Obnam NEWS

This file summarizes changes between releases of Obnam.

Version 1.7.4, released 2014-03-31

  • The manual is now dual-licensed under GNU GPL v3 or later, and Creative Commons CC-BY-SA 4.0.

  • The 1.7.3 release never went out. Let's pretend it wasn't even tagged in git, and everyone will be happy.

Bug fixes:

  • Obnam FUSE got another bug fix from Valery Yundin, to fix a bug I introduced in 1.7. Reading big files via obnam mount should now work better.

  • Fix count of backed up files. It used to always count directories. Reported by Alberto Fuentes as Debian bug 742384.

  • obnam diff latest would fail due to a programming error. Reported by Junyx.

Version 1.7.2, released 2014-03-22

Bug fixes:

  • Fix another bug in the FUSE plugin's file reading code, found during the release process of 1.7.2.

Version 1.7.1, released 2014-03-22

  • The dump-repo command now outputs JSON instead of YAML. The dependency on PyYAML is no longer.

Bug fixes:

  • Nemo Inis found a bug in the FUSE plugin (obnam mount), where Obnam would return the wrong data when the program reading the file didn't read the whole file from the beginning in one read(2) system call.

  • The test suite now skips tests that require use of extended attributes in the user namespace. This should allow the test suite to be run on more build servers run by various distributions.

Version 1.7, released 2014-03-15

WARNING: This release has had fairly large parts of the internals re-written. There shouldn't be any externally visible changes due to that, but there is a chance of bugs. Be careful. Make a copy of your backup repository before upgrading, if you can.

  • The convert5to6 subcommand has been removed. If you need to convert from a pre-1.0 backup repository, and haven't done so yet, please use Obnam version 1.6.1 or earlier to do so.

  • A new backup-finished hook is provided by the backup plugin, so that other plugins may do processing at the end of a backup, such as report the successful backup to a monitoring system. Patch by Enrico Tröger.

  • The FUSE plugin can now refresh its view, by having the user read the .pid file. Patch by Valery Yundin.

  • New option --always-restore-setuid to always restore setuid/setgid flags in permissions, even if the restore is not being run by root or the owner of the files (as recorded in the backup).

  • New option --exclude-from allows exclusion patterns to be given in a separate file (one per line), instead of in a configuration file or on the command line. Patch by Enrico Tröger.

  • A start of a manual for Obnam. This will gain more content with new releases. The current versions is mainly an edited version of Lars's blog posts about backups, plus the Obnam tutorial from the Obnam homepage. See http://code.liw.fi/obnam/manual/ for rendered versions (PDF, HTML).

  • Most of the error messages Obnam produces now have a unique error code: ERROR: R0B15DX: Cannot find requested generation for client havelock for example. More error messages will gain error codes in future releases. The error codes are meant to be easy to search for, and will allow error messages to be translated in the future.

  • The obnam-benchmark program got rewritten so that it'll do something useful, but at the same time, it is no longer useful as a general tool. It is now expected to be run from the Obnam source tree (a cloned git repository), and isn't installed anymore.

  • The log file now includes information about the transfer overhead to the repository. Overhead is all the bytes that are not file content data: filenames, permission bits, extended attributes, etc, plus Obnam internal bookkeeping.

  • obnam verify now shows progress both based on number of files and amount of data.

Bug fixes:

  • Obnam now doesn't remove chunks that are shared between clients. Previously, this would sometimes happen, because only the first client would correctly record itself as using a chunk. Now all clients do that.

  • Obnam now creates a trustdb.gpg in the temporary GNUPGHOME it uses during encryption operations. From version 2.0.22 (or thereabouts), gpg insists on having a trustdb.gpg in the GNUPGHOME it uses.

  • When backing up a large file, and making a checkpoint generation in the middle of it, Obnam would say "continuing backup" after the checkpoint was finished, instead of saying the name of the file. This is now fixed.

Internal changes:

  • The obnamlib.Error exception class has been replaced by the obnamlib.ObnamError class, which derives from the new obnamlib.StructuredError class. All new exceptions will need to be derived from obnamlib.Error in the future. Also, due to the way StructuredError works, it is now necessary to create a new exception class for each kind of error. This gives us unique the error codes mentioned above.

  • The old obnamlib.Repository class is gone, and replaced with the obnamlib.RepositoryInterface class, which gets implemented for each repository format (there is only one, for now, but there will be more).

Version 1.6.1, released 2013-11-30

  • Fix Debian package dependencies correctly.

Version 1.6, released 2013-11-30

  • Stop logging paramiko exceptions that get converted into another type of exception by the SFTP plugin in Obnam.

