A survey of GUI-based free online backup

John Hupp lubuntu at prpcompany.com
Wed Nov 26 19:34:19 UTC 2014

Duplicati recently released a v2.0 Preview 
which offers a browser-based GUI interface over a "block-based" storage 
engine that knows how to access popular online storage from Google, 
Microsoft, Amazon and more.  It removes the need for periodic full 
backups, and its block-based incremental approach is finer-grained than 
file-level incremental backup.  The backups are compressed and encrypted 
on your machine before upload.  There is a built-in scheduler.  The 
software is open source.

I don't think it supports file versions, and to back up open/locked 
files in Linux it requires LVM.  But otherwise,  pretty darn good on 
lots of counts.

I have it working under Windows, aimed at a Microsoft Onedrive account, 
giving me up to 15GB of free online backup.


In Lubuntu I had been running SpiderOak, which has a nice GUI interface, 
supports some sort of incremental backup -- I forget the details -- and 
provides 2GB of free online storage.

The Duplicati 2 Preview supplies a GUI that supports Linux, so it looked 
like I was poised to take a giant step forward.

But after tripping over the installation, and then over the 
configuration (see 
<https://groups.google.com/forum/#%21topic/duplicati/FSejerztk0c> for my 
problems with those), I stopped and reviewed the fact that Duplicati 
only works under Linux if you install the Mono runtime environment, 
which supports running .NET Framework code in Linux and on a Mac.  
Alluring if you are a developer: write once, deploy everywhere (like Java).

It seems to me, however, that installing Mono introduces additional 
security risks similar to those posed by Wine.  Anyone disagree?


So I wondered if there were other Linux online backup solutions out 
there that 1) provide a GUI that is friendly for the average end-user, 
and 2) offer more than 2GB of free storage.  Other considerations: the 
solution is well-tested, secure and reliable; the provider has a good 
track record.

I should add that I'm leery of trying to use sync services (e.g. 
DropBox) in lieu of backup.  It seems to me that in the event of a 
disaster, an *average* user could inadvertently sync his online storage 
down to zero instead of restoring his files from that online storage.  
Anyone disagree?

My notes on a few near-hit candidates during this look-around:

*Cloudsync* - https://github.com/HolgerHees/cloudsync

Encrypts and uploads individual files to Google Drive or Dropbox. No 
mention of compression.  Requires some Java components.  Seems 
unpolished and thin on backing.

*Cyphertite* - https://www.cyphertite.com

Provides 8GB of free storage.  The software is open source. Security and 
the incremental backup method look good.  There may be a question of how 
to install it under Trusty -- see 
https://opensource.conformal.com/wiki/cyphertite_installation for binary 
package info.  But the most significant drawback for my purposes is that 
this is a command line program.

*Idrive* - https://www.idrive.com

Provides 5GB of free storage.  Good on security and incremental backup.  
But though it promisingly describes a desktop app at 
https://www.idrive.com/remote-manage, Linux users find out at 
https://www.idrive.com/online-backup-linux that scripts or the command 
line are their only options.

*There may be a few other offerings at 2GB, but I haven't seen anything 
that seemed superior to SpiderOak at that storage level*.


OK, so I found no elegant step forward from SpiderOak.

Though I'm leery of using a sync service in lieu of backup, it would be 
more acceptable as a second level of defense.  Maybe the next thing then 
would be to choose a GUI local backup tool that will compress, encrypt 
and also make nice use of a delta/block incremental approach, and save 
those backups in a folder that's set for online sync.  File versioning 
would be a plus.

Are there packages that fit that bill?  (I think that we have had here 
some version of this discussion before, but things change. Kindly humor me.)
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