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I am currently running Ubuntu 18.04 (with one Windows 10 machine for work) as an operating system. Ideally I'd like a solution which exists in the package manager (not the Snap Store, but I'll allow that if it's an open-source/free software one) and which is likely to have ongoing support. At least, is in the 20.04 OS version...

My problem is as follows: I have a few terabytes of offline backup that I wish to make sure has error detection or recovery, and which can be viewed across several Linux machines (bonus if it also would work on Windows, but I don't care nearly as much about that). For instance, ZFS for a filesystem, or something akin to DejaDup for backups and consistency. What is suggested for this?

(What exactly is the deal with ZFS? I know it's under the CDDL, which is not compatible with the GPL (and thus Linux support is... weird), but does it use binary blobs to run (or closed-source plugins to work properly, like VirtualBox) or was it truly (and only) that the original devs just didn't want it to have a compatible license?)

Also, I mention DejaDup, but it has strange limitations. It doesn't seem designed for backing up to or from specific folders/devices (I have to go into settings and choose the directories to save if I am trying to manage several separate backups on one machine--like ~/ vs. /media/user/usbdrive_1), I can't use the backups on different computers if the usernames differ, since the path differs and there's no backup "for that location" (since the location doesn't exist on that machine since the home folder's different). I thus have to dump the entire backup to a folder somewhere (and it then duplicates the path all the way from / in that directory)if I want a file out of it, and when doing that I'm not sure what exactly it even contains.

Is there some tool which either:

  • Copies the files over, but maintains a list of hashes next to them, so I can still view it all but it can be error-checked too?
  • Copies, error-checks, and compresses the files, but has a manager that lets me actually see the files in the archive and view/delete/edit/etc them?
  • Has version control of backups (alongside either of the above two methods) but lets me see the files without having to have a matching directory to decompress the files into?

I would prefer a GUI tool but would allow an automated/recursive CLI option (as in, I can say, "here's a directory, back it up for me"). I would like to be able to select a directory and back it up to an arbitary location/drive, and also to view the contents of the drive in-place (to run a global error check (checksum or whatever option) occasionally, and to actually open/replace/see the files as they are on the drive, including whatever alternate versions exist if the software also manages that).

I'm half-tempted to use Git to handle my backups, but I'm sure it's fairly clear why that's a bad idea (accidentally making a merge, moving files makes duplicates, inability to actually remove something from history for good...).

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I think that backuppc fits the bill:

BackupPC is a high-performance, enterprise-grade system for backing up Linux, Windows and macOS PCs and laptops to a server's disk. BackupPC is highly configurable and easy to install and maintain.

It does compression, deduplication (file level). It has a web interface and can keep multiple backups (full or partial).

You can find more information here and it is already in the repositories.

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  • That's very close to what I'd like, but for three things: 1, it's more for servers and mass automated backups than, "Oh hey, please store this newest library I coded/savefile/installer/song;" 2, it's web-based/server-side rather than something I can just run as an application; 3, I suspect that it's not intended for the backups themselves to be portable or to be in independent locations. I'd ideally like an interface like that of Soundkonverter, where I pull up the program, select a folder or file, and then choose options and where it should go (but with backups rather than audio files). – RDragonrydr Jul 29 at 16:39
  • The web interface put me off a bit, so I'm a bit leery to try it, but if I can just manually make a backup of an arbitrary folder on the same machine, and easily set a backup location for each one (may not always be different, but at least my music backups shouldn't mix with my minecraft worlds, etc) without having to open up the settings tab/page it may be useful to me. I think the "zip your exports" thing could go either way. It's a pain if I just want one file out and don't want to actually restore over the current version. On the other hand, if I want a bunch of files out, it's useful. – RDragonrydr Jul 29 at 16:43
  • The web interface might not be the prettiest but does just about anything you might want to do with backups (zips, individual files, direct restore via rsync ...). You can also create "virtual" hosts, and so backup with different schedules different areas of the disk. It is a backup solution, it's not meant for versioning or snapshotting (though you can kind of emulate those too). – Eduardo Trápani Jul 29 at 18:52
  • I am not really interested in versioning (but am not sure what snapshotting is, so it might be that), but I don't want to back up my entire computer, or necessarily the same folders each time. Does it work for that? – RDragonrydr Jul 29 at 23:09
  • Yes, it could. Not backing the same folders everytime sounds more like a one-time copy than a regular backup. You could do it... though that's not really the idea. But you can head to their mailing list and ask them about your use case. – Eduardo Trápani Jul 29 at 23:36

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