As much as I acknowledge the need to perform regular computer backups, I’ve admittedly never been one who does them. Whether this is because the programs available to me have been a chore to set up, or whether because I’ve never really been burned by losing something important in a hard drive crash or due to accidentally deleting something, I’ve just never been a regular backer-upper.
Sure, I talk a good game about it. I even have an external hard drive, although it tends to hold mainly my music and video collection (although that, too, is deserving of being backed up!). However, after running across a program called luckyBackup (for Linux), I’m not sure everything I just said holds true anymore. Because luckyBackup is simple to set up, and from my short time with it, does a really nice job.
Setting up luckyBackup couldn’t be simpler, really. After downloading and installing it from its home page (there are packages for many different distributions, as well as well as repositories for many different Linux distributions (or Mac OS X, if you’re using Fink), simply start up luckyBackup. You’ll see a screen that will eventually show all your different tasks. In luckyBackup parlance, a task is the act of backing up one directory to another, or synchronizing the two together.
To set up a new task, simply fill in a name, as well as the two directories. One, the source directory, will be the folder luckyBackup monitors, while the destination directory will be where luckyBackup stores the back-up data. One thing should be mentioned here: luckyBackup is a user interface over the top of rsync, a commandline utility. As such, any backups performed, after the initial full backup, will be quite quick, as luckyBackup only writes the changes you’ve made. So if you change one file out of a hundred, only the change is written to the destination directory, and everything else left alone. In this way, backups down the road are fast.
When setting up the task, you have the choice of how many snapshots to keep. A snapshot is basically one pass through your data. If you start using luckyBackup on a Tuesday and make a first backup pass, you now have one snapshot. Each additional pass yields an additional snapshot. By default luckyBackup is set up to keep only one snapshot, but if you feel you might want to go back further than just your most recent snapshot, feel free to keep more than just one.
For power users, luckyBackup has advanced settings. You can choose different file types to either be ignored (such as temporary files, cache folders and the trash), or you can choose to only monitor certain file types (such as .jpg, .mp3 or .doc files), from within a particular folder.
In addition to simply backing up one folder to another, luckyBackup gives you the ability to synchronize two folders. This is particularly useful if you typically take documents with you as you move between computers. For instance, you start working on a spreadsheet at home, then take it to work to finish. With luckyBackup, your home computer and the document folder of your Flash drive are always up-to-date with each other, so you always have the most recent version of whatever you’re currently working on.
All in all, luckyBackup is a nice option for Linux users looking for a simple yet powerful backup utility. It has the power and flexibility of rsync, but with an interface simple enough for new users to handle.