  • obnam-benchmark can now use an installed version of larch. Patch by Lars Kruse.

  • Obnam has been ported to FreeBSD by Itamar Turner-Trauring of HybridCluster.

  • Backup progress reporting now reports scanned file data, not just backed up file data. This will hopefully be less confusing to people.

  • The list-keys, client-keys, and list-toplevels commands now obey a new option, --key-details, to show the usernames attached to each public key. Patch by Lars Kruse.

  • New option --ssh-command to set the command Obnam runs when invoking ssh. patch by Lars Kruse.

  • obnam clients can now be used without being an existing client. Patch by Itamar Turner-Trauring.

  • New option --ssh-host-keys-check to better specify how SSH host keys should be checked. Patch by Itamar Turner-Trauring.

Bug fixes:

  • Fix"obnam list-toplevels so it doesn't give an error when it's unable to read the per-client directory of another client, when encryption is used. Fix by Lars Kruse.

  • Fix the encryption plugin to give a better error message when it looks for client directories but fails to find them. Fix by Lars Kruse.

  • obnam list-toplevels got confused when the repository contained extra files, such as "lock" (left there by a previous, crashed Obnam run). It no longer does. Fix by Lars Kruse.

  • The SFTP plugin now handles another error code (EACCESS) when writing a file and the directory it should go into not existing. Patch by Armin Größlinger.

  • Obnam's manual page now explains about breaking long logical lines into multiple physical ones.

  • The /~/ path prefix in SFTP URLs works again, at least with sufficiently new versions of Paramiko ( in Debian wheezy is OK). Reported by Lars Kruse.

  • The Nagios plugin to report errors in a way Nagios expects. Patch by Martijn Grendelman.

  • The Nagios plugin for Obnam now correctly handles the case where a backup repository for a client exists, but does not have a backup yet. Patch by Lars Kruse.

  • obnam ls now handles trailing slashes in filename arguments. Reported by Biltong.

  • When restoring a backup, Obnam will now continue past errors, instead of aborting with the first one. Patch by Itamar Turner-Trauring.

Version 1.5, released 2013-08-08

Bug fixes:

  • Terminal progress reporting now updated only every 0.1 seconds, instead of 0.01 seconds, to reduce terminal emulator CPU usage. Reported by Neal Becker.
  • Empty exclude patterns are ignored. Previously, a configuration file line such as "exclude = foo, bar," (note trailing comma) would result in an empty pattern, which would match everything, and therefore nothing would be backed up. Reported by Sharon Kimble.
  • A FUSE plugin to access (read-only) data from the backup repository has been added. Written by Valery Yundin.

Version 1.4, released 2013-03-16

  • The`ls command now takes filenames as (optional) arguments, instead of a list of generations. Based on patch by Damien Couroussé.
  • Even more detailed progress reporting during a backup.
  • Add --fsck-skip-generations option to tell fsck to not check any generation metadata.
  • The default log level is now INFO, instead of DEBUG. This is to be considered a quantum leap in the continuing rise of the maturity level of the software. (Actually, the change is there just to save some disk space and I/O for people who don't want to be involved in Obnam development and don't want to have massive log files.)
  • The default sizes for the lru-size and upload-queue-size settings have been reduced, to reduce the memory impact of Obnam.
  • obnam restore now reports transfer statistics at the end, similarly to what obnam backup does. Suggested by "S. B.".

Bug fixes:

  • If listing extended attributes for a filesystem that does not support them, Obnam no longer crashes, just silently does not backup extended attributes. Which aren't there anyway.
  • A bug in handling stat lookup errors was fixed. Reported by Peter Palfrader. Symptom: AttributeError: 'exceptions.OSError' object has no attribute 'st_ino' in an error message or log file.
  • A bug in a restore crashing when failing to set extended attributes on the restored file was fixed. Reported by "S. B.".
  • Made it clearer what is happening when unlocking the repository due to errors, and fixed it so that a failure to unlock is also an error. Reported by andrewsh.
  • The dependency on Larch is now for 1.20121216 or newer, since that is needed for fsck to work.
  • The manual page did not document the client name arguments to the add-key and remove-key subcommands. Reported by Lars Kruse.
  • Restoring symlinks as root would fail. Reported and fixed by David Fries.
  • Only set ssh user/port if explicitily requested, otherwise let ssh select them. Reported by Michael Goetze, fixed by David Fries.
  • Fix problem with old version of paramiko and chdir. Fixed by Nick Altmann.
  • Fix problems with signed vs unsigned values for struct stat fields. Reported by Henning Verbeek.

