Is this project dead?

Hello,

It’s been ~1 year since the last update. Is this project still alive?

As a paying user I’d like to see more activity, release wise.

Thanks.

Lack of updates indicates stability, which is a good and desirable thing you want from a backup program.

What activity are you referring to? The forum is pretty active, roadmap is published somewhere too…

Please clarify :slight_smile:

Edit: links for reference:

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If you referred to the web GUI, the latest version 1.5.0 was released January this year. This version has been pretty stable and no critical bugs have been found, which I’m happy with.

For the CLI, I just released this PR last month . As you can see from the PR, it is a really big change (basically a complete rewrite of the entire backup engine). I wanted to put a hold on the official release (which will become CLI 3.0) until I receive enough feedback.

Generally speaking, for Duplicacy I have been taking a no-rush approach, mostly because as @saspus just pointed out this is a backup program and the last thing you want from a backup program is frequent ‘immature’ updates that kill the stability and the reputation. Every feature or fix should be well-thought and thoroughly tested, to the point that it makes the development ‘slow’, but I think this will benefit everyone in the long run.

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Thanks for your thoughts. It was never my intention, but maybe I was too rough.

Regarding the CLI, it seems pretty stable, and that was not the reason for the post. The web GUI has some annoyances that I assumed the would be fixed sooner than later. I was not aware of the roadmap, btw. I’ll post my ideas on the Feature category.

Thanks.

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I’m planning a new web GUI release on January, which will be a minor update. Some planned features/fixed will be include, while others will be deferred until the next major update.

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And I think that this is the core of the issue and I agree with them. I myself made a detailed post re. desirable quality-of-life improvements in April of 2020, but I’m not sure that many were adopted. Obviously nobody owes me or any other user to adopt their suggestions.

In the meantime I’m occasionally wondering what the target market and the future for Duplicacy really is. To me it seems right now to be geared primarily toward the enthusiast user, as it required a certain acquaintance with the OS to fix things, when they go out of whack. Perhaps that “gearing” is not intended, because I’d think that more users (and thus money) might be found in the small business market. But unfortunately it does not quite have the polish that competing products have, even though those might be inferior in the core backup functionality.

But the polish is what sells (when your customer isn’t technically competent enough) to evaluate each product on the technical merits. And since a user interacts most with the software in the initial setup stage, flaws in polish become apparent very quickly (and might persuade a user to discard Duplicacy for a technically inferior, but more polished product).

I don’t know how much of their time @gchen is able to devote to this project and how successful it is economically, so I’m not sure, if what I’m looking for is simply out of reach. Perhaps it is. But I hope at least some of that is still within reach, because I want Duplicacy to be successful in the long run (if for no other reason, that I bought lifetime licenses :wink:).

So I’d suggest to expand the current roadmap and add a section that shows those items that are intended for the upcoming release. Also a faster update cycle would be desirable at least for non-critical UI-features, e.g. two releases per year. But again this of course depends on how much time @gchen can devote to Duplicacy. And I understand @saspus ’ concerns about stability, but I’m more concerned about that in regards to the engine than around some changes in the Web UI.

Anyway just my 2 cents. It’s a great discussion and thanks to @duplicacity for starting it, even though the style might have been a tad polemic.

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The next web GUI release is to fix bugs so none of the improvements you suggested in that post will be addressed. I’ll respond to each one individually after next release.

I think less of the target market because I strongly believe that when you build a great product users will naturally come. There is still a killer feature that I conceived during the early development of Duplicacy and haven’t been able to find time to implement since then. This feature will be the game changer and will dramatically expand the user base.

I have other projects such as Acrosync and Vertical Backup if you don’t know. There is almost no development work for them at this time, although customer support can be demanding from time to time. In addition, I have been ‘secretly’ working on a new project, not related to backup or sync, that I hope to release in a couple of months. So my time on Duplicacy is limited, but it should become better once I got that one out.

