Mac backup software
I recently purchased a 500 gig USB drive for backing up data around the house. Most important is our home video and photograph collection, but ideally I'd like to make an exact image of my wife's Power Mac on a nightly basis.
I am a Linux user (even on my own Mac Mini I run Ubuntu) and so I'm not very familiar with the options on Mac OS X. Can anybody give recommendations on good, free or cheap backup software for Mac?
I could just tar the files over but I'd prefer to be able to perfectly restore my wife's system if her drive dies without reinstalling the OS.
In 20 years of using computers I have never had a drive die on me. Either I'm extremely charmed or there is a big disaster looming.
EDIT: As far as major disasters like our house burning down, my plan is to get a second 500 gig drive and alternate between the two every six months or so. One drive gets sent to the bank to be placed in a safety deposit. At least in the event of a major disaster I will only lose 6 months of stuff.
Perhaps you could use Time Machine? From what I understand it comes with OS X Leopard.
Shell scripting comes to mind. So does dd :) (Didn't look, but I am assuming there is a mac port). Probably won't be a good idea to do it when the drive is mounted, though. I guess you could use a customized Linux live-CD to do the dd (make it run dd as soon as it boots), and you will just have to boot the CD every night. That's not so automatic, but I don't think there are easier ways. I don't think it's possible to do with Mac OS running. If you only want to backup the data, I run a shell script that does snapshot backup. That would be a quite pretty solution. Why would you want to backup programs and the OS? I imagine it would only take a few hours to reinstall everything?
I am doing snapshot backup on my file server, and it's working great :). I use cron (you will probably have to find a Mac equivalent for this) to do a hourly, a daily, and a monthly backup, each keeping 10 snapshots. So, for example, I can see what the state of the filesystem is like 5 days ago (and have read-only access to it. Of course one can't change the history :)). The space usage won't be 30 times. More like just 1-2 times, depending on how much of your filesystem you change between your backups. The trick is hardlinking (not copying files that have not been changed).