Version 1.3, released 2012-12-16

  • When creating files in the backup repository, Obnam tries to avoid NFS synchronisation problems by first writing a temporary file and then creating a hardlink to the actual filename. This works badly on filesystems that do not allow hard links, such as VFAT. If creating the hardlink fails, Obnam now further tries to use the open(2) system call with the O_EXCL flag to create the target file. This should allow things to work with both NFS and VFAT.
  • More detailed progress reporting during the backup.
  • Manual page now covers the diff subcommand. Patch by Peter Valdemar Mørch.
  • Speed optimisation patch for backing up files in inode numbering order, from Christophe Vu-Brugier.
  • A setuid or setgid bit is now not restored if Obnam is not used by root or the same user as the owner of the restored file.
  • Many new settings to control "obnam fsck", mainly to reduce the amount of checking being done in order to make it faster. However, fsck is has lost some features (checks), which will be added back in a future release.
  • More frequent fsck progress reporting. Some speed optimisations to fsck.

Bug fixes:

  • Empty values for extended attributes are now backed up correctly. Previously they would cause an infinite loop.
  • Extended attributes without values are now ignored. This is different from attributes with empty values. Reported by Vladimir Elisseev.
  • An empty port number in sftp URLs is now handled correctly. Found based on report by Anton Shevtsov.
  • A bad performance bug when backing up full systems (starting from the filesystem root directory) has been fixed. At the beginning of each generation, Obnam removes any directories that are not part of the current backup roots. This is necessary so that if you change the backup roots, the old stuff doesn't hang around forever. However, when the backup root is the filesystem root, due to the now-fixed bug Obnam would first remove everything, and then back it up all over again. This "worked", but was quite slow. Thanks to Nix for reporting the problem.
  • Obnam now runs GnuPG explicitly with the "no text mode" setting, to override a "text mode" setting in the user's configuration. The files Obnam encrypts need to be treated as binary, not text files. Reported by Robin Sheat.
  • A shared B-tree concurrency bug has been fixed: If another instance of Obnam was modifying a shared B-tree, Obnam would crash and abort a backup, possibly leaving lock files lying around. Now a failure to look up a chunk via its checksum is ignored, and the backup continues.
  • Bugs in how Python OSError exceptions were being raises have been fixed. Error messages should now be somewhat clearer.
  • Unset or wrongly set variable "full" fixed in "obnam diff". Reported by ROGERIO DE CARVALHO BASTOS and patched by Peter Valdemar Mørch.
  • Setuid and setgid bits are now restored correctly, when restore happens as root. Reported by Pavel Kokolemin.
  • Obnam now complains if no backup roots have been specfied.

Version 1.2, released 2012-10-06

  • Added a note to --node-size that it only affects new B-trees. Thanks, Michael Brown.
  • New obnam diff subcommand to show differences (added/removed/modified files) between two generations, by Peter Valdemar Mørch.
  • obnam backup now logs the names of files that are getting backed up at the INFO level rather than DEBUG.
  • The command synopsises for backup, restore, and verify commands now make it clearer that Obnam only accepts directories, not individual files, as arguments. (For now.)
  • The output from the show plugin can now be redirected with the --output=FILE option. Affected subcommands: clients, generations, genids, ls, diff, nagios-last-backup-age.

Bug fixes:

  • Notify user of errors during backups.
  • The SFTP plugin now manages to deal with repository paths starting with /~/ which already exist without crashing.
  • Character and block device nodes are now restored correctly. Thanks to Martin Dummer for the bug report.
  • The symmteric key for a toplevel repository directory is re-encrypted when a public key is added or removed to the toplevel using the add-key or remove-key subcommands.
  • Manual page typo fix. Thanks, Steve Kemp.

Version 1.1, released 2012-06-30

  • Mark the --small-files-in-btree settings as deprecated.
  • Obnam now correctly checks that --repository is set.
  • Options in --help output are now grouped in random senseless ways rather than being in one randomly ordered group.
  • Manual page clarification for --root and verify. Thanks, Saint Germain.
  • Remove outdated section from manual page explaining that there is not format conversion. Thanks, Elrond of Samba-TNG.
  • Added missing information about specifying a user in sftp URLs. Thanks, Joey Hess, for pointing it out.
  • Manual page clarification on --keep from Damien Couroussé.
  • Make obnam forget report which generations it would remove without --pretend. Thanks, Neal Becker, for the suggestion.

Version 1.0, released 2012-06-01

  • Fixed bug in finding duplicate files during a backup generation. Thanks to Saint Germain for reporting the problem.
  • Changed version number to 1.0.

Version 0.30, released 2012-05-30; a RELEASE CANDIDATE

Only bug fixes, and only in the test suite.

