What is Cedar Backup?

Cedar Backup is a software package designed to manage system backups for a pool of local and remote machines. Cedar Backup understands how to back up filesystem data as well as MySQL and PostgreSQL databases and Subversion repositories. It can also be easily extended to support other kinds of data sources.

Cedar Backup is focused around weekly backups to a single CD or DVD disc, with the expectation that the disc will be changed or overwritten at the beginning of each week. If your hardware is new enough (and almost all hardware is today), Cedar Backup can write multisession discs, allowing you to add incremental data to a disc on a daily basis.

Alternately, Cedar Backup can write your backups to the Amazon S3 cloud rather than relying on physical media.

Besides offering command-line utilities to manage the backup process, Cedar Backup provides a well-organized library of backup-related functionality, written in the Python programming language.

There are many different backup software implementations out there in the free software and open source world. Cedar Backup aims to fill a niche: it aims to be a good fit for people who need to back up a limited amount of important data to CD or DVD on a regular basis. Cedar Backup isn't for you if you want to back up your MP3 collection every night, or if you want to back up a few hundred machines. However, if you administer a small set of machines and you want to run daily incremental backups for things like system configuration, current email, small web sites, a CVS or Subversion repository, or a small MySQL database, then Cedar Backup is probably worth your time.

Cedar Backup has been developed on a Debian GNU/Linux system and is primarily supported on Debian and other Linux systems. However, since it is written in portable Python, it should run without problems on just about any UNIX-like operating system. In particular, Cedar Backup has users running Debian, RedHat and SuSE Linux systems as well as FreeBSD and Mac OS X systems.

Library Code

The version 2 release of Cedar Backup has been designed as both an application and a library of backup-related functionality. The CedarBackup2 Python package contains a variety of useful backup-related classes and functions. For instance: the IsoImage class represents an ISO CD image; the CdWriter class represents a CD-R/CD-RW writer device; and the FilesystemList class represents a list of files and directories on a filesystem. For more information, see the public interface documentation, generated from the source code using Epydoc.


The Cedar Backup Software Manual documents the process of setting up and using Cedar Backup. In the manual, you can find information about how Cedar Backup works, how to install and configure it, how to schedule backups, how to restore data, and how to get support.

The following versions of the manual are available:

Most users will want to look at the multiple-page HTML version.

Package Distributions

The current production release of Cedar Backup is version 2 (project "cedar-backup2"). The old version 1 release ("cedar-backup") is still available for historical purposes, but is unsupported.

Cedar Backup is primarily distributed as a Python source package. You can download the latest release from the SourceForge download page.

Any recent Debian-based distribution (either Debian itself or a derivative such as Ubuntu) includes official Cedar Backup packages, called cedar-backup2 and cedar-backup2-doc.

Debian users who want to always run the latest release of Cedar Backup, rather than the version included with their distribution, can use the Cedar Solutions APT source. See the Cedar Solutions Debian page for more information.


Support is primarily managed through the SourceForge mailing lists. If you would prefer, you can write the Cedar Solutions support email address instead.

If you think you have found a bug or you would like to request an enhancement, file a ticket with SourceForge tracker or submit a patch, or email Ken directly.

Contributing Improvements

Users are welcome to contribute improvements to Cedar Backup. In the past, users have helped out by reporting unit test failures, making suggestions, requesting enhancements, updating documentation, submitting patches, and beta-testing entire releases or individual bug fixes. As a result, Cedar Backup has evolved into a much more flexible platform than it would otherwise have been. If you are interested in contributing, drop an email off to the Cedar Solutions support email address or to Ken directly.

Source Code

Cedar Backup is hosted at SourceForge. Anonymous read-only access to the Subversion source code repository is available as described on the SourceForge code page. You can also browse the Subversion repository online.