Prototype for the time machine similar solution as you noted in h-u-b whiteboard.

Andrew Jorgensen andrew.jorgensen at
Thu Nov 16 15:57:02 GMT 2006

On 11/15/06, Sivan Greenberg <sivan at> wrote:
> Have you given thought to how to make sure user's HD doesn't get filled
> with all the data that we back up? I suggest backup only the part of the
> file that was changed, there are couple of ways to do that already.

There's a simple trick involving rsync and hard-links, I've
implemented it once before.  I don't recall where I first read about
it but I'm pretty sure it's the method used by Drivish
<>.  Here's my implementation (might be a
little dusty, haven't used or touched it in years.

if [ ! -n "$BACKUP" ]; then
  echo "\$BACKUP must be defined."
  exit 1
LATEST=$BACKUP`dir -1rt $BACKUP | tail -n 1`
CURRENT=$BACKUP`date +%Y%m%d-%H%M`
if [ "$LATEST" == "$CURRENT" ]; then
  echo "Please wait at least one minute."
  exit 1
#du --summarize $BACKUP
if [ "$LATEST" != "$BACKUP" ]; then
  chmod -R u+w $CURRENT
rsync --recursive --checksum --copy-links --delete --delete-excluded
--include-from=$HOME/.syncs $HOME/ $CURRENT
chmod -R a-w $CURRENT

The above implementation only works when both source and target are on
the same fs but it could easily be adapted to work with a remote

Basically you only backup a file if it's different than the current
backed-up file.  Another nice thing about it is it's file-system based
so you can literally just cd into the past.  Probably the nicest
thing, though, is that you can delete any snapshot and the others are
still there.

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