Crashplan, the Only Reason I Install Java

I'm the sort of person who doesn't like to install Java. I actually don't like to install Flash either, but it's still tough to survive browsing the Internet without Flash installed. There is one program that makes me break my own rules, however, and that's Crashplan.

For years, I've been singing the praises of BackupPC, and for servers, I still think it's the best thing going. The problem with BackupPC, however, is in order for it to work reliably, your workstations need to be on all the time. This is especially difficult with laptops.

Crashplan is an incredibly powerful backup utility that allows local or offsite backup, and the company offers cloud-based storage for reasonable rates. Normally, I wouldn't be so excited by a paid service and a non-open-source software package, even if it does offer a Linux-native client. The folks at Code 42, however, have given away the ability to swap storage with friends as an alternative to their paid-cloud-based service. If you have a computer at work, and a computer at home, you can back them up over the Internet to each other completely free!

As I already mentioned, I normally don't like Java-based programs like Crashplan, but its functionality is so great, I don't mind breaking my own rules. More than that, I give a lot of credit to Code 42 for not only making a native Linux client, but also for giving away incredible functionality for free. If you're not backing up your data, be sure to consider Crashplan at Its price, feature set and generous non-paid features make it this month's Editors' Choice!


Shawn is Associate Editor here at Linux Journal, and has been around Linux since the beginning. He has a passion for open source, and he loves to teach. He also drinks too much coffee, which often shows in his writing.


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No Source Code

Chuck Peters's picture

Crashplan says it uses opensource software to create their software and service. Furthermore they advertise that they can't recover the data without the encryption keys which reside on your computer, or wherever else you store them. That's all good, but...

Implementing cryptography correctly is a difficult thing to do, which is one reason why we have crypto cracking problems in all sorts of software, and we still many many cases of opensource software not implementing cryto correctly, but the chances are better that it will be.

I tried crashplan recently when I wanted to setup something quick and easy for an old XP machine we setup to run TurboTax. Without digressing into the whole "Why don't we have good opensource tax software problem" I will say it was easy to setup, but I won't trust it unless I have the source and I will not be backing up our tax stuff to crashplan or any other cloud service. Another thing I didn't like is the java dependency, Oracle hasn't been doing a great job with security lately and I would very much like to avoid using it. The program also updates itself, which can be a huge security issue, so I would prefer to be prompted for updates.

My conclusion is we need a better and easier backup solution that includes the source, preferably GPL v3.

absolutely not an advert in disguise

Anonymous's picture

I have been reading linux journal since its inception and clearly Shawn is one of the more straight-shooters of all the staff. Read his justification for the promotion. It makes sense: backing up one of your cpus to another for no cost. No one can know for sure, but I will support Shawn this time.

I agree, that's why I read

Anonymous's picture

I agree, that's why I read the articles. Perhaps I jumped to the wrong conclusions. In that case, my apologies.

looks nice

steeve's picture

Unfortunately I live in the internet banana replublic known as Canada where our upload rates average about 100KB/s so for my net backups I'll just stick with rsync.

IMHO, they would be wise to push their cloud based paid service rather than hobbling the client.

It's too bad that java has such a bad rep, because it really has come a long way in the past 15 years. And developing java on eclipse is an absolute joy compared to C++.

Your paint brush if FAR too

Anonymous's picture

Your paint brush if FAR too wide! Your upload speed may be slow but that is NOT typical. Try another ISP. The service is available :-)

Not just Linux FWIW

Anonymous's picture

This is one of the few cloud backup services that supports a Solaris system too. Also Linux, Windows, Macintosh.

The app costs $0 and can backup all your computers to a central system. If you have an offsite system across the internet, it can do that too, for free.

There is a $$ version too. It will backup to CrashPlan's cloud. The agent gives you more options on schedules and versions. You can still do everything the free one does.

For a home user, backup everything to an always on computer with some disk space. This will give you fast restores. Then have an external computer (Friend/Relative/CrashPlan's $$ cloud) and now you have a backup safe from a flood/fire/disaster that has a slow restore.

I've used the free version for years and purchased the cloud version to get offsites.

No problems here

James Burnett's picture

I almost never comment, but I do not see your problem at all. I do not work for Linux Journal or CrashPlan. To the best of my knowledge I do not know anybody who does.

I do, however, use CrashPlan. Like the author of the original article, CrashPlan is one of the only reasons I install Java on my machine (IntelliJ is the only other reason I can think of, and no I do not work for them either).

As for the website, it seems pretty easy to navigate for me.

I will not speculate as to whether Linux Journal has sponsored choice awards, but at least this choice seems like it would merit the award on its own.


Nerdfest's picture

Another recommendation for CrashPlan here. Their prices are fantastic for hosted backups ... I get 10 machines for $6/month. Everything but the hosted backup is free and they're one of the few to get security right. If you have worries about installing Java, just disable the browser plug-in.

This little article is not

Anonymous's picture

This little article is not trustworthy to me. Looks more a like an advert in disguise?

Our Editors' Choice picks

Webmistress's picture

Our Editors' Choice picks have nothing to do with advertising, and everything to do with what our editors like to use, especially Shawn Powers.

Katherine Druckman is webmistress at You might find her on Twitter or at the Southwest Drupal Summit

I can't navigate that

Anonymous's picture

I can't navigate that website. Why are all the links hidden under pictures and why does it make me scroll endlessly? How much marketing-speak do I have to scroll through before it'll tell me what it does?

Now tell me with a straight face this was not a sponsored editor's choice.