Monday 2 February 2009

Eclipse Internet Backup Service and Linux / Wine

Eclipse Internet Home Broadband Pro comes with a free on-line backup facility, but only comes with a Windows based client. This note shows how the tool has been installed and operated under Wine on Mandriva 2009.

After downloading, double clicking on the .exe file, it installed into its default location. The account came with a username and password, which was prompted for and entered.

Backup Configuration

With the program, you can select which directories to back-up - remember that as this is a Wine application, you can only see the 'windows' drives.

Now, the backup offers you the choice of which drives to include for the operation.

By default, 'My Documents' is selected, and this maps onto whichever directory you have selected for the Documents folder in the Wine Configuation application (Desktop Integration / Shell Folders).

There is an advanced button, which I suspect is there to allow you to pick your own directories from the filesystem, however this does not appear to work properly.

When you select 'Advanced', you get a file hierarchy selection, but rather than containing a filesystem tree, it contains 'colours', 'sports' and 'food' - I presume that this is an internal development function that we should never see.

Having said that, it does not prevent us from using the tool to perform backups.

I have selected the tool to backup 'My Documents', which, for me, maps onto /home/steve/Documents (in the Wine configuration tool).

The backup tool follows softlinks, and also follows "hidden" .xxx files. I have other directories in /home/steve that I want to back up, so all I need to do is soft link them, for example:
ln -s /home/steve/directory1 /home/steve/Documents/.directory1
This way, the backup covers them, but I don't need to keep seeing them in the file manager on the computer.

Before backing up, the tool asks for a password to encrypt the uploaded data - this uses AES128, as symmetrically keyed algorithm.

Scheduled Backups

The application seems to run quite happily from the Linux systray, so it is just a matter of selecting the schedule configuration.

The only thing it doesn't seem to be able to do is display the start time that you have selected - I guess that there is a slight incompatibility or assumption in the font chosen in the drop-down boxes, and it doesn't quite fit. It doesn't, however, impede the selection of the start time.
Performing Restores

Restores are as simple as backups. Restores, by default, try to place the files into "c:\windows\profiles\username\My Documents", however, this uses the Microsoft "move-and-confuse" directory feature, whereby the c:\windows\profiles\username\My Documents" directory is actually the same directory as the one you specified in the Wine configuration program (e.g. /home/users/username/Documents), and is the same directory you used for the backup.

You can select a different directory for the restore, however, the tree does not offer you any of the other mounted drives. It is possible that these look like network drives to the application (I am not sure how Wine handles the drive mapping), so you won't see your drive D:, E: etc...

If you want to restore the files to a different directory, I'd suggest creating a 'restore' subdirectory in your 'Documents' folder, and restoring to there.

Automatic launching on Boot / Login

In order to be useful, the program needs to run in the background. It has a GUI, so running it as a Wine command-line application seems unlikely. I believe that the only realistic way to use the program is to auto-run it when you login.

If you want the program to backup multiple user's files through one account, I suspect that you are going to have to either run the application as root, or provide the current user with read permission for the other user's files, and soft-link. This could be achieved with a group access permission on the filesysytem.

Running the application as root could have possibilities, i.e. in root's Wine configuration, could point to root's Documents folder, which contains softlinks to all user's 'backup-me' folders. This program, however, would be accessible to the current user, who would be able to restore other people's files wherever he wanted.


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