sbackup is a backup program emerging from a Summer of Code project. It was dedicated to tightly integrate with Ubuntu but can also run on other platforms. In contrast to often used backup services like Amanda sbackup focuses on the user of the machine.
Basically, sbackup is a GUI to create a set of scripts. These scripts are started by a daemon which itself is started by cron. The cron entry is generated by the GUI. The backup scripts are working on a diff base.
This is nothing new, everyone with some skills in using the command line can set up something similar. But not everyone has such skills, and it can take more time as you would like to spend on something so boring but necessary.
And, of course, the main advantage is the really impressive GUI:
The GUI focuses on ease of use and can be used even by beginner users. But if you are an expert sbackup suits you also because there is an advanced option as well. Only if you pick that option you are faced with the more detailed configuration elements. These elements are again designed with the user in mind: easy to understand but sufficient for the task.
Here you just include the directories you want to backup. Nothing else to see because there is nothing else to do. Exclusions are reserved for the next element.
As you see the exclusions element features several different options: exclusion by a file size, exclusion by a file type (ok, that seems to be limited to the file extension at the moment; unfortunate), exclusion by path and even exclusion by regexp. Again, it should fulfil almost all needs.
The destination element shows something I always missed with other solutions: the ssh support. That also shows the main difference to other solutions relying on network exported directories: in this part the program is a “pushing client”. Amanda for example is more a “dragging server”.
The next element, the time configuration part, gives you the power over the cron entry. Nice made, but I’m not sure if this is developed by sbackup or if other applications had such slick interface for cron before. Anyway, it does exactly what it is supposed to do.
Last but not least you can define the way how old backups are deleted. They can be deleted after a certain amount of time, or can be deleted on a logarithmic scale, which I think is quite nice.
I’m pretty impressed with sbackup since it really shows how a good an clean backup interface should be done and can be done. Of course several features (backup to CD/DVD, encryption, etc.) are missing yet, however the current roadmap lists these topics. Hopefully the author keeps the project alive to address all these parts. (He also should try to keep his wiki clean from spam, btw.)
I first noticed sbackup in this review at the “Only Ubuntu Linux” blog. Thanks for that detailed review.
But since sbackup is focused on Ubuntu there are no Fedora packages available yet. I put together a spec file to compile an x86 rpm and the srpm, but these are far from perfect. For example, the menu entry (I hardly use menus) still uses a sudo – and Fedora normally does not ship with a sudo configured in such a way. So only use the packages to test the tool or to improve the spec file. Feel free to submit it to Fedora extras, btw., I would love to have it in the repositories.
If you use these packages, start sbackup as root with the command