Sunday, October 01, 2006

In sync with UNISON

Unison is an amazing backup tool that is fortunately available on both Windows and Linux. Since it is open source it is available readily on various Linux distros (e.g. on Unison on Debian) so that you can just perform an "apt-get install unison" for Debian and have it running and accessible from computers in your network for example. But getting it work seamlessly on Windows is a little more work.

Fortunately there is an alternative (not to Unison) but to actually deploying it on Windows. This alternative comes from Cygwin which sets up a Linux-like environment for Windows (that last part was from the Cygwin website). Cygwin includes unison as part of its package and by installing Unison with Cygwin you can setup your Windows box as an SSH server with Unison so that you can backup files to this Windows box from anywhere with an internet connection.

To make sure you install Unison while installing Cygwin make sure that on the "Select Packages" window click on "View" button (on top right corner) once till the text next to the button says "Full". Scroll down till you see unison2.9.1 in the "Package" column. Then click in the second column from the left once so that the latest version shows up instead of "Skip" (at the time of writing this blog the version was 2.9.1-3). If you want to access Unison from over a network then make sure you install "openssh". The steps to install "openssh" with Cygwin is available here. And for good security make sure you setup SSH Keys using either this method or this method. I will try and add more details to the steps in future blogs. If you need help then post a comment and I will respond.

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