Backup Bouncer: A Metadata Test Suite

April 28th, 2007

A year has passed since I published my articles on the state of metadata conservation in Mac backup/file copying software (here, here, here, and here).

It is time for a small update on the matter. Despite the numerous justified requests, I have, unfortunately, not found the time to bake the set of hacked-together scripts that I used for testing into a full-blown test suite. As a result, I have neither amended nor updated my test results in the meantime. My apologies.

In March, published a disk image with metadata-laden files for test purposes. Based on this set of files, conducted a new survey of backup and file copying tools. See for yourself for the results; things seem to have slightly improved.

However, the following could be a true breakthrough contribution. Testing for metadata conservation has, up to today, still been somewhat of a voodoo skill, and I’m not surprised that to the best of my knowledge only one person seems to have taken a serious shot at it after my posts. But now, this gaping hole has been filled by Nathaniel Gray with a fully automated test suite for metadata conservation. This could possibly make metadata conservation testing feasible for a wide audience.

I haven’t tested it myself yet, but from what Nathaniel writes it looks very promising. It seems to replace all the tedious manual script runs and BBEdit diff runs that I went through. Great!

I’m excited to see test results for all those tools that I couldn’t test. And eventually, I hope that the state of metadata conservation on the Mac will continue to improve.

Categories: hacking, macosx

Tags: , , ,

3 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Mij  |  September 16th, 2007 at 11:41

    Some months ago I read your articles about backup’ing utilites in OS X, and earmarked them as a potentially life-saving reference. Now I was looking for updates on the situation, and came here first place. Thank you very much por publishing your results and highly educated opinions, now and before :).

  • 2. themusicalbodger  |  September 27th, 2007 at 21:16

    This is a truly informative site and thanks for your dedication and work. Unfortunately I’m not a hacker — I spend too much creative energy and time on my sculptures and music. I just need a reliable back up app. that will allow me to continue working with as little hassle as possible when disaster strikes. Three days ago Intego Personal Backup X4 destroyed a partition on an external Lacie that I was backing up and I cannot now access any of my music files which were on a neighbouring partition.

    To be honest I don’t care too much about creation dates as long as my work is still useable after a disaster. Any suggestions please as I could find nothing that you recommend.

  • 3. Discussions on Mac Backup&hellip  |  November 4th, 2008 at 17:52

    [...] The article is pretty old, so do read the update, which points to a newer set of tests conducted at [...]

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