  • Fix test case problem when $TMPDIR lacks user_xattr. The extended attributes test won't succeed in that case, and it's pointless to run it.
  • Fix test case problem when $TMPDIR lacks nanosecond timestamps for files. The test case now ignores such timestamps, making the test pass anyway. The timestamp accuracy is not important for this test.

Version 0.29, released 2012-05-27; a RELEASE CANDIDATE

  • "obnam backup" now writes performance statistics at the end of a backup run. Search the log for "Backup performance statistics" (INFO level).
  • "obnam verify" now continues past the first error. Thanks to Rafał Gwiazda for requesting this.
  • Add an obnam-viewprof utility to translate Python profiling output into human readable text form.
  • Bug fix: If a file's extended attributes have changed in any way, the change is now backed up.
  • "obnam fsck" is now a bit faster.
  • The shared directories in the repository are now locked only during updates, allowing more efficient concurrent backups between several computers.
  • Obnam now gives a better error message when a backup root is not a directory. Thanks to Edward Allcutt for reporting the error (http://bugs.debian.org/cgi-bin/bugreport.cgi?bug=654211).
  • The output format of "obnam ls" has changed. It now has one line per file, and includes the full pathname of the file, rather mimicking the output of "ls -lAR". Thanks to Edward Allcutt for the suggestion (http://bugs.debian.org/cgi-bin/bugreport.cgi?bug=655095).
  • A few optimizations to sftp speed. Small files are still slow.

Version 0.28, released 2012-05-10; a BETA release

  • force-lock should now remove all locks.
  • Out-of-space errors in the repository now terminate the backup process. Previously, Obnam would continue, ignoring the failure to write. If you make space in the repository and restart Obnam, it will continue from the previous checkpoint.
  • The convert5to6 black box test now works even if run by other people than liw.
  • "obnam backup" now uses a single SFTP connection to the backup repository, rather than opening a new one after each checkpoint generation. Thanks to weinzwang for reporting the problem.
  • "obnam verify" now obeys the --quiet option.
  • "obnam backup" no longer counts chunks already in the repository in the uploaded amount of data.

Version 0.27, released 2012-04-30; a BETA release

  • The repository format has again changed in an incompatible manner, so you will need to re-backup everything again. Alternatively, you can try the new convert5to6 subcommand. See the manual page for details. Make sure you have a copy of the repository before converting, the code is new and may be buggy.
  • New option --small-files-in-btree enables Obnam to store the contents of small files in the per-client B-tree. This is not the default, at least yet, since it's impact on real life performance is unknown, but it should make things go a bit faster for high latency repository connections.
  • Some SFTP related speed optimizations.
  • Data filtering is now strictly stable and priority-ordered, ensuring that compression always happens before encryption etc.
  • Repository metadata is never filtered, so that we can be sure that in future if when we add backwards-compatibility we can detect the format without worrying about any other filtering which might occur.
  • Forcing of locks is now unconditional and across the entire repository.
  • Uses the larch 0.30 read-only mode to fix a bug where opening a B-tree rolls back changes someone else is making, even if we only use the tree to read stuff from.
  • "obnam backup" will now exit with a non-zero exit code if there were any errors during a backup, and the problematic files were skipped. Thanks, Peter Palfrader, for reporting the bug.
  • "obnam forget" is now a bit faster.
  • Hash collisions for filenames are now handled.

Version 0.26, released 2012-03-26; a BETA release

  • Clients now lock the parts of the backup repository they're using, while making any changes, so that multiple clients can work at the same time without corrupting the repository.
  • Now depends on a larch 0.28, which uses journalling to avoid on-disk inconsistencies and corruption during crashes.
  • Compression and encryption can now be used together.

Version 0.25, released 2012-02-18; a BETA release

  • Log files are now created with permissions that allow only the owner to read or write them. This fixes a privacy leak.
  • The nagios-last-backup-age subcommand is useful for setting up Nagios (or similar systems) to check that backups get run properly. Thanks to Peter Palfrader for the patch.
  • Some clarification on how the forget policy works, prompted by questions from Peter Palfrader.
  • New settings ssh-known-hosts (for choosing which file to check for known host keys), strict-ssh-host-keys (for disallowing unknown host keys), and ssh-key (for choosing which key file to use for SSH connections) allow better and safer use of ssh.
  • Checkpoints will now happen even in the middle of files (but between chunks).
  • The --pretend option now works for backups as well.


  • obnam ls now shows the correct timestamps for generations. Thanks, Anders Wirzenius.

