My Déjà Dup backups have become quiet large and I noticed they contain a huge number of unnecessary files (e.g. *.pyc files, **__pycache__ folders and other build related temporary stuff).

I know that I can ignore specific folders, but is there a way to exclude files and or folders by patterns?

I thought there might be more options usable trough a configuration file, but Déjà Dup doesn't use one. So I looked at duplicity (the CLI it is based on), but the man page doesn't mention a configuration file either. I know that duplicity can ignore files and folders based on patterns (--exclude, --exclude-filelist), but I have no idea how to combine this with Déjà Dup.

Do I have to ditch Déjà Dup and use duplicity manually? Or is there a way to set the needed options, so that they are used automatically, when duplicity is used by Déjà Dup?

10 Answers 10


You can edit the exclude list like:

gsettings get org.gnome.DejaDup exclude-list
# remove comment to execute
# gsettings set org.gnome.DejaDup exclude-list ['path1', 'path2']

Source: https://answers.launchpad.net/deja-dup/+question/280954

I tried to add patterns like '**/.git' and '**/build' into that list, like this:

gsettings get org.gnome.DejaDup exclude-list > exclude-list
gedit exclude-list
gsettings set org.gnome.DejaDup exclude-list "`cat exclude-list`"

But to me it seems like the **'s were not passed to duplicity. So instead I ended up doing seaches like

locate "/home/*/.svn"
locate "/home/*/build"

and added them to the exclude-list manually

| improve this answer | |

Using ** patterns do not (any longer) work because deja-dub escapes [?* characters in duplicity command. See https://git.launchpad.net/deja-dup/tree/libdeja/tools/duplicity/DuplicityJob.vala#n303 :

  string escape_duplicity_path(string path)
    // Duplicity paths are actually shell globs.  So we want to escape anything
    // that might fool duplicity into thinking this isn't the real path.
    // Specifically, anything in '[?*'.  Duplicity does not have escape
    // characters, so we surround each with brackets.
    string rv;
    rv = path.replace("[", "[[]");
    rv = rv.replace("?", "[?]");
    rv = rv.replace("*", "[*]");
    return rv;

  void process_include_excludes()
    expand_links_in_list(ref includes, true);
    expand_links_in_list(ref excludes, false);

    // We need to make sure that the most specific includes/excludes will
    // be first in the list (duplicity uses only first matched dir).  Includes
    // will be preferred if the same dir is present in both lists.

    foreach (File i in includes) {
      var excludes2 = excludes.copy();
      foreach (File e in excludes2) {
        if (e.has_prefix(i)) {
          saved_argv.append("--exclude=" + escape_duplicity_path(e.get_path()));
      saved_argv.append("--include=" + escape_duplicity_path(i.get_path()));
      //if (!i.has_prefix(slash_home_me))
      //  needs_root = true;
    foreach (File e in excludes) {
      saved_argv.append("--exclude=" + escape_duplicity_path(e.get_path()));

    // TODO: Figure out a more reasonable way to order regexps and files.
    // For now, just stick regexps in the end, as they are more general.
    foreach (string r in exclude_regexps) {
      saved_argv.append("--exclude=" + r);

| improve this answer | |

There is no way currently with Deja Dup to do advanced filtering like that. See upstream bug https://bugs.launchpad.net/deja-dup/+bug/374274

| improve this answer | |
  1. install dconf-editor
sudo apt install dconf-editor
  1. run dconf-editor as normal user. (don't use sudo)
  1. locate org -> gnome -> deja-dup -> exclude-list
  2. set Custom value to (replace leo with your user name)
['$TRASH', '$DOWNLOAD', '/home/leo/.anaconda', '/home/leo/**/node_modules', '/home/leo/**/__pycache__', '/home/leo/**/*.pyc']
  1. You might need to reboot/re-signin. I run Screenshot which automatically update the value. I don't know why, maybe someone else can explain.


Replace leo with your user name

replace 'leo' with your user name

It should look like this way

| improve this answer | |
  • 1
    I tried this and the ~/**/node_modules does show in the 'Folder to ignore', but still they are backed-up..., so does not seem to work... – musicformellons Jan 21 at 19:22

I tried Jacob Nordfalk's method, but it did not work for me (maybe the syntax changed).

However, I was able to change the setting using dconf-editor. You can modify the list at path /org/gnome/deja-dup/exclude-list

| improve this answer | |

Get the current exclude list with:

$ gsettings get org.gnome.DejaDup exclude-list

which produces something like:

['', '/home/me/delete_me', '/home/me/eclipse', '/home/me/Music', '/home/me/R', '/home/me/Videos']

Then set your new list by wrapping the old output in quotes and adding your changes:

$ gsettings set org.gnome.DejaDup exclude-list "[ '', '/home/me/delete_me', '/home/me/eclipse', '/home/me/Music', '/home/me/R', '/home/me/Videos', '/home/me/**/.git']"

and run the get again to verify your changes.

| improve this answer | |

So I've write a small script to deal with the issue with a .dejadupignore file. But before one dives into this I have to say it is at least as worthwhile to dive into duplicity docs using include_list.txt as Justin Solms' answer suggests and further explained in this post..

The script first fetches the already existing ignores, then uses the locate command on every regex line specified in .dejadupignore and adds all found locations to a single array. It finally calls the gsettings command as proposed by Paul Smith to add all found files to ignore to the DejaDup exclude list.

