sbackup sucks

Asked by Troels Parbst on 2011-04-03

Hello Ubuntu (?),

This is not a question really, but i couldn't find a way to just send an email to whoever maintains sbackup.
This is about my recent experience using sbackup and why you have to do something about it. I think it is a really good example of open source software, where the free-tard argument does not apply. Some quality aspects in sbackup is so low, that the software is an infeasible solution for too many things.

First off, i really like the apps gui approach. I think it is completely right, to make it as simple as possible. Automated simple backups, that works with remote machines and a super simple way to restore your files. This is what drove me to choose sbackup. No command line BS for doing simple work.

So i set up my server, running mail and web with a small amount of users, to use sbackup and backup to my other server. The HDD in the first server crashed about 2 weeks ago. It will never wake up again, but of course that is not something i need to worry about. Sbackup has of course saved all my emails, database stuff for the web and all. So i bought a new machine and started reinstalling ubuntu. This is where i met the first major error in sbackup.

1. Meanwhile, sbackup has upgraded storage format from 1.4 to 1.5. As a user i couldn't care less, as long as it works. The thing is, that when i try to open the 1.4 backup in the 1.5 version of the program, it complains and wants to convert it. It gives fair warning, and says all data can be lost during this process. Ok, i make a copy. But this is where the BS starts. The gui does not handle privileges properly. It gets root access, and immidiatly drops it when converting the backup. Thing is, it is a BACKUP, and root owns files in the backup. These can obviously not be handled by anyone lesser than root, and since the gui dropped the privileges, it fails with a "file does not exist", after it created the first root-owned restore file. SO, what actually happens is, that the gui corrupts my backup! Not cool! If i had not made a copy of the backup files, the very program that was supposed to help me restore my backup, now ruins it! The gui gave a warning, but seriously... fix that bug.

2. The conversion process is WAY too slow. The backup i used was only about 3.9 GB for the entire disk. It ran in cycles, and has about 30GB of backup in all. I googled around and found, that the commandline version of sbackup didn't suffer from the same issues as the gui, so i could actually convert it this way. This data has taken 5 days to convert!!! Im running on a dual intel atom machine with 2GB ram, so it is not a monster but 5 days? What good is a backup, if it takes 5 days for a minor backup to become available? This choice put the app under amateur-hour cause nobody dependent on backup can live with 5 days for restoring a minor backup.

3. finally the conversion was done, now it's time to restore. Guess what, privileges once again foils the plot. It creates root owned files (because root owns the backup and i can be all the root i want to be on this machine, np) and crashes when it tries to access the files a users lesser than root. It even does this, when im running gnome itself as root. Everything is root, but still not good enough. Does. not. work. So right now, im manually extracting my files out of the tar files sbackup has created. These bugs have effectively reduced sbackup to a shell script with tar and rsync, which is exactly what i didn't want, as i try not to live 20 years in the past, although i like unix.

I know sbackup is open source, and you guys devote your spare time to just giving this away and that is of course awesome. If it wasn't for bugs like this, sbackup would be enough for all my backup needs (and many others). But you simply cannot release software that people choose to depend on, and then have that low testing quality. Had i been a bit more careless, sbackup would have ruined many weeks for work for me, because i trusted you, the maintainers, to do a proper job. Quality like that is just too low, when it comes to a thing like backup, no matter how free the software is.

Therefore, please fix stupid errors like this, so sbackup remains simple and stable. I really think you're on to something with this program, that can be the ubuntu standard (and all previous half-baked unix backup solutions can be shit canned), so make sure it does what it is supposed to.

Thanks for the work so far with sbackup. I think you are on track.

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If there is an issue with a software, log a bug.

There are plenty of alternative backup solutions. Why not just use something else...

Troels Parbst (parbst) said : #2

So after reporting

1. the conversion corrupts backups where root owns files
2. the conversion solution requires so much time that i am practically
forced to downgrade version
3. i cannot restore backups in which root owns files.

I get told to use something else? I don't understand how that improves the

On Sun, Apr 3, 2011 at 3:06 PM, actionparsnip <
<email address hidden>> wrote:

> Your question #151500 on sbackup in Ubuntu changed:
> Status: Open => Answered
> actionparsnip proposed the following answer:
> If there is an issue with a software, log a bug.
> There are plenty of alternative backup solutions. Why not just use
> something else...
> --
> If this answers your question, please go to the following page to let us
> know that it is solved:
> If you still need help, you can reply to this email or go to the
> following page to enter your feedback:
> You received this question notification because you are a direct
> subscriber of the question.

Read my first line...

Sam_ (and-sam) said : #4

> It creates root owned files

< Note: By default, restored files and directories are owned by root >

Sback is *simple*BackupSuite.

As average user, to make a package better (bug triage) or adding flag wishlist one usually may file a bug report.
Dev mail archive is mentioned there.

Just in case.

If there are issues with a software. Log a bug. You can create one by running:

ubuntu-bug sbackup

Jean-Peer Lorenz (peer.loz) said : #7

As one of the developers/maintainers I want to reply to some of your points:

1. Please, read a code of conduct and watch your language.
2. File reasonable bug reports. Reasonable is: verbose, descriptive, helpful. It's not feasible to fix bugs for developers if the actual cause of a problem is not clear or reproducable.
3. It works perfectly for me. I use it everyday.
4. Many problems are fixed in newer release but not yet backported to current distributions. Packagers wanted!
5. Jump in! There is a plenty of work that a single person just cannot cope with.
6. NEVER rely blindly on backups. YOU have to test your backups and to ensure data can be restored again!
7. Use a previous version of sbackup in order to restore data from a prior backup version (1.4)

Please, don't interprete my replies as an offense. I know there are remaining issues and we really try to release software that does it's job. However, resources are very limited. Remember: this software (and many more) is community-driven. Without support it will die. Solution: donate, triage bugs, release patches, write documentation, help out with packaging...

Kind regard.

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