Business wise Duplicacy isn’t successful considering all the time I spent, but it is still sustainable in the sense that if the revenue (from all my projects) can remain at the current level I should be able to keep doing what I’m doing now. My goal of course is to grow the business so that I can at least hire someone to help me. Certainly this will happen, I just don’t know how long it would take. In any case, Duplicacy is a long-term project and I won’t call it an end until that killer feature is implemented.

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Well, that is a bit of sad news. Not because these were my suggestions, but because the UI part of the Web UI is IMHO sorely in need of improvement.

While I can relate to that sentiment (Build it and they will come) to some degree, however the questions are always “Great for whom?” and “Will they recognize the greatness?”. For example right now Duplicacy is not suitable for medium/larger businesses who’d require a central infrastructure to manage the backups on individual computers and perhaps even would want things like key recovery. I also don’t think a non-sophisticated computer user will find this easy to set-up and use, e.g. I wouldn’t trust one of my siblings to get this running and properly configured on their computers. So by default (whether a conscious choice or not) you have for the most part limited your target market to the people who recognize the technical superiority of the backup engine and are willing to put up with the clunkiness of the Web UI. Or those who have friends or family members like that.

Yes, I’ve noticed that you have those projects going as well, I just wasn’t sure how much they overlap and thus how much improvements on one benefit the others. Re. your new project, I wish you much success with that one, though it’s a bit sad to see that my impression (and apparently the OP’s as well) that Duplicacy is getting somewhat neglected has some basis in reality. I understand the temptation to start something new and exciting, because polishing an existing thing feels much more tedious, yet as a user of that existing thing I’d love to see some serious polish action.

I am sorry to hear that Duplicacy isn’t super-successful. It always feels bad, when you put a ton of time into something and it really doesn’t take off as much as you’d like to see. Though I’m glad to hear that things are at least sustainable.

P.S.: Thanks so much for sharing the state of the products and of the business side so openly, I really appreciate that. And I wouldn’t have said anything, if I believed that Duplicacy is a bad product. Quite the contrary. I believe that it is a good product that is on the cusp of greatness, but not quite there yet. And I’m still hoping that it’ll get there one day. Of course as always that’s just my opinion and at the end of the day it’s your opinion that matters. Thanks again.

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Unfortunately, this is while necessary is far from being sufficient. There were quite a few technically brilliant projects including from large players with huge marketing budgets over years that flopped.

As @tangofan pointed out – for the product to be successful it needs to target the majority of average users, not just enthusiasts. Yes, the technically good product will be driven by mavens for a while (using terminology from “The Tipping Point” by Malcolm Gladwell, who describes this phenomenon really well) but then it should be usable by “normal” users to get wide adoption and tip. For duplicacy, this means implementing a few low-hanging, very boring, but necessary features in the UI, that will allow somebody’s grandma to use it, without the need to hang out on forums and write blog posts about the experience and share tricks.

I use duplicacy myself for the past few years, and through the magic of working in tech, I appreciate its technical brilliance and have personally recommended and helped set it up to quite a few of my colleagues and friends. Some bought the license, some used the personal CLI version. That last bit is important. I had to sell them on it and provide support in configuring it. At the same time when recently my parents needed a backup tool – I bought them [other competing polished to death native on the OS tool that does not even have a forum but “just works”] licenses. They have set it up themselves, it just works, they can backup, restore and do everything on their own in a predictable way with no ramp up or messing with OS internals.

I can perhaps summarize those missing features in a separate post, but I’m sure they were already discussed before. For example, as of today if more than one user is using a Mac setting up duplicacy to backup both users requires jumping through many hoops (figure out SIP permissions and launchd, environment variables, change ports if ran separately for each user, configure logs, and caches location; then add manual exclusions for Logs and Caches folders (because they are not marked with TM extended attribute) using the terrifying filters editor that requires learning and understanding the exclusion syntax for it to even work correctly. And then come restore time – how many forum posts were there where people could not figure out how to navigate directory structure? How many just gave up without posting anything?) that any brilliant solutions inside the engine become irrelevant. Nobody is ready to finish the journey to enjoy those.

