Fans of the Linux operating system sometimes find themselves out on a limb compared to the hordes of Windows users or even Mac users. While online backup and file storage services exist that can be applied universally for all of these platforms, why shouldn’t Linux users also have a right to functionality built specifically for their platform? And that also means functionality in line with the tradition of getting down to the technical nitty-gritty (although Linux systems can be user-friendly too). So what do online services for backup and file storage offer specifically to Linux users?
Linking Up with the Linux Interface
The first aspect to consider is the Linux user interface to the online system. Linux versions may use a variety of graphical user interfaces including Cinnamon, Enlightenment, GNOME, KDE, LXDE, MATE, Pantheon, Sugar and Trinity. GNOME and KDE desktops are still among the commonest, and online backup services offering client software (an application to be installed on the Linux PC to pilot the file transfer and backup operations) often support at least these two environments. Linux also offers its power users a command line interface. This ‘bare bones’ one-line alternative is a favorite with advanced users because of the flexibility in the different options that can specified with a command. Some online services offer the possibility of using this command line interface to drive the backup and file operations too.
Using Other User Interfaces
Linux is an open system. It allows other systems to access it and in some cases to use their own user interface. Adobe AIR (Adobe Integrated Runtime) is one such system; at least one online backup provider has based its desktop client for Linux on this technology. A client interface based on the open standard of WebDAV (Web Distributed Authoring and Versioning) is another choice. Others advertise compatibility with different third party client applications.
For Do-It-Yourself Fans
You might have guessed where all this is leading. With Linux making its code and interfaces freely available to whomever wants it, the next step is to make your own online backup client – or even your own remote backup solution. Online backup and file storage providers offering a Linux specific interface sometimes give users the possibility to customize that interface or write scripts to control it. Just as the command line interface extends the power and flexibility of the online backup commands, scripting too allows users to build in conditions, loops, scheduling and so on. Users who don’t want to use commercially available online solutions can even use the ‘rsync’ function to back up files to other machines, including Linux machines, Windows PCs and web servers.
Extending Out to the Mainframe and Beyond
Yes indeed, because Linux also runs on servers, mainframes and even supercomputers (95% of all supercomputers run Linux, so it is claimed), the same possibilities are available for these other systems as well. So while Linux computer users might not have quite the same range of dedicated solutions as exist for Windows or even Mac platforms, they have a considerably wider range of machines they can back up or for which they can store files and backups online.