Less trouble with automatic back-ups: a new cinnamon app

Some years ago, I had a bad situation where I got my laptop stolen… yes, I was stupid, I left the laptop in my car in plain view. Yes, I was stupid and I parked in a quite dangerous zone of the city. But even worse, yes I was stupid and I didn’t have a back-up!

Since, wise people learn from their mistakes, I decided to always keep a back-up since then. And one thing I realised is that keeping back-ups should be as effordless and as automated as possible. This way, you don’t rely on your memory or on convincing yourself to fetch that external disk to make a back-up…

So, I set-up an automatic script that does an incremental back-up once a day of all my important files. I’m using rsync connecting to a remote server and having a list of folders that are checked for changes. When changes are detected, the changed files are copied in the remote destination.

Even though this seems like a perfect solution, it still has some pitfalls. The main problem is that, since it’s an automatic procedure happening in the background, it can happen that a month or two passes without having a back-up, just because something went wrong in your script or something changed in your server. It has happened to me actually, that due to the fact that the server’s IP was updated, the script couldn’t connect to it, and my files were not back-up for almost two months till I realised it…

That’s why I decided to fix this with a small applet on my desktop.

I’m using cinnamon, so I though of giving it a try. It’s the first applet I wrote but I’m quite happy with it. It checks the log file from an rsync operation, and detects when was the last time that it exited successfully. Then, if the date is too far away (the ‘too far away’ being specified by the user) it shows a warning or an error on the desktop of the user. This way, in case your back-up script stops working for a reason, you will notice pretty fast.

You can find the application here:


and the source code here:


You should also be able to install it through cinnamon applet center. If you like it, please give it a rating. If you don’t like it, please give it a rating too. And if you have any comments, ideas or feedback, please don’t hesitate to share!

Tassos Natsakis
Lecturer on Robotics and Biomechanics
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