Rclone and Back In Time (BIT)


I use BIT to backup my local data.
It is a good tool with incremental backup, using symbolic links.

I want to use the great Rclone to save my BIT backup on Gdrive.
rclone copy is working fine, but what is for you the best option? will it save all symbolic links?


welcome to the forum.

what is BIT?
what operating system are you using?

Thank you :wink:

BIT is Back In Time : https://github.com/bit-team/backintime
I am using Manjaro

I would expect that you can back up the destination directory offsite with rclone.

However I see in the docs

Local snapshots can be stored on internal or external hard-drive or on mounted shares. The destination file-system must support hard-links

Rclone doesn't support hard links. This means that it will potentially copy the same data multiple times. I don't really know how the BIT archives look as to whether this will be an actual problem or not.

If you use the -l option then rclone copy will preserve symlinks for you.

rclone mount doesn't support hardlinks or symlinks so I don't think you can backup directly to that, so using rclone copy seems like the best solution.

"will preserve symlinks" ? will it copy symlinks without following them to avoid duplicate?

Yes the -l option will copy the symlinks themselves without following them

Ok, but executing copy without "Can't follow symlink without -L/--copy-links"
So with -l it does not follow, and without -l it does not follow too?

At my first rclone execution, copy withtout -l, my source folder is 76Gb, -P it show more than 110Gb. Strange... and I got a lot of duplicate files. It seems to follow symlinks.

Are there hard links in the source folder? Rclone will follow those.

Compare the output of these - the first counts the space used with hard links, and the second without (the way rclone will see it).

du -hs /path/to/folder
du -hsl /path/to/folder


$ mkdir /tmp/src
$ cd /tmp/src
$ dd if=/dev/zero of=10M bs=1M count=10
10+0 records in
10+0 records out
10485760 bytes (10 MB, 10 MiB) copied, 0.0111347 s, 942 MB/s
$ ln 10M 10M-hardlink
$ ls -l
total 20480
-rw-rw-r-- 2 ncw ncw 10485760 Nov 10 17:27 10M
-rw-rw-r-- 2 ncw ncw 10485760 Nov 10 17:27 10M-hardlink
$ du -hs .
11M	.
$ du -hsl .
21M	.

I did not test du command,
but BIT use hard links https://backintime.readthedocs.io/en/latest/

I suppose there is no way to ignore hard link?

Rclone doesn't understand hard links at the moment, no.

Neither does rsync unless you give it the -H flag which causes it to do a whole lot more work.

The main problem with hardlinks is that you know a file is hardlinked, but you don't know to what without listing the entire directory.

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