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I keep a directory on my home server with all of my important files on it. I want to make offline backups of this directory. But as I add and modify file, I also want to be able to make comparisons between different backups and the current version in a "diff" style. In particular, I want to see which files have been added, which have been deleted, and which have been modified (although it's not important for me to see the file-level diffs).

I know that rsync has this kind of functionality sort-of built into it for doing its job, but it doesn't seem to expose it directly. I also know what I'm looking for is an implementation of a Merkle tree.

Does anyone have any recommendations for lightweight software that can do this kind of directory diff?

  • Look into backup software like restic or borgbackup. – Kusalananda Jun 27 '18 at 6:54
  • These programs store the backup in a deduplicated "database", either locally or remotely. So it's not really a solution if you need the backup readable as ordinary files. They both provide the ability to compare between backups though. restic currently does not provide compression of backups, but borgbackup does. I'm not writing this as an answer, because an answer should ideally contain an example. – Kusalananda Jun 27 '18 at 7:14

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