studio backups

Gustin Johnson gustin at
Thu Jan 29 20:54:10 GMT 2009

Hash: SHA1

Kim Cascone wrote:
> I've been researching that blind spot in the Linux community: a  
> decent backup app
> and have read various people recommending tar, dd, dump, rsync,  
> partimage, clonezilla, etc etc
> each person has their favorite way to do backups and each is woefully  
> lame in offering a concise step by step HOWTO
> the road of FOSS is littered with half-baked apps that get crap  
> support by their disinterested developers

This is a classic example of the difference between the Windows and Mac
world, and that of the *Nix world.  You are used to a single app that
does "backup".  The problem is that "backup" is a generic term that does
not mean much on its own.  Backup is also context dependant, my backup
needs are different between work, personal, and studio perspectives.
There is no single app that meets my needs.

Having said that there are a number of of Open Source pieces that I use
depending on the context.  See below for more details.
> I've tried most of these apps but none of them seem to have the exact  
> set of features I'm looking for
> ease of use, ability to cron, flawless backups, informative error  
> reporting, etc.

I suspect that this is a problem with your definition of the problem.
IMO you are asking the wrong question(s).  What exactly are you trying
to backup (entire system, data directories, only media projects, home
dir etc.), how exactly do you want to do it (incremental, full partition
dumps and so on), and when exactly (hourly, daily, weekly, something
custom etc.)?  You first need to properly define the problem before you
can find a solution.
> I am using an app that I like <somewhat> called QuickStart
> QS is basically a script that provides a front end for partimage and tar
> and while it backs up my two partitions ('/' + '/home') with tar
> my '/home' partition (/dev/sda5) gives an error message with  
> QuickStart/partimage

This can be constrained by space as you are dumping entire partitions.
This will in turn limit how much and how often you can backup.
> so I've been using QuickStart/tar for my 2 partitions with some success
> I say 'some success' because I have yet to test them by restoring them
> there is also Grsync, and Simple Backup which both have their plusses  
> and minuses
> neither of which seemed ready for prime time
Grsync is merely a front end to rsync.  I actually use rsync at home to
keep my DAW media files (samples, patches, projects, etc.) sync'd to a
cheap NAS device (DLink DNS-323).  I  have a cron job that does this
every night.

I use rdiff-backup to backup my personal files (photos, documents etc.)
with (a hosted storage drive on the net).  I really like
rdiff-backup as it combines both mirroring and incremental backup styles
and can be very efficient over the network (similar to rsync) as it only
transmits the differences.  This power comes at the cost of mild
complexity however.

> I'm still waiting to test clonezilla which seems promising - and  
> seems to be a favorite among the more demanding users
Does not suit my needs.  It is great for cloning a system in an
Enterprise environment, but I don't use if for backup just as most
people do not use Norton Ghost for backup.

> anyway, I know that backing up is still a black art in Linux-land for  
> some reason
> so I wanted to ask people here what they use for backing up their  
> precious audio and session files...
In my experience back up is a black art across all platforms because
most people do not really know what they want, need, and can afford.
There is a balance here that most of the professionals miss as well so
the problem is not limited to the home or casual user.  Most of my
clients did not have a proper backup policy if one existed at all.

> q: what is your favorite backup app and why?
It really depends on the situation.  I use a large number of tools that
could all be considered "backup" applications or tools.  I tend to roll
what I need up into a simple shell script that is run run via cron or
windows scheduled tasks.  In this way each solution solves exactly the
problem that I faced. These tools have included:
bacula, duplicity, rdiff-backup, rsync, backuppc, rsnapshot, subversion
(yes this is not a typo, this is how I backup my USB key full of
scripts).  Some of those tools were standalone (backuppc and bacula)
while others were tied together in a script.

It sounds like you are after a GUI tool.  You may wish to check out
abact, hubackup, sbackup (the last two are available in
apt/aptitude/synaptic etc.).  Abact also runs in Windows and is a pretty
good GUI utility.

If you are not afraid of the command line the following may interest you:
storebackup (available in apt/aptitude/synaptic etc.).

For low cost "cloud" (I really hate that term) backups you may wish to
check out or  I am not affiliated with either
of these companies except as a happy customer.  They both support MAc,
Windows, and Linux though I have not tested the jungle disk linux client.

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