Sunday, July 7, 2024

Revisiting Backups

Since comparing DejaDup and Pika Backup for work, I’ve also used KDE backup/kup at home, and gotten a little more experience with both systems.  How are things going?

Pika Backup

Pika has a firm internal idea of the schedule.  At the end of a vacation, where the normal weekly backup was skipped, I manually asked it to run the backup “6 days late / 1 day early”, hoping I could skip it the next day.  No such luck: it promptly asked for the drive the next morning.  No big deal; I just didn’t know the details of the system.

One small file recovery was quick and effective through the GUI.  It looked like a special folder in the normal file explorer, which allowed for drag-and-drop copying from the backup to the desired location in another file window.  As usual when coding, I had done something, changed my mind, deleted it, and then changed my mind back later.  And probably changed a couple more times.

KDE Backup

KDE Backup had been set up as a redundant system behind my handcrafted (smaller, faster, non-versioned) script, the latter of which was—er, intended—to store only my critical data.

A few months after a trial-by-fire backup test, I discovered that ~/.gnupg was not in my manual backup.  This could have been a critical fault… but KDE Backup had the data.  Clicking the “Restore” button opened a “File Digger” window, and from there it was just like using Pika Backup.

I got my key back!

I added the missing ~/.gnupg directory to manual backup, then reconfigured KDE Backup to back up into the existing repository.  That went smoothly, too.  It noticed that the directory I gave it already had data, so it verified the integrity, and then backed up into it.

Format-wise, KDE uses kup to do the backup, which is a front-end to bup, storing the data as a bare git repository.  I didn’t need a password to get data out of it, which makes sense, because I didn’t need one to set up the backup.  That’s also great news for actually recovering my data, because I have no idea what I would have chosen for a password when I started KDE Backup in the first place.


Both systems are working great, i.e., better than my manual one.