A major setback however is the ulimit which defaults to 8192 on Linux. And even after I expanded it, it couldn't deal with the amount of __pycache__ locations as an argument to the gsettings command.

Anyway, hope it is of use to anyone.

import subprocess, os
from ast import literal_eval
from subprocess import PIPE

raw_lines = subprocess.run('gsettings get org.gnome.DejaDup exclude-list'.split(' '), stdout=PIPE, stderr=PIPE).stdout.decode('utf-8')
ignore_lines = literal_eval(raw_lines)

with open('.dejadupignore', 'r') as f:
    contents = f.readlines()

lines = [l.rstrip('\n') for l in contents]
for line in lines:
    line = os.path.expanduser(line)
    p = subprocess.run(["locate", line], stdout=PIPE, stderr=PIPE, shell=True)
    pstring = p.stdout.decode('utf-8')
    to_ignore = pstring.split('\n')
    to_ignore = [i for i in to_ignore if i != '']

command = 'gsettings set org.gnome.DejaDup exclude-list'.split(' ') 

for line in ignore_lines:

def smallfunk():
    i = input("Do you want to add these lines to the DejaDup exclude list? \n Press 'y' for yes and 'n' for no \n")
    if i == 'y':
    elif i == 'n':
        print('Not an option')


With the .dejadupignore file being:

| improve this answer | |

This answer is a variation of Daan Koetsenruijter's response who built upon half the thread here and upon LeoZ's response. So this is a remix of most of this thread. I remixed it because I wanted more control over what's going on and don't like a probably little tested (python) script that I can only read somewhat to mess with my settings. That's not critisizing Daan, it's my problem - thanks a lot Daan (and LeoZ, too), you basically solved it for me!

So, what I did is write a little command line that dumps the files I want to exclude and copy that to the respective value into the dconf editor (see LeoZ's response!).

And this is an example of such a command line:

find /home/myUserName -name node_modules -printf "'%P',\n" | grep -v 'node_modules/.*/node_modules' | sed -e ':a' -e 'N' -e '$!ba' -e 's/\n/ /g'

This does three things. The first command, "find" finds all directories I want to exclude (node_modules in this case) and formats it into the required format using "-printf". Don't do "find . [...]" because then the output will also be relative paths but you want absolute (and replace my username, obviously). Note that -printf adds a newline. This is in order to simplify the next command, the newline will be removed with the last command. Depending on your use case, you may simplify this.

The second command "grep" removes nested node_modules directories, in my case reducing the number of exclude entries from 15,000 to 250 or so.

Finally "sed" removes the newlines again. This can be simplified by not adding the newlines in the first place and using a smarter regExp in grep, but I couldn't be bothered :-)

I recommend removing the "sed" command and reviewing the exclude list first.

Caveats: If you have ' characters in the file-/dir-names you want to exclude, you need to solve another problem, but dconf editor probably saves you from breaking your settings (it checks the syntax). I guess there's more that can go wrong, so take care.

Thanks everybody in this thread for your help!

| improve this answer | |

Sadly neither Duplicity nor Déjà Dup uses a configuration file :( But there might be a possible workaround, the user @mterry mentioned the following in the bug report linked above:

if you gconf-edit the exclude-list and add patterns like "**/parts", the pattern is passed to duplicity and everything works as expected..."

Now, where are those gconf settings stored these days?

| improve this answer | |
  • 1
    org -> gnome -> deja-dup a.k.a. org.gnome.DejaDup. Not working for me, though. – esmail Nov 9 '15 at 21:21
  • you can edit the exclude list like: gsettings get org.gnome.DejaDup exclude-list gsettings set org.gnome.DejaDup exclude-list ['path1', 'path2'] – Jacob Nordfalk Feb 23 '17 at 13:26
  • the ms-windows registry was such a good idea that some linux developers felt the need to borrow the idea – Francois Sep 5 at 12:42

I successfully achieve exclusion using my include_list.txt file containing:

- /home/justin/**/.insync-trash
- /home/justin/**/__pycache__
- /home/justin/**/*.pyc
- /home/justin/**/node_modules
- /home/justin/**/Google Photos
+ /home/justin/Documents
- /home/justin/*

The /**/ is important to match through to any directory depth.

Rule 1: The order is important. First be specific first and general later.

Rule 2: What has already been matched in a line (include or exclude) cannot be changed by subsequent matches in later lines. The documentation mentions this; but in terribly confusing English. Hope mine is better ;) The lines above achieve:

  • Line 1: exclude any __pycache__ at any depth.
  • Line 2: exlude any file with extension .pyc.
  • Line 6: include my specific and only Documents folder.
  • Line 7: exclude all my other home folder such as Pictures, Videos, Downloads, etc. Note that this cannot stop Documents from being included as it was already matched in Line 6! Order matters!
| improve this answer | |
  • 1
    I guess you use your include_list.txt file by calling duplicity directly from the command line? Do you happen to know of any way to make such a pattern list work with Ubuntu's default Déjà Dup GUI? (BTW: It seems rather confusing to me naming a file containing inclusion and exclusion patterns include_list.txt...) – Salim B Jan 12 '19 at 15:32
  • Looking at manpages, it seems that indeed duplicity provides --include-filelist option with the syntax presented here (look for FILE SELECTION), however the manpage for the GUI provides very few options (well, GUI-related options). – Joël Apr 28 at 20:07

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