Version 0.24.1, released 2011-12-24; a BETA release


  • Fix test case for file timestamps with sub-second resolution. Not all filesystems have that, so the test case has been changed to accept lack of sub-second timestamps.

Version 0.24, released 2011-12-18; a BETA release


  • The way file timestamps (modification and access times) have changed, to fix inaccuracies introduced by the old way. Times are now stored as two integers giving full seconds and nanoseconds past the full second, instead of the weird earlier system that was imposed by Python's use of floating point for the timestamps. This causes the repository format version to be bumped, resulting in a need to start over with an empty repository.
  • Extended file attributes are now backed up from and restored to local filesystems. They are neither backed up, nor restored for live data accessed over SFTP.
  • If the --exclude regular expression is wrong, Obnam now gives an error message and then ignores the regexp, rather than crashing.
  • There is now a compression plugin, enabled with --compress-with=gzip.
  • De-duplication mode can now be chosen by the user: the new --deduplicate setting can be one of never (fast, but uses more space); verify (slow, but handles hash collisions gracefully); and fatalist (fast, but lossy, if there is a hash collision). fatalist is the default mode.
  • Restores now obey the --dry-run option. Thanks to Peter Palfreder for the bug report.
  • New option --verify-randomly allows you to check only a part of the backup, instead of everything.
  • Verify now has some progress reporting.
  • Forget is now much faster.
  • Forget now has progress reporting. It is not fast enough to do without, sorry.
  • Backup now removes any checkpoint generations it created during a backup run, if it succeeds without errors.


  • Now works with a repository on sshfs. Thanks to Dafydd Harries for reporting the problem.
  • Now depends on a newer version of the larch library, fixing a problem when the Obnam default node size changes and an existing repository has a different size.
  • User and group names for sftp live data are no longer queried from the local system. Instead, they're marked as unknown.

Version 0.23, released 2011-10-02; a BETA release


  • restore now shows a progress bar.
  • fsck now has more useful progress reporting, and does more checking, including the integrity of the contents of file content.
  • fsck now also checks the integrity of the B-trees in the repository, so that it is not necessary to run fsck-larch manually anymore. This works remotely as well, whereas fsck-larch only worked on B-trees on the local filesystem.
  • force-lock now gives a warning if the client does not exist in the repository.
  • Subcommands for encryption now give a warning if encryption key is not given.
  • The --fsck-fix option will now instruct obnam fsck to try to fix problems found. For this release, it only means fixing B-tree missing node problems, but more will follow.
  • The default sizes have been changed for B-tree nodes (256 KiB) and file contents chunks (1 MiB), based on benchmarking.
  • SFTP protocol use has been optimized, which should result in some more speed. This also highlights the need to change obnam so it can do uploads in the background.
  • If a client does not exist in the repository, force-lock now gives a warning to the user, rather than ignoring it silently.


  • New --sftp-delay=100 option can be used to simulate SFTP backups over networks with long round trip times.
  • obnam-benchmark can now use --sftp-delay and other changes to make it more useful.


  • Got rid of terminal status plugin. Now, the Application class provides a ttystatus.TerminalStatus instance instead, in the ts attribute. Other plugings are supposed to use that for progress reporting and messaging to the user.
  • The posix_fadvise system call is used only if available. This should improve Obnam's portability a bit.

Version 0.22, released 2011-08-25; a BETA release


  • Obnam now reports its current configuration in the log file at startup. This will hopefully remove one round of "did you use the --foo option?" questions between developers and bug reporters.


  • The repository is now unlocked on exit only if it is still locked.
  • A wrongly caught GeneratorExit is now dealt with properly.
  • Keyboard interrupts are logged, so they don't show up as anonymous errors.


  • setup.py has been enhanced to work more like the old Makefile did: clean removes more artifacts. Instructions in README have been updated to point at setup.py.
  • Compiler warning about _XOPEN_SOURCE re-definition fixed.
  • Tests are now again run during a Debian package build.

Version 0.21, released 2011-08-23; a BETA release


  • Obnam will now unlock the repository if there's an error during a backup. For the most part, the force-lock operation should now be unnecessary, but it's still there in case it's useful some day.


  • Negative timestamps for files now work. Thanks to Jamil Djadala for reporting the bug.
  • The documentation for --checkpoint units fixed. Thanks, user weinzwang from IRC.
  • The connections to the repository and live data filesystem are now properly closed. This makes benchmark read/write statistics be correct.

Version 0.20.1, released 2011-08-11; a BETA release


  • More cases of Unicode strings versus plain strings in filenames over SFTP fixed. Thanks to Tapani Tarvainen.

