I use ubuntu / deja-Dup, for its nautilus ans system integration but:

  • I prefer the rdiff-backup storage: keeping the last files versions directly accessible

  • the nothing is visible but compressed chucks makes me uneasy: I once had some incoherences, from which I lost most of the files

What do you use on linux to backup your home directory using a NAS ?

  • 1
    open source? free? what budget?
    – Nicolas Raoul
    Apr 18 '14 at 8:45

I use rsync and btrfs. rsync will mirror my data, and can even store extended file attributes without needing superuser access on the NAS (see --fake-super command line option) and btrfs allows me to do copy-on-write snapshots (using sudo to grant snapshot permissions to selected users). I might have used zfs instead of btrfs if zfs-on-linux had been available to me when I started seting this up.

All of this is for command line / cron job only, though. There certainly are UIs for rsync-based backups, and hacking the btrfs snapshot into the loop should be possible as well (using --rsync-path pointing at a script which does that after the rsync server is done), but I have no experience with graphical UIs.

Edit: Since writing this, I switched from btrfs to ext4 since the btrfs became inconsistent. Might be due to bad memory. ZFS people strongly encourage the use of ECC memory, and the same reasons probably hold for btrfs as well.

  • I've read that btrfs has an innate ability to transmit deltas between snapshots across machines, which is something ZFS doesn't do.
    – JDługosz
    Apr 1 '15 at 5:35

You can use gnome's backup utility (see screen shot). It allows you to choose the frequency of the backups, and allows you to restore to any one of them. I believe it also compresses and can encrypt the backups.

Gnome Backups


I use dd to backup my home directory (in its own partition). It's a terminal application, used as follows:

dd if=/dev/sda2 of=/another/directory/my_lovely_backup.dd

Where sda2 is your home directory.

This is for an entire device though, if that's what you're after (i.e. if your home directory is on a separate partition). It's pre-installed on most, if not all, distros too.

  • I didn't know you can make differential backups using dd, which is one of the requirements mentioned. Are you sure that's possible?
    – Izzy
    Jun 12 '14 at 15:18
  • Ah sorry, didn't see that a a requirement. No, dd wouldn't do differential backups, not without some hacking at least. But still, as the OP was asking, that's what I use (storage is not an issue for me fortunately!) Jun 13 '14 at 8:37

Another option that is great if you're using BTRFS is Timeshift-btrfs

Timeshift UI

It also has the option for scheduled backups

Timeshift Settings

To install, follow these steps:

sudo apt-add-repository -y ppa:teejee2008/ppa
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install timeshift-btrfs

And since BTRFS uses a copy-on-write (COW) feature you can access any of the snapshots and copy out any individual files from it that you accidentally modified or removed from there.

See here for more information: https://btrfs.wiki.kernel.org/index.php/Manpage/btrfs-subvolume#SUBVOLUME_AND_SNAPSHOT

Good luck and have fun

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