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Linux’s Simple Backup Software: An Easy Way to Store Data

All technology is fallible, so having multiple copies of everything is key to retaining your data. Backup strategies range from dragging your files onto an external drive by hand to setting up complicated scripts that encrypt your data and move it off-site. For most people, the first option is just too hard to remember to do all time, and the second is just overkill. What if you just need to put your files on a CD or external drive every night? Enter the Simple Backup Suite for Linux, a killer desktop backup application.
The suite is made of two separate applications, Simple Backup Config and Simple Backup Restore. Each of these behaves exactly as you would expect from the title.

Simple Backup Config opens a simple window with a tabbed interface. The first tab you’ll see–opened by default–is the “General” tab. This lets you set your most basic options: Use a default backup configuration, define your own, or only do manual backups. The default configuration they suggest is very reasonable, but it excludes multimedia files, so I chose the custom configuration. The next tab is called “Include,” and it allows you to simply define what folders and files you want to backup. The “Exclude” tab allows to specifically exclude folders, file types, files with certain names, and even files over a certain size limit. Then, the “Destination” tab allows you to simply select a place for your backups (I chose my external hard drive) but you can also specify a remote location via FTP or SSH.

The “Time” tab is especially useful, because you can select a time for your backups in either general terms (daily, weekly, etc.) or very specifically (mine is set to backup every night at 3 am). What I love about the Simple Backup Suite is that it does incremental backups flawlessly. The first backup it makes will be a full backup, and from there on out it will only backup new and changed files, which is a huge disk space saver. I have mine set to make full backups every two weeks, with incremental backups in between.

The final tab, “Purging” lets you define how often you would like your old backups deleted. The default options should suffice for pretty much every configuration.

The Simple Backup Restore application is even easier to use than Simple Backup Config. It’s just a window with two drop down boxes and a display pane. In the first drop down, you select the location of your backups (in my case, my external drive). With the next drop down, you select from the available backups by date, and in the display pane, you specify what files from that backup you’d like restore. It couldn’t be simpler!

To install the Simple Backup Suite for Linux on Ubuntu, just issue the follow command in a terminal:

sudo apt-get install sbackup

For other platforms/distributions of Linux, see the Simple Backup Suite homepage at SourceForge.

The Simple Backup Suite for Linux comes very close to being the perfect desktop backup solution for me. It makes setting up automated backups so easy, anyone could do it. Since I’ve been making nightly backups of all my data, I sleep much better at night…I’m finally free from the stress of worrying about my primary hard drive failing in a freak accident! And I owe it all to the simple, elegant, and superbly functional Simple Backup Suite for Linux.

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