Version 0.20, released 2011-08-09; a BETA release


  • Non-ASCII filenames over SFTP root now work. (Thanks, Tapani Tarvainen, for the reproducible bug report.)
  • The count of files while making a backup now counts all files found, not just those backed up. The old behavior was confusing people.


  • The output of obnam ls now formats the columns a little prettier, so that wide values do not cause misalignment.
  • The error message when trying to use an encrypted repository without encryption is now better (and suggests missing encryption being the reason). Thanks, chrysn.
  • Obnam now supports backing up of Unix sockets.

Version 0.19, released 2011-08-03; a BETA release


  • We now require version 0.21 of the larch library, and this requires bumping the repository format. This means old backup repositories can't be used with this version, and you need to back up everything again. (Please tell me when this becomes a problem.)


  • Found one more place where a file going missing during a backup may cause a crash.
  • Typo in error message about on-disk formats fixed. (Thanks, Tapani Tarvainen.)
  • The --trace option works again.
  • fcntl.F_SETFL does not seem to work on file descriptors for files owned by root that are read-only to the user running obnam. Worked around by ignoring any problems with setting the flags.
  • The funnest bug in this release: if no log file was specified with --log, the current working directory was excluded from the backup.


  • obnam(1) manual page now discusses how configuration files are used.
  • The manual page describes problems using sftp to access live data.
  • The documentation for --no-act was clarified to say it only works for `forget. (Thanks, Daniel Silverstone.)
  • obnam-benchmark now has a manual page.
  • The backup plugin logs files it excludes, so the user can find out what's going on. A confused user is an unhappy user.


  • Tracing statements added to various parts of the code, to help debug mysterious problems.
  • All exceptions are derived from obnamlib.AppException or obnamlib.Error, and those are derived from cliapp.AppException, so that the user gets nicer error messages than Python stack traces.
  • blackboxtests is no longer run under fakeroot, because Debian packages are built under fakeroot, and fakeroot within fakeroot causes trouble. However, the point of running tests under fakeroot was to make sure certain kinds of bugs are caught, and since Debian package building runs the tests anyway, the test coverage is not actually diminished.
  • The Makefile has new targets fast-check and network-tests. The latter runs tests over sftp to localhost.

Version 0.18, released 2011-07-20; a BETA release

  • The repository format has again changed in an incompatible manner, so you will need to re-backup everything again. (If this is a problem, tell me, and I'll consider adding backwards compatibility before 1.0 is released.)
  • New option --exclude-caches allows automatic exclusion of cache directories that are marked as such.
  • Obnam now makes files in the repository be read-only, so that they're that much harder to delete by mistake.
  • Error message about files that can't be backed up now mentions the correct file.
  • Bugfix: unreadable files and directories no longer cause the backup to fail. The problems are reported, but the backup continues. Thanks to Jeff Epler for reporting the bug.
  • Speed improvement from Jeff Epler for excluding files from backups.
  • Various other speed improvements.
  • Bugfix: restoring symlinks now works even if the symlink is restored before its target. Also, the permissions of the symlink (rather than its target) are now restored correctly. Thanks to Jeff Epler for an exemplary bug report.
  • New option --one-file-system, from Jeff Epler.
  • New benchmarking tool obnam-benchmark, which is more flexible than the old run-benchmark.
  • When encrypting/decrypting data with GnuPG, temporary files are no longer used.
  • When verifying, .../foo and .../foo/ now work the same way.
  • New option --symmetric-key-bits.
  • The chunk directory uses more hierarchy levels, and the way chunks are stored there is now user-configurable (but you'll get into trouble if you don't always use the same configuration). This should speed things up a bit once the number of chunks grows very large.
  • New --chunkids-per-group option, for yet more knobs to tweak when searching for optimal performance.
  • Local files are now opened using O_NOATIME so they can be backed up without affecting timestamps.
  • Now uses the cliapp framework for writing command line applications. The primary user-visible effect is that the manpage now has an accurate list of options.
  • Bugfix: Obnam now again reports VFS I/O statistics.
  • Bugfix: Obnam can again back up live data that is accessed using sftp. Thanks to Tapani Tarvainen for reporting the problem.

