Hello, playgrounders,

Up until now, I've been relying on Code42's Crashplan to back up my important files. There are two issues with continuing to use it. The first is that it charges per-computer: I pay for unlimited backup space from a single computer. But I have two computers that I do work on. Currently I backup my first computer (which I use like a desktop even though it's actually a laptop) to Crashplan's servers, and I back up my second computer to my first computer. This is less than ideal.
The second, and more significant issue, is that Code42 is discontinuing their Crashplan Home storage option. I have a one year Crashplan subscription that ends in July 2018. At that point, I will need to either switch to Crashplan for Small Business (which is more expensive), or switch to some other cloud backup service.

Both of my laptops are running Linux Mint. Backup software which only runs on Windows or MacOS is out of the question for me. I also have an iPhone, and I often want to download a file that is on my desktop-replacement onto my phone (I can currently do that with the Crashplan app). Between all my devices, I only have about 75 GB worth of files that I need to back up, so I think a pay-per-GB backup service would make a lot more sense than a pay-per-device system.

I am asking for your help in deciding what to use. Here are the options I am already considering:

Stay with Crashplan
I know it works. Continuing to use it, though, will be expensive. Crashplan home cost $60 per year per computer. Crahsplan for Small Buisness, meanwhile, costs $10/month per computer with no discount for buying a year at a time. If I really needed to, I could spend $240 per year to get all my files backed up. But I don't think I should have to spend that much, considering I don't really have very much data.

SpiderOak One

SpiderOak is another cloud backup service, which does not limit the number of devices you can back up. A lot of reviewers criticize it for being overpriced, but they do have a 100 GB storage tier, which is enough for me and isn't very expensive. SpiderOak uses client-side encryption to avoid the potential for privacy issues. Their client is proprietary, which is a little concerning, but I don't think it's a deal-breaker for me.


Duplicati is a completely open source backup application. The catch is that it does not provide any storage of its own: it can back up files to another hard drive, or it can back up to the user's choice of cloud storage providers. The advantage to using something like Duplicati is that I don't have to worry about whether a storage provider has a good desktop client. I can just pick the storage provider that offers the most reliable storage at the best price. Duplicati also does client-side encryption in addition to what Dropbox/Google Drive/OneDrive do, so I don't have to worry about their poor record on privacy, or the leaks that Dropbox has been hit with in the past.

On the flip side, Duplicati has essentially no customer support, and I can't expect Google or Dropbox to offer assistance in using a third-party client. Also, if I use Duplicait's encryption, then I would only be able to restore files using Duplicati, which means I would not be able to restore files onto my phone (since there is no Duplicati iOS app). I could get around this problem by not using Duplicati's encryption, but then I am sending unencrypted files containing private data into the cloud. On the other hand, I could use the Google Drive/Drobox app to upload files from my phone directly to my backup, which I wouldn't be able to do with either Crashplan or SpiderOak.

Also, since none of the cloud sync/storage providers intend their services to be used as backup, the server-side software they have may not be well-suited for backup. They may have put less effort into reducing data corruption (such as with RAID) and more into features I don't wan't, like enabling collaborative editing of files.

If I do decide to go with Duplicati, the obvious next question is which cloud storage service I will want to use as a back end. There are two reasons I'd be averse to using OneDrive, although neither are necessarily good reasons. The first is that I tried OneDrive many years ago when it first game out, and it didn't work for my use case at all. I tried uploading several TeX/LaTeX files to OneDrive and then downloading them on a different computer. OneDrive didn't save the .TeX files, and instead tried (and failed) to reformat them as Microsoft Word documents, rendering them useless. When I asked Microsoft for help over the phone, I was told that ".tex is not one of the supported file types." The problem is, for something as basic as storage, there shouldn't be such a thing as "supported file types." A file is just a string of bytes. A file system can store any file, regardless of what is in it. Heck, you can make up your own file extensions (just change the extension of a text file to whatever you want), and a file system isn't going to tell you that it's "not a supported file type." The file format only matters when you want to open or edit a file, not for storing it. The trouble is, OneDrive isn't for storing files, it is for collaborative editing and syncing of files.

However, that was a long time ago, and it's possible OneDrive has been completely revamped in the intervening years. Maybe now it keeps files unaltered, and only attempts to reformat them if you want to edit them through the web interface.

My other reason for not wanting to use OneDrive has nothing to do with OneDrive, and everything to do with the brand name behind it. I used to use Microsoft Office, but enough frustration and bad experiences eventually pushed me to LibreOffice, which I like a lot more (it also helps that the computers at work all have Ubuntu or Debian and LibreOffice). Then when Windows 10 came out, I had enough frustration with it that I eventually switched to LInux. And then there's Outlook, which, for some inexplicable reason we use as a backend for our email system. The web user-interface on office.com is the worst web interface for email I have used. So, after bad experiences with Microsoft Office, Microsoft Windows, and Microsoft Outlook, I'm not too keen on trying another Microsoft product. This isn't necessarily a rational concern: Microsoft is a big company, and the actual people developing OneDrive may not be the same as the people developing WIndows, Outlook, or Office. But that's my current feeling about using another Microsoft product.

So if I eliminate OneDrive, that leaves me with a choice between Dropbox and Google Drive. Google wins on price easily: their 100GB plan is only $20 per year, and easily holds all my important files. Dropbox doesn't offer any storage tiers in between 2 GB and 2 TB, and of course their 2 TB plan costs a lot more than Google's 100 GB plan. But the real issue for me isn't the price, but how well it works. I don't need any of the file sharing or syncing features. What I do want is a cloud storage provider that
a)Keeps my files unaltered, without messing them up the way OneDrive did.
b)Keeps the folder structure of my filesystem intact
c)Ideally it should also protect against bitrot or data corruption, by using RAID and a self-healing filesystem.

Note, the official Google Drive client can do backups, but it doesn't run on Linux, so it doesn't help me. The Dropbox client does run on Linux, but it can only do syncing, not backup.

Some other backup solutions that I've considered but don't seem as appealing as the above

IDrive has a backup client which doesn't run on Linux. The company does claim that it's "easy" to automate backing up a Linux machine to their servers using shell scripts. It doesn't sound like they offer much more support than Duplicati, and doesn't come with Duplicati's advantage of getting to pick a storage provider. Despite it's name, there does not appear to be any connection between IDrive and Apple.
Rclone is another open source backup program similar to Duplicati, in that it provides no storage of its own but lets the user choose from several cloud storage providers. It seems to have fewer features than Duplicati, but offers more choices of cloud storage services. Also, it doesn't have a GUI, and relies only on a command-line interface.