplication, across files, and backup generations. If the backup repository already contains a particular chunk of data, it will be re-used, even if it was in another file in an older backup generation. This way, you don't need to worry about moving around large files, or modifying them.
  • Encrypted backups, using GnuPG.'

An old version can be found in the Ubuntu software sources, for the newest version refer to Chris Cormacks PPA or Obnams website.

share|improve this answer


Dirvish is a nice command line snapshot backup tool which uses hardlinks to reduce diskspace. It has a sophisticated way to purge expired backups.

Here is a nice tutorial for it:

share|improve this answer
This is a real good way to get rsync incremental backups to work! – Nanne May 20 '13 at 8:26


A Python script that offers a more-or-less real-time backup capability.

"I came across a reference to the “inotify” feature that is present in recent Linux kernels. Inotify monitors disk activity and, in particular, flags when files are written to disk or deleted. A little more searching located a package that combines inotify's file event monitoring with the rsync file synchronization utility in order to provide the real-time file backup capability that I was seeking. The software, named inosync, is actually a Python script, effectively provided as open-source code, by the author, Benedikt Böhm from Germany ("

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PING is a no-nonsense free backup tool that will let you make backups of entire partitions. It is a standalone utility that should be burnt on CD.

What I like about this program is that it copies the entire partition. Imagine this: while modifying your Ubuntu as a superuser, you changed a vital part and Ubuntu won't start up anymore.

You could format the hard disk and reinstall Ubuntu. While backup solutions as Dropbox, Ubuntu One etc. might be useful for retrieving the important files , it won't restore your wallpaper, Unity icons and other stuff that made your Ubuntu the way you liked it.

Another option is to ask for help on the internet. But why not just restore the whole system to the way it was a few days ago? PING will do exactly this for you.


  • Will not only backup documents, but system files as well
  • It's easy to use
  • It is possible to backup other (non-Linux) partitions as well
  • It will compress the backup in gzip or bzip2 format, saving disk space


  • The PC will have to be restarted before being able to backup
  • PING will make a backup of an entire partition, even when only few files have been modified
  • You'll need an external hard drive or some free space on your PC to put your backups

An excellent Dutch manual can be found here.

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s3ql is a more recent option for using Amazon s3, Google Storage or OpenStack Storage as a file system. It works on a variety of Linux distros as well as MacOS X.

Using it with rsync, you can get very efficient incremental offsite backups since it provides storage and bandwidth efficiency via block-level deduplication and compression. It also supports privacy via client-side encryption, and some other fancy things like copy-on-write, immutable trees and snapshotting.

See Comparison of S3QL and other S3 file systems for comparisons with PersistentFS, S3FS, S3FSLite, SubCloud, S3Backer and ElasticDrive.

I've been using it for a few days, starting from, (which uses rsync) and am quite happy. It is very well documented and seems like a solid project.

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An open source, gratis backup application running on Linux, with gui that "securely stores encrypted, incremental, compressed backups on cloud storage services and remote file servers. It works with Amazon S3, Windows Live SkyDrive, Google Drive (Google Docs), Rackspace Cloud Files or WebDAV, SSH, FTP (and many more)".

Version 1.0 is considered stable; there is a version 2 in development with considerable internal changes that is currently working (though I wouldn't use it for production). There are standard or custom filter rules to select files to backup.

I have been using it for years partly (not connected to anyone there but have considered looking at the API to add a backend, speaking as a developer) although infrequently, on both a Windows laptop and my Ubuntu 14.04 install.

A fork

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saybackup and saypurge

There is a nice script called saybackup which allows you to do simple incremental backups using hardlinks. From the man page:

This script creates full or reverse incremental backups using the
rsync(1) command. Backup directory names contain the date and time
of each backup run to allow sorting and selective pruning. At the end of each successful backup run, a symlink '*-current' is updated to always point at the latest backup. To reduce remote file
transfers, the '-L' option can be used (possibly multiple times) to
specify existing local file trees from which files will be
hard-linked into the backup.

The corresponding script saypurge provides a clever way to purge old backups. From the home page of the tool:

Sayepurge parses the timestamps from the names of this set of backup directories, computes the time deltas, and determines good deletion candidates so that backups are spaced out over time most evenly. The exact behavior can be tuned by specifying the number of recent files to guard against deletion (-g), the number of historic backups to keep around (-k) and the maximum number of deletions for any given run (-d). In the above set of files, the two backups from 2011-07-07 are only 6h apart, so they make good purging candidates...

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Another small tool which lets you do incremental backups with hardlinks is faubackup.

From the homepage:

This Program uses a filesystem on a hard drive for incremental and full backups. All Backups can easily be accessed by standard filesystem tools (ls, find, grep, cp, ...)

Later Backups to the same filesystem will automatically be incremental, as unchanged files are only hard-linked with the existing version of the file.

It allows to create different levels of backups. From the man page:

FauBackup may be configured to keep certain backups for a long time and remove others. Have a look at traditional backup systems. You have tapes for daily, weekly, monthly and yearly backups, and store them according to your local backup policy. FauBackup can do this for you on harddisks, too. That is, it can keep some yearly, weekly, etc. backups for you and automatically remove other obsoleted backups.

Four different backup-types are recognized: daily, weekly, monthly and yearly. The first existing backup in such an interval will be considered belonging to the coresponding type. Thus, the first backup in a month (eg. 2000−12−01@06:30:00) will be a monthly backup; the first backup in 2001 will be of all four types, as January 1st, 2001 is a Monday.

The number of backups kept for each type is configureable (See faubackup.conf(5) ). If a backup doesn’t belong to such a type (eg. second backup in a day), or is too old for that type, it will be removed on faubackup --

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For the people that don't know, MEGA is a Dropbox alternative, with 50GB of free storage, available for Mac, Windows and Linux, created by Kim Dotcom.


Download the Mega Sync Client for Linux. Open the terminal in the directory you downloaded the deb files, then Copy/Paste the following code: sudo dpkg -i megasync-xUbuntu_14.04_amd64.deb. After that start mega from the Dash, from there one it will start up at login. Also note that the deb file also adds a ppa in your sources list. Meaning future updates, you will get via your Software Updater.

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:otto-kesselgulasch/mega
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install megasync


Here are some features that are touted by Mega:

  • Secure:

    • Your data is encrypted end to end. Nobody can intercept it while in storage or in transit.
  • Flexible:

    • Sync any folder from your PC to any folder in the cloud. Sync any number of folders in parallel.
  • Fast:

    • Take advantage of MEGA's high-powered infrastructure and multi-connection transfers.
  • Generous:

    • Store up to 50 GB for free!


excerpt from:

Which I am the author of.

As stated in other file-sharing-service answers, synchronisation is not backup (tldr: risk of synchronising corrupted/deleted files, particularly if no file-versioning available). The key to decrypt the encrypted data at Mega is secured and accessed by your account credentials (kept remotely but encrypted also), so as long as you still have login access/a user you shared the files to can login, the files won't be lost unless synchronised versions are overwritten by bad data.

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