Version 0.17, released 2011-05-21; a BETA release

  • This is the second BETA release.
  • The run-benchmark script now works with the new version of seivot. The only benchmark size is one gibibyte, for now, because Obnam's too slow to do big ones in reasonable time. As an aside, the benchmark script got rewritten in Python, so it can be made more flexible.
  • Benchmarks are run using encrypted backups.
  • The kernel buffer cache is dropped before each obnam run, so the benchmark result is more realistic (read: slower).
  • Obnam now rotates its logs. See --log-max and --log-keep options in the manual page. The default location for the log file is now ~/.cache/obnam/obnam.log for people, and /var/log/obnam.log for root.
  • Obnam now restores sparse files correctly.
  • There have been some speed improvements to Obnam.
  • The --repository option now has the shorter alias -r, since it gets used so often.
  • obnam force-lock now merely gives an error message, instead of a Python stack trace, if the repository does not exist.
  • Obnam now does not crash if files go missing during a backup, or can't be read, or there are other problems with them. It will report the problem, but then continue as if it had never heard of the file.
  • Obnam now supports FIFO files.
  • Obnam now verifies checksums when it restores files.
  • Obnam now stores the checksum for the whole file, not just the checksum for each chunk of its contents.
  • Obnam's own log file is automatically excluded from backups.
  • Obnam now stores and restores file timestamps to full accuracy, instead of truncating them to whole seconds.
  • The format of the backup repository has changed in an incompatible way, and Obnam will now refuse to use an old repository. This means you will need to use an old version to restore from them, and need to re-backup everything. Sorry.

Version 0.16, released 2011-07-17; a BETA release

  • This is the first BETA release. Obnam should now be feature complete for real use. Performance is lacking and there are many bugs remaining. There are no known bugs that would corrupt backed up data, or prevent its recovery.
  • Add encryption support. See the manual page for how to use it.

Version 0.15.1, released 2011-03-21; an ALPHA release

  • Fix setup.py to not import obnamlib, so it works when building under pbuilder on Debian. Meh.

Version 0.15, released 2011-03-21; an ALPHA release

Bugs fixed:

  • Manual page GPL copyright blurb is now properly marked up as a comment. (Thanks, Joey Hess.)
  • README now links to python-lru correctly. (Thanks, Erik Johansson.)

Improvements and other changes:

  • Filenames and directories are backed up in sorted order. This should make it easier to know how far obnam's gotten.
  • The location where backups are stored is now called the repository, instead of the store. Suggested by Joey Hess.
  • The repository and the target directory for restored data are now both created by Obnam, if they don't already exist. Suggested by Joey Hess.
  • Better control of logging, using the new --trace option.
  • Manual page now explains making backups a little better.
  • Default value for --lru-size reduced to 500, for great improvement in memory used, without, it seems, much decrease in speed.
  • obnam verify now reports success explicitly. Based on question from Joey Hess.
  • obnam verify now accepts both non-option arguments and the --root option. Suggested by Joey Hess.
  • obnam forget now accepts "generation specifiers", not just numeric generation ids. This means that obnam forget latest works.
  • I/O statistics are logged more systematically.
  • obnam force-lock introduced, to allow breaking a lock left behind if obnam crashes. But it never does, of course. (Well, except if there's a bug, like when a file changes at the wrong moment.)
  • obnam genids introduced, to list generation ids without any other data. The old command obnam generations still works, and lists other info about each generation as well, but that's sometimes bad for scripting.
  • The --dump-memory-profile option now accepts the value simple, for reporting basic memory use. It has such a small impact that it's the default.
  • Obnam now stores the version of the on-disk format in the repository. This should allow it to handle repositories created by a different version and act suitably (hopefully without wiping all your backups).

Version 0.14, released 2010-12-29; an ALPHA release

This version is capable of backing up my laptop's home directory. It is, however, still an ALPHA release, and you should not rely on it as your sole form of backup. It is also slow. But if you're curious, now would be a good time to try it out a bit.

Bug fixes:

  • COPYING now contains GPL version 3, instead of 2. The code was licensed under version 3 already. (Thank you Greg Grossmeier.)
  • The manual page now uses - and \- correctly.
  • obnam forget now actually removes data that is no longer used by any generation.
  • When backing up a new generation, if any of the root directories for the backup got dropped by the user, they are now also removed from the backup generation. Old generations obviously still have them.
  • Only the per-client B-tree forest should have multiple trees. Now this actually happens, whereas previously sometimes a very large number of new trees would be created in some forests. (What's good for rain forests is not good for saving disk space.)
  • When recursing through directory trees, obnam no longer follows symlinks to directories.
  • obnam no longer creates a missing backup store when backing up to a local disk. It never did this when backing up via sftp. (This saves me from figuring out which of store, stor, and sorte is the real directory.)

