The icon for Apple's new Time Machine program, appearing in Mac OS X 10.5.
Regardless of your thoughts on Apple, it is impossible not to get excited before one of Steve Job's keynotes. Unlike other companies like Microsoft and Google, which release news of new features and programs piecemeal, Apple waits for conferences like its WWDC or MacWorld to unveil the latest hardware and software. I spent the weekend browsing the Internet, trying to figure out what Steve Jobs would talk about during his keynote. Would it be an iPhone? Or maybe a Merom MacBook Pro?

While Xeon-based Mac workstations and virtual desktops are all well and good, it was the announcement that Apple had created a backup program that interested me the most. While I like the idea that it backups automatically (since everyone knows that they should backup, but nobody does), I am not sure about the fact that it seems to need an external hard drive. Its preview page is full of the typical Apple hyperbole, though:
Steve Jobs! And a pony!

Right from the start, Time Machine in Mac OS X Leopard makes a complete backup of all the files on your system. That includes your system files, applications, accounts, preferences, music, photos, movies, documents — everything you keep on your Mac. As you make changes, Time Machine only backs up what changes, all the while maintaining a comprehensive layout of your system. That way, Time Machine minimizes the space required on your backup device. Since backups are stored on your device by date, you can browse through your entire system as it appeared on any date. And that's what makes Time Machine different from any backup application you've ever tried.

Hello? rsync and rdiff, anyone? Not to mention a host of proprietary applications which incorporate similar features.
Beagle: Desktop Search for Linux
Gnome developer Miguel de Icaza points toward Dirvish as a Linux-based program that has similar features. It looks okay, but spending time using Windows and Mac OS X has spoiled me - I require my Linux applications to have nice GUIs, like Beagle, the equivalent of Spotlight in OS X (see right). SBackup, a Python-based Google Summer of Code 2005 Project could have been this application, but there have been no code changes for four months. I would say that it was humorous that he would write about his backups being corrupted in late June, except data loss is never funny.

If I end up writing a backup application (it has been on my list of things to do for about a year now, but apparently scheduling time to work on it during the 25th hour of the day is hindering development), it will have support for compression (GZip), encryption (GPG), and remote backups (SFTP). It will also make you coffee, clean your floors, help Uncle Rico go back and win that football game, and reduce global warming.