At the moment my workplace is in the jungle and I’ve started hearing from my neighbors how their laptops are breaking down. The reasons could be overheating, too much humidity and/or corrosive salt in the air since we are close to the ocean too.
That in turn got me interested in backup solutions for Linux. I knew I wanted more than some command line rsync, one of the major positives of GUIs is that you don’t have to read manual pages for half a day before you’re ready to rock’n roll. My specific situation is wanting to backup a few local folders to an external USB HD.
I began by trying out BackupPC which was a horrible experience. The web based GUI is ridiculously hard to understand, screw that, how hard can it be to create something with two text fields and a button: Source dir, Destination dir and Go!?
Next up was Sbackup, which had a much better GUI, it was very easy to set things up, just one little problem: Nothing happened when I pressed Backup! A backup software that won’t backup is of course useless so I continued down the list with Unison.
Finally everything came together, I had a simple GUI where I even could manage which sub-folders were going to be synced, awesome! There was just one small problem: Unison won’t work with non Linux file systems and my external hard drive was ntfs… So I reformatted it to ext4. After that it was a smooth ride, it was exactly what I wanted.
Before I wanted to actually start the backup process I thought it would be a good idea to clean up both the directories to be backed up and the contents of the target USB drive, to save space and synchronization time.
After some research I decide to try out FSlint and this time around I hit the jackpot right away. There’s not really a lot to say about FSlint, the interface is so simple. One thing though, in order to actually do the cleaning up once you have found a lot of duplicates you choose Select -> within groups -> all but oldest for instance and then you click Delete.