New features and stuff:

  • blackboxtest has been rewritten to use Python's unittest framework, rather than a homegrown bad re-implementation of some of it.
  • obnam ls interprets arguments as "genspecs" rather than generation identifiers. This means obnam ls latest works, and now latest is also the default if you don't give any spec.
  • run-benchmarks now outputs results into a git checkout of http://braawi.org/, an ikiwiki instance hosted by http://www.branchable.com/. The script also puts the results into a suitable sub-directory, adds a page for the RSS feed of benchmark results, and updates the report page that summarizes all stored results.
  • There is now a 100 GiB benchmark.
  • Clients are now called clients, instead of hosts. This terminology should be clearer.
  • The list of clients now stores a random integer identifier for each client (unique within the store). The identifier is used as the name of the per-client B-tree directory, rather than the hostname of the client. This should prevent a teeny tiny bit of information leakage. It also makes debugging things much harder.
  • Various refactorings and prettifications of the code has happened. For example, several classes have been split off from the store.py module. This has also resulted in much better test coverage for those classes.
  • The per-client trees (formerly GenerationStore, now ClientMetadataTree) have a more complicated key now: 4 parts, not 3. This makes it easier to keep separate data about files, and other data that needs to be stored per-generation, such as what the generation id is.
  • find-duplicate-chunks, a tool for finding duplicate chunks of data in a files in a directory tree, was added to the tree. I have used it to find out if is worthwhile to do duplicate chunk removal at all. (It is, at least for my data.) Also, it can be used to find good values for chunk sizes for duplicate detection.
  • The whole way in which obnam does de-duplication got re-designed and re-implemented. This is tricky stuff, when there is more than one client.
  • SftpFS now uses a hack copied from bzrlib, to use openssh if it is available, and paramiko only if it is not. This speeds up sftp data transfers quite a bit. (Where bzrlib supports more than just openssh, we don't, since I have no way to test the other stuff. Patches welcome.)
  • The way lists of chunk ids are stored for files got changed. Now we store several ids per list item, which is faster and also saves some space in the B-tree nodes. Also, it is now possible to append to the list, which means the caller does not need to first gather a list of all ids. Such a list gets quite costly when the file is quite big (e.g., in the terabyte size).
  • New --dump-memory-profile option was added to help do memory profiling with meliae or heapy have been added. (Obnam's memory consumption finally got annoying enough that I did something about it.)

Removed stuff:

  • The functional specification was badly outdated, and has been removed. I decided to stop kidding myself that I would keep it up to date.
  • The store design document has been removed from the store tree. The online version at http://braawi.org/obnam/ondisk/ is the canonical version, and is actually kept up to date.
  • The benchmark specification has likewise been replaced with http://braawi.org/obnam/benchmarkspec/.

Version 0.13, released 2010-07-13; an ALPHA release

  • Bug fix: a mistake in 0.12 caused checkpoints to happen after each file after the first checkpoint. Now they happen at the right intervals again.
  • Upload speed is now displayed during backups.
  • Obnam now tells the kernel that it shouldn't cache data it reads or writes. It is not likely that data being backed up is going to be needed again any time soon, so there's no point in caching it. (The posix_fadvise call is used for this.)
  • New --lru-size option sets size of LRU cache for nodes in memory. The obnam default is large enough to suit large backups. This uses more memory, but is faster than btree's small default of 100.

Version 0.12, released 2010-07-11; an ALPHA release

  • NOTE: This version makes incompatible changes to the way data is stored on-disk. Backups made with older versions are NOT supported. Sorry.
  • The run-benchmark script has dropped some smaller sizes (they're too fast to be interesting), and adds a 10 GiB test size.
  • Various speed optimizations. Most importantly, the way file metadata (results of lstat(2)) are encoded has changed. This is the incompatible change from above. It's much faster now, though.
  • Preliminary support for using SFTP for the backup store added. Hasn't been used much yet, so might well be very buggy.

Version 0.11, released 2010-07-05; an ALPHA release

  • Speed optimizations:
    • chunk identifiers are now sequential, except for the first one, or when there's a collision
    • chunks are now stored in a more sensible directory hierarchy (instead of one per directory, on average)
    • adding files to a directory in the backup store is now faster
    • only store a file's metadata that if it is changed
  • New --exclude=regexp option to exclude files based on pathnames
  • Obnam now makes checkpoints during backups. If a backup is aborted in the middle and then re-started, it will continue from the latest checkpoint rather than from the beginning of the previous backup run.
    • New option --checkpoint to set the interval between checkpoints. Defaults to 1 GiB.
  • Options for various B-tree settings. This is mostly useful for finding the optimal set of defaults, but may be useful in other situations for some people.
    • New options --chunk-group-size, --chunk-size, --node-size, --upload-queue-size.
  • Somewhat better progress reporting during backups.

Version 0.10, released 2010-06-29; an ALPHA release

  • Rewritten from scratch.
  • Old NEWS file entries removed (see bzr if you're interested).