[Date Prev][Date Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next][Date Index][Thread Index]

Re: Tarsnap GUI for the desktop

Hash: SHA1

Hi Tarsnap users,

Just to add some background to the work Shinnok has done...

On 06/10/15 20:37, Shinnok wrote:
> This is where I introduce Tarsnap for the desktop, a cross-platform,
> open source (BSD 2 clause) modern desktop application acting as a wrapper
> around the Tarsnap command line utilities, written in C++ and using the
> Qt 5 framework.

The most common complaint I've heard about Tarsnap over the past few years
is the lack of a good GUI.  While my original target users for Tarsnap were
experienced UNIX users and system administrators, the user base has been
gradually expanding over the years; having a GUI is hopfully going to help
expand it further, and is also a prerequisite for the eventual support for
running Tarsnap natively on Windows (since, aside from people who use Cygwin,
CLI-only applications really don't work there).

> You need to install the command line Tarsnap client before you can use
> the application. Given that Tarsnap doesn't provide any binary 
> redistributables for the CLI utilities on any platform at the moment, 
> there's none for this desktop app either. This might be subject to
> change in the future.

Speaking of broadening Tarsnap's user base: Binary packages (for both tarsnap
and this GUI) will happen at some point -- not that I recommend relying on
binaries (since you lose the ability to audit the code), but in keeping with
the UNIX/X11 philosophy of "tools, not policy" I want to allow users to decide
the tradeoff between paranoia and ease of use for themselves.

> The application currently has 3 main usage patterns:
> 1. The Backup tab allows you to quickly backup files and directories in a
> single shot fashion; 2. The Archives tab lists all of the archives that
> have been created using the current machine key. You can inspect, restore
> and delete archives from this view; 3. The Jobs tab. A job is a
> predefined set of directories and files, as well as backup preferences,
> that you know are going to be backed up regularly; These are persistent
> (in a local Sqlite DB) and you can attend to them whenever you wish
> afterwards;

One of the key problems with user interfaces is that users never want to do
what developers expect them to want to do.  So I want your help here: Please
try this out and let us know (via this mailing list, via direct email, or by
creating issues in github) what works for you and what problems you trip over.

> The current version is 0.5 and is considered beta until otherwise 
> announced. There are rough edges around the corners and lots more ground
> to cover when it comes to functionality and Tarsnap options breadth and
> depth coverage. All development will now take place in the open, thus I'd
> like to start the conversation here and encourage contribution and review
> on GitHub.

To be explicit: This is a *first public beta*.  Given the difficulty of doing
any sort of user-interface related development without involving users, it's
time for this code to be publicly tortured (err, I mean tested and inspected)
but while this code certainly can be useful I'd encourage people to not rely
on it for backing up their bitcoin wallets or similarly valuable data yet.

But please try this out!  Having people testing this is essential.

- -- 
Colin Percival
Security Officer Emeritus, FreeBSD | The power to serve
Founder, Tarsnap | www.tarsnap.com | Online backups for the truly paranoid
Version: GnuPG v2