Best local backup program for upload to cloud?

John Hupp ubuntu at
Fri Dec 5 21:55:29 UTC 2014

On 12/5/2014 11:00 AM, John Hupp wrote:
> I'm still working on a solution for the problems I raised in the 
> thread "A survey of GUI-based free online backup."
> I have swung this way and that looking for the best approach. Time and 
> again, I have found something that is promising in one regard but 
> undesirable in another.
> Here is where I am right now.
> offers 15GB of free storage with a Linux client, but the 
> client is really just a sync program, and you have to place all your 
> files in a designated sync folder.  If you don't want to do that, you 
> could backup all your user files to the designated sync folder.
> offers 10GB of free storage.  They don't have a Linux client, 
> but they do support WebDAV.  So you need either a backup program that 
> supports WebDAV, or you can use davfs2 to map a local drive to the 
> WebDAV resource, and then back up to the mapped drive.  In either case 
> you need a backup program.
> So with either or, the backup program is a critical 
> ingredient.
> ------------------------------------------------------------------------
> Notes on a couple of promising backup programs:
> Duplicity (say, with front end Deja Dup) has lots of strengths, but a 
> full backup should be run periodically, and you really don't want to 
> do that because of the difficulty of a multi-GB upload.
> Duplicity -- why a periodic full backup?  See 
> where it says:
>     /Thus, in principle, you could just create one full backup and
>     then use incremental backups for the changes. The developers of
>     Duplicity warn customers, however: Not only can a mistake in one
>     incremental part ruin the entire backup, but restoring files takes
>     quite a long time if the software needs to run through all the
>     incremental backups/.
> Duplicati 2 (based on Duplicity) overcomes that problem with an 
> approach that reliably merges 100KB diffs into an existing full backup 
> (a shameful imprecise description, but at least brief). The 100KB 
> chunk size keeps uploads reasonable.  It supports Google Drive, MS 
> Onedrive, and other destinations.  But the Linux version requires 
> installing Mono, which can run the Duplicati C# code that also runs on 
> .NET Framework under Windows.  This is convenient for a small project 
> to extend its platform reach, but it seems to me that it introduces 
> security risks, since .NET Framework malware does exist.  [Note: 
> Whether it poses a real risk is still under debate.  If the risk is 
> imaginary, then Duplicati 2, though still a Preview version, is the 
> best solution I have seen.]
> This may be an impossible spec, but I'd like to find a backup program 
> that:
> - will run in Lubuntu without installing a load of dependencies for 
> another environment
> - has a GUI (perhaps largely for the sake of Restores by average users)
> - doesn't require a periodic full backup
> - supports good encryption
> - supports compression
> - supports breaking the backup into nicely uploadable small chunks
> - is not buggy
> - preferably does auto-deletion of older backups, or supports 
> versioning, or will send an email when a backup fails
> If that is an impossible spec in the current state of affairs, I'd 
> like opinions on the best compromises.
> (I've been using SpiderOak, which has a nice Linux client and 2GB of 
> free storage, but that's not much storage these days, and I'd like to 
> hit on a better free solution that I can set up on systems that I put 
> together for people.)

I've wearied myself nicely, studying this issue for some days.

Some interesting nuggets:

Rsync and rather new front end Grsync are both very actively developed.  
Dirvish is another front end.  Rsync is of course very proven and widely 
acclaimed.  It is nonetheless a sync tool rather than a backup tool.  To 
use it for backup, you have to script a workaround that employs hard 
links e.g. and 
you would also have to script something to manage the full and 
incremental "backups."  Maybe one of the front ends knows how to handle 
those chores, but I have not read any mention of it.

Rdiff-backup is a back end that aims to provide mirror + incremental 
backup capabilities as part of its native design.  Sounds good.  But it 
doesn't seem to be actively developed, and there are some problems 
reported.  There have been a couple front end projects, both of which 
have been dormant.  But the Rdiffweb front end has a new maintainer with 
ambitious plans, including a 2015 new release 

In any case, when you are weary the thought of custom-scripting stuff 
(especially for a script weakling) or dealing with a buggy old back end 
seems extra daunting.  There is extra allure for something that just 
works, even if it is slightly off-goal.

So I returned to, which I previewed above.  It turns out that 
you get an extra 5GB just for installing the Linux client, so now my 
free allocation is 20GB.  That's a lot!

It also turns out that you don't have to actually move your files to the 
designated sync folder.  Copy supports symlinks, so if in the sync 
folder you just create a symlink to your home folder, Copy will pick 
that up.  Cool!

Furthermore, Copy supports 30-days of file versions and also allows you 
to un-delete files.  Quasi-backup!

Copy is a product of Barracuda Networks, so though this service is 
relatively new, it has good backing.

So for the time being, I'm running with
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