Reverse differential backup tool, over a network or locally.

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Features Documentation

rdiff-backup is reverse differential backup

rdiff-backup backs up one directory to another, possibly over a network. The target directory ends up a copy of the source directory, but extra reverse diffs are stored in a special subdirectory of that target directory, so you can still recover files lost some time ago. The idea is to combine the best features of a mirror and an incremental backup. rdiff-backup also preserves subdirectories, hard links, dev files, permissions, uid/gid ownership (if it is running as root), modification times, acls, eas, resource forks, etc. Finally, rdiff-backup can operate in a bandwidth efficient manner over a pipe, like rsync. Thus you can use rdiff-backup and ssh to securely back a hard drive up to a remote location, and only the differences will be transmitted.

Sol1 has officially taken over stewardship of rdiff-backup from February 2016. Sol1 has long been a contributor and user of rdiff-backup, and will maintain the open source nature of rdiff-backup, while bringing it into the modern era.

From August 2019 onwards the main driver for the project is Seravo.


The wiki contains documentation on use cases, and serves as a respository of scripts for people to contribute to. These scripts do many things for and around rdiff-backup.

Authors and Contributors

@rdiff-backup is the current maintainer of rdiff-backup.

Project Lead / Maintainer History:

  • Edward Ned Harvey, maintainer 2012 to 2016
  • Andrew Ferguson, maintainer 2008 to 2012
  • Dean Gaudet, maintainer 2006 to 2007
  • Ben Escoto, original author, maintainer 2001 to 2005.

Other code contributors are:

  • Daniel Hazelbaker, who contributed Mac OS X resource fork support. (July 2003)
  • Dean Gaudet, for checking in many patches, and for finding and fixing many bugs.
  • Andrew Ferguson, for improving Mac OS X support and fixing many user-reported bugs.
  • Josh Nisly, for contributing native Windows support. (June 2008)
  • Fred Gansevles, for contributing Windows ACLs support. (July 2008)

Thanks also to:

  • The Free Software Foundation, for previously hosting the rdiff-backup project via their Savannah system.
  • Andrew Tridgell and Martin Pool for writing rdiff, and also for rsync, which gave Ben Escoto the idea
  • Martin Pool and Donovan Baarda for their work on librsync, which rdiff-backup needs.
  • Michael Friedlander for initially acting interested in the idea and giving me accounts for testing
  • Lots of people on the mailing list for their helpful comments, advice, and patches, particularly Alberto Accomazzi, Donovan Baarda, Jeb Campbell, Greg Freemyer, Jamie Heilman, Marc Dyksterhouse, and Ralph Lehmann.

Support or Contact

Please use the GitHub issue tracker. The mailing list will also remain active for the time being.