I’m not sure if I ever mentioned that – but when I was looking for a replacement for CrashPlan a few years ago and was testing various backup tools I rejected duplicacy after looking at UI for 3 seconds. Only because every single other tool I looked at failed in actually doing backup reliably I lowered the bar and revisited each tool again, this time focusing solely on the robustness of the backup engine itself. Only this time I got a chance to actually test duplicacy CLI and I’m glad I did. Think about it – the only reason I (and a bunch of friends) are using duplicacy today is that all other tools failed tests that most people won’t bother running in the first place (aggressive stability testing essentially). That’s a very restrictive filter.
BTW, Web UI did not exist then. But today it does, and I understand that it’s based on the off-the-shelf “control panel” component with probably limited customizability and adjusted expectations accordingly – it’s not really most users’ concern.

It’s disheartening to hear, but not unexpected, and for me, the reasons are painfully obvious (and in line with @tangofan’s comments above)

Duplicacy is successful in a small circle of tech enthusiasts who bothered to do a lot of research, recognized the gem behind the rough exterior, and are willing to sacrifice creature comforts and invest time in making it work. Now it needs to be made usable by everyone else, so it can be recommended to their non-tech friends with the chance to be accepted and usable. It needs to be able to pass the grandma test (literally).

I understand this feature is going to be in the engine, and therefore many users will not get a chance to experience it because they will get filtered out a the UX onboarding stage. I’m sure this feature will appeal to and will attract a few more enthusiasts, but that problem does not need solving. Enthusiasts are already onboard. Even doubling their number won’t help. And yet, maybe getting even 1% more of general users might provide more bang per buck - because there are so many of them.

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As a non-technical user finally settling on Duplicacy after procrastinating with leaving CrashPlan, the one thing that scares me after reading the forums is (based on my understanding) when Duplicacy will back up happily and report no problems despite referencing zero/invalid/unreferenced chunks. I don’t know how often this problem occurs, but what I appreciate about competitor options is their seeming management of archive integrity; the last thing I want is to use Duplicacy for years only to realise should the time come where a restore operation is necessary that my data is irrecoverable.

Even if the average layperson learnt how to configure backups and run check/prune/restore, would they be expected to know what actions to take and how to perform them if check found problems with chunks/hashes? I’m used to programs just re-uploading the data automatically in the background, or picking up where things left off if a process is interrupted, to the point where I would feel more secure in simple cloud syncing with long retention periods for changed/deleted files.

I don’t think this ever happened with well behaved remotes. I.e. if duplicacy send the file and remote confirmed that the full file was transferred and saved when in reality it wasn’t — there is not much duplicacy or any other software can do. You have to trust remote at some point.

I don’t think it was ever reported for anything but pcloud and some obscure ftp servers running out of space.

From personal anecdotal experience using duplicacy for few years — I never lost data. All the issues were superficial — like interrupted prune that left half-deleted snapshots in the datastore that later caused failed check. It’s still a duplicacy bug — but it does not cause data loss, on the contrary, it fails to delete what it should. But then I purposefully avoided using flaky storage: if targeting NAS — it must have checksumming filesystem and periodic scrub; if targeting cloud — no crappy cheap providers. I have used/am using as targets Google Drive, Backblaze B2, and Amazon S3. No data loss in all these years. It has been solid.

It is not unexpected though that your backup is only as reliable as underlying storage — so there is that :slight_smile:

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4 posts were split to a new topic: Backing up to a NAS: scrub and data consistency

May I ask which polished alternative you went with?

I’m also one of those somewhat technical users who appreciates duplicacy for the things it does well but would also like to chime in that i’m also disappointed by the lack of features and usability updates to the web interface. It completely lacks any form of discoverability, expects the user to pass through command line options to achieve many desired basic functions and is just generally very confusing to use and understand. I was forced to purchase a license for Arq for my parents machines and push other friends that direction as well simply due to the increased polish of the interface. I understand the author has their own opinion on these things but I suspect the majority of potential users would greatly appreciate a fully revamped GUI of some sort. If this were to happen I could easily recommend duplicacy to everyone I know. As things are now i’m forced to look at things such as Arq, kopia, and even acronis.

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