Creating Snapshot-Backups with FlyBack On Ubuntu 7.10

Version 1.0
Author: Falko Timme
Last edited 01/25/2008

FlyBack is a tool similar to Apple's TimeMachine. It is intended to create snapshot-backups of selected directories or even your full hard drive. From the FlyBack project page: "FlyBack is a snapshot-based backup tool based on rsync. It creates successive backup directories mirroring the files you wish to backup, but hard-links unchanged files to the previous backup. This prevents wasting disk space while providing you with full access to all your files without any sort of recovery program. If your machine crashes, just move your external drive to your new machine and copy the latest backup using whatever file browser you normally use." This article shows how to install and use FlyBack on Ubuntu 7.10 (Gutsy Gibbon).

I do not issue any guarantee that this will work for you!


1 Installing FlyBack

In order to install FlyBack, we open a terminal (Applications > Accessories > Terminal):

First we install FlyBack's dependencies as follows:

sudo apt-get install python python-glade2 python-gnome2 python-sqlite python-gconf rsync

Then we download and unpack FlyBack (in our home directory) like this:

cd ~
tar -zxvf flyback_0.4.0.tar.gz

That's it already, FlyBack can now be used.


2 Using FlyBack

It's a good idea to store your backups on an external hard drive. Please plug in an external hard drive and wait until it gets mounted (an icon should then appear on your desktop):

Now, in a terminal, type in the following command to start FlyBack:

cd ~/flyback/

FlyBack starts. If you see the following error message, simply click on OK - you can ignore this error:

FlyBack starts with the Preferences window. On the Storage Location tab, select your external hard drive:

Then go to the Included/Excluded Directories tab. Here you must specify which directories you want to back up and which ones you want to exclude from the backups:

Select the directories you want to back up (e.g. your home directory)...

... and click on the Add button:

The selected directory should now be listed under included dirs. Repeat this step for as many directories as you want to back up. The exclude patterns field already contains a good default selection of files/directories not to back up. Modify it only if you know what you're doing:

On the Backup Schedule tab you can automate FlyBack backups if you like:

Please note that FlyBack doesn't have to be running if you've selected to create automatic backups on the Backup Schedule tab. FlyBack creates a cron job for it. You can check that by opening a terminal and running:

crontab -l

In the output there should be a cron job for FlyBack (e.g. like this, running at the selected time):

falko@falko-desktop:~$ crontab -l
0 3 * * * python /home/falko/flyback/ --backup #flyback

Now that we've configured FlyBack to our likings, we can close the Preferences window.

The main window looks as follows, showing you the contents of your hard drive. The right window (system snapshots) lists all available backups - as we've created none yet, it only shows now which refers to the actual content of your hard drive.

You can browse the contents of your hard drive like you know it from your default file browser. The Home button takes you to your home directory (e.g. /home/falko):

Share this page:

1 Comment(s)

Add comment


From: at: 2009-07-28 11:43:59

Hello and Thank You for the instructions,

I am now backing up my workstation and the nice thing is that Flyback automatically exclused folders like /proc or /sys which sometimes can go overlooked!

It is a great program and a new discovery for me.


I was just wondering if I could backup a remote server on another (local) server using Flyback?

I am not sure if I could use IP addresses in the program?(is there a config file where you can manipulate the defaults?)

I have setup certs where I can SSH without login in into either servers and into each other (If that helps)?

Thanks again.

Best Regards;